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45 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
This book makes a compelling case for the idea that the universe didn't come about through the handywork of some magical space pixie. The naysayers will throw about their arguments from incredulity while kicking & screaming but, in the end, even they (if anything like a rational mind still inhabits their bodies) will be forced to admit that this concept deserves...
Published on October 19, 1998

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12 of 114 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage
Total garbage, not even worthy of being a door stop. Completely meaningless and a waste of money. As a evolutionist, I am so completely disappointed in this book I almost feel embarrassed. I'd suggest some class, like an old copy of the Blind Watermaker than something so foolish as this.
Garbage
Published on October 5, 1998


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45 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, October 19, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Not by Design (Hardcover)
This book makes a compelling case for the idea that the universe didn't come about through the handywork of some magical space pixie. The naysayers will throw about their arguments from incredulity while kicking & screaming but, in the end, even they (if anything like a rational mind still inhabits their bodies) will be forced to admit that this concept deserves serious consideration. Once, it was considered common sense that the sun moved around the Earth. "Look up at the sky and see it for yourself!", they would exclaim. But the thinking mind will take the known facts and discard the hypothesises that don't have compelling evidence to support them in favor of the ones that do. Thus far, only a superstitious mind would put the intelligent design idea into the latter category.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and Lucid, April 2, 2010
This review is from: Not by Design (Hardcover)
I have been a fan of Stenger for a while now and this book is great. It is lucid, entertaining, and strikes at the core of fine-tuning. It almost reminds me of an odd combination of Dawkin's enthusiasm with Sagan's massive insight into the workings of space.

Highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of Sagan, Asimov, Krauss, Tyson, or any of the new atheists.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, May 7, 2007
By 
Carl (BLOOMINGTON, MN, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not by Design (Hardcover)
Explains clearly and sensibly the way the universe was not by design and without guidance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars DID THE UNIVERSE "APPEAR SPONTANEOUSLY OUT OF NOTHINGNESS"?, May 22, 2014
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This review is from: Not by Design (Hardcover)
Victor John Stenger (born 1935) is an American particle physicist, philosopher, author, and religious skeptic; he is also a regular featured science columnist for the Huffington Post. He has written many other books, such as Has Science Found God? The Latest Results in the Search for Purpose in the Universe, God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist, God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1988 book, "In our own culture, dominated as it is by Judeo-Christian thought, most people normally take as evident that the universe began as the result of some creative act... The very order of the universe was seen to imply a grand design. the natural laws responsible for that design must have been laid down by some lawgiver. That lawgiver was God. MOdern science has even been called on to testify to the validity of the notion of creation... In a papal encyclical in 1951, Pope Pius XII took [the Big Bang] as evidence for a Creator... In this book, this certainty is challenged. Nothing in our current scientific understanding of the universe, including the Big Bang, demands that it begin with a purposeful creation. The fact that the universe had a beginning, and is not static but has evolved to its present state, does not necessarily imply a grand design. On the contrary developments in physics and cosmology ... are leading us to a starting conclusion: The universe, including its current orderly state, can have appeared spontaneously out of nothingness." (Pg. 8)

He adds, "My claim is not that the absence of a creative force has been, in any sense, 'proven' but rather that what we now know about nature does not, as many people believe, require either a creation or a Creator. The simplest hypothesis that so far seems to explain the data is that the universe is an accident." (Pg. 11-12)

He states, "I argued that order can occur by chance; that no agent is necessary to produce order, although such agents do exist. When we look at the universe as a whole, however, it appears that NO AGENT WAS POSSIBLE since the universe began in total chaos. The presence of the words on this page, however, shows that order now exists, so let us proceed to see what may have happened when a black hole... exploded to produce the universe." (Pg. 159)

He argues, "Once we assume there is a grand design, the disorganized reality we see around us becomes almost impossible to explain, unless it too is part of the plan... The misery, disorder, and injustice of the world are dismissed as mysteries our minds are incapabel of comprehending. However, if we do not assume the existence of a Creator right from the start---as unquestioned, self-evident truth---then the disorder in the world can much more reasonably be seen as evidence for lack of plan rather than for one purposefully hidden from our view." (Pg. 179-180)

He summarizes, "In this book I have tried to describe what is beginning to develop as science's view of an accidental, unplanned origin of the universe. In doing away with the notion of a Creator, we fly in the face of some of the most sacred beliefs fo the world's great religions... believers might argue that they have the proof of venerability on their side. After all, how could so many great thinkers over so many centuries be wrong? But recall that these same thinkers also believed that the sun revolved around the earth, and theie belief did not make it so." (Pg. 180)

He concludes, "The universe COULD have happened by accident, and arbitrary natural laws COULD result from the accidental way the original lawless symmetries were broken as our particular universe expanded and cooled during the first fraction of a second of its existence." (Pg. 181)

This was Stenger's first book, and has since been surpassed in detail by his later books. But it shows the original path that his thought took, and one can follow the further development in his more recent books.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear presentation of a hypothetical origin of the universe, May 17, 2011
By 
Robert F. Struck (Birmingham, AL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not by Design (Hardcover)
I thought the book was well-written and clearly presents Dr. Stenger's hypothesis for the origin of our universe. Although I am a Ph.D. scientist (organic chemistry), I am not that well versed in the inticate details of physics and may not fully appreciate his proposal because of my lack of expertise in his area of competence. However, it seems to me that he has a gap in his rationale. For example, in chapter 9, page 158, he states that "this single-particle universe would have been a black hole with a radius of 10 to the -33rd power centimeter, and the Big Bang may be viewed as the Hawking disintegration of this black hole." However, if the particle is at maximum entropy, what force or energy would cause disintegration? Similarly, he states that "the universe at the Planck Time nevertheless must have been in complete choas!", again raising the concern about how complete choas could have proceeded spontaneously to the Big Bang or anything. Also, on page 173, in a summary statement of his hypothesis, he writes that "It (a void) was as much nothing as nothing can be" and then, mysteriosly to me, "A fluctuation in that void then occurred, generating our universe...". One wonders how a "fluctuation" can occur in a void. It appears to me that he has magicallly invoked an independent energy source as his mechanism of action, returning to a cause and effect process that is proposed in typical space-time theorems.
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12 of 114 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbage, October 5, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Not by Design (Hardcover)
Total garbage, not even worthy of being a door stop. Completely meaningless and a waste of money. As a evolutionist, I am so completely disappointed in this book I almost feel embarrassed. I'd suggest some class, like an old copy of the Blind Watermaker than something so foolish as this.
Garbage
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12 of 125 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars sheer nonsense and fiction, December 1, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Not by Design (Hardcover)
This book has no value even as a doorstop. It is nothing but bunk. The author is so far removed from common sense and scientific rationale that I am amazed he is able to get a book published at all. Any decent publisher should be ashamed to distribute such a display of pseudo-science.
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Not by Design
Not by Design by Victor J. Stenger (Hardcover - May 1, 1988)
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