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275 of 303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
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...
Published on 13 Mar. 2007 by Andrew

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars INTUITIVE? OF LAMARKIAN PROPORTIONS! YET...SCIENTIFIC? HARDLY!
This is the third book arguing for atheism this season. As a scientist I am more than willing to be convinced. Yet, Stenger's reasoning is biased and his "science" half-baked. How do I know? I am a NeuroBiologist with a PhD in Neuroscience and I can assure you that Stenger's approach is clearly NOT Scientific.

Here is the main reason: scientifically we...
Published on 26 Aug. 2007 by NeuroSplicer


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275 of 303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 13 Mar. 2007
By 
Andrew (Cornwall, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
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. He covers everything from biblical prophecies to the illusion of design to prayer experiments and much more. All of this research could very well have produced compelling evidence for God, but none of it has. Stenger logically concludes that the evidence looks exactly the way we would expect it to look in the absence of God.

As a mild criticism, I found that certain topics could have been covered in a bit more detail. On the other hand, some of these issues could easily form the subject of entire books, and so it would have been almost impossible to discuss them in full detail within just a single chapter. Overall I think the author has penetrated to the heart of most of the important issues, and there are plenty of references for those who which to carry out further reading.

Chapters 4 and 5 (entitled Cosmic Evidence and The Uncongenial Universe) deserve a special mention. These two chapters are the undisputed gems of the book, in my opinion. Perhaps this is not so surprising given Stenger's expertise in physics and astronomy. For me personally, the knowledge I gained from these two chapters was easily worth the price of book by itself, and it was an absolute joy to have my eyes opened to some of the mind-boggling secrets of the universe that have been yielded by the investigative efforts of physicists and astronomers. Things do get a little hard to follow at times, but this is pretty much unavoidable for such a complex subject, and overall I think that Stenger does a great job of making it understandable to the lay reader. I won't give too much away, but rest assured that pro-god arguments like "how can something come from nothing?" (with reference to the 'big bang') and "how do you explain the fine-tuning of the universe" are comprehensively dismantled.

To conclude, I would strongly recommend this book for:

- Atheists wishing to learn about how science can be used to disprove God beyond a reasonable doubt.

- People who are vaguely religious/agnostic who wish to learn about the objective evidence for and against a supreme being.

- Religious people who:

a) wish to strengthen their faith by familiarising themselves with arguments for the opposing viewpoint, and/or

b) are brave enough to admit that they could be wrong, and wish to assess the objective evidence for and against God.

In a nutshell, I think that Victor Stenger has done a wonderful job with this book. I have no hesitation in awarding it five stars - with six stars for chapters 4 and 5!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars INTUITIVE? OF LAMARKIAN PROPORTIONS! YET...SCIENTIFIC? HARDLY!, 26 Aug. 2007
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
This is the third book arguing for atheism this season. As a scientist I am more than willing to be convinced. Yet, Stenger's reasoning is biased and his "science" half-baked. How do I know? I am a NeuroBiologist with a PhD in Neuroscience and I can assure you that Stenger's approach is clearly NOT Scientific.

Here is the main reason: scientifically we are nothing but metazoans, groups of cooperating animal cells. So are birds, butterflies and dogs. Birds can appreciate music, butterflies color patterns, whereas dogs can learn tricks. Yet they cannot comprehend simple algebra. We humans can do all of the above (and much more), nevertheless, there is no reason whatsoever our abilities to be unlimited. Actually, the opposite has been proven to be true.

Case in point: we fail to comprehend the illusion of time. Our brain separates our consciousness into memories (past), present (lasting about 3sec) and imagination (future). The arrow of time is but a human shortcoming. Even its most modern definition (as the increase of entropy) only replaces the einsteinian "observer" or the classic "clock" with a humanly measurable change. We do incorporate time into our physical laws - only because that is how we perceive and are able to measure the phenomena they describe. Modern physics acknowledges, however, that time is but a human-brain artifact.
So, Plato had nailed it 2,500 years ago: we can only perceive the shadows of the true universe as it is reflected in the cave of our finite, animal intellect.

Being an honest Scientist requires for and foremost to keep in mind that we are mere homo sapiens.
Believing that we humans are something special and, thus, are able to comprehend and explain everything is totally superstitious. Such anthropocenticity, maybe expected from a religion, is unacceptable from scientists.

When the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned from first orbiting the Earth he confirmed the communist axiom that God does not exists, since "he did not meet Him in the heavens". Today we may laugh (or write it off as soviet era propaganda) - yet Victor Stenger's arguments do not land far off.

Our human brains simplify, group and bring down to our size every phenomenon we can perceive. It builds species-specific representations. So, the only way our human brains can PERCEIVE Religion is as an evolved neuropsychological trait. But this does NOT necessarily mean that this is all there is.
Remember: the map is NOT the territory.

Every scientific truth we hold is the truth perceived by the brain of a certain metazoan. The same metazoan that evolved the ability to use scientific method. Now, how absolute can that be?

Had Stenger attempted to verify, by the use of physical/scientific means, certain claims of physical manifestations of God (say, the miraculous Biblical crossing of the Dead Sea by the Jewish people or the reincarnation of deified Buddhist leaders), he would be within his scientific mandate and his arguments would have had merit. In that case he would be able to answer the question: "Did God's actions manifest amongst us?" But, instead, he decided to well overstep the known limitations of science and build too high for his foundations.

The irony cuts deep: whereas the biggest arguments against the existence of God are Theological, in the end, the biggest arguments supporting the possibility of God existing remain...scientific. Imagine searching for something in a large, dark room by opening the door, shining a flashlight only a few paces past the threshold - and then declaring that what we were looking for cannot possibly be in the room. It does not make more sense than concluding on the non-existence of a nebulous Entity in a Universe we can explain 24% of and actually measure less than its 5%!

So, does God exist? I am afraid that's for each one of us to decide for himself. The Universe sure appears random to most scientists but that is far from PROVING any existence or absence of a higher entity. And I doubt that the answer falls within the realm of human science.

After all, from a scientific point of view we humans are nothing special. Nothing but a brief evolutionary experiment.
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In many ways the best of the "atheistic" books recently published, 2 Jan. 2008
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
"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. For example, he shows how the evil in the world is inconsistent with a God possessing the three O's; he shows how all the endless stories of miracles and such are easily explained by means not requiring an intervening deity; he (as many others have) demolishes the argument from design; he shows how morality has nothing to do with God or religion, that it is something humans naturally have, and that in fact, followers of especially Islam and Christianity, are less moral by most standards than are unbelievers.

The God of the Old Testament is exposed as ruthless and evil; Stenger even refers to the so-called "hidden" God (that is, hidden from nonbelievers) of evangelical Christians as a "hideous God." His point is that by staying hidden from nonbelievers this God (cf. the God of John Calvin) effectively makes certain that most people will spend an eternity in hell, people such as "Mahatma Gandhi...along with the six million Jews killed by Hitler and billions of others who died without accepting Jesus." It is interesting that Stenger allows that such a god could exist, but "I personally want nothing to do with him." (pp. 239-240)

As significant and important as showing that God is a hypothesis that has failed is, I think some other aspects of this fascinating book are what make it such an important read. I learned that a good answer to the eternal question (and one of my favorites) "Why is there something rather than nothing?" can be answered by "nothing is unstable" (Frank Wilczek) or, to put it another way, it is impossible for there to be nothing but nothing. (pp. 132-133)

I also discovered that the universe did not necessarily begin with the Big Bang, that events do not necessarily have causes, and that "even if the universe does not have a mathematically infinite number of events in the past, it still need not have a beginning." Additionally (quoting philosopher Keith Parsons), "To say the universe is infinitely old is to say that it had no beginning--not a beginning that was infinitely long ago." Here Stenger makes a nice distinction between the infinite of mathematics and the infinite of physics. He writes, "Physics is counting. In physics, time is simply the count of ticks on a clock. You can count backward as well as forward. Counting forward you can get a very big but never mathematically infinite positive number and time 'never ends.' Counting backward you can get a very big but never mathematically infinite negative number and time 'never begins.'" (pp. 123-125) The salient point, as Georg Cantor made clear, is that infinity is a mathematical concept and not a number. These points are brought to refute the claim that the universe must have had a beginning and therefore a creator God.

Stenger even brings entropy into the picture as an argument against the universe being created. He notes "If the universe were created, then it should have possessed some degree of order at the creation...." But according to Big Bang theory the initial state of the universe after the Planck time was one of high entropy or "total chaos." He then calls in "the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the total entropy or disorder of a closed system must remain constant or increase with time." So far it sounds like this is good argument (as it previously might have been) for God the Creator to have injected order into the cosmos since we clearly have order today. But then Stenger shows that because the universe is expanding, the order we see here on earth and elsewhere doesn't violate the second law because "maximum entropy...increases faster than the actual total entropy...." (pp. 117-119)

I have read and reviewed in recent months The God Delusion (2006) by Richard Dawkins; Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006) by Daniel C. Dennett; and The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason (2004, 2005) by Sam Harris. While all three are excellent books and sorely needed in this time of attempted evangelical takeover of our culture and government, none of them is as closely and convincingly argued as is this book.
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76 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The physics of faith, 15 Sept. 2007
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
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.

Perhaps the most compelling section [Chap. 4 "Cosmic Evidence"] in this book is his discussion of the big bang. How often have we heard the challenge: "What caused the Big Bang?" by believers who need a deity to initiate the cosmos, even if it clearly has no role in it. Stenger takes us back to the first instance of the universe's beginning. He notes that the actual origins may be debated: the universe may recycle itself or have come from another universe, for example. Ours, however, began in chaos, but quickly followed the laws of physics the author has studied for so long. From that point, there's no role for a deity to play - Nature's own rules are in command. Physics, not gods, gave us stars, galaxies, the heavy elements needed to form life and a place where conditions were conducive to that result. As a conclusion to this segment, he even asks why there should be a universe at all - the ancient philosophical question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" His answer clarifies the question from a physicist's empirical stance.

As he progresses through the book, the author postulates questions about what justifies a god - particularly that of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions. The roles assigned to the deity, one whose adherents declare it to be "omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent [at least to humans]" fail every empirical test. It is certainly not "all-knowing" or it would prevent some events that go against its own dicta. It is clearly not "completely powerful" since too many phenomena cannot be attributed to it. The "benevolent" argument was destroyed by Charles Darwin, and the history of its own actions belie that contention. A god demanding genocide or acts such as the destruction of the World Trade Center, can hardly claim "benevolence". To attribute to such a deity the origin or definition of "morals" is false, and Stenger rebukes Gould and others for making such an attribution. Morality, as Stenger shows, is widespread across the animal kingdom, a product of natural selection, not divine ordinance or declaration. This fact, he contends, is important for us all to understand in order not to fall prey to leaders who inflict arbitrary decisions on us claiming divine inspiration.

It is difficult to praise this book highly enough. Although there have been many books recently published to show why belief in the supernatural is misplaced, few have taken a hard scientific path to make their case. Stenger's book, although the latest in a string by this author, is his most outstanding effort. Readable and informative, it should be taken up by any who make arguments for faith in deities and who declare religion should guide our lives. Even the dedicated non-theists will find it useful. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God: the eternal underachiever, 18 Jan. 2008
By 
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This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
One of the many tiresome conversation stoppers people resort to is "But you can't disprove the existence of God!" In this stunning book, Victor Stenger provides convincing arguments that, actually, you can. Stenger writes: "The thesis of this book is that the supernatural hypothesis of [the Judeo-Christian-Islamic] God is testable, verifiable, and falsifiable by the established methods of science." His strategy is to run with this hypothesis and, with an open mind, to look for any objective evidence that may support it, all the while maintaining the rigour of the best scientific inquiry. If such evidence is not found, if the universe reveals only purely material and mindless processes to our observation, then the likelihood is that there is no such God. The "lack-of-evidence argument" works hard and in the end the hypothesis fails: this is a very powerful "scientific argument against the existence of God".

Atheists since Bertrand Russell have replied to this question of "proof" by saying that you cannot disprove the existence of a teapot in orbit, but this doesn't mean you should believe that such an object exists, much less base your life on this belief. The knockdown argument against this response is, apparently, that belief in orbiting teapots would not inspire the great art that belief in, say, the Virgin Birth does. (The Archbishop of Canterbury recently used this very same argument in conversation with Ricky Gervais, not caring that it has no bearing on the truth of the belief: an atheist has no difficulty in accepting that a false belief can inspire all manner of human activities, from painting the Sistine Chapel to torturing unbelievers.) Of course, if all the teapot did was stew in space, a silent emblem of Englishness, its existence would indeed be hard to disprove. But if shamans engaged in tea dances and then claimed their cups were filled to overflowing with the finest brew poured from the celestial pot, then we ought to be able to check this out.

Stenger asserts that "science is not forbidden from considering supernatural causes" and reminds us that "religions make factual claims that have no special immunity from being examined under the cold light of reason and objective observation." He rejects Stephen Jay Gould's proposition that religion and science are "non-overlapping magisteria" and laments the fact that too many scientists have been content to leave religion well alone (in part, perhaps, because of concerns over funding and the low status of atheists in public life, as well as having better things to do). Theists, on the other hand, have never been shy to plunder science for whatever might be useful: "the notion that the observation of nature alone provides evidence for the existence of God has a long history". However, that history is coming to an end for some theologians, who "have gradually begun to accept the absence of objective evidence for God and have been forced to conclude if a god exists, he must purposely hide himself from us." Like the problem of evil, the hiddenness of God is an intellectual hoop no bigger than the eye of a needle through which only the most emaciated theological mind can jump. As for ordinary believers, few will even try, especially while they are distracted by the shiny bauble of "intelligent design".

Theists are drawn to design arguments like rap stars to bling, and, while some atheists groan at having to cut yet another head off the hydra of creationism, Stenger relishes the task. Each theistic claim - for the design of the eye, a nonphysical soul or the fine-tuning of the universe - is an opportunity to falsify the hypothesis that there is a God. The new pinups for swivel-eyed creationists are Dembski and Behe, who both make "statements that are provably wrong": Dembski's "information" is related to entropy and is therefore "not a conserved quantity like energy", while Behe seems to be unaware of the literature on "irreducibly complex" systems. Catholics can believe in evolution, just so long as it applies only to the body and not the mind. Although he can provide no evidence for a "disembodied soul", Pope Pius XII cannot imagine "the spirit as emerging from the forces of living matter". Too bad for him. As for fine-tuning, the whole argument "ultimately makes no sense... all physical parameters are irrelevant to an omnipotent God." There is also the obvious fact of the "uncongenial universe": vast tracts of space and time unfit for life of any kind. Again, no sign of and no need for a designing, intervening, caring god.

The real surprise to many readers, however, will be Stenger's take on that ancient philosophical question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" The irresistible suggestion for many is that there must have been a "creator" of some kind. That Lear exclaimed "nothing will come of nothing" is not the reason we think he lost the plot. The laws of physics had to come from somewhere, surely? And what does Stenger say? "They came from nothing!" The state of "nothing" is as simple as it gets and is not very stable. "Only by the constant action of an agent outside the universe, such as God, could a state of nothingness be maintained. The fact that we have something is just what we would expect if there is no God." The laws of physics follow from "the very lack of structure at the earliest moment." It would seem that one of the few remaining mysteries in this universe is why anyone still takes the god hypothesis seriously.
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131 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book!, 9 April 2007
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
For a century or so science and piety have agreed to dissent, and tried their best to avoid each other in order not to escalate conflict. This has led to a general belief that science has nothing to say, indeed can not say anything, about religion or, specifically, about (any) god. This book changes that!

Victor Stenger starts by showing how artificial that separation really is. With established scientific methodology there is nothing preventing us from forming a hypothesis about (any) god, seek evidence (logical or factual), and reach a conclusion. Mind you, the conclusion should not be expected to be final in the sense that it unequivocally proves or disproves the existence of a god (whatever flavour). What it can do, however, is strengthen or disprove certain hypothetical god constructs - notably gods someone believes in.

Stenger, writing for a western audience, concentrates his effort on the Great Monotheistic God (Judeo-Christian-Islamic). By defining the characteristics of this god (in science lingo: formulating hypotheses about him/her/it) he gradually, bit by bit, shows "beyond resonable doubt" that there is no trace of such a god anywhere. Furthermore he shows that the universe looks exactly as it is expected to without a god. The reasonable conclusion to live by is that the Great Monotheistic God does not exist. There is little doubt that the outcome would be the same should one investigate other types of gods.

All the time the arguments are clear, and his position that of an honest scientist. Should resonable evidence be found in favour of (any) god, he is willing to assert it and embark on a scientific journey finding out more. Problem is, no such proof is found - none that passes even relaxed scientific standards.

The book is well written, and easy to read. To fully appreciate it, though, you would propably need at least a college degree - to say nothing about an open mind... There are ample notes and literature references - he is, after all, a scientist!

The book is important, and one wishes that it would reach a broad audience.
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars to be read with an open mind, 15 Oct. 2007
By 
Dr. D. Fraser (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
In recent years there has been a series of books of this ilk from various authors. Some from a scientific standpoint, some from a historical or sociological viewpoint.

This book is of the scientific genre. Victor Stenger is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and uses his undoubtable scientific knowledge to convincingly argue against the existence of God. In my personal view, Stenger succeeds in his aim in providibg enough evidence to prove his case.

That said, the validity of the arguements are in the eye of the beholder. It is sad that many of the reviews written on this and similar works often entail, at best closed minds, and at worst vitriolic abuse against the other side. In my view, if one trully believes their faith to be strong then surely they should be willing and able to listen to the views of others without feleing threatened. And this applies to to atheists and theists. Let the atheist reviewers be prepared to critically analyse works of the other persusasion.

In the first chapter the author explains the scientific method. This is important because many lay-people lack real understandign of scientific principles - beleiving it only to deal in irrefutable facts.

In the rest of the book the evidence for and against the existance of God is critically assessed. This entails an examination of numerous topics ranging from the truth or otherwise of biblical prophecies to the claims of intelligent design to "documented" miracles etc.

All of this research could very well have produced compelling evidence for God, but none of it has. Stenger logically concludes that the evidence looks exactly the way we would expect it to look in the absence of God.

The only weaknes of the book I think is that certain topics could have been covered in a bit more detail, such as the most recent arguements on "intelligent design". Overall though most of the important issues are exhaustively covered, and there are plenty of references for those who which to investigate further.

The book is very well written, and easy to read in most part. Although some of it would likely too be hard to follow without a reasonable prior knowledge of science.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars elegant, obvious and correct, 18 Dec. 2009
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
If nothing else, the writing and content of this book clearly demonstrates to what intellectual, moral and ethical heights the human mind can reach when it is unencumbered by the appalling 'drag-factor' of God and religious belief.

Can you imagine a round table with the (so called) prophets of the Bible and the 'historical' Jesus (not the fabricated one of scripture), discussing profound issues with the likes of this author?

Stenger is a smart man, very smart, and we all know how religion views - and deals with - smart people, don't we?

The author's approach to the subject is simple; if the God of the Jews, Christians and/or Muslims is real, then the scientific method should be able to demonstrate and verify 'his' existence. If the 'personal' God of the Bible and Qu' ran really does exist and interact with all of his creation, then there must be evidence for it.

This fine book shines a light into the many hiding places that 'God' has occupied for millennia and demonstrates that he's not there. All religions are 'faith based' and have no evidential support. None.

Do buy this book and read it. Celebrate your humanity. You don't need to be an intellectual colossus to understand and accept Stenger's simple premise that God does not exist - it should be patently clear that the God of the Muslims, Jews and Christians cannot exist.

Wonderful book.

Barry
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67 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant refutation of the whole God nonsense, 3 July 2007
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
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.
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73 of 159 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Same old arguments, 25 Jun. 2007
By 
growe (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (Hardcover)
I was hoping for some new insights into the god/no god argument, but I was sadly disappointed by this book. It reiterates the same old arguments that atheistic scientists repeatedly wheel out to demolish the notion of a god. There are the usual chapters on evolution versus creationism, debunking of so-called paranormal phenomena (although such phenomena are also disapproved of by the Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions that Stenger says he is discussing, so it's not clear what this chapter has to do with a critique of God), extraterrestrial life, concepts of good and evil and so forth.

The scientific arguments against religion are valid enough as far as they go, but Stenger (and virtually every other scientist who writes books like this) make two key errors.

The first is that, having found a scientific explanation for some aspect of the universe that was previously attributed to divine intervention, he jumps from the specific to the general and either explicitly or implicitly claims that these specific examples provide a general demonstration that god does not exist. For example, when discussing evolution, he goes through some of the usual examples that demonstrate that complex systems can evolve from simple beginnings. But although he then admits that the theory of evolution does not yet provide an explanation for the origin of life, he says "plausible natural mechanisms...are sufficient to keep God out of the picture". "Plausible" isn't a scientific demonstration. The lack of data means that we don't know and we shouldn't make assumptions until we learn more.

The second key error is that he instils scientists with a purity of moral character that they simply don't possess. Several times in the book he defends the scientific refusal to consider alternative explanations of phenomena such as ESP by saying that surely, if credible data for such phenomena existed, scientists would flock to study it and funding agencies would provide generous grants to further knowledge. I'm stunned by this naive view of the scientific community. Scientists (and especially funding agencies) are highly opinionated and defensive of their established ways (just like the rest of us) and mount fierce resistance against any new ideas that threaten established theories, even if there is sufficient data to warrant investigation. In other words, scientists are human just like everyone else. In an ideal world, science would be done using nothing more than pure logic and objectivity, but in reality things don't work that way.

I would dearly love to see a level-headed, well-reasoned argument that provides solid scientific evidence either for or against god, but that is not to be found in this book. I remain a devout agnostic.
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God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
God the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor J. Stenger (Hardcover - 2 Jan. 2007)
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