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God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Paperback – April 30, 2008
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"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.
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Here are a few of the observations from science covered in this book:
1. No god exists that imparts obvious design.
2. No god exists that imparts an immortal, immaterial soul.
3. No god exists that makes an obvious cosmological imprint of a purposeful universe.
4. Simplicity begets complexity on a startlingly regular basis, without intervention.
5. It is not apparent that "fine-tuning" has been done on the laws of physics, and in fact, some models suggest a universe much more productive than ours with different values, even to the extent of lacking the weak nuclear force.
6. No god exists that has provided clear evidence of accurate revelation in scripture, nor provided genuine prophecies that have been clearly fulfilled, rather than retrofitted, nor clearly answers prayer.
7. No god exists that gives a distinct morality to his own believers to the exclusion of outsiders. Believers of any religion or no religion all have the same general morality in common. Also, believers do not demonstrate better morality than nonbelievers (the opposite is frequently demonstrable). Believers tend to take only those moral judgments from their scriptures which they already believe or agree with.
8. No god exists that is omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent, while at the same time unnecessary suffering and evil continue in the world. This is also known as "the argument from evil."
9. No god exists that makes his presence known to many people that would be open to that knowledge. This is also known as "divine hiddenness."
10. No god exists that makes the universe uniquely habitable for humans, since the speck we are on is the only known place like that, in a virtually limitless expanse.
This is a good book for coverage of a broad range of topics on where science touches religion. Stenger, to his credit, acknowledges that the book does not preclude some other type of god than the one normally thought of by the major monotheisms, but then we are in the realm of idle speculation of what may be out there that we cannot see, touch, hear, smell, or taste, and certainly in the realm of possible gods that cannot be evaluated based on their scriptural claims, which means the realm of nowhere.
Also note several places he references his other books. Usually you can get the gist of his point even if you haven't read those. I also don't blame him as it would have bogged down this book and lengthened it unreasonably to go back to ground zero in those few cases. Some seemed bothered by this though I felt he used good judgment in how he did that.
Overall he does well in his writing approach utilizing wit, humor, analogies and scientific nowhow to make his points. The book flows well. A physicist by trade he does take a more scientific approach than his fellow atheist colleagues (as he should!) but he's definitely toned down to appeal to a mainstream audience.
I would recommend also the following books: "The God Delusion" (Dawkins), "The End of Faith" (Harris) & "Godless" (Barker). Their more mainstream and are easier to read and digest.
Personally Stenger's work has been crucial to forming by own beliefs. His books require more time, energy and effort to digest but their often more complete and in depth than his colleagues. For me forming my beliefs (and thus how I will live my life given those beliefs) was imporant so the time was well worth it. If your like me and want the entire picture then I would recommend reading two of his other books "The Fallacy of Fine Tuning" & "God & The Folly of Faith".
While I recommend the book it's not for everybody. Many people who've read other atheist books will see alot of overlap and this book might not be necessary for them making up their beleifs. Also, as is the case with most if not all of his books, it's alot to digest and the technical stuff may feel annoying. And he could make it a little less serious/bleak.
But again overall good book. 4/5 stars.
He takes to task essentially all of theological philosophy, though in his reasoning, he also takes the occasional "leap of faith."
The topic was better done by others, including Dawson, and especially Hitchens.
It won't convert the bible thumpers, and won't inspire atheists.