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God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist / Edition 1

God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist / Edition 1

3.6 36
by Victor J. Stenger, Christopher Hitchens

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ISBN-10: 1591026520

ISBN-13: 9781591026525

Pub. Date: 03/19/2008

Publisher: Prometheus Books

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


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 book 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, physicist 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.

This paperback edition of the New York Times bestselling hardcover edition contains a new foreword by Christopher Hitchens and a postscript by the author in which he responds to reviewers' criticisms of the original edition.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Christopher Hitchens     i
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
Postscript to the Paperback Edition     261
Bibliography     269
Index     291
About the Author     301

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God -- the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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).
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The devil is working in you do not let that happen ask God to forgive you and work through clean eyes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
apologistRP More than 1 year ago
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.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
you people who dont believe in god must have a depressing life thinking that nothing happens to you when you go. you're just gone poof. calling us wishful thinkers i feel sad for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Calatelpe More than 1 year ago
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.
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