Dr. Victor J. Stenger - God and the Folly of Faith
Last night I had the privilege of speaking with particle physicist and New Atheist author Dr. Victor J. Stenger on my radio show at National Progressive Talk Radio. (nptr.net) It was a great interview, which in an hour barely scratched the surface of Dr. Stenger’s excellent new book God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion.
I’m not going to post a complete book review, for the same reason I haven’t been posting much lately on BSJ: other projects such as the radio show and documentary have been keeping me extremely busy. But I thought any readers still with me after this long hiatus would appreciate the update.
Dr. Stenger’s book compares favorably in scope with Daniel Dennett’s 2006 Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. Rather than analyzing religion as evolutionary psychology, Stenger takes a comprehensive journey through scientific thought from Plato, Aristotle, Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius through the founding of Christianity and Islam, the enlightenment and into the modern age. He demonstrates how religion has repeatedly opposed science on a political basis, (ironically sometimes aiding it when it seemed temporarily to suit religious purposes). He discusses creation myths and the overwhelming scientific evidence of an eternal universe (multiverse). And he eviscerates any blinkered notions that science might support “quantum spirituality.”
This is not a polemic, but a reasoned critique by a seasoned scientist and philosopher, updated for 2012. He takes on the arguments of at least a dozen well-known proponents or apologists for religion, including William Lane Craig, Dinesh D’Souza, and Deepak Chopra. And he highlights the dramatically negative effects religion has had on the American political landscape on every subject from contraception and stem-cell research to climate change and same-sex marriage. There’s a great deal more substance to this book than I can summarize in a few brief paragraphs.
Check out the interview and the book. It’s well worth your time. And stay tuned for updates about the radio show and new National Progressive Talk Radio website launching soon.