God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor J. Stenger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow! In reading through the various reviews of this book, which has a near-4 rating, it's incredibly funny and predictable how the fundies and other bible thumpers try to attack Stenger -- who allegedly not only doesn't use science in this book, but apparently doesn't even know it; I assume all of the fundies making this criticism have their freaking PhDs themselves in scientific fields since they obviously are claiming authority on what is and isn't science??? Anyway, these people nit pick and target a few select lines or assertions of his to "prove" that Stenger did not "disprove" god. So predictable. I just read one who was sarcastically (presumably) making fun of his interpretation of Stenger asserting that anything that can be described or generally proven though "natural," scientifically accepted methods means such things aren't God's doing. This critic is making fun of that. Holy crap, what an idiot! Um, yeah, that's basically the massively accepted and assumed consensus on the part of nearly all scientists, as well as freethinkers, rationalists, and plenty of other people. That pretty much nails it on the head. If science can explain natural causes, etc, for a whole variety of things, events, etc, then YES, you don't bring god into it! It's been proven to be non-supernatural. Duh! Fundies excel at nit picking non-fundie philosophers, other religionists (particularly other theists), scientists, and other people of differing persuasion, yet once you start pointing out the thousands of discrepancies, inconsistencies, inaccuracies (god showed Moses the part of Cannan known as "Dan" before he died, the irony being, there was NO place named "Dan" at the time; how do you know which of the two creation stories to believe in Genesis?; the crucifixion is described in all four gospels, yet while each described a sign above Jesus's head on the cross, they are ALL different from each other, so again, how do you pick out which one to believe?,; Moses, the author of the Torah/first five books of the OT, describes in detail his own death and burial in Deuteronomy, which I guess made him a zombie, and SO many damn more falsehoods and bullshit that countless books many hundreds of pages in length have been authored by Christians, atheists and others, pointing out just a number of them, because to get them all, it would surely exceed 1,000 pages), conflicting information, outright falsehoods (Nazareth evidently did not exist during this alleged census -- which also is verifiably historically wrong: there was none then, and not for about another decade -- and would not exist for several hundred more years, so obviously Joseph did not come from there.), and totally stupid "evidence" or "logic" (Example, with two problems -- Jesus's genealogy. The Jewish Messiah was supposed to have descended from King David's lineage. So two gospel authors felt it important to include Jesus's genealogy to "prove" he descended from David, thus helping to confirm his legitimacy. However, one just goes back some 14 generations to David while the other exceeds 30 and more generations, and to top it off, virtually none of the names of Jesus's ancestors leading to David match! Maybe one name. That's it. So, which one's right? How do you know which to believe? Or are neither of them right? This spurious discrepancy immediately calls into question the credibility of both authors and both gospels. But I said there are two problems. The beauty of the second problem is that it's so much more relevant that it pretty much wipes out any issues with or complaints about the previous problem I just described. The Messiah had to be of the line of David, and if Jesus was the Messiah, he would then have to have descended from the line of David. Well, throughout their history up to and beyond this time in Jewish culture, a person's line and genealogy was defined SOLEY through their fathers! Indeed, these two gospel genealogies refer, as is seen regularly throughout the bible, to a person as "son of 'X'," etc. And I hope you're seeing the irony now, and thus the outright bullshit? Joseph, an apparent true descendant of David, was NOT the biological father of Jesus!!! He literally passed no genes or DNA on to Jesus. Meaning that Jesus was absolutely NOT from the line of David, meaning he could not have been the Messiah at all! Freaking beautiful. And yet you'll never hear that mentioned in church, will you?), etc.
Look, not everyone will agree with the thesis of this book or Stenger, his points, examples, etc, and I get that. No book is universally loved and respected. And while I agree that a couple of the chapters are certainly weaker than others, which is virtually inevitable in a book such as this, and while Stenger doesn't resort to a Ph.D.-level volume on the subject, I tend to think he does a basically decent job of what he sets out to do, and at a very reader-friendly level, which some can't seem to accomplish. And while I've obviously read better, conversely I've read much, much worse, so I thus think that Stenger did a fairly good job at a complex and incredibly comprehensive subject (books 10 times this length could have been written about this, and you still wouldn't touch on everything), and while Stenger could have chosen to better address a few issues or perhaps have touched on some that are left out of this volume, on the whole, it's not a bad place to start for those who want to see how god stacks up against science. Oh, and I read one or two criticisms that focused on Stenger apparently addressing only the christian god. Well, I'm pretty sure that most points made in this and similar books could and do apply to ALL theistic gods, if not ALL alleged supernatural entities as a whole. The fact that Stenger refers to the christian god should not be held against him, because he is writing from the perspective of one raised and educated in, and almost certainly lives in the primary biggest and best known christian country, one in which you're exposed almost exclusively to the christian god and one in which right wing evangelicals have been working for decades to creative an evangelical theocracy here, and in which they've nearly succeeded and probably will. Thus destroying the country in the process. Finally, I'm very willing to bet the people criticizing this author for focusing on the christian god, apparently to the exclusion of Allah or Yahweh, are believers of and followers of these other religions, or even other ones, and I'd be shocked if these people actually think Stenger should be additionally addressing these other gods, as they share equal importance to the christian god. In fact, I'd be willing to bet a whole lot on that. So, hypocrites, don't be so damn stupid! If you can't fight the facts, shut up. And ultimately, please know that if science doesn't have the answer for everything (and it doesn't - yet), that doesn't freaking automatically mean the answer must obviously be supernatural, and moreso, must also be the christian god! There's no logic to that at all! Even if the supernatural were given partial credence, what gives you or anyone the right to insist it be the damn christian god (yours) instead of Buddha, Allah, Thor, Zeus, or any of the thousands of other gods that have and do swirl around this planet? Geez, try to use your brains for once and stop being a sheeple! What makes you so sure that you are right, in your christian god, while Muslims, who are equally as fervent and devout -- if not moreso -- and equally convinced of their heaven and hell, are obviously wrong, or ditto for Jews, Hindus, and so on? Even IF there were supernatural explanations for anything, why in the world does it have to be your own instead of someone else's? Think about that, why don't you. In the meantime, recommended book.
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