God and the Folly of Faith

God and the Folly of Faith

The Incompatibility of Science and Religion

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
A thorough and hard-hitting critique that is a must read for anyone interested in the interaction between religion and science.

It has become the prevalent view among sociologists, historians, and some theistic scientists that religion and science have never been in serious conflict. Some even claim that Christianity was responsible for the development of science. In a sweeping historical survey that begins with ancient Greek science and proceeds through the Renaissance and Enlightenment to contemporary advances in physics and cosmology, Stenger makes a convincing case that not only is this conclusion false, but Christianity actually held back the progress of science for one thousand years. It is significant, he notes, that the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century occurred only after the revolts against established ecclesiastic authorities in the Renaissance and Reformation opened up new avenues of thought.

The author goes on to detail how religion and science are fundamentally incompatible in several areas: the origin of the universe and its physical parameters, the origin of complexity, holism versus reductionism, the nature of mind and consciousness, and the source of morality. In the end, Stenger is most troubled by the negative influence that organized religion often exerts on politics and society. He points out antiscientific attitudes embedded in popular religion that are being used to suppress scientific results on issues of global importance, such as overpopulation and environmental degradation. When religion fosters disrespect for science, it threatens the generations of humanity that will follow ours.

Baker & Taylor
Looking at both historical and contemporary contexts, the author argues that religion has played a major role in suppressing scientific pursuit.

Book News
A stalwart in the atheist movement, Stenger (philosophy, U. of Colorado and emeritus physics and astronomy, U. of Hawaii) calls for scientists and other rationalists to join together to put a stop to those who insist they have some sacred right to decide what kind of society everyone else must live in. His perspectives include the earliest skirmishes, particles and waves, purpose, beyond evolution, and why it matters. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

& Taylor

Looking at both historical and contemporary contexts, the author argues that religion has played a major role in suppressing scientific pursuit. Original.

Publisher: Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2012
Description: 408 p. ; 23 cm
ISBN: 9781616145996
Branch Call Number: 201.65 Ste


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

roaddogg09 May 21, 2012

Just to make something explicitly clear, Stenger's thesis is to show that, ". . . the incompatibility being claimed here is not between the majority of religionists and scientists. It is between the worldviews and methods of science and religion as systems of thought" (pg. 277). That being said, Stenger makes a quite persuasive case that religion and science are incompatible methods of viewing and assessing the world.

Stenger covers a lot of ground in this book. He not only covers the historical conflict between science and religion, but he documents the specific areas where the conflict arises, why supernatural explanations ultimately fail, and why scientific thought wins out at the end of the day. I personally enjoyed Stenger's historical journey through the growth and evolution of scientific thought.

Having read Stenger's other books, there were parts that weren't necessarily new to me, but that doesn't mean I did not learn anything. He has a way of explaining concepts and ideas in easy-to-understand language. Stenger takes head-on the claims of many contemporary religious thinkers and leaders and shows why and how their evidences for God fail.

I've had a conflict with myself between accommodating or confronting religion. I'm sympathetic to both ideas, and we must be wary of which camp we choose, but Stenger makes a strong case for the confrontational view. The final chapter is his 'call to arms' if you will, and he lays out why the conflict between science and religion truly matters for the future of our species and planet. With the rise of the Christian Right and their seemingly endless amount of money, we must stand-up and fight against the anti-scientific and unconstitutional views of some of our elected officials.

"I have an urgent plea to scientists and all thinking people. We need to focus our attention on one goal, which will not be reached in the lifetime of the youngest among us, but which has to be achieved someday if humanity is to survive: the eradication of foolish faith from the face of this planet" (pg. 322).

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top