God: The Failed Hypothesis--How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
Throughout history, arguments for and against the existence of God have been largely confined to philosophy and theology. In the meantime, science has sat on the sidelines and quietly watched this game of words march up and down the field. 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. Physicist Victor J. Stenger 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.
"Darwin chased God out of his old haunts in biology, and he scurried for safety down the rabbit hole of physics. The laws and constants of the universe, we were told, are too good to be true: a set-up, carefully tuned to allow the eventual evolution of life. It needed a good physicist to show us the fallacy, and Victor Stenger lucidly does so. The faithful won't change their minds, of course (that is what faith means) but Victor Stenger drives a pack of energetic ferrets down the last major bolt hole and God is running out of refuges in which to hide. I learned an enormous amount from this splendid book."
- Richard Dawkins, author of the New York Times best-seller 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
"This book stands alone among many other publications in a similar vein, in that it is written from the standpoint of a professional scientist whose arguments, besides their clear logic, are bolstered by facts of science. Stenger convincingly shows in this book that a combination of factual evidence with a simple logic makes the belief in supernatural entities untenable. A valuable addition to every school library."
- Mark Perakh, Professor of Physics Emeritus, California State University, Fullerton, author of Unintelligent Design
"Both casual readers interested in what science has to say about religion and scholars looking to acquaint themselves with the latest science-based arguments against God will find much in this book worth their attention."
- Taner Edis, Associate Professor of Physics, Truman State University, author of The Ghost in the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science and Science and Nonbelief
"A fascinating and thought-provoking book that won't convince a single 'believer' but is fascinating and thought-provoking nonetheless."
- Marcus Chown, author of The Quantum Zoo
Table of 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
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