God: The Failed Hypothesis

Austin Cline has posted a book review of Victor Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist.

Following is this blogger's summary of the book.  In this blogger's opinion, this book in one of the most convincing arguments against god and should be read by any open-mined person seeking the truth on the matter.

  • A number of proposed supernatural processes are empirically testable using standard scientific methods.
  • Certain natural, material phenomena are implied by the God hypothesis.
  • Science does normally describe events in terms of matter and material processes but there is nothing preventing the empirical testing of hypotheses that go beyond those of conventional physical science if all material explanations fail.
  • The God of the God hypothesis would have the following attributes: Creator and preserver of the universe; Architect of the structure of the universe and the author of the laws of nature; Able to violate his own laws; Creator and preserver of life and humanity; Source of morality and other human values; Revealed truths in scriptures and by communicating directly to select individuals throughout history; Does not deliberately hide from any human being who is open to finding evidence for his presence.
  • The above attributes are traditionally associated with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God and many other religions.  Stenger does not initially include the attributes of omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence because of their logical inconsistency.
  • Stenger shows clearly that the following does not supported the existence of a god: 
    • Design:  living and non-living structures change from simple to complex in nature (self-organization) and can give the appearance of design.
    • Soul, ESP and other Paranormal activity:  Science shows the brain only is the source of mind and it is unable to effect anything directly outside of itself.
    • Prayer: No evidence of any effect on natural occurrences.
    • Immortality:  Studies looking at Near Death Experience and communication with the dead have failed to support life after death.
    • Miracles:  No studies have supported their existence.
    • Beginning of the universe:  No evidence to support the hypothesis of an intelligent being as the cause of the universe.
    • Why is there something from nothing?  Nothing is an unstable state in nature, thus, something quickly comes from nothing naturally.
    • Fine Tuning:  No evidence to support the universe as special for humans.
    • Revelation:  No evidence to support scripture or personal experience as revelation from God.
    • Morality:  No evidence to support morality coming from a God.
    • Problem of Evil:  Evidence against the attributes of omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence.
    • Hiddenness:  Evidence of God's non-existence, especially for those who are honestly seeking God.
In essence, Stenger makes the strong case that absence of evidence is evidence of absence under the same scientific criteria used in evaluating any other hypothesis.  The world essentially is the way it is if there were no god.

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