Reviews of Books by Victor J. Stenger


See my special page on Amazon.com which has links to all my books and reviews on Amazon.

Links to Reviews of God and the Atom

Tom  McMahon. Finally! An Understandable, Scholarly Book On Science, From Its Birth 25 Centuries Ago to the Confirmation of the Higgs Boson, by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Ed Suominen. Stenger artfully continues his history lesson forward through the centuries, presenting scientific and historical facts with his subdued atheistic theme holding things together. It doesn’t seem at all preachy or overbearing. Even when I was a Christian, the science and history probably would have kept me engaged without the book’s low-key atheism turning me off too much. The way Stenger patiently shows (not just says) how little God figures into our scientific understanding is a refreshing change of pace, and may be more powerful an approach for the godless than the explicit reverse evangelism of books like Hitchens’s God is Not Great or Dawkins’s The God Delusion.

Book Fanatic. "The totality of Stenger’s books, which include this one, are a fine contribution to a layman’s understanding of why there is no support for anything else except the reductionist materialism of physics."

Publishers' Weekly. A swift jog through modern physics, followed by brief considerations of dark matter, dark energy, and the origin of the universe, concludes with the assertion that there is no empirical evidence for the existence of a higher power. Stenger’s argument is convincing . . .

New York Journal of Books.“Dr. Stenger’s history of the atom is good. His philosophical arguments and conclusions are inadequate.” Note this review is by a Christian apologist, Donald F. Calbreath.  Calbreath is an associate professor emeritus of chemistry at Whitworth University, as well as the author/presenter of numerous papers and articles involving both science and Christianity. . . His writing has been published in such venues as Perspectives in Science and Christian Faith.

Links to Reviews of God and the Folly of Faith

Black Sun Journal. "Dr. Stenger’s book compares favorably in scope with Daniel Dennett’s 2006 Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. . . . This is not a polemic, but a reasoned critique by a seasoned scientist and philosopher, updated for 2012. He takes on the arguments of at least a dozen well-known proponents or apologists for religion, including William Lane Craig, Dinesh D’Souza, and Deepak Chopra. And he highlights the dramatically negative effects religion has had on the American political landscape on every subject from contraception and stem-cell research to climate change and same-sex marriage. There’s a great deal more substance to this book than I can summarize in a few brief paragraphs."

New Books in Secularism. "Stenger argues that, fundamentally, science and religion not only clash, but that religion has historically impeded the progress of science." Links ro audio of unterview.

Planet of the Apes. Blog by Faye Flam, accomplished writer for the Philiadelphia Inquirer.

Open Parachute. This is just the last of a series of Stenger’s books on science and its relationship with religion and pseudoscience. For those interested in a scientific viewpoint on these subjects these books are a valuable resource. They deal with issues such as quantum theory and it misuse and cosmological issues like fine-tuning arguments, the “big bang” and the origin of the universe, the eternal universe and the multiverse. To some extent he briefly repeats some of the content of his previous books here – useful for those not wishing to read further. And  arguably this current book is his best yet. But, for more detail I also recommend his other books.

Roberto Perez-Franco in the MIT newspaper The Tech. Victor Stenger has written a wickedly powerful book, so sharp and heretical that had it been published four centuries ago, the author would have been extra-crispy by the time the nearest bishop was done reading the preface. God and the Folly of Faith, with its straightforward argumentation and encyclopedic scope, is a veritable handbook on the fundamental incompatibility of modern science and religion. In the context of the new atheism movement, Stenger’s book serves as the prosecutor’s closing argument in their collective case against religion. The book’s ambitious agenda, with the simultaneous grinding of many axes (from near death experiences and quantum consciousness to intelligent design and cosmic fine-tuning), takes a toll on the reader. The dissection of the multiple arguments and counterarguments that are currently used to support and refute faith makes this no light reading for a lazy spring afternoon. Albeit peppered with zingers, the work as a whole comes across as what it is: a thick and serious discourse on one of the most important intellectual conflicts in history, very much alive to this day.

Mano Singham. This book is almost encyclopedic in the range of topics it covers and this may be its greatest strength, even if it has to pay the price of skimming over some sections. It is the kind of book where, when confronted with a topic, one can look it up in the index, read the relevant sections for a good quick overview of the main issues involved, and look up the citations for more detailed information.

Dana Hunter. Here [is the book] in a filbert: science is bad news for religion, the two aren’t compatible at all – no, not even the vague spirituality-type religions – and if you’re looking to physics to support your ideas about the supernatural, you’re barking up the wrong damned tree. Not even quantum supports your religion. It’s natural all the way down.

Jonathan Howard. Stenger’s book is not only a great source on what is happening throughout the sciences, but also an outstanding reference for how systematically wrong religion is when it comes to making claims to the real world.


Links to Reviews of The Fallacy of Fine Tuning

Marcus Chown in New Scientist. In The Fallacy of Fine-tuning, Victor Stenger dismantles arguments that the laws of physics in our universe were ""fine-tuned" to foster life.

Open Parachute. Victor Stenger’s new book . . . will be very useful for anyone attempting to check out these arguments by actually considering the science. He describes the physical and cosmological background to the constants, or parameters as he prefers to call them, usually used in fine-tuning arguments. And then he considers, one by one, just how valid – or invalid – the fine-tuning arguments are.

Cosmic Horizons. This is something we should probably give some serious thought to, and this book is not a bad place to start.

The Conversation. This book is a good read for those wanting to understand the fine-tuning issues in cosmology, and it’s clear Stenger really understands the science.

Arizona Atheist. Stenger has written a knock-out response to fine-tuning proponents. He explains in much detail why so many of the so-called examples of fine-tuning are not actually cases of fine-tuning at all. The book is very well-written and, even though it uses quite a bit of math which boggled my mind, this addition would be useful for more knowledgeable individuals who want more proof of Stenger's claims. However, this does not subtract from the book at all since he also does an excellent job of explaining what the math means for those (like me) who do not have a background in physics.

Links to Reviews of The New Atheism

Friends of Philip Larkin. I’d describe The New Atheism as an extremely detailed bibliography with quick facts and analysis. It’s a terrific place to start if you’re wondering about New Atheism, questioning religion, and/or looking behind the curtain.
New York Journal of Books by David Rosman. "Regardless of which side of the discussion you find yourself, this is a well-written and documented argument. Stenger’s intent, as he states in his final chapter, is not to convert the believer, but to provide a sensible and less aggressive argument for science, reason and the New Atheism.
Amazon.com reviews  "Stenger successfully provides a rational response to the irrational critiques of the so-called 'new atheists'. cfeagans.
InfuriatedSciTeacher "Stenger's work is concise and well-written, with enough newly presented notions to be worthy of a read."
The Secular Outpost "Stenger makes a case that will have considerable appeal for those of us with a more optimistic temperament.
Friendly Atheist. "This is a wonderful book for any person who hasn’t read an atheist blog over the past five years. That is to say, older and brand new atheists will enjoy Stenger’s book — it’s an excellent primer for godless newbies."

Philosophy Now, Issue 78, April/ May 2010. “An invigorating defense of the New Atheism by one of its foremost spokespersons, this is a good book for novices, as it has an excellent overview of the positions of the Four Horsemen, as well as Stenger’s own argument that modern physics gives new proofs for a naturalistic rather than a supernaturalistic hypothesis for the origins of the universe. A professor of physics and astronomy, Stenger is able to write in a way easily accessible to non-science buffs, yet has a polemical style equal to any of the Horsemen at their most outrageous.”
           
Choice, Vol. 47, No. 08, April 2010. “Well-written…This A-grade wine for atheists could serve as another evangelizing tool for their stance…Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.”

Kile Jones, Boston University Essays in Philosophy 11(2): 252-257, July 2010. "In ending his book, Stenger revisits the works of New Atheism and argues for their place in the modern intellectual landscape. He challenges those who only see this movement as “negative” because “for every negative we have an even greater positive. Faith is absurd and dangerous and we look forward to the day, no matter how distant, when the human race finally abandons it” (244)

Links to Reviews of Quantum Gods

Amazon.com reviews "Quantum Gods is the ONLY book-length critique of the abuse of quantum physics." Logan Narcomey.
Quantum gods don't deserve your faith. New Scientist  April 22, 2009 review by Amanda Gefter. "In this much-needed book, physicist Victor Stenger isolates and then debunks the claims of two kinds of "quantum belief."
Toronto Globe and Mail Stenger walks us through the basics of physics to refute [quantum spirituslity and theology].
Softpedia "The entire book is a joyride." Tudor Vieru, Science Editor. "It's not often that I come across books that explain such intricate matters as particle physics in a way that is both accessible to the average reader as well as explained with a logic that permeates each line."
Free Inquiry 29(5):60-62 (2009) Stuart Jordan. "This is an excellent book for scientists and careful thinkers."
Open Parachute. "Stenger provides an important service exposing [quantum spirituality and quantum theology] in his new book.
 "Quantum Gods is a fun and instructive read – it is Stenger at his best – but it begs for a sequel that sets aside the desire to ridicule for the sake of addressing the more important and difficult challenge of discerning the metaphysical implications of the quantum revolution for theists, atheists, and nontheists alike." Boston University theologian Kirk Wegter-McNelly. To appear in the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture. Pdf.
My response to Professor Wegter-McNelly, which will appear in the same journal.

"Stenger, though, explains the science underlying quantum phenomena, showing that while quantum theory is strange, it isn't other-worldly or mystical." Church of the Churchless May 18, 2009.


Links to Reviews of God: The Failed Hypothesis

Jefferson County Post. "A Must Read."
Sapientia Semita. "A delightful work with utmost conviction and clarity from a renowned author."
Philosophy God. "Victor J. Stenger’s God: The Failed Hypothesis deserves to be read by believers and non-believers alike. Fifty years ago, upon completion of my formal study in the sciences, I concluded that God could not exist. With each passing decade, as the scientific method enabled man to advance his knowledge and understanding of the world and universe, this conviction grew stronger. Unfortunately I was never able to adequately explain to others why I felt as I did.
And then I picked up God: The Failed Hypothesis. I could not put it down; indeed I read it cover to cover within hours of purchase. Here was everything I wanted to say to individuals who were ignorant of rigorous science methodology, or scorned it, and relied solely upon faith and revelation."  Jerry P. Lightner
Amazon.com reviews. "In my view Stenger succeeds in disproving God beyond a level of reasonable doubt." Andrew.
Conspicuous by His Absence by David Ludden for eSkeptic. "Physicist Victor Stenger has just served up a second course of delectable arguments for the non-existence of God."
Tour de Force by Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry. "Stenger’s new book is a tour de force of scope, brevity, and rhetorical power."
Review by Jonathan Levinson on the Secular Web. "Dr. Stenger's learning is vast and he expresses his thoughts with enormous clarity, making them accessible to a large audience. He is a master communicator. One will not find a better book on the scientific evidence for atheism.
Forum on Physics and Society, American Physical Society, review by Lawrence S. Lerner.  "Stenger’s expertise as a physicist is clearly evident in this work."
Damien Broderick Science Fiction author. "Unlike some critics  of faith, Stenger takes the tough line that deity is not just an unnecessary hypothesis or one where an honest thinker can  choose to accept or reject it. No, it is 'the failed hypothesis'."
Jerry Peterson Simply Einstein. "Chapter by chapter, the author shows that the  existence of God would suggest certain realities in the world that would be verifiable by scientific  inquiry. But the data don’t support these would-be realities, thereby providing evidence that no God exists."
Sects and Violence in the Ancient World. "Like many who argue for atheism, Stenger is a highly regarded scientist. Unlike many, he offers a systematic, even-keeled account of his reasons for rejecting the divine.

Podcasts and YouTubes

You can watch, listen to or read interviews of Vic Stenger at these locations among others:

Point of Inquiry
Future of Naturalism YouTube interview by Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry.
Faith and Freethought
Thinking-critically
This has a You-Tube video of talk to CFI Toronto on April 5, 2007. Start at part 3. This site also has links to other relevent videos and podcasts.
The Atheist Experience
Huntington News Column in West Virginia web newspaper.
Mindcore

Links to Reviews of The Comprehensible Cosmos

Amazon.com reviews."This is the third book from Professor Stenger that I've read. In my mind, he's certainly the "Richard Dawkins' of general-audience physics books." Mike.
New Scientist. "Stenger has written a fascinating and throught-provoking book. . . it is a feast for both the specialist and dedicated general reader."
Damien Broderick Science Fiction author. "Why is there Something, rather than Nothing? Who put the bang in the big bang? Veteran particle physicist  Victor Stenger offers an answer to that deep question in his two new books [God: The Failed Hypothesis also reviewed], arguing a materialist, God-free account of the  cosmos, equally antagonistic to superstition, the paranormal and religions archetypal and newfangled alike."
Times Higher Education-John Gribbon "It is a rare delight for a reviewer to be asked to comment on a book that spells out an idea that he has been promoting himself. I therefore have to confess to feeling a warm appreciation for Victor Stenger's work, even before I plunged in to the text. The fact that the text does not entirely do justice to the idea is mildly disappointing, but what Stenger has to say is so important that it should at least be discussed everywhere that physics is taught."
Stephen Ames, History and Philosophy of Science Programme, The University of Melbourne "V.J. Stenger . . . provides a scientific answer to the question, 'where do the laws of physics come from?' Remarkably, his elegant and mathematically detailed derivation of the laws is driven by the requirment that the models physicists develop to describe objective reality cannot depend on the standpoint of the observer."


Links to Reviews of Has Science Found God?

"Sleeping with the Enemy" by Karl Giberson in Research News & Opportunities in Science and Theology. Note this is a publication of the Templeton Foundation.
"Has Science Found God?" by Kenneth Silber in Tech Central Station.
Amazon.com reviews.
 Skeptic Bibliography
Perspectives in Science and the Christian Faith
by Gary DeBoer

Insulting review by William Lane Craig.
And my response.


Reviews of Timeless Reality

Astronomy Magazine. January 2002. Read review by Jennifer Birriel here.
Choice. Current reviews for Academic Libraries. May 2001 This wide-ranging, sophisticated book treats physics and important philosophical issues closely related to physics. The dust cover blurb does a poor job of describing the book; the best description is found on page 339: "The Basic thesis of this book is that physics has painted for us a simple picture of material reality that is well within our general understanding." In roughly 400 pages, Stenger (Univ. of Hawaii), a professional physicist with an interest in philosophy, discusses major topics of physics such as relativity, quantum mechanics, and the apparent one-way nature of time, as well as philosophical stances from Platonism to postmodernism. The book goes considerably beyond popularization, without burdening the reader with technical detail. Nevertheless, it would take a very gifted lay reader to absorb everything in this book in one reading. The author makes his own views known on some famously difficult issues, but the reader does not need to agree with him to follow the text. Recommended for undergraduate and graduate students, professional scientists and philosopher, and lay readers with an active interest in philosophy or physics. - M.C Ogilvie, Washington University.
 

New Books - September 2000.

Quantum physics has many extraordinary implications. One of the most extraordinary is the events at the atomic and subatomic level seem to depend on the future as well as the past. Is time really reversible? Physicist Victor Stenger say yes, arguing that at its deepest level reality is literally timeless. And, with this reality, it is possible that many universes exist with different structures and laws from our own.
 

USA Today Dec. 15, 2000.

With the holiday rush upon us, it's tempting to think that time matters a great deal. But that may be a mistake, suggests physicist Victor Stenger as he dives into the quantum realm - the tiny spaces where part of atoms appear in more than one place simultaneously, blink in and out of existence, and generally defy understanding.
Rather than meaning nothing or indicating that the universe continuously branches off into new realities, as some physicists argue, the author suggests that quantum events show time reverses itself freely at the subatomic level.
Although aimed at the general reader, Timeless Reality is not the easiest read on the bookshelf. The payoff comes for the reader with a glimpse into the debate over the nature of reality.
 

Discover Magazine January 2001.

In clear, simple prose, physicist Stenger bravely explores quantum theory's most complex and challenging implications - that reality is fundamentally timeless and that time itself may be reversible.
 

Today's Books Dec. 8, 2000

! ! ! ! ! Must Read. Originality, content, style, author
Because at the level of quantum phenomena time may be reversible, there could be multiple universes arrayed differently than our Universe and operating upon different scientific principles.
 

Book News Jan. 8, 2001.

If you complained to Stenger (physics and astronomy, U. of Hawaii) that you had not time, he would shrug and say nothing does. He explains to educated lay readers that time is reversible and that the underlying reality of all phenomena may have no beginning and no end. He argues that based on established principles of simplicity and symmetry, at its deepest level reality is literally timeless, and that many universes may exist with different structure and laws from this one.

Amazon.com

takes some getting used to... , March 4, 2003

Reviewer: Lester M. Stacey (see more about me) from Las Vegas, Nevada USA
I first read this book two years ago and I found the ideas presented to be very unsettling. I needed to set the book aside and think about more ordinary aspects of the world for a while. The fact is, however, that Dr. Stenger describes reality and there's no getting away from reality. Now my investigations lead me back to the implications of time symmetry. And happily, I have Dr. Stenger's book on hand to turn to again. This time, unafraid, I am finding the experience extremely satisfying.

I agree with the detailed reviews written below. I would also like to add an important bit of information about trust. Anyone who has investigated this field becomes familiar with the corruption that has taken place. Science is used as propaganda to support dogmatic conclusions. Speculation is too easily mutated into whatever covert form of mysticism the author secretly harbors and seeks to spread. Therefore, it is necessary to exert significant effort to find a guide into the stranger regions of reality who can be trusted to NOT MISLEAD. Victor Stenger is someone who can be trusted.

This makes all the difference in the world.

I've had the pleasure of receiving several kind personal responses to questions I posed to Dr. Stenger by way of his friendly and helpful website. I was delighted to find that he is genuinely interested in furthering human understanding and improving the human condition. He is without any hidden agenda. What you see is what you get. He is interested in exposing deception instead of practicing it. He sincerely cares about individuals who struggle with the almost insurmountable challenge of trying to understand what's really going on here in the world. He provides a sense of much-needed balance in an effort that often seems to threaten one's sanity.

And given the fact that what's really going on here takes some time for a person to adapt to, please take your time and let the ideas filter in gradually. Whether we like it or not, the strangeness of the world isn't going to go away. In fact, things become increasingly more interesting the more closely they are examined. And this is why having a trusty guide who's familiar with the topography is so important.

I am please to see that Dr. Stenger has an important new book coming out that will further help those of us who need technological expertise in exposing the mischief of the dogmatists. "Has Science Found God?" promises to provide further comfort and support for those of us who just want to approach the truth unadulterated. If truth is defined as "good" (no matter how uncomfortable it makes us), then Dr. Stenger is firmly on the side of the good. He's a great and welcome ally.
 


Serious science for dedicated enthusiasts, March 24, 2002.
Reviewer: chrisindenver from Aurora, CO United States

First of all, I'd like to start with a caveat. I gave this book 5 stars, but that assumes the reader has a college education or a very technical background. For someone not used to college-level writing, I would recommend avoiding this book. Having said that, I thought this book was amazing. My head is still spinning from all the detailed, technical information about quantum physics and relativity. Without getting bogged down in the actual mathematics, this book tells you just about everything you might want to know about modern physics.

Some of the best and most original writing is actually at the end, where Stenger presents his ideas on symmetry and how it relates to cosmology and the history of the universe. However, everything else in the book leads up to this, and there are plenty of references to previous chapters.

Stenger's concluding paradigm is simple, logical, and aesthetic, and definitely meets his own criterion of parsimony, or Occam's razor. Parsimony is a common theme in this and Stenger's other books, and he does a great job of using it to critique and analyze the various theories and philosophical interpretations of modern physics.

Again, I would recommend this book to anyone comfortable with college-level reading, but I would also love to see Stenger's  concluding ideas summarized in another, less technical and more accessible format, for a wider audience.
 

Would have five stars if he stuck to one thesis objective..., November 8, 2001  Reviewer: IndiAndy (see more about me) from an evolving state of enlightenment I approve of the non-mathematical descriptions this book offers the intended audience. It elucidates some important quantitative principles in a comprehensible language (e.g. the Principle of Least Action; the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian; the 'Wave-Particle Duality' and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle; state vectors, phase, superposition, Gauge Invariance, Relativity symmetry, spin, and Lorentz transformations). I have enjoyed using this book as part of a bridge to step across the yawning gulf between popular (non-mathematical) and rigorously quantitative textbooks on Quantum theory (Quantum Electrodynamics & Quantum Field Theory). I especially liked Chapter 7 'Taming Infinity' where the Feynman Wheeler Interaction Theory and Feynman's QED are beautifully presented for intellectual consumption. He seems especially aligned with Feynman's views of the particle nature of matter.

The author has carefully placed key words in bold type throughout the book that indicate their inclusion in a generous glossary of terms near the end of the book. I have grown to appreciate this as is a valuable feature in several books at this reading level. The chapters are broken into intellectually digestible size with a fair amount of diagrams to illustrate certain concepts visually. Apparently a part of his agenda in this book, as well as in several of his other publications, is to try to correct (control) superstitious creationist (wrong) thinking concerning the origin of our Universe and equally incorrect mystical interpretations of reality. Vic flat out states that the Universe '...had no beginning and was not created.' For example, Dr. Stenger seems compelled to narrowly target the logic of theistic physicists such as Polkinghorne and Ross. In addition, he seems to be inclined to marginalize the fact that particles are a manifestation of force field excitations/waves in a quantum field description of the phenomena in our Universe. After carefully reading his book (with sincere & open minded interest) I have come to strongly suspect that he fears an association of 'spooky action at a distance' (i.e. fields & waves) with a an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and eternal (timeless) Supreme Being who, God forbid, might have created everything (including the laws of physics). He also goes after the philosophical interpretation of QM that speculates that reality is mystically created or changed by observation & measurement. One has to wonder if maybe the author might have had some kind of traumatic religious disenchantment in his earlier travels through life that subsequently motivates him to prove that God doesn't exist. I would like to point out that I once had a bout of serious religious disillusionment from which I recovered to a simple & humble attitude and outlook towards a theological ontology of reality that is in harmony with, indeed even embraces, physical reality as we understand it from a scientific perspective. It's possible to do this and not risk your intelligence, reasonability, sanity, and objectivity towards reality. I may be projecting something that isn't really there with this guy so I apologize if that's the case. Honestly I have to confess that I don't know (for sure) what motivates this man as I cannot read his mind. I can, however, surmise from what he has written that he finds the possibility of a spiritual realm untenable. Well, live & let live right?

It must be noted that one of his major points in this book is we exist in a (bi-directional) time symmetric Universe that may be one of many in the 'Multiverse'. This is most interesting and would make a book in itself without all the other anti-superstitious stuff. I believe that he could have left his arguments against the creative design of the Universe in (a revised version of?) his other book 'The Unconscious Quantum' to keep this particular book more focused towards the subjects of the sub-title: 'Symmetry, Simplicity, and Multiple Universes'. Ironically, his arguments for a timeless reality reinforce my view of an eternal Spirit whom I believe is responsible for, and continues to sustain, more than we can ever achieve in defining the reality he has created. I choose to call this Spirit God. Well now you know my perspective. I like to try to keep an open mind. If I'm wrong, and I very well might be, then I haven't lost anything, just a little mental time in a timeless universe.

All this said I hope you don't get the wrong impression of my respect towards what Mr. Stenger has done with this great book. He has challenged us to be freethinking skeptics and to recognize the hocus-pocus philosophical fluff that is frequently published in the mystical/speculative interpretations concerning the nature of reality at the quantum level. I loved the book because the majority of it lent itself as a great reference to introductory Quantum Mechanics. His writing is succinct (no fluff), objective and didactic. I recommend "Timeless Reality" to anyone (theistic or otherwise) interested in exploring the deeply mysterious and equally edifying adventure of Quantum Reality. I hope this comes out in paperback so that more can benefit from it as I have. My sincere appreciation goes out to this author. Thanks Vic! Ciao, IndiAndy

 


Links to Reviews of The Unconscious Quantum


Herbert Gintis, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, here .

Times Literary Supplement, London 27 Dec. 1996, click here.





Reviews of Physics and Psychics


From Publishers Weekly
A particle physicist at the University of Hawaii, Stenger sets forth a purely materialist, reductionist view of the universe. The transcendent--gods, spirits, religious or mystical experiences--is delusory, in his reckoning. He further maintains that paranormal phenomena such as precognition or mind-over-matter are due to fraud, hallucination, error or a will to believe. Whether he is discussing ESP, poltergeists, UFOs, or out-of-body or near-death experiences, he ignores, misrepresents or skims over evidence that would contradict his thesis, while maintaining an aura of detached objectivity. Claiming that religious or supernatural beliefs may be programmed into our DNA because they once had survival value, Stenger rejects the holism of New Age Thinkers and physicists, disputing their claim that instantaneous connections link events across space and time.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
Stenger is an elementary particle physicist, an atheist, a skeptic, and an ardent defender of the scientific method. He uses the principle of Occam's razor (the simplest explanation is the best) and the test of the predictive value of a model to show how little evidence there is for paranormal claims, including religious beliefs, as well as ESP, astrology, and spirit channeling. Some of Stenger's ideas are controversial even among scientists, and he tends to explain all human qualities by just saying they are an evolutionary advantage. However, this book provides an interesting overview of both skeptical and credulous physics and much material for discussion. A good purchase for undergraduate science collections.
- Amy Brunvand, Fort Lewis Coll., Durango, Col.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Book News, Inc.
Stenger (physics, U. of Hawaii) critically examines theories of a transcendent reality in terms of what is currently known about matter at its most fundamental level. He offers a convincing rebuttal to those who attempt to link physics to mystical truths. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.



Reviews of Not By Design

See Amazon.com.

31 of 39 people found the following review helpful:
Fantastic! , October 19, 1998
Reviewer: A reader
This book makes a compelling case for the idea that the universe didn't  come about through the handywork of some magical space pixie. The naysayers  will throw about their arguments from incredulity while kicking &  screaming but, in the end, even they (if anything like a rational mind  still inhabits their bodies) will be forced to admit that this concept  deserves serious consideration. Once, it was considered common sense that  the sun moved around the Earth. "Look up at the sky and see it for  yourself!", they would exclaim. But the thinking mind will take the  known facts and discard the hypothesises that don't have compelling  evidence to support them in favor of the ones that do. Thus far, only a  superstitious mind would put the intelligent design idea into the latter  category.