- 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: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us
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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.
Top customer reviews
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My objective in reading this book was to find out what the fine-tuning discussion is about. Explaining the supposedly finely tuned parameters required a lot of explanation of modern physics along the way; I thought Stenger did that rather well. I also found his arguments to be pretty clear and easy to follow. I did not agree with all of them.
His use of equations helped with the explanations but I think one could follow his reasoning even glossing over the equations. Frankly, I did some of that myself.
However, Stenger uses Planck units to express the equations of physics without five of the fundamental constants (the speed of light in vacuum and four others). He concludes from this that those constants cannot be finely tuned because they don’t even appear. This conclusion is just plain wrong. Speeds, for example, when expressed in Planck units, are given as dimensionless fractions of the speed of light in a vacuum. But it is the relative values of speeds that matter, not the units in which they are measured. If the speed of sound in air (1100 ft/sec or 0.00000112 in dimensionless Planck units) were close to the speed of light, the universe would be very different! The same observation holds for phenomena whose measurements expressed in terms of the gravitational constant, the reduced Planck constant, the Coulomb constant, or the Boltzmann constant. That is, those constants are not removed by using Planck units, they are merely implicit instead of explicit. That said, this is only one of his major arguments.
The book is articulated well with it's share of humor and analogies (so laymen can understand). However there is some unavoidable technical scientific stuff so it's not the easist read. The book is likely his most technical book in recent years. You will likely, unless your come from a scientific background, skip over some things or accept them without complete understanding. But Stenger does well enough in his articulation that you likely should be able to make it through.
Unlike his other books however this is much more specific on it's topic and contain less overlapping with his other books (which he is known for doing). The book also is a bit to digest (as our most if not all of his books). He goes all out and leaves few if any stones unturned. Also the technical bent can be annoying to those who prefer more mainstream, popular books.
I would recommend that you check out some of his other books especially "God The Failed Hypothesis" as together they make for a much more complete argument on the existence of a higher power. Also I would recommend some other atheist books such as "The God Delusion" (Dawkins), "Th End of Faith" (Harris) & "Godless" (Barker). Their more mainstream, easier to read and better for the average reader.
At the end of the day I found Stenger's books the most helpful in helping me form my own beliefs about the existence of a higher power. His books take more time and dedication than his colleagues but he's much more in depth and complete in his arguments in analysis. For me figuring out what I wanted to believe (and thus how I was going to live my life given what I believe) was important. So the time and energy I took in reading and digesting Stengers material was worth it and you may want to do the same.
That being said the book is not for everybody. If you don't care too much to learn, or are already sastified with your current knowledge, about the fine tuning argument, and see why the argument comes up short, then the book is not for you. But again if you do care and what the complete picture before you make your decision on what you believe then definitely hear Stenger out in this book and his others.