Prometheus Books New Releases – Spring-Summer 2013

Science

 

God and the Atom

 
Victor J. Stenger
 
In this history of atomism, from Democritus to the recent discovery of the Higgs boson, physicist Victor Stenger chronicles one of the most successful scientific hypotheses ever devised.  Originating separately in both ancient Greece and India, the idea that reality is composed of infinitesimal indivisible particles was an ingenious insight, which may have been prompted by observing the random motion of dust motes in light beams. For centuries, the concept of the atom persisted, despite often running afoul of conventional thinking. Until the twentieth century, no direct evidence for atoms existed. Today it is possible to actually observe atoms using a Scanning Tunneling Microscope.  In this book Stenger makes the case that in the final analysis atoms and the void are all that exists.
                The book begins with the story of the earliest atomists—the ancient Greek philosophers Leucippus, Democritus, and Epicurus and the Latin poet Lucretius. As the author notes, the idea of elementary particles as the foundation of reality had many opponents throughout history—from Aristotle to Christian theologians and even some nineteenth-century chemists and philosophers. While theists today accept that the evidence for the atomic theory of matter is overwhelming, they reject the atheistic implications of that theory.
                In conclusion, Stenger underscores the main point made throughout this work: the total absence of empirical facts and theoretical arguments to support the existence of any component to reality other than atoms and the void can be taken as proof beyond a reasonable doubt that such a component is nowhere to be found. Science has drilled down to the very bedrock of reality and found that neither God nor any other supernatural explanation is necessary or warranted.
               
Victor J. Stenger (Lafayette, CO) is adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis, and many other books, including God and the Folly of Faith, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning, The New Atheism, Quantum Gods, TheUnconscious Quantum, The Comprehensible Cosmos, Timeless Reality, Physics and Psychics and Has Science Found God?
 
300 pages (illustrations)  ·  ISBN 978-1-61614-753-2  ·  Hardcover:  $25