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God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Hardcover – January 2, 2007

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God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist + God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591024811
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591024811
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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 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.

More About the Author

Victor J. Stenger grew up in a Catholic working-class neighborhood in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was a Lithuanian immigrant, his mother the daughter of Hungarian immigrants. He attended public schools and received a bachelor's of science degree in electrical engineering from Newark College of Engineering (now New Jersey Institute of Technology) in 1956. While at NCE, he was editor of the student newspaper and received several journalism awards.

Moving to Los Angeles on a Hughes Aircraft Company fellowship, Dr. Stenger received a master's of science degree in physics from UCLA in 1959 and a PhD in physics in 1963. He then took a position on the faculty of the University of Hawaii, retiring to Colorado in 2000. He currently is emeritus professor of physics at the University of Hawaii and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado. Dr. Stenger is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a research fellow of the Center for Inquiry. Dr. Stenger has also held visiting positions on the faculties of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Oxford in England (twice), and has been a visiting researcher at Rutherford Laboratory in England, the National Nuclear Physics Laboratory in Frascati, Italy, and the University of Florence in Italy.

His research career spanned the period of great progress in elementary particle physics that ultimately led to the current standard model. He participated in experiments that helped establish the properties of strange particles, quarks, gluons, and neutrinos. He also helped pioneer the emerging fields of very high-energy gamma-ray and neutrino astronomy. In his last project before retiring, Dr. Stenger collaborated on the underground experiment in Japan that in 1998 showed for the first time that the neutrino has mass. The Japanese leader of this experiment shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for this work.

Victor Stenger has had a parallel career as an author of critically well-received popular-level books that interface between physics and cosmology and philosophy, religion, and pseudoscience. These include: Not by Design: The Origin of the Universe (1988); Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World beyond the Senses (1990); The Unconscious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology (1995); Timeless Reality: Symmetry, Simplicity, and Multiple Universes (2000); Has Science Found God? The Latest Results in the Search for Purpose in the Universe (2003); The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From? (2006); God: The Failed Hypothesis--How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (2007); Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness (2009); The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason (2009); The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed for Us (2011); God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion (2012). God: The Failed Hypothesis made the New York Times Best Seller List in March 2007.

Vic and his wife, Phylliss, have been happily married since 1962 and have two children and four grandchildren. They now live in Lafayette, Colorado. They travel the world as often as they can.

Dr. Stenger maintains a website where much of his writing can be found, at http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger.

Customer Reviews

Dr. Stenger argues that God (and all arguments that point to any deity) is a very poor hypothesis and succeeds quite well.
He establishes from the largest features of the universe, - cosmology - to the very smallest, - particle physics - that the existence of god is untenable.
Wolf Roder
He gives some trite answers but they only codify that he does not really want to be fair and just in his assessment of God.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

313 of 342 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on March 13, 2007
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-Islamic version) 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.
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112 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Michael Heath VINE VOICE on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are several reasons I highly recommend purchasing this book even though I believe it contains some major flaws that yields a less than convincing argument by Dr. Stenger:

Stenger makes an excellent argument the scientific method is able to run the various hypotheses for the existence of God with certain characteristics through the gauntlet. While an informed person could certainly argue we didn't have the knowledge and tools to perform such a task 100 years ago, Stenger eloquently points out that our accumulated knowledge in this century provides the empirical evidence necessary to make rational conclusions of History's arguments on the question of God's existence.

Stenger does an excellent job early in the book of describing the scientific method itself. To those of us who follow the interface between science and culture in modern America, I welcome his pre-empting any criticism of his conclusions that are based on an ignorant understanding of what a theory actually is and how one is developed and differs from credible and absurd hypotheses. He also does an excellent job of defining who has the obligation to make their case, though he's not dependent on expecting fundamentalists and other theists to make their case; the book is filled with arguments backed with empirical evidence on why a certain type of god cannot exist.

Stenger presents the best arguments for the existence of God and rebuts each claiming to use the approach scientists' use when critiquing scientific claims. I do believe Dr. Stenger stretches his case on some of his rebuttals. Having a comprehensive list alone with a usually adequate response makes the book not only worthy to buy and read, but also to keep for future reference.
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180 of 205 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Adam L. on February 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having just finished the book moments ago, I was left with the distinct impression that I liked it better than almost any other non-fiction book that I have read lately.

One thing that I liked immensely about "God: The Failed Hypothesis" was its focus on science and showing that it is by far the best way to know the universe, not necessarily the only way, but indeed the best and most accurate method available to human beings to learning about life and all of its mysteries.

Preceding my reading of "G:TFH," I had just finished "Atheist Universe" by David Mills and while I agreed with almost everything he had to say, that book left me with an ambiguous feeling towards its merit. Not so the case with Stenger's book; it could almost be called uplifting.

As a former evangelical, who has studied almost every religion at least in a cursory manner, I am convinced that a personal, religiously affiliated, or intervening god does not exist and is a mere psychological projection. However, I had still remained somewhat agnostic toward the concept of a deistic god. Stenger shows that modern physics can indeed answer such seemingly hard questions as "Why is there something rather than nothing?" rather convincingly. This book weakened my position of agnostic deism from "maybe" to "probably not" because complete naturalism seems to be the best and most likely explanation.
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124 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Jerry P. Lightner on March 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Victor J. Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis deserves to be read by believers and non-believers alike. Fifty years ago, upon completion of my formal study in the sciences, I concluded that God could not exist. With each passing decade, as the scientific method enabled man to advance his knowledge and understanding of the world and universe, this conviction grew stronger. Unfortunately I was never able to adequately explain to others why I felt as I did.

And then I picked up God: The Failed Hypothesis. I could not put it down; indeed I read it cover to cover within hours of purchase. Here was everything I wanted to say to individuals who were ignorant of rigorous science methodology, or scorned it, and relied solely upon faith and revelation.

I have never taken to task people with faith; that is their prerogative. But I always felt inadequate when articulating my own opposite point of view. And how I find meaning and beauty in the arts and nature from within myself, independent of some mystical or religious basis. Furthermore, I see no need for immortality; once around will suffice. So read Stenger's book; I promise you're in for an emotional experience!
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