This quote is from the Amazon description of his forthcoming book, “God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist.” Provocative title. I’m stoked. Amazon has gotten my pre-order. Just need to wait for January 2007 to have my faithless faith invigorated.
Stenger came to my attention recently when I read a review of his “The Comprehensible Cosmos” in New Scientist. Since I found it difficult to comprehend even much of the one page review, I figured that I’d wait for Stenger’s next book—which appears to be less technical—than plow through this title.
I did appreciate this passage from Marcus Chown’s review, however:
The symmetries that lead to the laws of physics are exactly the same as those that would apply if the universe were completely empty. They are the symmetries of the void.
Wu! And…Whew! Great news. I’ve got this primal fear of non-existence, so it’s comforting to know that the something of this universe is founded on nothing. The seeming emptiness of the void, says Stenger, is the source of everything. Chown writes:
Something came from nothing, he [Stenger] says, because something is more stable than nothing. In the beginning, there was the void, governed by the laws of the void, but the void changed into something more structured—rearranged nothing, if you like—just like featureless water changing into crystalline ice because at low temperatures ice is more stable than water.
It’s nice to know that something is more stable than nothing. Hopefully this means that the something I am now won’t revert to a formless blob of nothingness after death. But if it does, the good news is that I won’t be around to worry about it.
What I find most inspiring about Stenger’s yet-to-be-published book is that science has found absolute no trace—nada, zilch, nicht—of God in the universe. This is the conclusion I’ve come to also, albeit from a more mystical perspective.
After thousands of years of people meditating, contemplating, praying, and otherwise searching for some demonstrable sign of God’s presence, the result is total absence. Zero verifiable evidence has been put on the religious table. All we have are subjective claims, not objective facts.
As Stenger says, this is just what you would expect if God does not exist. It is also just what you would expect if there were a reality beyond the physical that does not interact with materiality other than through the laws of nature.
Either way, religious worship is a crock. Almost certainly divinity never has, nor ever will be, found outwardly in a person, book, icon, or holy place. If it is to be found at all, it will be inwardly—in the depths of the unfathomable mystery that manifests as life, consciousness, existence.
Nothing is what we find when we look within. After thirty-five years of meditation I can testify to that. Yet this nothing may, repeat, may, be akin to, if not identical with, ultimate reality.
Such is the ageless message of great mystics. And it is entirely compatible with the message of the new physics. There’s no God out there. Perhaps, though, there is in here.
Take a browse around Victor Stenger’s website. I like his style. It’s refreshing to find a Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy who also is an adjunct philosophy professor.