Sunday 24 June 2007

The four ages of sand and the alpha male monkey

Jason Rennie of The Sci Phi Show podcast recently posted a recording of an off-the-cuff talk given by Douglas Adams at the Digital Biota 2 conference in 1998. The talk was called "Is there an Artificial God?" and you can find it, along with Jason's introduction, here. The audio is a little hard to hear, but Jason also linked to Biota's transcription of Adams' talk.

Using his "four ages of sand" structure Adams explored how the first notions of a supreme being might have arisen as part of human evolution, and how an artificial god might not be such a bad idea. Well worth a listen/read for his typically skewed but insightful take on such things.

Not content with alerting us to this gem, however, Jason went on to devote two subsequent episodes of The Sci Phi Show to a discussion of Adams' talk with Matt Arnold (who recently co-hosted Jason's podcast) and linked to Matt's explanation of the Alpha Male Monkey concept, which they discussed in the show.

Engaging stuff -- I recommend it.