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God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by [Stenger, Victor J., Christopher Hitchens]
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God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Review

"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

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2097 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (5 Aug. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003N6568Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #266,917 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a bad book; it contains some interesting facts and asks some reasonable questions. However, it is overall just not as interesting and gave me fewer new ideas than some other sceptical literature.

Those wanting to read a reasoned case against the existence of God may often do better to read Richard Dawkins The God Delusion, Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Sam Harris Letter To A Christian Nation or (a different kind of book, addressing only one religion) Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq.

However, if you want a shorter summary of the argument than some of the above, the latter part of Stenger's book is quite a good one.

In a debate in which the sceptical case is often made by biologists (e.g. Darwin & Dawkins) the earlier part of Stenger's book is a welcome attempt to make such a case from the evidence of physics and astronomy, but one would probably need to study those subjects for a long time to be able to judge whether he is right.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very well written and tightly argued book. The god heads out there will of course raise their arms in horror and there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but by approaching the god question as a scientific question Stenger clearly and concisely shows that their delusions are just that.
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Format: 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.
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