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God and the Multiverse: Humanity's Expanding View of the Cosmos [Format Kindle]

Victor J. Stenger

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Revue de presse

God and the Multiverse takes you on a cosmological trek through eternal inflation, multiple universes, quantum gravity, and God. This book will forever change the way you view reality.”  
Dr. Peter Boghossian, author of A Manual for Creating Atheists
“A masterful lesson on cutting-edge cosmology. It also presents a broad and penetrating rebuttal to claims that science offers anything approaching proof of the existence of supernatural gods. When people say that Earth was intelligently fine-tuned for life or that the universe reveals itself to be a magical creation, this is the perfect book to place in their hands. Light on speculations and heavy with evidence-based conclusions, God and the Multiverse is a remarkable tour through reality that is sure to deepen anyone’s understanding of the cosmos.”    
Guy P. Harrison, author of Think: Why You Should Question Everything
“Victor J. Stenger provides a methodical, comprehensive review of the scientific developments necessary to grasp the fundamental problems and current ideas in cosmology, the origin of the universe, and the notions of god that emerge from these. An informative read, indispensable for audiences interested in these and similar issues.”
Demos Kazanas, NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center

“The multiverse is one of the most exciting and controversial ideas in all of science today, with implications for both cosmology and theology, and there is no one writing on these topics better than Victor Stenger. His exposition of difficult topics in physics is brilliantly lucid; and his treatment of theologians and their religious beliefs, unfailingly fair. With this book you are in the hands of a masterful thinker and writer. If you are going to read just one book on science and religion, this is that work.”
Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and author of The Moral Arc, Why Darwin Matters, and The Believing Brain
“In this fascinating and provocative book, Stenger takes us on an eye-opening journey down the road of scientific progress from the earliest of creation myths and cosmologies to the frontiers of modern science—including the growing consensus that our universe is part of a much vaster, perhaps infinite, multiverse. Along the way we find the roadside littered with failed cosmologies, discarded creator gods, and antiquated ways of thinking about the cosmos and our place in it. This books is truly a must read for anyone interested in the development of scientific cosmology and the various ways it clashes with the religions of yesterday and today!”
Gregg D. Caruso, author of Free Will and Consciousness, editor in chief of Science, Religion & Culture

“Although a prominent and outspoken atheist, Stenger has never opposed the existence of God, per se. What he passionately repudiates is the unwarranted acceptance and celebration of anything not found in the data. Equally egregious to this prolific writer is the plague of intellectual laziness and its profligate yield. Avoiding the miasma of bloviating bluster, Stenger skillfully articulates the reasons why science is uniquely qualified to enlighten curious minds and advance empirical understandings. God and the Multiverse is chock-full of compelling arguments why God is supererogatory and that any discussion of divine providence is an unproductive exercise.”
Dr. Kim M. Clark, author of Escaping the Darkness of Religious Light
“With insight and sometimes with personal stories, Stenger takes us in eminently readable fashion through the history of the universe and of our understanding of it. He is a friendly guide, and both historically minded readers and those searching for the latest about the Higgs boson, dark matter, inflation, and gravity waves are accommodated. He evaluates the relevance of religion at many points, as a theme, but the book can be happily read with or without that interest.”
Jay M. Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College and chair of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society
“Stenger has recorded the entire history of multiverse theory from antiquity through the middle ages and all the way to the present. You won’t find this story written anywhere else in such detail. Every important figure, from philosopher to scientist, is placed in the sequence of events, and the strongest evidence confirming the big bang theory is surveyed. And from there we learn why the multiverse is not a flight of fancy but a plausible scientific theory based on hundreds of years of empirical discoveries and observations, which Stenger rightly contrasts with the ridiculous speculations of theologians standing on no evidence whatsoever.”
Richard Carrier, PhD, author of Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus

Présentation de l'éditeur

Cosmologists have reasons to believe that the vast universe in which we live is just one of an endless number of other universes within a multiverse—a mind-boggling array that may extend indefinitely in space and endlessly in both the past and the future. Victor Stenger reviews the key developments in the history of science that led to the current consensus view of astrophysicists, taking pains to explain essential concepts and discoveries in accessible terminology. The author shows that science’s emerging understanding of the multiverse—consisting of trillions upon trillions of galaxies—is fully explicable in naturalistic terms with no need for supernatural forces to explain its origin or ongoing existence. 

How can conceptions of God, traditional or otherwise, be squared with this new worldview? The author shows how long-held beliefs will need to undergo major revision or otherwise face eventual extinction.

From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2156 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 450 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1616149701
  • Editeur : Prometheus Books (9 septembre 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°230.211 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  25 commentaires
30 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Solid but may be too Challenging and Dry for the Layperson 16 septembre 2014
Par Book Shark - Publié sur Amazon.com
God and the Multiverse: Humanity's View of the Cosmos by Victor J. Stenger

"God and the Multiverse" traces the history of humanity's view of the cosmos and examines how that view has changed over the last ten thousand years to the present. Sadly, Dr. Stenger passed away before the release of this book in which he makes use of disciplines within physics to present plausible scenarios for a natural origin of our universe and though more speculative infers that our universe is but one of an eternal multiverse that contains unlimited number of other universes. This provocative yet challenging 447-page book includes the following sixteen chapters: 1. From Myth to Science, 2. Toward the New Cosmos, 3. Beyond Unaided Human Vision, 4. Glimpses of the Unimagined, 5. Heat, Light, and the Atom, 6. The Second Physics Revolution, 7. Island Universes, 8. A Dynamic Cosmos, 9. Nuclear Cosmology, 10. Relics of the Big Bang, 11. Particles and the Cosmos, 12. Inflation, 13. Falling Up, 14. Modeling the Universe, 15. The Eternal Multiverse, and 16. Life and God.

1. A well-written and well-researched book.
2. An interesting topic, humanity's evolving understanding of the cosmos.
3. Dr. Stenger has a great command of the topic and tries his darndest to keep it accessible.
4. The book's emphasis is on science. That is a focus on observation and experiment than theory. "If a model agrees with the data, then it has something to do with reality."
5. Plenty of graphs, illustrations and charts to assist the reader.
6. Provocative. "Short of divine revelation, for which no evidence exists, I know of no method by which we can determine what is ultimately real. The best we can do is make ever-improving observations and describe them with ever more accurate models."
7. The interesting and often times difficult interaction between religion and science. "They also tried to deal with Psalm 93, which declares that the foundation of Earth remain forever unmoved, and other biblical contradictions. Rheticus wrote a tract attempting to rectify Copernicus with holy scripture, but it was never published."
8. Far-out facts. "From these and other observations, it has been determined that luminous matter--the stars and hot gas we see in the sky by eye and instrument--constitutes a mere 0.5 percent of the total mass of our universe."
9. Contributions from the great scientists of the past and present throughout the book. "Einstein also predicted that a clock in a gravitational field runs slower, as observed by someone outside the field. This is called gravitational time dilation and is derived directly from general relativity. This effect is also well confirmed. If the GPS in your car did not correct for gravitational time dilation, it would not always take you to where you want to go."
10. Does a great job of chronicling the history of astronomy by highlighting the most note-worthy developments in cosmology. "Then, in January 1913 he obtained his result: The spectrum of Andromeda was blue-shifted, that is, shifted to shorter wavelengths. Assuming the mechanism was a Doppler shift, Slipher calculated that Andromeda is moving toward us with a speed or radial velocity of 300 kilometers per second."
11. An interesting look at the big bang model and its implications. "In other words, the big bang should not be taken as evidence for a creator God since that God is hidden. Many like Lemaître who choose to believe in God despite the fact that his existence is far from obvious have little recourse but to assume that he must have reasons to hide from us. However, this "hiddenness argument" has been shown to fail."
12. The discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and the rise of particle physics. A look at the theoretical ideas behind the standard model.
13. An interesting look at the theoretical problems with the big-bang model: the flatness problem, the horizon problem, the structure problem, and the monopole problem.
14. Key concepts of science conveyed to the public. "Even when a model passes a test that could have falsified it, this does not mean that the model has been proved conclusively and will not someday be superseded by a better model." Another one, "Major discoveries in physics usually lead to simpler theories with fewer adjustable parameters."
15. Provides conclusions based on the best of our current knowledge. "In short, our universe had a beginning, but it need not have been the beginning of everything."
16. Explains the concept of the multiverse. "The `World Ensemble' or multiverse was motivated by established science--with no thought whatsoever to theology. It is the conclusion of our best current models of cosmology based on the extremely precise observations of modern astronomy and our best knowledge of fundamental physics."
17. Eternal Inflation. "According to eternal inflation, once expansion starts it never ends, with new universes being created all the time. In 1986, Andrei Linde elaborated the idea, showing how it was possible that the universe reproduces itself indefinitely and "may have no beginning or end."
18. The last chapter of the book covers some of the big philosophical questions. "However, based on our best current knowledge it is hard to imagine that in this immense universe there aren't countless planets with some form of life." "Why should nonbeing, no matter how defined, be the default state of existence rather than being?"
19. Dr. Stenger takes glee in debunking some of the more popular arguments for theism including the Fine-Tuning Argument. "In short, nothing in our observations of the universe requires the existence of God. Furthermore, the absence of evidence that should be there for the actions of God rules out beyond a reasonable doubt the kind of God worshipped by most of humanity."
20. Notes and formal bibliography included.

1. Though intended for the masses, most laypersons will struggle with this book. Elementary particle physics and astrophysics even at its most basic is challenging.
2. Surprisingly, this book is not as engaging as I'd hoped. It can be dry and even tedious.
3. A graphical timeline of the multiverse theory would have been helpful.
4. It requires an investment of your time.

In summary, this may be too challenging of a book for the layperson to really enjoy. Elementary particle physics and astrophysics even at its most basic will perplex the average reader plus the book does not do any favors by being too dry. The late Dr. Stenger does provide the public with a solid chronicle of the cosmos and makes a good case for the multiverse. A solid effort but may have limited appeal. Recommended for science lovers but not for laypeople.

Further recommendations: "God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist", "The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us", and "God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion" by Victor Stenger, "The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries, and Future of the Cosmos" by John Brockman, "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing" by Lawrence M. Krauss, "Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality" by Max Tegmark, "Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth" by Jim Baggott, "The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory" by Brian Greene, "About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang" by Adam Frank, "Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space" and "Warped Passages" by Lisa Randall, "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking, and "The Quantum Universe" by Brian Cox.
19 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 but if you do not have a pretty good background in math (I do not) you will ... 8 novembre 2014
Par Joseph L. Famulary - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I find myself in agreement with much of the other reviews. To put it my own words:
This is not a book about the multiverse or "Humanity's Expanding View of the Cosmos." What is said about the multiverse could have been said in a chapter, or two at the most.

It is written in two languages: English and math. There is nothing complicated about the math, but if you do not have a pretty good background in math (I do not) you will have to keep extensive notes to keep up with what the literals stand for and be comfortable with scientific notation. Fortunately for the layman, you do not need to understand the math.

After reading several chapters, I realized that the work is part of an ongoing debate between the author, who takes the position that a supernatural being is not needed to explain the creation of the universe (or multiverse), and those who say God is behind it all. One William Lane Craig is the prime representative of the latter and is attacked, sometimes in a personal way.

To make his case the author tries to convince the reader that "something" can be created from "nothing" by understanding physics. This is an extremely difficult notion to grasp and is not explained well. The definition of nothing is called into question, but not answered, which makes the author's case less tenable.

If you want to understand the concept of multiverse you would probably do better reading a book that does not center on a debate between two opposing camps.

Nevertheless, there is a lot of good physics history included. To avoid the math jargon, which can be intimidating and I suspect would put off those without a math background, just avoid it! You will still get the essence of the physics discussed.
30 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Megaverse through the eyes of a Megamind 9 septembre 2014
Par Kim M. Clark OD - Publié sur Amazon.com
"On winter mornings," mused a contemplative Stenger, "I can look out my office window to an empty field covered with fresh snow. Occasionally I will see footprints of wild animals ....I rarely see the animals themselves, but I know they exist by the fact that they left footprints. God has left no footprints on the snows of time." And for this acclaimed physicist, we celebrate only what observation and rigorous testing confirms and not what unhinged minds imagine.

In "God and the Multiverse" (his most recent and, sadly, what will be his last of thirteen books), Dr. Stenger explains why nothing - nothing - in the data points to divine providence or remotely suggests that god was ever part of the cosmic algorithm. In all probability, there never was a beginning and nor will there be an end. The Big Bang was a symmetry-breaking event - a phase transition - not a first moment in time. For this prolific writer and erudite physicist, "The widespread assertion that our universe is fine-tuned for life is greatly overblown and not required by known physics. Our existence on Earth is a simple matter of natural selection. With every type of planet possible in the multiverse, we naturally evolved on one with the properties needed for intelligent life. In short, nothing in our observations of the universe requires the existence of God."

Chapters 1-4 are an informative and instructive review of the history of science and our incremental egress from the darkness of religious dogma and primitive thinking. But while Stenger expends great effort presenting chapters 5-15 in language accessible to most readers, physics is, well, physics. And physics is not always intuitive (think quantum mechanics here) or easy to understand. (I recall an undergraduate physics professor announcing: "If physics was easy, we'd all be physicists.") My advice to those feeling overwhelmed or, perhaps, reeling from "information overload": push on - your efforts will be rewarded. For chapter 16 to be recognized for its significance and relevance requires that the author be allowed to first construct an infrastructure upon which to support his meticulously argued thesis: namely, that there is no god; only an eternal and ever evolving multiverse.

For this critical thinker, Chapter 16 is a brilliant achievement and a solid piece of writing. The largeness of our universe (and its parent multiverse) truly is mind-numbingly complex and near impossible to comprehend. And in the light of that fact, the comparative smallness that is the human race is sufficient reason to humbly concede that our fathers got it very wrong. In spite of anything holy writ has to say to the contrary, we truly are more common than unique.

If the observable universe were not huge enough (keep in mind that the cosmic event horizon is over 46 billion light years away), the universe that exists beyond our view - receding at speeds greater than the speed of light - is several orders of magnitude larger (at least 10^23 times larger, in fact). As Stenger notes, the observable universe is to the universe what a single grain of sand is to the Sahara desert. Put that little factoid in your pipe and smoke it! If that were not enough to bruise unbridled egos, consider this: There are roughly 7.2 billion people living on Earth at this time. Yet, there are more Earthlike planets living in the habitable "Goldilocks zone" of the Milky Way than there are people! And ours is but one of over 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe! In other words, as Stenger reflects, there is likely to be 10^44 habitable planets in the universe. (Did I forget to mention that, according to some models, our universe is but one of 10^500 in the multiverse?) And yet we insist that God hears and answers each and every prayer, and that he's mindful of our every need. Oy vey!

Data doesn't lie, and nor does it bend to the preference or weight of public opinion. Stenger argues convincingly that god truly is a daffy idea; a spawn of impoverished thinking intended to quell pusillanimous fears. Moreover, truth is deaf to dogma, thus making any discussion of a supreme being (or reference to the miraculous) an unproductive use of time and resources. And in the light of what's been observed from this end of the telescope, at least, any suggestion that we're special is intolerable foolishness. In short, hubris and an inflated sense of uniqueness and importance are emotions derived from ignorance; the luxury of not knowing just how truly insignificant we are, and how ubiquitous is life in the infinite and unbounded cosmos.

As Stenger explains, "a strong case can be made that we live in an eternal multiverse containing an unlimited number of other universes." God is assumed because, in the eyes of undisciplined and impatient observers, the probability of random events giving rise to our universe is "prohibitively small." But from an infinite and eternal cosmological model (such as the inflationary multiverse), all things are not only possible but virtually certain - to include our "little bubble," the universe that we know. And it happened without God.

Finally, a few thoughts about the now late author are appropriate. I learned of Vic's unexpected passing while preparing this online review. To say that I was saddened greatly understates the palpable sense of loss that overcame me. While his voice has been silenced, his views, wisdom, and perspective are immutable. We are fortunate to live at a time when science and its inflexible and unbending methods are thriving, and when polymaths and intellectuals like Vic Stenger (1935 - 2014) are eager to share what their lettered brilliance has achieved. While I did not always agree with Stenger's understanding of the facts (such occasions are too few to mention), I will be forever grateful that I discovered his substantive writings. I've read most of what this prolific author has written. His books occupy a place of prominence in my sanctuary (what others know as a library). Stenger was not a timorous maven, and nor was he inclined to cower from the stentorian arrogance advanced by Bible-thumping apologists; those happy to repose in the haughty airs of certainty. But as I've written elsewhere, "You cannot ignore the evidence and insist that you've prevailed." When it came to getting it right, Stenger was tenacious. His standard was uncompromising and nonnegotiable: only hypotheses derived from the data warranted his attention. I'd like to think that the Hungarian philosopher of mathematics and science Imre Lakatos had Stenger in mind, when he wrote: "A scientist, worthy of the name, was not allowed to guess: he had to prove each sentence he uttered from facts.... Theories unproven from facts were regarded as sinful pseudoscience, heresy in the scientific community." (Philosophy of Science: Central Issues, 22)

As I've reflected on Vic's remarkable career, something he wrote almost 20 years ago came to mind: "Few physicists share my interest in the borderlands of science." (The Unconscious Quantum, 193) And in that regard, I would argue, this seasoned scholar and formidable voice of reason has distinguished himself.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 excellent review of current thinking in astrophysics 27 octobre 2014
Par Brian Asalone - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
First let me say that the reason I rated this 5 stars is because I feel it is a great review of the current progress of physics. Stenger gives a history of how we got to where we are and then goes into current events. He gives a great background for the various proofs for inflation and the big bang. However, the title is deceiving. It really is not a book which spends most of its time with religion versus science. It is only at the end that Stenger goes a bit more into the debate about some aspects of current physics versus religious beliefs. He addresses the anthropic principle and some issues that other apologists have made (mistakenly) about a fine tuned universe.
If you are interested in getting a good, detailed summary of current thinking in physics, this book is excellent. If you are looking for a book debating science versus religion, there are better books for that subject.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Finely tuned to physics 16 novembre 2014
Par Dr. Lee D. Carlson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
The conducting and reporting of scientific research requires a degree of intellectual honesty, both personal and public, that is usually not required in religion and politics. Typically, the goal of the latter two is control, both personal and public, and any counterexamples found to its dogmas or beliefs are usually dealt with by force, censorship, or marketing hype. False professionalism, namely the feigning of intellectual competence, is characteristic of many who inhabit these areas, and evidence or supporting data is usually thought of as a necessary evil instead of a guide for decisions or revisions of thought. There are only a few examples that the reviewer is aware of where sound, scientific and constructive inquiry takes place in the fields of religion and politics.

This book, with its dramatic and beautifully designed cover, is not of course free of marketing hype, but within its pages one will find a highly interesting and informative account of the physics and astronomy behind some of the new conceptions that are beginning to be hotly debated among physicists and astronomers. It also serves as a counterweight to those assertions made by religious apologists who want to use astrophysical research to support their beliefs as to the divine origin of the things that be. Both the author and the religionists he quotes are biased, but the author is aware of his biases and freely admits them, knowing full well that a privileged apodictic point of view is not possible in science (or even desired).

Along these lines, the author describes himself as being an instrumentalist, and promotes instrumentalism as the view that the models built by scientists don't correspond exactly to reality. His opinion on the reality of quantum fields in the book is a clear example of his stance on the "ontological status" of scientific models. He is careful to distance himself though from some religious apologists who want to label him and others as subscribing to what is called "ontological pluralism", which as the name implies assets that there are many independent "valid" realities. Some readers, even of a purely scientific persuasion, may object to the instrumentalist "worldview", and might be tempted, because of its emphasis on empirical results, to classify it as yet another manifestation of positivism, the latter of which has become almost a dirty word in some professional circles in the philosophy of science.

One should not view the contents of this book as promoting an instrumentalist worldview however, and there are many surprising scientific facts that will be encountered between its covers, even for readers with a solid background in physics or astronomy. One example of this is the discussion of the entropy at the Planck time, and another is the discussion (albeit brief) on the ACDM model. And as is always the case in rational discussion of physical models, charts and data abound. For readers who are pressed for time and are not able to consult the original literature, these are welcome additions.

One could argue perhaps that the author has wasted page space in attempting to refute or even address the arguments of religionists such as William Lane Craig and Robin Collins that the author feels he has to deal with in this book, even if they appear to be "physics savvy" as the author describes them. These individuals, as well as physicists who are interested in this problem, need to show that life, even if based strictly on carbon chemistry, would be impossible without the "fine-tuning" hypothesis. To show this would require a solution of the bound state problem in quantum field theory, which to this date is the major unsolved problem in quantum field theory. But the reviewer has not found any written record that fine-tuning religious apologists are interested in solving physics problems of this kind, difficult as they are and requiring massive commitments of time and resources. As it stands, and the author gives several examples showing the weaknesses of their assertions, colloquially speaking their arguments are to be viewed as a slice of bread lying in a bowl of milk. When picked up for examination, it falls to pieces.
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