God -- the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist / Edition 1

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Overview

Throughout history, arguments for and against the existence of God have been largely confined to philosophy and theology, while science has sat on the sidelines. Despite the fact that science has revolutionized every aspect of human life and greatly clarified our understanding of the world, somehow the notion has arisen that it has nothing to say about the possibility of a supreme being, which much of humanity worships as the source of all reality. This physicist and author contends that, if God exists, some evidence for this existence should be detectable by scientific means, especially considering the central role that God is alleged to play in the operation of the universe and the lives of humans. Treating the traditional God concept, as conventionally presented in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions, like any other scientific hypothesis, Stenger examines all of the claims made for God's existence. He considers the latest Intelligent Design arguments as evidence of God's influence in biology. He looks at human behavior for evidence of immaterial souls and the possible effects of prayer. He discusses the findings of physics and astronomy in weighing the suggestions that the universe is the work of a creator and that humans are God's special creation. After evaluating all the scientific evidence, Stenger concludes that beyond a reasonable doubt the universe and life appear exactly as we might expect if there were no God.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I learned an enormous amount from this splendid book."
-Richard Dawkins, author of the New York Times bestseller The God Delusion

"Marshalling converging arguments from physics, astronomy, biology, and philosophy, Stenger has delivered a masterful blow in defense of reason. God: The Failed Hypothesis is a potent, readable, and well-timed assault upon religious delusion. It should be widely read."
-Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestsellers The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation

"Extremely tough and impressive...a great book...a huge addition to the arsenal of argument."
-Christopher Hitchens, author of the New York Times bestseller God Is Not Great

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591024811
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 708,266
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor J. Stenger (Lafayette, CO) is adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis, and many other books, including The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning, The New Atheism, Quantum Gods, The Unconscious Quantum, The Comprehensible Cosmos, Timeless Reality, Physics and Psychics and Has Science Found God?
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Read an Excerpt

GOD THE FAILED HYPOTHESIS

How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
By VICTOR J. STENGER

Prometheus Books

Copyright © 2007 Victor J. Stenger
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59102-481-1

Contents

Acknowledgments....................................................7 Preface............................................................9 Chapter 1: Models and Methods......................................21 Chapter 2: The Illusion of Design..................................47 Chapter 3: Searching for a World beyond Matter.....................77 Chapter 4: Cosmic Evidence.........................................113 Chapter 5: The Uncongenial Universe................................137 Chapter 6: The Failures of Revelation..............................169 Chapter 7: Do Our Values Come from God?............................193 Chapter 8: The Argument from Evil..................................215 Chapter 9: Possible and Impossible Gods............................227 Chapter 10: Living in the Godless Universe.........................243 Bibliography.......................................................261 Index..............................................................283 About the Author...................................................293

Chapter One

MODELS AND METHODS

All that belongs to human understanding, in this deepignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability. -David Hume

LACK OF EVIDENCE

Many theologians and theistic scientists claim that evidence has been found for the existence of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God or, at least, some being with supernatural powers. However, they cannot deny that their evidence is not sufficiently convincing to satisfy the majority of scientists. Indeed, as we saw in the preface, the overwhelming majority of prominent American scientists has concluded that God does not exist. If God exists, where is he? Philosopher Theodore Drange has termed this the lack-of-evidence argument, which he states formally as follows:

1. Probably, if God were to exist, then there would be good objective evidence for his existence.

2. But there is no good objective evidence for his existence.

3. Therefore, probably God does not exist.

Drange criticizes premise 1 of the lack-of-evidence argument, pointing out that God could simply choose not to use the channel of objective evidence but directly implant that knowledge in human minds. However, as he and others have pointed out, such a deity would not be a perfectly loving God and the very existence of nonbelievers in the world who have not resisted such belief is evidence against his existence. The problem of divine hiddenness is one that has taxed the abilities of theologians over the years-almost as much as the problem of evil, which questions how an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient God can allow so much unnecessary suffering among the planet's humans and animals. We will return to each of these problems.

However, independent of the unknowable intentions of a hypothetical being of infinite power and wisdom, objective evidence for an entity with godlike attributes should be readily available. After all, God is supposed to play a decisive role in every happening in the world. Surely we should see some sign of that in objective observations made by our eyes and ears, and especially by our most sensitive scientific instruments.

The founders and leaders of major religions have always claimed that God can be seen in the world around us. In Romans 1:20, St. Paul says: "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely his eternal power and deity, have been clearly perceived in the things that have been made." We will look for evidence of God in the things that have been made.

THE NATURE OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

Before examining specific data, let us consider what constitutes "scientific evidence." Here I will limit myself to the kind of evidence that is needed to establish the validity of an extraordinary claim that goes beyond existing knowledge. Clearly the standard for this must be set much higher than that for an ordinary claim.

For example, an ordinary claim might be that an 81-milligram aspirin taken daily will reduce the chance of heart attacks and strokes. Such a claim is ordinary, because we have a plausible mechanism for such an effect in the resulting slight thinning of the blood. By contrast, an extraordinary claim might be that such a therapy would cure AIDS. Lacking any plausible mechanism, we would have to demand far more confirmatory data than in the first case.

We often hear of stories citing examples of dreams that came true. This would seem to suggest a power of the mind that goes beyond known physical capabilities. However, in this case, a strong selection process is taking place whereby all the millions of dreams that do not come true are simply ignored. Unless otherwise demonstrated, a plausible explanation that must first be ruled out is that the reported dream came true by chance selection out of many that had no such dramatic outcome.

How can we rule out chance or other artifacts? This is what the scientific method is all about. We might do a controlled experiment with hundreds of subjects recording their dreams upon awaking every morning. Independent investigators, with no stake in the outcome one way or another, would then perform a careful statistical analysis of the data. It would help if the dream outcomes were something simple and quantitative, like the winning number for a future lottery. Then the results could be compared with the easily calculated expectations from chance.

Allow me to list a few of the rules that the scientific community conventionally applies when evaluating any extraordinary claim. This is not complete by any means; nowhere can we find a document that officially lays down the scientific method to the complete satisfaction of a consensus of scientists and philosophers. However, five conditions suffice for our evaluation of claims of empirical evidence for extraordinary empirical claims in science:

Conditions for Considering Extraordinary Claims

1. The protocols of the study must be clear and impeccable so that all possibilities of error can be evaluated. The investigators, not the reviewers, carry the burden of identifying each possible source of error, explaining how it was minimized, and providing a quantitative estimate of the effect of each error. These errors can be systematic-attributable to biases in the experimental set up-or statistical-the result of chance fluctuations. No new effect can be claimed unless all the errors are small enough to make it highly unlikely that they are the source of the claimed effect.

2. The hypotheses being tested must be established clearly and explicitly before data taking begins, and not changed midway through the process or after looking at the data. In particular, "data mining" in which hypotheses are later changed to agree with some interesting but unanticipated results showing up in the data is unacceptable. This may be likened to painting a bull's-eye around wherever an arrow has struck. That is not to say that certain kinds of exploratory observations, in astronomy, for example, may not be examined for anomalous phenomena. But they are not used in hypothesis testing. They may lead to new hypotheses, but these hypotheses must then be independently tested according to the protocols I have outlined.

3. The people performing the study, that is, those taking and analyzing the data, must do so without any prejudgment of how the results should come out. This is perhaps the most difficult condition to follow to the letter, since most investigators start out with the hope of making a remarkable discovery that will bring them fame and fortune. They are often naturally reluctant to accept the negative results that more typically characterize much of research. Investigators may then revert to data mining, continuing to look until they convince themselves they have found what they were looking for. To enforce this condition and avoid such biases, certain techniques such as "blinding" may be included in the protocol, where neither the investigators nor the data takers and analyzers know what sample of data they are dealing with. For example, in doing a study on the efficacy of prayer, the investigators should not know who is being prayed for or who is doing the praying until all the data are in and ready to be analyzed.

4. The hypothesis being tested must be one that contains the seeds of its own destruction. Those making the hypothesis have the burden of providing examples of possible experimental results that would falsify the hypothesis. They must demonstrate that such a falsification has not occurred. A hypothesis that cannot be falsified is a hypothesis that has no value.

5. Even after passing the above criteria, reported results must be of such a nature that they can be independently replicated. Not until they are repeated under similar conditions by different (preferably skeptical) investigators will they be finally accepted into the ranks of scientific knowledge.

Our procedure in the following chapters will be to select out, one by one, certain limited sets of attributes and examine the empirical consequences that can reasonably be expected by the hypothesis of a god having those attributes. We will then look for evidence of these empirical consequences.

FALSIFICATION

Falsification was the demarcation criterion proposed in the 1930s by philosophers Karl Popper and Rudolf Carnap as a means for distinguishing legitimate scientific models from nonscientific conjectures. Since then, however, philosophers of science have found falsification insufficient for this purpose. For example, astrology is falsifiable (indeed, falsified) and not accepted as science. Nevertheless, falsification remains a very powerful tool that is used whenever possible. When a hypothesis is falsifiable by a direct empirical test, and that test fails, then the hypothesis can be safely discarded.

Now, a certain asymmetry exists when testing scientific models. While failure to pass a required test is sufficient to falsify a model, the passing of the test is not sufficient to verify the model. This is because we have no way of knowing a priori that other, competing models might be found someday that lead to the same empirical consequences as the one tested.

Often in science, models that fail some empirical test are modified in ways that enable them to pass the test on a second or third try. While some philosophers have claimed this shows that falsification does not happen in practice, the modified model can be regarded as a new model and the old version was still falsified. I saw many proposed models falsified during my forty-year research career in elementary particle physics and astrophysics; it does happen in practice.

Popper restricted falsification (which he equates to refutability) to empirical statements, and declared, "philosophical theories, or metaphysical theories, will be irrefutable by definition." He also noted that certain empirical statements are irrefutable. These are statements that he called "strict or pure existential statements." On the other hand, "restricted" existential statements are refutable. He gives this example:

"There exists a pearl which is ten times larger than the next largest pearl." If in this statement we restrict the words "There exists" to some finite region in space and time, then it may of course become a refutable statement. For example, the following statement is obviously empirically refutable: "At this moment and in this box here there exist at least two pearls one of which is ten times larger than the next largest pearl in this box." But then this statement is no longer a strict or pure existential statement: rather it is a restricted existential statement. A strict or pure existential statement applies to the whole universe, and it is irrefutable simply because there can be no method by which it could be refuted. For even if we were able to search our entire universe, the strict or pure existential statement would not be refuted by our failure to discover the required pearl, seeing that it might always be hiding in a place where we are not looking.

By this criterion, it would seem that the existence of God cannot be empirically refuted because to do so would require making an existential statement applying to the whole universe (plus whatever lies beyond). But, in looking at Popper's example, we see this is not the case for God. True, we cannot refute the existence of a God who, like the pearl in Popper's example, is somewhere outside the box, say, in another galaxy. But God is supposed to be everywhere, including inside every box. So when we search for God inside a single box, no matter how small, we should either find him, thus confirming his existence, or not find him, thus refuting his existence.

CAN SCIENCE STUDY THE SUPERNATURAL?

Most national science societies and organizations promoting science have issued statements asserting that science is limited to the consideration of natural processes and phenomena. For example, the United States National Academy of Sciences has stated, "Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral."

Those scientists and science organizations that would limit science to the investigation of natural causes provide unwitting support for the assertion that science is dogmatically naturalistic. In a series of books in the 1990s, law professor Phillip Johnson argued that the doctrine that nature is "all there is" is the virtually unquestioned assumption that underlies not only natural science but intellectual work of all kinds. In many of the public discussions we hear today, science is accused of dogmatically refusing to consider the possible role other than natural processes may play in the universe.

Given the public position of many scientists and their organizations, Johnson and his supporters have some basis for making a case that science is dogmatically materialistic. However, any type of dogmatism is the very antithesis of science. The history of science, from Copernicus and Galileo to the present, is replete with examples that belie the charge of dogmatism in science.

What history shows is that science is very demanding and does not blindly accept any new idea that someone can come up with. New claims must be thoroughly supported by the data, especially when they may conflict with well-established knowledge. Any research scientist will tell you how very difficult it is to discover new knowledge, convince your colleagues that it is correct-as they enthusiastically play devil's advocate-and then get your results through the peer-review process to publication. When scientists express their objections to claims such as evidence for intelligent design in the universe, they are not being dogmatic. They are simply applying the same standard they would for any other extraordinary claim and demanding extraordinary evidence.

Besides, why would any scientist object to the notion of intelligent design or other supernatural phenomena, should the data warrant that they deserve attention? Most scientists would be delighted at the opening up of an exciting new field of study that would undoubtedly receive generous funding. As we will see, intelligent design, in its current form, simply incorporates neither the evidence nor the theoretical arguments to warrant such attention.

Furthermore, the assertions that science does not study the supernatural and that supernatural hypotheses are untestable are factually incorrect. Right under the noses of the leaders of national science organizations who make these public statements, capable, credentialed scientists are investigating the possibility of supernatural causes. As we will discuss in a later chapter, reputable institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard University, and Duke University are studying phenomena that, if verified, would provide strong empirical support for the existence of some nonmaterial element in the universe. These experiments are designed to test the healing power of distant, blinded intercessory prayer. Their results have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Unfortunately, the prayer literature is marred by some very poor experimental work. But in reading the best of the published papers of the most reputable organizations you will witness all the indications of proper scientific methodology at work. If they are not science, then I do not know what is.

The self-imposed convention of science that limits inquiry to objective observations of the world and generally seeks natural accounts for all phenomena is called methodological naturalism. We have also noted that methodological naturalism is often conflated with metaphysical naturalism, which assumes that reality itself is purely natural, that is, composed solely of material objects.

Methodological naturalism can still be applied without implying any dogmatic attachment to metaphysical naturalism. The thesis of this book is that the supernatural hypothesis of God is testable, verifiable, and falsifiable by the established methods of science. We can imagine all sorts of phenomena that, if observed by means of methodological naturalism, would suggest the possibility of some reality that is highly unlikely to be consistent with metaphysical naturalism.

For example, it could happen that a series of carefully controlled experiments provide independent, replicable, statistically significant evidence that distant, intercessory prayer of a specific kind, say, Catholic, cures certain illnesses while the prayers of other religious groups do not. It is difficult to imagine any plausible natural explanation for this hypothetical result.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from GOD THE FAILED HYPOTHESIS by VICTOR J. STENGER Copyright © 2007 by Victor J. Stenger. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     7
Preface     9
Models and Methods     21
The Illusion of Design     47
Searching for a World beyond Matter     77
Cosmic Evidence     113
The Uncongenial Universe     137
The Failures of Revelation     169
Do Our Values Come from God?     193
The Argument from Evil     215
Possible and Impossible Gods     227
Living in the Godless Universe     243
Bibliography     261
Index     283
About the Author     293
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 35 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2007

    About to Read....

    I have heard so much feedback on this book and I can't wait to finish reading it (I am in the process). I was reading one of the reviews and someone brought up that Darwin's ideas were a theory. I have read everything that Darwin has ever written- every book, every account, every 'theory'. Well, let me tell everyone something, the only reason evolution is still deemed a theory rather than a law (and let me tell you it is a law) is because of the fear of the backlash from the Christian church. What kind of religious institute only survives on fear? What does that say of its followers? And the Bible, I read it and I found it full of myths and children stories. It's sad that people actually worship that book and believe their god to be so immature. Flooding the world because of a few naughty people? Saving the Jews from Egypt? Where is god now? In Darfur, where is god? In the streets of New York, where is god? No where. God, if there every was one, is gone. He ran away or rather, he never was. There are few holes in evolution. The ones that are spoken of are created by Christian fanatics. If you don't believe in evolution, then explain to an AID's patient why their virus keeps evolving to combat every drug known to man. Explain why whales have long finger-like structures in their fins. When a Christian can explain why everything that science and evolution PROOVES is false, then I might give them a second thought. Blind faith is ignorance or the absence of knowledge.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    Excellent!

    A fantastic read and one that may have finally pushed me over the edge from agnostic to atheist. And for the reviewer Jonathen...viruses contain both DNA and RNA and indeed evolve by natural selection, sorry. Can't let propaganda like that get out there without challenging it.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2008

    a physicist shows why God doesn't compute

    A very detailed account of the problems with the God concept from the point of view of physics. The fine-tuning argument, in particular, is well explained. A great job of marshalling the evidence of physics.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    I just bought this book and I haven't even finished it yet so I'm not going to fully commit to it being absolutely fantastic, but so far it's been very enlightening, offering a refreshingly systematic and scientific approach to 'THE' question 'one of many 'answers' offered over centuries by the way, why pick on this author?'. That being said, I just wanted to comment on the idiotic postings against this book. Did you religious 'believers' even read it? Ignorance is only bliss if you admit that you have it... if you arrogantly proclaim to know something that can't be 'proven', you should do some research before you argue against ANY proposed hypothesis or 'answer'. The best way to defend your position is to see the other side of the issue 'did Socrates and Plato teach us nothing?' Try reading a scientifically factual and intelligently written book 'instead of the mythology of the Bible written in a time/society COMPLETELY different then the one we find ourselves in now' THEN 'and ONLY then' will you have any right to even form an opinion about the depth of our lives (our being atheists/agnostics/uncommitted... basically some of the highest intellectuals in history, and in the world today - look it up if you don't believe me).

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2007

    Excellent book evaluating the God hypothesis

    In his earlier book, Has science found God? American physicist Victor Stenger refuted contentions that science had found God. In this brilliant new book, he completes his case by presenting the scientific arguments against the existence of God. He shows that all proposed supernatural processes are testable, but tests have found no reliable evidence for any `life force¿, `bioenergy¿, Qi, Extra Sensory Perception, prayer or `psychic powers¿. There are no miracles, independently verified, no lives after death and no souls. The lack of evidence for the efficacy of prayer proves that there is not a God who answers prayers. Many believers have put forward scientific arguments for God, based on observation, not authority they have made factual claims about the world, like Archdeacon William Paley¿s argument from design. But the more that scientists discover about nature, the more we see that every natural process can be explained in terms of evolution. Nor is God needed for morality we define values for ourselves. In doing so, we find that the fact of unnecessary suffering is incompatible with the existence of a God who is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. Some have argued that science is merely relative, from which they illogically deduce that God is the only reliable absolute. This derives from a misunderstanding of scientific progress. As Stenger writes, ¿the models of Newtonian mechanics were hardly rendered useless by the twin twentieth-century developments of relativity and quantum mechanics. Newtonian physics continue to find major applications in contemporary science and technology. It is still what most students learn in physics classes and what most engineers and others use when they apply physics in their professions. ¿ The conservation principles and Newton¿s laws of motion still appear in relativity and quantum mechanics. Newton¿s law of gravity is still used to calculate the orbits of spacecraft.¿ Science does give us reliable knowledge of the real world and it has found no evidence at all for God¿s existence. Stenger has proven that God is an unnecessary and failed hypothesis. As he writes, ¿A God with no observable effect is indistinguishable from one who is nonexistent.¿ So, there is no God.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2008

    ALL Bad...

    I read the book, but it doesn't change the way I think or feel.

    2 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2007

    Great

    Great book. I loved reading it because of all the evidence and clearity. God believers- its called a review, dont think you're all powerful because you believe in something. rate the book, not other people's beliefs

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2012

    On Higher Ground

    We must remember that science is the discovering of the world around us,whether it be in the field of biology,physics,astronomy,chemistry,etc.Science and religion truely are not at odds with each other but rather the interpretation of those results.I see [as well as most]the marvels of God's creation all around us.It would be very silly to tell someone that something that has complexity to it[the human cell-the earth itself- a computer]doesn't hsvea designer.The atheist feels that the answer can be found in naturalism-blind chance.This answer in itself is based on faith,for it challenges what we know in science.The theist feels the answer can be found in God-a being above nature.This view also is based on faith ,but is in harmony with common sense.It does indeed take greater faith to believe in atheism than it does theism.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another great book for rational skeptics.

    Stephen Jay Gould once referred to science and religion as Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA). However, religious texts make claims about the universe that are subject to the same scrutiny as similar claims for other sources. This book treats those claims the same as any other, subjecting them to rational skepticism. They don't hold up (nor do they for even most religious people, unless we're talking about young earth creationist fundamentalists). Victor Stenger takes it a step further and treats the Judeo-Christian-Islamic god as a hypothesis of how the universe works, and then (through various arguments) sees how that hypothesis holds up when tested (as every good scientist does). His arguments range from logical expressions (for instance, logically deducing that omnipotence is impossible...either god can create a rock he cannot lift or can't create a rock he cannot lift, both options demonstrating omnipotence is impossible), to more practical arguments (the overwhelming lack of evidence that SHOULD be there...where we can take absence of evidence as evidence of absence in the same way we can about other claims, such as the Loch Ness Monster). All of his arguments are well reasoned and well cited. Like other authors have, he brings up the "God of the Gaps" argument used by some to justify their beliefs, and completely defeats it. He doesn't just limit himself to abstract arguments, but shows (dogmatically speaking) the Judeo-Christian-Islamic god most certainly does not exist, but that it is possible for other gods to exist. But that isn't an open invitation to the paranormal, as he shows how any such god must go out of his/her/its way to not be detected, never interfering in the universe, which makes such a deity as good as useless. Basically, the only hope left for any kind of god is given to the deist god. However, even that god is challenged, as Stenger successfully demonstrates how the universe could (and did) come about on its own without any outside creator (by using the laws of thermodynamics, countering the misunderstandings of those laws that have been used to try to prove a god's existence). I was particularly fascinated to find out that the total energy of the universe equals 0 (therefore no violation of the 1st law), and that maximum possibly entropy is increasing (via dark energy) faster than maximum total entropy (meaning the universe started out at total entropy, by the expansion has created more and more room for order, and therefore no violation of the 2nd law). Like the writings of other New Atheists (a term properly described in his other book, appropriately titled "New Atheism"), he is firm in his position, but well reasoned and more than willing (unlike fundamentalists) to being proved wrong. While I find his position appropriately confrontational (he's not going to let logical fallacies off the hook, or give any position automatic deference), he's at all times respectful in the way he goes about it (unless you consider "respect" to be giving equal weight to all arguments, in which case he's not...because not all arguments DO have equal weighting...like with the flat Earthers, for instance. A person is to be respected, but an argument is afforded no such right automatically...it actually has to hold up under scrutiny). Whereas Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, Stenger is a particle physicist, so he gives a bit of a different perspective on the argument.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2008

    Wow....

    It's amazing how ignorant people on both sides of this argument can be. For one thing, viruses don't evolve, they mutate. You can hardly call it evolution the way a virus mutates. Secondly, yes, a lot of intellectuals in history weren't religious, but there have been a lot. Da Vinci and Galileo are among them. You people go too far into the extremes.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2007

    The Limits of Science

    Stenger uses science to his utmost to show only that his ideas about God were probably aquired in Sunday School at an early age and never developed further. Science offers theories that require as much faith as Religon does. The big bang theory, the string theory etc. On the other hand, proven laws of physics such as the 2nd law of Thermodynamics,'energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changes forms' point to a common substance in the Universe underlying all material things, a common concept of most religions. This book jumps on the recent bandwagon of Atheist books that tries to ignore the wonder of this incredible existence, and the universe we live in that even science cannot explain. Why not just believe, it is God!

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2007

    bias propaganda

    Dont bother. Just a guy who refuses to account to a Maker. You cannot disproove a God and there are more tips out there pointing to a God then no God. How much evidence is there for no God:none. I put this in the same catagory as ' The finches beak'. What great storys and lengths well go to to not follow the rules of God.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2007

    Stenger Argues ¿ The Clothes Have No Emperor¿

    Having first read ¿The God Delusion¿ and liking it as much as I did, I really thought that I was going to be disappointed with this book. I didn¿t think that it would be able to measure up to what I had just read. I was wrong. While both books cover many of the same topics, the main differences stem from their fields of study. Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, spends more time on the evolution versus intelligent design topic while Stenger, the physicist, spends more time on the big bang and quantum mechanics. Although not quite a Carl Sagan, Stenger does more than an admirable job bringing some of the more difficult concepts (Planck time and vacuum energy for instance) to the layperson. Stenger is abundantly clear that the definitions of God for this book are the ones put forth by the three Abrahamitic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The argument against any other type of god (the uninvolved observer god for instance) he leaves for another day. This is a wise choice which helps tighten the arguments and focus the book. Even with the emphasis on physics, Stenger still spends enough time on other interesting topics like: the illusion of design, brain science, prayer, the seat of the soul, miracles, order and chaos, beginning and cause, something vs. nothingness, life in the universe, bible prophecy, scripture and science, the origin of morals, good and evil, and living in a godless universe. I found the book to be structured very well. I particularly liked how the notes were at the end of each chapter rather than all together at the end of the book. It made finding the reference much easier while reading. While 1 star often means ¿I don¿t agree with you¿ instead of a poorly written book, I give this book 5 stars for being well written and well argued. The number of ¿agreement stars¿ you want to give it are entirely up to you¿ the reader.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2007

    What is this???

    I cant believe someone has wrote a book trying to give proof that God doesn't exist. There is no way someone can prove nor disprove that God exists. People point to the theory of evolution. The problem is there are many holes in it. Even Darwin stated that he was not sure if the theory of evolution was completly acurate, maybe thats why it is stll called a theory. But still, why does God have to be completly out of the picture, he can still exist even with the theory of evolution. Sure the universe is big and we probly aren't the only ones out there. God never stated that we were, people did. I also don't see how there could be any order in the universe if everything happened by chance. Try and explain the laws of physics or mathematics. Im only 15 and I respect free speech and the right to believe in God or not. But you can't just dish out one side of the story.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2007

    God? No!

    Billions of the faithful tell us that the omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent god of the Judaic-Christian-Islamic religions designed and created the universe for humans. It defined our moral code, subjects us to a lifetime of testing our faith, and promises our immortality in either heaven or hell. Such sweeping claims about such a mighty creator ought to be testable for their validity. A god that powerful and pervasive ought to leave abundant non-contradictory evidence of its accomplishments, just as a thundering herd of bison stampeding through camp ought to leave hoof prints, tattered tents, and unhappy campers. Finding no such indications, we can conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that no such bison ever ran through. Surely, failure to find the 'hoof prints' of the god, establishes beyond a reasonable doubt the nonexistence of that god. Professor Stenger uses the methods of science to look for those predictable hoof prints. Time after time, he finds that the expected evidence of the posited god does not appear. Earth was not created a few thousand years ago. Animals do evolve without benefit of a designer. Stars are not fixed within a static firmament. Prayers do not heal supplicants. Gratuitous pain and suffering does permeate the benevolent god's creation. The colossal vastness of the universe is punctuated with giant exploding stars and all-consuming black holes separated by light years of frigid emptiness, hardly the optimal creation one would expect for human life. Reality fails to confirm the attributes of the god. Moreover, in Professor Stenger's words, 'The universe and life look exactly as they can be expected to look if there is no God.' The universe looks like the one physicists explain with the Standard Model. Animals evolve according to the natural processes first described by Darwin. Humans devised moral standards without divine inspiration. We can discard the shackles imposed by imaginary gods, and live satisfying and meaningful lives. Buy this book. Read Professor Stenger's disproof of the Judaic-Christian-Islamic god. Disregard superstition.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2013

    I highly recommend this book! The facts are there, and Dr. Steng

    I highly recommend this book! The facts are there, and Dr. Stenger lays them out in a clear, comprehensive fashion. His sources and notes are thoroughly detailed and Stenger is a skilled writer. This is overall a great book! I would also recommend: anything by Richard Dawkins, esp The God Delusion as well as God or Godless by John W Loftus and Randal Rauser.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2007

    How dare this author

    How dare you people toy with God leave these things alone before You put your foot in your mouth Have a nice day.......

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2007

    Finally clear reasoning that disproves the existence of an omnipotent god

    From the pont of view of logic, physics, biology and every other discipline that investigates the Universe the existence of a 3Os god (omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent) is easily proved to be impossible. However, for those who have to have a god, no matter what, this book does not deny the possible existence of a god with deficiencies or other limitations.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2007

    Another great book to be ignored by the wishful thinkers

    This book talks about what is known to humans through the use of thinking and experimentation whether or not their conclusions place us in the center of this Universe. Wishful thinkers refuse to think anything that contradicts their ideas of being the best of what can exist. Wishful thinkers write books like the bible to call themselves the tip of the creation even if they can not tolerate thinking more than a few minutes a day, while the rest of the time they choose to continuosly listen to music, watch TV, or listen to fairy tales to avoid thinking. Unfortunately, if survival is a measure of biological success, according to the lenght of time of their existence on earth microbes and insects have been more succesful than humans. At this time it is still unclear if smarter logic-guided humans or dumber emotions-guided wishful thinkers will survive longer.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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