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God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Paperback – April 30, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (April 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591026520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591026525
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,601 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Stenger's books are hard-hitting and very thorough.
Tim K
This straight-forward book offers a investigation into the basic claims offered as proof of the existence of God, and Stenger handily refutes each and every point.
David Nichols
Some are comfortable with the notion "we may never know," but far more are not.
Dr H

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dr H on July 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
For many years I was a somewhat indifferent non-believer who found it more entertaining to read about the strange beliefs people held, than books to reinforce my onw non-belief. With the advent of the so-called "new atheists" and their opponents, I find the expectations of debate on these topics somewhat changed, and have thus had to read Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al, if only for the sake of keeping up with popular culture. For the most part I found what I expected: a good deal of 'preaching to the choir' about issues and arguments I had long since made up my own mind on, and marshalled my own arguments for. Occasionally, there has been a tweak of an idea that perhaps it -is- time that atheists became a bit more activist, or a twinge of disagreement with a position expressed by a particular prominent atheist.

Early in this book Dr. Stenger presents a lucid explanation of the scientific method, and for that alone I can recommend the book. Far too few people fail to really grasp just how the epistemology of scientific method works to advance our knowledge.
On the other hand, I find I can't really agree with his basic premise that science has disproven the existence of God, or that it can do so. I don't fully subscribe to Gould's concept of "non-overlapping magesteria" (NOMA e.g., that sceintific inquiry and religious inquire do not in any way overlap). There are religious claims which most certainly do overlap science, and which are studiable by science; but there are other claims which do not, and are not.

If religion claims that the Earth is 6000 years old, that claim can be studied scientifically, and when we do so we find the claim to be in error.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Donald R. Burleson on July 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When French mathematician and astronomer Pierre Laplace was asked why his new book on astronomy made no mention of God, he is said to have replied, "Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là"-- "I have had no need of that hypothesis." Now Victor Stenger has given us an exceedingly eye-opening book-length expansion upon that concept--that the purported existence of God is an hypothesis which does not help in any way to explain the universe we see around us and for which there is no need whatever, when the natural observations of science explain the world quite nicely.
Richard Dawkins has long since argued successfully that since a universe with a creative, intercessional, propitiatory God would be a very different universe from one without such an entity, the notion of God is an hypothesis that requires testing and verification by the methods of science and logic just like any other hypothesis that makes claims about the nature of the world. Victor Stenger has taken up that challenge in a book that brings to bear all the penetrating light of the scientific method. Not surprisingly to those of us who have never seen any reason to credit the notion of God, the hypothesis fails. The universe looks precisely as it should under the realization that there is no God: "[T]he reason I deem the God hypothesis to have failed is precisely because no physical phenomena have been reliably shown to exist that require us to go beyond natural explanations."
Time and again throughout the book, Stenger presents tightly reasoned yet highly readable arguments to the effect that if the God hypothesis were true, there definitely should be multitudinous kinds of evidence that in fact we find utterly lacking.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Schaeffer on October 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
I dig Dawkins: he can be hilarious. I respect Harris, even if I disagree with some of his conclusions: the hatchet-job he did on Islamophilia was even more cold-blooded than Ibn Warraq's, and a lot shorter. Hitchens? His plummy, orotund prose uncannily resembles his famously plummy voice and slightly rotund physique; you have to be British to write like that. (And if you haven't done so yet, tap the phrase "youtube hitchens falwell" into a search engine. His sincere and moving elegy on the death of the late Reverend may well be remembered, in future years, as Hitchens' most dazzling gift to humanity.) The problem with their books is that they mostly reassure the infidels that they made the right decision, while they can easily, if deviously, be answered by their opponents with the usual ad hominem counter-attack: "The only reason you're writing this is that you're one of these snotty atheists who wants to make a few fast bucks by ridiculing decent, simple people behind their backs (and you just may fry for it)."

Stenger's book doesn't use the full-frontal assault strategy; he's not so much out to attack the concept of God as to DISMISS it, as the title implies. As Popper says in "The Open Society," the way to deal with an opponent is to allow him his good intentions, let him make the best case he can, and then show why his premises are completely wrong, and irrelevant anyway, pull the rug out from under his feet, and leave him gasping on the floor. EVERY religion has SOMETHING to say about the material world, or it would be non-Euclidian geometry, or something, and so leaves itself open to investigation by science. Stenger simply shows that science can be used to explain accurately everything religion used to explain inaccurately, and does so with greater intellectual parsimony.
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