Stenger, Victor

Victor is Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawaii, and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado. He is the author of numerous articles and books challenging theism and all things supernatural, including Not by Design; Has Science Found God?; The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do The Laws of Physics Come From?; and God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. A common theme in his work is first to critique contemporary claims that science supports the existence of God and to show these claims inadequate, and then to go further and argue that science makes a strong case against the existence a God with the traditional attributes of the Judaic-Christian-Islamic God. His argument is not based simply on the gross absence of evidence for this God. Not only is there no evidence for God, he asserts that the evidence can be used to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that this God does not exist. As for the argument that the laws of physics somehow show God’s handiwork, Victor states that the laws of physics were not handed down from above. Nor are they somehow built into the logical structure of the universe. They are human inventions, he says, though not arbitrary ones. They are not restrictions on the behavior of matter. They are restrictions on the way physicists may describe that behavior. In order to describe an objective reality, those descriptions cannot depend on the point of view of observers. They must be "point-of-view-invariant." When point-of-view invariance is implemented, the laws of physics follow with few additional assumptions. We live in a comprehensible cosmos. 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, Victor notes, 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. Victor states that he can muster new arguments against the existence of God: The claim that information cannot be created naturally but requires intelligent design is shown to be provably wrong; the kaläm cosmological argument, which claims that the universe had a beginning and so must have been created, is refuted by modern cosmology; 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; and the claimed scientific evidence for spiritual or non-material phenomena is refuted from an experimental physicist's perspective. Victor concludes that not only does the universe show no evidence for God, it looks exactly as it would be expected to look if there is no God. He also says that it is preferable to live in a Godless universe.



Can Religion Be Explained Without God?

Most people believe that God exists and religion is God’™s revelation. But some claim that religion needs nothing supernatural; that religion, without God, can flourish because personal psychology and group sociology drive religion.

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ALSO: Arguing God from Design, by Richard Swinburne >


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