Has Science Found God? The Latest Results in the Search for Purpose in the Universe

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9781591020189: Has Science Found God? The Latest Results in the Search for Purpose in the Universe
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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, that 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 shows that alleged spiritual, nonmaterial phenomena do not lie beyond the experimental reach of physics.
This thorough and careful consideration of scientific evidence covers much ground yet remains accessible and highly informative to the educated lay reader.

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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? Is this the end of the age-old conflict between science and religion? Physicist Victor J. Stenger delves into these fascinating questions 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 physics, biology, or cosmology required supernatural explanation and that those who claim evidence for intelligent design in the universe have made a number of fundamental scientific errors.

Through an extensive discussion of the origin and nature of the universe and its laws, he offers naturalistic explanations for empirical observations that are frequently given theistic interpretations: for example, that 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. Three valuable appendices are included to help readers appreciate the scientific reasoning.

From his standpoint as an experimental physicist, Stenger goes on to argue that alleged spiritual, nonmaterial phenomena do not lie beyond the experimental reach of science. He critically assesses claims that positive effects of intercessory prayer and other types of spiritual intervention have been demonstrated in controlled scientific experiments. Examining the reports of evidence for psychic phenomena and the benefits of alternative medicine, Stenger concludes that none of these reports pass the normal tests that science applies to determine if a stated claim can be confirmed.

Although this thorough and carefully reasoned volume covers much ground, readers will appreciate Stenger's engaging style and his clear explanations of the concepts involved.

About the Author:

Victor J. Stenger (1935 - 2014) was an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He was the author of the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis, God and the Atom, God and the Folly of Faith, The Comprehensible Cosmos, and many other books.

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