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The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us

3.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1616144432
ISBN-10: 1616144432
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis:

"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

"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 J. Stenger (1935 - 2014) was an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He was the author of the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis, God and the Atom, God and the Folly of Faith, The Comprehensible Cosmos, and many other books.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616144432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616144432
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brent Meeker on May 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Vic Stenger is an experimental physicist who, since retiring, has turned his attention to metaphysics. He has written eight books, six of which are on the general theme of the misuse of science to support religion, alternative medicine, and other superstitions. The "fine tuning" of the title refers to the idea that values of various physical quantities could not be even slightly different than they are in our universe and still permit life to exist. Some religionists have seized on this idea as evidence that a creator god "fine tuned" those values just for us. And even many agnostic and atheist scientists have been impressed by the fine tuning of some parameters like the cosmological constant.

Stenger examines each of the fine tuned parameters that have been touted as essential to a life-friendly universe. He brings to bear a sweeping knowledge of physics and explains why each claim of fine-tuning is either entirely misconceived or is not nearly so "fine" as claimed. You can learn quite of bit of physics reading this book and even better you can learn to think like a physicist. The presentation can be followed by anyone who took high-school physics, but Stenger also includes some mathematical exposition that requires calculus to fully appreciate. Here the reader needs to watch out for some typos in the equations. If they look wrong or confusing, check online. The physics and mathematics is all standard stuff and easily checked. If you have Stenger's purely physics book, "The Comprehensible Cosmos" take a look in it.

In looking over reviews of Stenger's other books, I see that he is criticized for not proving that God doesn't exist or that some fad or superstition is false. I expect this book will draw the same criticism.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book itself is a five star effort. It is immensely informative and thought provoking. Stenger dissects the fine tuning arguments in direct terms without indulging in a lot of the personalities that these types of books sometimes descend into. I was somewhat disappointed that Stenger didn't comment on the first of these arguments I was exposed to many years ago; that if water didn't have the unusual property of being denser in its liquid versus its solid state life as we know it couldn't exist. No doubt that's an argument that doesn't get aired much these days.

The book does suffer from a lack of accessibility. It assumes an extensive mathematics and physics background on the part of the reader. This is not likely to be the case for the readers that this book could do the most good. Still, beyond writing a "Cosmology for Dummies" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Particle Physics" there's little else Stenger could have done. I can only encourage those interested to bring their comprehension of these subjects to the level required of this book. The effort will not be wasted.

I purchased the Kindle version of this book and while readable has one serious flaw. The equations, as they should be, are rendered as graphical objects so they can be enlarged as required. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases the text surrounding the equations, often to the extent of many pages, is also rendered as graphics as well. This means neither the text nor the equations can be enlarged. As these are often in very small font some readers will have problems with this. Additionally, some of the footnotes occur in these graphics so they are not clickable.

This is a major failing and is no doubt due to the Kindle version being converted by machine without proofing by human.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the Fallacy of fine tuning Dr Vic Stenger takes on the claims by religious apologists that the laws and constants of nature are fine tuned for life, hence evidence that the Universe is intelligently designed. This fine tuning claim is the latest version of the God of the gaps argument from religious apologists. With a deft hand using clear and easily understandable explanations, Dr Stenger takes the reader on a tour using our best current understanding in the physical sciences to demolish the fine tuning argument.This book accomplishes the difficult task of being both comprehensive and accessible to any intelligent reader. Some might question whether a book that pulls no punches in analyzing such a difficult topic could be a page turner, but in fact this book is hard to put down. For those familiar with other books by Dr Stenger this will come as no surprise. This book is a must have for the library of both scientists and any intelligent layperson interested in the nature of the Universe we inhabit.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book refutes all of the ID (intelligent design) arguments presented by physicists. The author shows how the principles and theories of physics have been misapplied to suggest scientific "proof" of a creator. The first parts of the book are heavy with math, but the lay person can read through the arguments. The book ends with a very good summary chapter that will reward the patient reader. Very complex reading. Don't give up.
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Format: Hardcover
It is impossible to do what the author sets out to do in this book without using quite a bit of math. To those who have not taken an algebra class since college or high school some of it will look intimidating. Don't let it destroy the message, which is important.

All the sound bites you hear about how wildly improbable it is our universe just so happened to be able to support life are wrong. They are made typically by people who do not understand the subject matter and find the most compelling set of statistics available to confirm their hypothesis. What is presented in this book is the most likely scenarios and why those scenarios are not as wildly improbable as may think.

If you are going to argue either side of the "fine tuning" argument, this is the book to get in order to understand what the basic foundation of those arguments are.
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