Pulled these from Positive Atheism’s Big List of Victor J. Stenger Quotations
But, as we have seen, movement does not require a mover, and modern quantum mechanics has shown that not all effects require a cause. And even if they did, why would the Prime Mover need to be a supernatural anthropomorphic deity such as the Judaeo-Christian God? Why could it not just as well be the material universe itself? — Vic Stenger, discussing Aquinas’s adaptation of Aristotle’s ideas as “proof” of the existence of God, Physics and Psychics (1990) p. 88
Scientific evidence for God’s existence is being claimed today by theists, many of whom carry respectable scientific or philosophical credentials. “He” who is neither a “she” nor an “it” supposedly answers prayers and otherwise dramatically affects the outcome of events. If these consequences are as significant as believers say, then the effects should be detectable in properly controlled experiments.
– Victor J Stenger, Has Science Found God? (draft: 2001), ch. 3
In short, evolution is as close to being a scientific fact as is possible for any theory, given that science is open-ended and no one can predict with certainty what may change in the future. The prospect that evolution by natural selection, at least as a broad mechanism, will be overthrown in the future is about as likely as the prospect of finding out some day that the Earth is really flat. Unfortunately, those who regard these scientific facts as a threat to faith have chosen to distort and misrepresent them to the public.
– Victor J Stenger, Has Science Found God? (draft: 2001), ch. 2
And, yet again, because I can predict the line of criticism that this book will generate, I need to make it clear up-front that I am not claiming that the absence of evidence eliminates all possibilities for a god to exist in every conceivable form. And, I am not evaluating all the theological and philosophical arguments for or against God. I am simply evaluating the scientific arguments and claimed scientific evidence for a deity according to the same criteria that science applies to any extraordinary claim. I conclude that, so far, they fail to meet the test.
— Vic Stenger, on life growing up in New Jersey, in Has Science Found God? (draft: 2001)
To most theistic believers, human life can have no meaning in a universe without God. Quite sincerely, and with understandable yearning for a meaning to their existence, they reject the possibility of no God. In their minds, only a purposeful universe based on God is possible and science can do nothing else but support this “truth.”
— Vic Stenger, Has Science Found God? (draft: 2001)
Any strategy that attempts to reinforce faith by undermining science is also doomed to failure. Showing that some scientific theory is wrong will not prove that the religious alternative is correct by default. When the sun was shown not to be the center of the universe, as Copernicus had proposed, the Earth was not moved back to that singular position in the cosmos. If Darwinian evolution is proved wrong, biologists will not develop a new theory based on the hypothesis that each species was created separately by God 6,000 years ago.
— Vic Stenger, Has Science Found God? (draft: 2001), Preface
This blog will be different for me since this one won’t be loaded with facts, figures, cites and other drab blather that I normally write. This blog is about respecting religious views. Faith. An illogical belief that is devoid of proof. Where else in our discourse do we actually use this word properly? I don’t mean the colloquial meaning, in sentences such as “I have faith in him/her”. For instance, when has anybody (that isn’t completely deranged) actually had faith in any material object? For those that do, society tends to pluck up out and have them reside in a special rooms with padded walls. Why? Because it is obvious that any unjustified and illogical belief in material objects is absurd. So then, why do we tolerate it when the faith is in something that we can not see and is not material? It seems to be that this is far more absurd of the two choices because in the first, at the very least, the material object’s existence can be objectively verified. This is not so with the later case. Back to the original question. If we can lock people away in loony bins for believing illogical and wholly unjustified beliefs about reality and material objects why can’t we lock away or merely question these people and make them defend their claims. Here’s where the problem of respect rears it’s ugly head. The reason is, society has deemed faith a virtue, for reasons that baffle and confuse me. If there is one sociological question I want conclusively answered, it is why this obviously failed way of thinking has gained the attribute of being a virtue. Patience is a virtue, and honestly, when it comes to this topic, I’m out of it. Faith isn’t a virtue anymore than Tinker Bell is. Having faith is something we grow out of as children once we attain more concrete knowledge for ourselves about the world around us. Much like we grow out of having constant temper tantrums for all manner of reasons and crying when our mother leaves to go the store. We should not, under any circumstances, be required to respect this view anymore than we respect peoples views and beliefs about anything else in our discourse. Imagine a world in which you’d be admonished for questioning someone’s opinion that the Holocaust never took place or about their political views. That’s the road to fascism and theocracy, paved with the assault on our freedom of speech. Faith isn’t worthy of respect because it has no attributes worth respecting. Religion, all religion, in the same breath is lacking in components that deserve our respect at all. People will respect others out of empathy for one another. However, views are part of who the person is, and thus, contrary to popular belief, if you don’t respect someone’s views, beliefs or faith that doesn’t mean you don’t respect them as people. All the proof you need for this is the scientific community. Pick up any peer-review journal and you’ll be inundated with humbleness and criticism. And yet their aren’t radical groups of scientists roaming about threatening people with death for blaspheming the Theory of Evolution. The goal should be for humans to understand one another and respect each other, NOT our views and beliefs about reality. Let all those that feel it isn’t ok or “right” to question and criticize the religions beliefs of other people, what are you scared of? That we might convince others, and quite rightly, that religion may in fact be outdated and no longer serves our species a purpose? Atheists/agnostics/humanists/freethinkers, don’t be afraid to question or criticize the beliefs of others, especially religious beliefs because it’s socially taboo. You have the right of free speech, for now. Use it. It make be the very thing that guarantees you that right in the future.
Metro State Atheists