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
So, yesterday I we went to a separation of church and state rally at the Denver State Capital building. Joel, our President, was originally scheduled to give a presentation but had to cancel at the last minute so I filled in. We should have some footage of the event early next month. We filmed an interview of another guest speaker, best selling author and physicist Victor Stenger, by Elles, author of the blog Splendid Elles, for Skepchick. We should be posting that early next month too. Anyway, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the separation of church and state, including some of the stuff I covered in my presentation.
The separation of church and state is a gap intended to accomplish two primary things. The first is freedom from religion. Our government is based not on the values of any one ideology, but on the innate qualities and aspirations that unite every human being. As such, the government should be unable to enforce laws based on the beliefs of any one religious group. No one should be subject to the restrictions of a religion that is not their own. Ours is a government for the people, by the people, and I mean all the people. This is not a utilitarian majority rules type of democracy. Our government is suppose to represent everyone, not just the great in number. The only restrictions the government should impose is to prevent one person from impinging on the basic natural rights of another human being. Your government should protect you rights, and protect you from being subjected to the restrictions of any religion, whether your rich or poor, black or white, big or small, dumb or smart.
The second purpose of the separation of church and state is to guarantee freedom of religion. In the same way that you should not be subject to the restrictions of other ideologies, so to should you be able to choose which restrictions, beyond those minimal ones imposed by the government, you should be subject too. For example, if your don’t believe in blood transfusions, you don’t have to get one. However, you have no right to impose your principles on others via the government. Those who do not share some religious value should not, do not, have to follow them.
Whenever I debate this particular subject with others, one of the misunderstandings I hear is that a secular government is somehow anti-religious. In reality, a secular government is simply non-religious. In reality, a secular non-religious government is the only government with any realistic probability of guaranteeing the individuals right to practice their own religion. This is not a atheistic nation, and secularism and atheism are not synonymous. I often hear people say that we are a Christian nation, which, in a sense is true. Though our government is not based on Christian values, it is a nation of Christians. However, to say that we are just a Christian nation is absurdly reductionist. We are also a nation of Jews and Muslims, rich and poor, believers and non-believers, men and women, and so much more. Our nation is a melting-pot, and only a secular government can accuratley represent and effectively govern such a diverse populace.
The rights your government guarantees you are based on your humanity, not your religious affiliation and the laws you are subject too are to prevent you from impinging on the basic human rights of others.
Victor J. Stenger at MSCD
Victor J. Stenger, Author of the New York Times best seller “God: The Failed Hypothesis” will be speaking in the Turnhalle at the Tivoli on the Auraria campus on November 10th from 1:00-3:00pm. The address is 9000 Auraria Parkway, Denver Colorado, 80217. Check out the abstract of his talk and a short biography below.
GOD: THE FAILED HYPOTHESIS
HOW SCIENCE SHOWS THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST
Victor J. Stenger
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Abstract of Talk
In my 2003 book Has Science Found God? I provided a critique of contemporary claims that science supports the existence of God and found them inadequate. In this book I go much further and argue that empirical science makes a strong case against the existence a God with the traditional attributes of the Judaic-Christian-Islamic God. My argument will not be based simply on the gross absence of evidence for God. Not only is there no evidence for God, I will argue that the evidence we have can be used to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that this God does not exist. 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.
God: The Failed Hypothesis made the New York Times bestseller list in March 2007. The paperback edition is now available, with a foreword by Christopher Hitchens and a new Postscript by the author.
A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF VICTOR J. STENGER
Victor Stenger is adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics at the University of Hawaii (retired). He is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a research fellow of the Center for Inquiry. Stenger has also held visiting positions on the faculties of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Oxford in England (twice), and has been a visiting researcher at Rutherford Laboratory in England, the National Nuclear Physics Laboratory in Frascati, Italy, and the University of Florence in Italy.
Stenger spent forty years doing research in elementary particle physics and astrophysics during the golden age of those subjects. In his last project before retiring, Stenger collaborated on the underground experiment in Japan that showed for the first time that the neutrino has mass. The Japanese leader of this experiments shared the 2002 Nobel Prize.
Victor Stenger has had a parallel career as an author of critically well-received popular-level books that interface between physics and cosmology and philosophy, religion, and pseudoscience. These include: Not By Design: The Origin of the Universe (1988); Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World Beyond the Senses 1990); The Unconscious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology (1995); Timeless Reality: Symmetry, Simplicity, and Multiple Universes (2000); Has Science Found God? The Latest Results in the Search for Purpose in the Universe (2003); The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come from? (2006); and God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (2007). The latest book made the New York Times bestseller list in March, 2007.
Stenger maintains a popular Web site (a thousand hits per month), where much of his writing and the slideshow for this talk can be found, at http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/ .