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God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist [Hardcover]

Victor J. Stenger
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
Price: 22.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Jan 2007
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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God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist + God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything + The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (2 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591024811
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591024811
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 15.9 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Victor Stenger (Lafayette, CO) is emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is the author of Has Science Found God?, The Comprehensible Cosmos, Timeless Reality, The Unconscious Quantum, Physics and Psychics, and Not by Design.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
272 of 300 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 13 Mar 2007
By Andrew
This is an outstanding book. Victor Stenger, a Professor of both Physics and Astronomy, convincingly argues against the existence of God (by which he means the Judea-Christian version, although most of the book could equally apply to the interpretations of other religions such as Islam etc) by examining a wide variety of scientific evidence. In my view Stenger succeeds in disproving God beyond a level of reasonable doubt. Certain high profile atheists (Richard Dawkins and Same Harris, to name but two) have already written bestsellers on this subject, and I would evaluate Stenger's work as one that fully deserves the same level of success and recognition.

The structure of the book is roughly as follows:

In the first chapter, Stenger lucidly explains the scientific method and what makes it such a potent investigative tool. This is important because many people have no real understanding of these concepts. He also refutes the widely held (at least, by religious people) view that science has nothing to say about religion. This is a very important point, which sets the foundation for the rest of the book.

Stenger also deals with another common misconception, which is that scientists are somehow opposed to, or in denial of the discovery of any supernatural forces, whether religious, psychic, or anything else which violates the natural laws as they are currently understood. In reality the only reason why most scientists do not acknowledge the evidence of such things is because the evidence does not exist.

In the remainder of the book, Stenger goes on to assess the objective evidence for and against the God hypothesis by investigating a plethora of scientific and historical research.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
"The thesis of this book is that the supernatural hypothesis of God is testable, verifiable, and falsifiable by the established methods of science." --from page 29

"...I will...argue that...science has advanced sufficiently to be able to make a definitive statement on the existence or nonexistence of a God having the attributes that are traditionally associated with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God." --from page 11

These statements are a great leap forward from the fairly recent belief (I'm thinking of the late, great Stephen Jay Gould, for example) that we ought to render unto science things belonging to science and unto religion things belonging to religion. But what Professor Stenger is saying is that we can look at religion in a scientific sense and decide which aspects of it are true and which are false. In particular Stenger looks at the God of Abraham and fulfills the promise of the subtitle: "How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist." Note that it is only the personal God of the three Middle Eastern religions that he specifically lays to rest. The Ineffable God of the Vedas is presumably still standing, as are many other gods who are not defined as personal and possessing the three O's: omnibenevolence, omnipotence, and omniscience. An interesting book including arguments against the existence of some other gods is The Impossibility of God (2003) by Michael Martin and Ricki Monnier (cited by Stenger; see my review at Amazon).

Stenger's is a step-by-step consideration of the arguments and the "evidence" for God's existence, followed by a demonstration that the arguments are faulty and/or the evidence is lacking.
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75 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The physics of faith 15 Sep 2007
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
A number of years ago, the late [great?] Stephen J. Gould produced "Rocks of Ages". The work was designed as a peace offering between those relying on reason and those relying on faith to view the cosmos. Gould, like some others of the time, was willing to let "moral" issues remain in the hands of religious leaders. Science, he declared, was a separate "magisterium". Victor Stenger declares that such a separation is false and misleading. He argues that gods, particularly that of the "three great monotheisms" is a fit subject for scientific study. In this captivating and skillful analysis, he does just that. The results, ably presented in fluent language, are devastating to the notion that any supernatural being, especially the Judeo-Christian-Islamic deity, has substance. If such a thing could exist, it would be too remote from human conditions to have any meaning.

Although Stenger credits Galileo and Darwin with significant contributions to pushing a god away from human affairs, it's his own field of physics that provide the most compelling evidence, or lack of it, for any gods. As with any research subject, the author formulates hypotheses explaining why a god should exist, then tests them for valid evidence. To apply scientific methods to examining the evidence for the supernatural, he explains that ideas about the world are observed and models derived to explain their workings. Those models must be tested by valid methods, comprehensive and definitive. His examination of intercessory prayer as a healing mechanism [Chap. 3] demonstrates how flawed methods skew evidence. Ignoring real evidence, as his examination of the "Illusion of Design" demonstrates, has allowed such commentators as Michael Behe and William Dembski to forward untestable concepts of how life's processes work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Religious people really need to read this, then tackle Hitchens. A good and informative introduction to life as an atheist.
Published 13 days ago by Dave W
1.0 out of 5 stars Atheism in Scientific Dress
Books by scientists are flooding the market, mostly by a generation of newly-minted scientists, who, like Richard Dawkins, are using Science to support their private and personal... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Clifford J. Stevens
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm afraid Stenger is a scientific fraud
I'm afraid Stenger is a scientific fraud. Never having made much of a success as a scientist, Stenger has in retirement found niche telling atheists what they want to hear. Read more
Published 20 months ago by N. Beale
1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't do what the title says
According to a previous reviewer:

"The core of the book ... involves the debunking of some really hard hitting questions. Read more
Published on 2 Jun 2012 by Kriss Mascard
5.0 out of 5 stars He proves it!
A must-read for everyone who wants to understand what's real and what's not. The book is filled with strong arguments and evidence to counter the claims of theists. Read more
Published on 24 Jan 2012 by Petri
3.0 out of 5 stars Would have been better (though presumably less lucrative) without the...
Warning: Contains Spoilers!

Having been an open atheist (technically agnostic, but only in the same way that most people are agnostic about invisible pink unicorns) for... Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2011 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Stenger missile!
There is a profusion of books on the existence or non-existence of God. I wanted a perspective from a professor of physics and astronomy. In this regard the book is fantastic. Read more
Published on 10 Sep 2011 by J. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars What the actual evidence shows
What an excellent read. Downloaded to my Kindle, started reading immediately, finished reading it over two evenings. Read more
Published on 30 Aug 2011 by "Untitled"
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally excellent
Astronomer Victor Stenger has studied the Universe and concludes that Gods/ supernatural forces are not here, there or anywhere. I love the way Stenger writes. Read more
Published on 10 April 2011 by A.
1.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentally flawed, assumes its conclusion.
This book fails to address a number of things:

> Ignores every kind of counter-argument - for example the work of people such as that of Stephen Meyer (Signature in the... Read more
Published on 22 Jan 2011 by Francis, A
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