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God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Hardcover – 1734
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This overarching thesis is not only crucial, but detrimental, especially when Stenger gathers all the examples and evidences to support his argument that God-Hypothesis is either rendered falsified or superfluous. Stenger pointed out that because there are other hypothesis that explains many natural phenomena which believers insist requires Supernatural cause, the God-Hypothesis is not without its competitors. While the God-Hypothesis does have a potential to be a grand scientific theory in the midst of this competition, this is not the case given that many other independent hypothesis with a natural explanation has made observable predictions that have been successfully tested and supported. Given that these hypothesis explains the phenomena without resorting to the supernatural cause, what scientific value does the concept of God have?
Theist can reasonably argue that Stenger has not falsified the God-Hypothesis, but such arguments do not bother me at all (nor do I think they would bother Stenger himself). Why is this? Because Stenger convincingly demonstrated that God can be a testable scientific model, thus a falsifiable hypothesis. By arguing this point, the theological ramifications are significant: There is no longer any excuse to vindicate God from scientific inquiry, and an appeal to Faith or Mystery simply will not do anymore. Appealing to faith or ineffability will not render God an unfalsifiable and untestable hypothesis, rather it would not do very much since the very definition of God as an intervening agent could sufficiently entail testability. A theistic believer (with the exception of a deist) cannot appeal to faith without also including the definition of God as an intervening agent, whose actions interfere with human and natural affairs, because the very faith that believers appeal to also depends on that definition.
The scientific ramifications of Stenger's argument is also significant in regards to theism, because this would mean that the scientific model of God would predict the effects of prayers, the occurrences of miracles, the prophecies, the problem of evil, and the fine-tune arguments. Stenger succeeded in articulating this implication to such a degree that nobody can easily argue that God transcends scientific inquiry. What is even more disturbing is that there actually has been scientific studies on prayers and miracles, and so far the majority of the results have been negative. This would be a problem to the majority of the believers who believe in intercessory prayers.
So far, I applaud Stenger for making a successful argument that God can be a testable hypothesis, and showing many scientific evidences that could reasonably be construed as contrary to the predictions that the God-Hypothesis made. People can argue all they want about the existence of God, but if Stenger's argument is both valid and sound, then the God-Debate may eventually end with a solid conclusion pretty soon.
God: The Failed Hypothesis is a provocative book that contends that if God exists science should find objective evidence for it. Physicist Victor Stenger uses his background in science to create a hypothesis based on claims of God's existence. This 310-page book is composed the following ten chapters: 1. Models and Methods, 2. The Illusion of Design, 3. Searching for a World beyond Matter, 4. Cosmic Evidence, 5. The Uncongenial Universe, 6. The Failures of Revelation, 7. Do Our Values Come from God?, 8. The Argument from Evil, 9. Possible and Impossible Gods, and 10. Living in the Godless Universe.
1. Well-written, accessible, fascinating and thought-provoking.
2. A scientific approach to God!
3. Great use of logic and thinking outside the box. Great overall approach.
4. Scientific method explained and applied.
5. Great quotes and lucid explanations.
6. Argument of design properly debunked.
7. A series of well laid out God hypotheses falsified, very interesting.
8. Physicalism explained. Dualism debunked.
9. Does prayer work? Great historical cases presented, fascinating stuff.
10. The best physics explained for the masses. Worth the price of the book, bravo!
11. Cosmological argument debunked.
12. Fine-tuning argument debunked.
13. Failures of scripture revealed.
14. Logical explanation of values.
15. The problem of evil is a theist's worst nightmare.
16. The hiddenness problem is compelling.
17. Each chapter ends with notes that include reference materials.
18. A bibliography worthy of a library.
1. Let's be honest some concepts of physics are complex no matter how well it is explained.
2. The chapter of divine revelation may be the weakest of the book but even then I'm just being nitpicky.
In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's unique, fascinating, thought-provoking and a page turner. Mr. Stenger maintains a respectful air of discourse throughout the book. I highly recommend this book!
Further reading: "Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism" by David Mills, "The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails" by John Loftus, "50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God" by Guy P. Harrison, "Decoding the Language of God: Can a Scientist Really Be a Believer?" by George C. Cunningham, "Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker" by David Eller, and "Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (Ideas Explained)" by David Ramsay Steele.
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.