Victor Stenger, Physicist and Prolific Atheist Author, is Dead at 79

Dr. Victor J. Stenger, the physicist and prolific author who wrote the 2007 New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis, died late Wednesday night in Hawaii at the age of 79. Phylliss, his wife of more than 50 years, told me via email that the cause was “an aneurysm next to his heart.” He will be cremated on Saturday and a memorial will be held in Honolulu on Sunday.

Stenger had a somewhat lower profile than the other “New Atheist” authors, but his books, which he dished out year after year, offered up explanations of how the universe works and how it came to be, without resorting to supernatural explanations. God: The Failed Hypothesis was the first NYT bestseller in (secular publisher) Prometheus Books’ history. But even if you didn’t read his books, you may have heard his memorable phrase, “Science flies you to the moon. Religion you into buildings.”

As I write this, there’s a copy of his massive forthcoming book God and the Multiverse right next to me. I’ll post an excerpt soon, but it tackles many of the biggest questions we can ever think about, such as whether the universe has a beginning, the possibility of a multiverse, and the parameters needed for life on other planets. That’s the sort of thinker he was.

I’ve reached out to those who knew him for comments.