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The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe…

The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us

by Victor J. Stenger

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Good readable technical book. Demolishes creationist hypotheses by organizing present theories in a readable way.

Also posits that most scientific claims by theists are misunderstandings. Discusses origin of the universe, human consciousness briefly.

The equations may be very intimidating to the lay reader, but a semester of college math should be sufficient to understand them. A good book, and a necessary one. But those who did not reason themselves into these positions cannot easily be reasoned out of them. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
When physicists set out to explicate physics for a lay audience, they often make the mistake of assuming their audience is well versed in mathematical formulae and the esoterica of physics language. Stenger is no exception, and the endless stream of equations and "physics speak" mars what is otherwise a very good book about the idea that the universe is fine-tuned for human life. He does a decent job of explaining the basic concepts he is covering, and why they are questionable based on the standard model of physics (he does not spend much time on multiverses, but he does briefly touch on that as an idea; he rejects the anthropic principle based solely on the standard model); however, as he gets into his proofs, he generates a dazzling array of equations and explanations that serve to obscure as much as they illuminate. It takes a great deal of work to move through a Stenger book to the end; but if you are willing to put in that work and make the necessary adjustments in your expectations of what a book for non-physicists should look like, the end result is worth the effort. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Jan 9, 2013 |
I've been looking forward to "The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us," by Victor J. Stenger, for quite a while, especially ever since I was privileged to view a draft of the book.

I found the book to be very well written and, despite the complex equations and the math, Mr. Stenger's descriptions of what the math represented allowed me to at least grasp the essence of the physics he was explaining and why they show the many arguments for "fine-tuning" are inaccurate. So, take note for those who don't have a strong background in math: you do not need to know any math to read and understand this book. Mr. Stenger purposefully wrote the book so as to explain what the equations mean, but added them for those who are more mathematically inclined and to include more evidence for his claims.

The arguments the author covers are many and varied, and I believe cover the majority of "fine-tuning" arguments that are in use today. For example, he covers the alleged "fine-tuning" of the various parameters of particles; the expansion rate of the universe; he covers in some detail the misunderstanding about the possibility of an eternal universe, etc. He also discusses Bayesian arguments against the claims of fine-tuning and I found this part of the book to be very interesting. I hadn't come across these kinds of arguments before and I think they make a good addition to the science-based arguments.

As with all of his books, he is able to explain the complexities of physics to even a layman like myself and I think that is one of the most valuable things about this book.

If you feel bombarded by arguments by apologists about why the universe is "fine-tuned" I'd highly recommend this book. And if you're not so much into debate, it's still an excellent book on physics and the history and variety of the claims of "fine-tuning" and how science is able to demonstrate the non-existence of god. ( )
  BookLvr89 | Apr 20, 2012 |
Why the Universe Is Not Engineered for Us_, by Victor J Stenger, Prometheus Books, 2011. "[E]ven in the unlikely case that only a single universe exists, there is no fine-tuning ..." (p 231). Physicist Stenger, with the aid of the relevant mathematics, thoroughly debunks the arguments of those who are desperate to justify their belief that the constants and laws of physics and cosmology must have been ultra-delicately set by a god. Their "solution" explains nothing (What is the origin and nature of the god?) and is tantamount to just giving up. Stenger nevertheless sees fit to examine their writings in detail, instead of ignoring them as he would presumably ignore their cousins the flat-Earthers. The detail I most liked is the pointer (www.talkreason.org/articles/super.cfm) to a Bayesian analysis showing that observation of the universe's "life-friendliness" can only *support* the hypothesis that naturalism, not supernaturalism, is true. As mathematician Ian Stewart has cuttingly observed, going gaga over fine-tuning is like saying, "Isn't it amazing that our legs are just long enough to reach the ground?"
  fpagan | Nov 9, 2011 |
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