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God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  7,697 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Throughout history, arguments for and against the existence of God have been largely confined to philosophy and theology. In the meantime, science has sat on the sidelines and quietly watched this game of words march up and down the field. Despite the fact that science has revolutionized every aspect of human life and greatly clarified our understanding of the world, ...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by Prometheus Books (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  7,697 ratings  ·  166 reviews


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Manny
I have become very interested in the faith/science debate, and over the last couple of years have read a fair number of books about it. This one felt a little like the atheist version of Collins's The Language of God. The title suggests that you're going to get a rant, but Stenger is no ignorant ranter. He comes across as a charming retired scientist who loves his grandchildren, reads widely, and is justifiably a little proud of his distinguished career in physics. He has written this book to ...more
BlackOxford
How You Get There Is What Counts

I am in sympathy with Stenger’s project, the demonstration that the religious dogmatic idea of God is bad for human beings and other living things. But I can’t accept his logic which is tendentious and self-contradictory.

Stenger recognises, quite correctly, that neither theism nor science has a universally accepted meaning. So he defines the former in terms of the religions of the Book: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The obvious difficulty then is that even
...more
François B
Jul 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
In one word: Weak.

It's quite obvious that Stenger isn't an author per se, which I suppose could excuse his horrible prose. He doesn't have much of an excuse however for taking the time to write this book and yet not taking the time to honestly study at least the basics of classical theology as to familiarize himself enough with the subject matter to be able to avoid conjuring up an army of strawmen to defeat.

I don't know why I put myself through this to be quite honest. I take the time to read
...more
Jim
Jun 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
If anything, the title is disingenuous.

Stenger is not trying to disprove the concept of a supreme being - just the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. And he starts with the premise that we can use science to discern supernatural phenomena. But by definition wouldn't supernatural things not follow natural laws and so not be testable by the scientific method? He lays out 5 conditions to evaluate "extraordinary" (supernatural) claims. I'm not sure if he made these up or what. For someone so dedicated to
...more
Terence M
Read about ten years ago.
I remember struggling with quite a bit of it, probably due to my lack of knowledge of physics.
When I am suitably enthused, I will re-read, ie, 'listen' to this on audiobook.

In the meantime, I am about to listen to Stenger's more recent audiobook:
"God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion".

I think I am a bit of a glutton for "physics" punishment!
Jonathan
Apr 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
If you have more than a basic understanding of science you will not learn anything new from this book. If you have already read a couple of books on atheism and science then you will probably find no arguments that you haven't already been exposed to. However, some of these arguments are presented so clumsily that I became skeptical of a conclusion that I already agreed with prior to reading the book. I can only recommend this book to people who have never read anything on the subject before. ...more
G. Branden
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much better than I expected.

I was prepared for a humanist rant. No doubt that's exactly how many people will receive this title--particularly those who don't bother to read it. (The same goes for this review, since the four stars are plainly visible above.)

Rather than fulminating, retired physicist Stenger proposes to undertake a scientific exploration of the God concept, and consider the evidence for or against this proposition.

George H. Smith, who wrote Atheism: The Case Against God decades
...more
Nour Sharif
Ok, let me put this as simply as possible. I have been an Atheist for the last four years, ever since I was an adorable 14 year-old with long beautiful hair, and as I was reading this book, taking the Atheist stance - which is now second nature to me - I was not convinced by what he was saying.
Seriously. Then how about a theist?
The arguments were very brief, not elaborated, not justified and not even given enough examples. Most of the examples are even a mention of someone else's book or essay,
...more
Simo Ibourki
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: atheism
That's the first time that I read a book written by an atheist and it was really enjoyable, this book makes your mind wonder and think.

I loved the chapter about the problem of evil and the qualities of God in which he discussed the contradictions of the qualities of omnipotence and benevolence attributed to God (at least the abrahamic one) with the existence of suffering and evil (espeacially the unnecessary one).
I also liked the chapter about our place in the universe which adresses the
...more
Jed
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who fears secular humanism
The debate would appear to be settled. There is no God. Now, perhaps we can all get on with the business of building as just a society we can in a world with immeasurable natural beauty without looking for fear or inspiration from a non-existent deity.

Stenger calls on a huge volume of sources to make his case. He tries very hard to find something, anything in the Universe that would require the supernatural to describe. He finds nothing. No serious study has ever been able to find anything. At
...more
David
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, science
This book is an excellent addition to the literature by the "New Atheists". Stenger is a physicist, and he brings a lot of credibility to his arguments. Rather than simply summarizing the debate as stated by others, Stenger brings some new ideas and developments to the debate.

The anthropic principle states that the fundamental physical parameters that govern the laws of physics seem to be fine-tuned, to be "just right" for the development of life. Previous authors have stated that if the
...more
Tim
May 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Proof that atheism is hot -- at least from the perspective of bookstores -- hit me in the local national chain bookstore. Just a few feet from the front door sits a center cap of new releases on sale. Amongst the dozen or so selections -- Victor Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis . Considering the religious and political views of the state in which I reside, that is a bold move. A significant portion of the population might well consider the placement of Stenger's book as flaunting the ...more
Vannessa Anderson
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
God: The Failed Hypothesis is the most provocative book I’ve read proving the non-existence of God!

Author Stenger brilliantly base his conclusions using math and scientific models.

What I liked about God: The Failed Hypothesis is how the author first teaches us how science works so that we aren’t confused about what we’ve read. The author, unlike most authors who expect readers to have some knowledge of the subject they’re writing about before picking up their books, Stenger doesn’t make this
...more
Book
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: atheism-religion
God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor Stenger

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,
...more
Mark
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: atheism
Dr. Stenger does an excellent job of pointing out that propositions such as “God exists” can actually be studied rationally, and answered intelligibly. With such questions as “Does God exist?” typically come problems concerning wishful thinking, false causes and dilemmas, question-begging and the like. Dr. Stenger points out an obvious but often forgotten fact: all of our scientific knowledge is based not on deductive logic but on inductive logic; that is to say that the concept of truth that we ...more
Aaron
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The best of the "neo-atheist" books, in my opinion. Basically the book attacks the notion that science and religion are "non-overlapping magisteria" to quote Steven Jay Gould. He points out that Judeo-Christian religions make claims that are scientifically testable, such as that prayer has an influence on the world. Stenger isn't overzealous: he understands that he is merely showing that there is an utter lack of evidence for the "Personal God" of the western tradition that interferes with ...more
Dennis Littrell
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In many ways the best of the "atheistic" books recently published

"The thesis of this book is that the supernatural hypothesis of God is testable, verifiable, and falsifiable by the established methods of science." --from page 29

"...I will...argue that...science has advanced sufficiently to be able to make a definitive statement on the existence or nonexistence of a God having the attributes that are traditionally associated with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God." --from page 11

These statements
...more
Marshall
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, science
This book started off fairly interesting. It disputes the common notion that science and religion inhabit separate spheres, since science is the realm of the natural and religion the realm of the supernatural. Science answers how, and religion answers who and why. Science is about mechanisms and religion is about morality.

He makes an interesting point about this: if religion were strictly about the supernatural, then it is of no interest to science, but insofar as it purports to have effects in
...more
Daniel
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ya' know, I'm starting to think maybe this whole God thing isn't all true.

Well, I've always felt that way with almost 100% confidence, but after reading God: The Failed Hypothesis, I am truly sure that this can be proven. This book is extremely comprehensive. As far as I know, it covers every single argument for the existence of God, and completely demolishes all of them. Not only this, but as the title suggests, it actually proves that god does not, and (perhaps more importantly) cannot exist.
...more
Prooost Davis
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My view for a long time now is that, in our modern world with so much updated information, the fact that so many people believe that a single book thousands of years old is the Word of God is simply astonishing. No less surprising to me is the amount of time and effort by intelligent people to try to fit the "God of the gaps" into ever smaller gaps. And the knots that people have tied in logic for thousands of years in an attempt to explain the "problem of evil" strikes me as the ultimate in ...more
Scott Lerch
Mar 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: scientists who have a strong belief in God
For the most part this book was very objective and clear. It lacked the arrogance of a Richard Dawkins book which I think only helps Stenger's case. However, I feel this book would be lost anyone who isn't already a scientist because the book is more a bulleted list of theories he says disproves God existence due to lack of evidence otherwise, only referring to other works on physics, cosmology, and evolution. It would take a dedicated layperson to research his hundreds of annotations.

With that
...more
Mike
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ok....imagine a universe without god. Now picture this one. But I repeat myself.

Paraphrasing very loosely, that's the thesis here.

I read this book from the library, thereby depriving myself of the loveliest part, which is a beautifullly haunting photo of the earth from space.

The book is OK. Turns out that I value reading good writing more than I would have guessed, as I give this book two stars more for its pedestrian writing style than for its content. It has all the charm of a sink. This
...more
Nancy
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
The punch line is RIGHT IN THE TITLE! I hope that doesn't spoil things for you.

The beauty of this book is that it's for everyone. If you want to believe in god, you just counter every argument with: "Yeah, but god can do whatever he wants." Or "Science schmience." However, if you're at all skeptical of this whole god thing, it kind of spells out how ludicrous the notion is that there is a kindly human-shaped creator to this massive universe, who stuck us on a tiny speck on the edge, who we
...more
Liz
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book is written by a retired physicist who uses the scientific method to try to explain how our existence, or the universe's existence for that matter, cannot be attributed to a God. The book is filled with reputable studies within reach of the average person like showing that religion is not the source of morality (shown by the fact that jails are filled with religious folk and atheists account for like 0.2% of jailed individuals), and by showing studies that prove that prayers have ...more
chad
Mar 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Believe it or not, the author actually does make a scientific case against the existence of God - which something most people believe to be impossible. Whether or not he is successful is up to you. At first I thought it was just another psuedoscience punditry book disguised as scientific ("The Case for a Creator", etc.), but I was intrigued enough by the boldness of the title that I decided to give it a try. If you're into non-fiction science type books, add this to your list because it goes at ...more
Ninda Nabila
Aug 19, 2007 rated it liked it
well, i still read this.
i know this book from one of my pen pal in chicago, and she told me I'm gonna love this book. First of all, the title's kinda scared me. Hehe.
They claim that matters of faith, belief and miracles are not amenable to logic or the scientific method because they are outside science itself.
Well, i just do a reading, doesn't mean i meant it.

Still, I do believe that God's there, watching me and all of us bitching around..
Jeanette
Jan 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: open-minded people willing to look at alternatives to their cherished beliefs
The most difficult parts of this book to read were actually the most helpful for me. I had to re-read the parts that were heavy on physics, but I finally have a reasonably plausible explanation for how this universe and our planet and everything on it could have developed without the existence of a "supreme being" out there orchestrating everything.
AJ Finkle
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In an even more effective manner than Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Russell, Harris, etc., this book provides the most damning arguments against the existence of the traditional monotheist Judeo-Christian-Muslim notion of God. It is one giant, scientific mic drop.
Vince Darcangelo
Jan 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
http://archive.boulderweekly.com/0315...

This review originally appeared in the BOULDER WEEKLY

God is (or rather isn't) in the details
CU professor Victor J. Stenger searches for evidence of a higher power in his new bestseller. Is it time to issue a theological Amber Alert?
by Vince Darcangelo

For more than four decades physicist Victor J. Stenger has explored that which is undetectable by the human eye. Prior to retiring in 2000, he was a leading researcher in the area of particle physics, a
...more
Scott Holstad
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, science
Wow! In reading through the various reviews of this book, which has a near-4 rating, it's incredibly funny and predictable how the fundies and other bible thumpers try to attack Stenger -- who allegedly not only doesn't use science in this book, but apparently doesn't even know it; I assume all of the fundies making this criticism have their freaking PhDs themselves in scientific fields since they obviously are claiming authority on what is and isn't science??? Anyway, these people nit pick and ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #79 God, the Failed Hypothesis by Victor Stenger 1 5 Jun 12, 2015 10:12PM  

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Victor John Stenger was an American particle physicist, outspoken atheist and author, active in philosophy and popular religious skepticism.

He published 13 books for general audiences on physics, quantum mechanics, cosmology, philosophy, religion, atheism, and pseudoscience. He popularized the phrase "Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings".
“The origin and the operation of the universe do not require any violations of the laws of physics.” 3 likes
“The most fundamental laws of physics are not restrictions on the behaviour of matter. Rather, they are restrictions on the way physicists may describe that behaviour.” 2 likes
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