Show 198: Victor Stenger

Atheism has taken a turn toward the right, some have said, as writers like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and others have penned best-selling books on religion and faith which tend to see religion as the major problem in today’s society while leaving out politics and the economy. And while the Left ought to recognize the inherent dangers in religious fundamentalism, they also should understand the many complex reasons religion exists in the first place, and how fundamentalisms arise.

While on this program we have featured what some critics have dubbed the evangelical atheists in the past, we have also had folks like DS Wilson, Scott Atran, Robert Dreyfuss and Robert Pape on to take us deeper into the many facets of religion, its causes, and how we could begin to reign in the more dangerous verities.

Still, it is always useful to listen to anthropologists like Hector Avalos who cut to the roots of certain sorts of religious violence, and today’s guest, physicist Victor Stenger who takes a purely scientific view on the supernatural. Can science prove God does not, can not, exist? Many scientists, atheistic scientists in fact, disagree on the answer to this question.

DS Wilson says science is not in the business of proving or disproving God because it only can deal with that for which there is evidence (or not), and that making claims about God (for or against) is doing philosophy and not science. Dr. Stenger disagrees. He discusses the claims made about God and submits them to the same rigor he would to any claim science reviews. So his he doing science or philosophy, or both. You can decide this week as we talk with Dr. Stenger’s about new book: God: The Failed Hypothesis.

Dr. Victor Stenger is emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is also the author of Has Science Found God?, The Unconscious Quantum and Not by Design.

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