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The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us Hardcover – April 26, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1616144432 ISBN-10: 1616144432

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The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us + God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion + God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
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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: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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

So overall, very puzzling.
G. Gonzalez
Stenger sees no coincidence that the fundamental parameters of physics are life-friendly.
John
This book refutes all of the ID (intelligent design) arguments presented by physicists.
M. McCreary

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 154 people found the following review helpful 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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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jim Davis on June 5, 2011
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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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Zannelli on May 23, 2011
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Todd Branch on September 26, 2011
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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