Published by Prometheus Books April, 2003.
In the past few years a number of scientists have claimed that there is credible scientific evidence for the existence of God. In 1998 Newsweek went so far as to proclaim on its cover, "Science Finds God."
Is this true? Are scientists close to solving the greatest of all mysteries? Physicist Victor J. Stenger delves into this fascinating question from a skeptical point of view in this lucid and engrossing presentation of the key scientific facts.
Stenger critically reviews the attempts of many contemporary theologians and some scientists to resurrect failed natural theologies in new guises. Whether these involve updated arguments from design, "anthropic" coincidences, or modern forms of deism, Stenger clearly shows that nothing in modern science requires supernatural explanation. He offers naturalistic explanations for empirical observations that are frequently given theistic interpretations: for example information in the universe implies an intelligent designer, that a universe with a beginning requires a Creator, and that the elegant laws of physics suggest a transcendent realm. He also shows that alleged spiritual, nonmaterial phenomena do no lie beyond the experimental reach of science.
Religious organizations are funding a media blitz to persuade people that the latest science proves the truth of their religion. However, as physicist Victor J. Stenger shows, nothing in modern science requires supernatural explanation. In fact, modern science argues against the existence of an active, personal creator. The personal God of Judeo Christian-Islamic tradition plays such an important role in events that he could not escape detection. He has not been found and there is no reason to assume he exists.
Those who claim evidence for intelligent design in the universe have made a number of fundamental scientific errors. God is not needed to explain the origin of the universe nor its laws and structure. Modern physics and cosmology point to an uncreated, self contained, fully material universe that is consistent with all known observations. Arguments that the universe is divinely "fine tuned" for life are based on a narrow and parochial view of what forms life might take.
Claims that positive effects of prayer and other types of spiritual intervention have been demonstrated in controlled scientific experiments collapse under critical scrutiny. None of these reports, nor the reports of evidence for psychic phenomena pass the normal tests that science applies to any extraordinary claim.
Attempts to reconcile Christianity with science have produced theologies that are in sharp conflict with the traditional teaching that evolution is guided and humans occupy a special place in the cosmos.
The universe is not populated by mysterious, incomprehensible forces that control our lives and destinies for some unseen purpose. Rather, aided by science, we control our own lives and define our own purpose.
Several new arguments are presented that are not found elsewhere.
o The claim that information cannot be created naturally but requires intelligent design is shown to be provably wrong.
o The kaläm cosmological argument, which claims that the universe had a beginning and so must have been created, is refuted by modern cosmology.
o The most important laws of physics are shown to be properties of the void and thus consistent with the universe appearing uncreated out of the void.
o A critique of the claimed scientific evidence for spiritual or non-material phenomena is provided from an experimental physicist's perspective.
o A unique critique is given of the new
that claim consistency with the message of science that the universe
humankind happened by accident.
Copyrighted. Do not distribute or quote. Refer to the official published version.
1. The Bells of St. Marys. 01Bells.pdf
4. Messages from Heaven. 04Message.pdfFig. 4.1
6. The Uncreated Universe. 06Cosmic.pdf
8. The Laws of the Void. 08Void.pdf
9. Absence of Evidence. 09Absence.pdf
11. The Premise Keepers. 11Premise.pdf
12. The Godless Universe. 12Godless.pdf
Appendices Note. This file containes corrected appendices.
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