If you are looking for a solid treatment of theism by science, Stenger’s book is a great place to start. He takes the claims made by the three major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity), and treats them with suitable, albeit strict, scientific analysis.
As an atheist, I have already come to my conclusions about the existence of a god, but it was very interesting to read about a physicist’s perspective on the big question that every theist will eventually resort to: “if God did not make the universe, then who did?” Apparently, the laws of physics allowed for the creation of something out of nothing, increasing universal entropy, and the prevalence of something over nothing, etc. It is such a more reasoned and interesting take on the universe than the arcane views of religion.
Here’s a summary of what I learned from the book, and the main thrust of the book itself.
Gods Who Disagree With the Data
Science shows that there is not:
- A god who is responsible for the complexity of life and the universe. Natural processes like evolution by natural selection and apparent complexity from the random interaction of particles account for a universe that is without design.
- A god who gives immortal souls. A hundred years of neuroscience shows that everything that was classically attributed to the soul is really a creation of the mind, which is dependent on the brain, which is a physical construction.
- A god who performs miracles. There is no reliable evidence that any significant suspension of the laws of reality has ever occurred. Even events in the Bible like the “Exodus”, have been shown to be without historical evidence.
- A god who created the universe. There is no indication that any physical laws were broken in order to create the universe and give “order” to it. Physical laws, as we understand them, account for the creation of the universe without the need for divine intervention.
- A god who fine-tuned the universe for human life specifically. The structure of the universe appears to be random. The evolution of humans was biological happenstance. Humans could only reasonably exist on this planet, which is already only a certain percentage habitable. Nothing about the vastness of space is congenial to human life.
- A god who communicates through personal revelation. There is no evidence of any revelation that has contained information that the “receiver” could not have already known herself. No substantial revelation has ever been historically confirmed.
- A god who is the source of human morality. Evolution perfectly explains the origins of human morality from the beginnings of group altruism. Humans also have “internal compasses” that are universal across all humans, and respond in similar ways regardless of beliefs.
- A god who is logically consistent with the existence of evil in the world. Try to explain why a omnibenevolent god lets 9,000,000 children before the age of 5 die every year.
Aided by this abridged summary, I don’t see any reason for us to suppose supernatural interventions for things that have more reasonable, natural explanations.
That summary was the main point of the book, but for further elaboration on each point, go pick up a copy.