Victor Stenger, atheism’s ‘fifth horseman,’ dies at 79

Sep 9, 2014

By Kimberly Winston

 

The atheist community is mourning the death of Victor Stenger, a prominent physicist who championed rooting out religion from the public sphere and was best known for quipping: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.”

Stenger, who also graced a short list of authors who hit The New York Times best-seller list writing about atheism, died Aug. 25 in Hawaii. He was 79.

Atheist, skeptic and science blogs, in the U.S. and in England, were filled with tributes and remembrances over the long holiday weekend.

“Vic was an unassuming physicist and teacher who took on the challenge [of] taking science out of the classroom and applied it to some of our most sacred cows, from psychics and New Age belief to Intelligent Design creationism,” skeptic D.J. Grothe said on The Friendly Atheist blog.

Read more here.

10 comments on “Victor Stenger, atheism’s ‘fifth horseman,’ dies at 79

  • “I used to joke with Vic that hanging out with him was like dog hours — seven to one — he’d give me more to think about in one hour than seven hours of anything else I could possibly do,” said Peter Boghossian.

    Riches to cut out and keep.



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  • I concur with everything this great man said apropos of the total incompatibility between science and religion, but, and here I’m putting my head firmly on the block, I question his contention that science can prove that God, or some kind of supernatural entity, does not exist.

    My understanding, for what it’s worth, is that it’s impossible to prove a negative, and therein lies the main problem with religion; unlike science, it cannot be falsified or verified; and that’s a hell of a get out of jail card!

    As someone who thinks that the best way of making progress is by means of scientific inquiry, that’s the one thing that prevents me from being an atheist; humanist, secularist, rationalist and sceptic, of course, but although I feel certain that the concept of God is a human construction, atheism is not something to which I can subscribe.

    Despite the fact that the prefix “A” means nothing more than “not” or “without”.



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  • Stafford Gordon Sep 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I concur with everything this great man said apropos of the total incompatibility between science and religion, but, and here I’m putting my head firmly on the block, I question his contention that science can prove that God, or some kind of supernatural entity, does not exist.

    My understanding, for what it’s worth, is that it’s impossible to prove a negative, and therein lies the main problem with religion; unlike science, it cannot be falsified or verified; and that’s a hell of a get out of jail card!

    This surely is simply because of the vagueness, or designed semantic refutation resistance, of claims and the current state of gapology.

    Numerous (contradictory) theist claims, – made by actual religions (as distinct from vague obfuscation by philosophers), CAN be refuted.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/08/the-feuerstein-fallacy/#li-comment-154345



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  • 10
    aquilacane says:

    I concur with everything this great man said apropos of the total incompatibility between science and religion, but, and here I’m putting my head firmly on the block, I question his contention that science can prove that God, or some kind of supernatural entity, does not exist.

    If you can prove enough alternate explanations for the claims attributed to a god then you can remove the potential for the gods existence simply by removing all of the claims that define a gods existence.

    If I claim the existence of a unique vehicle, the Vlandenburken MK VII, that is defined by the characteristic of transporting my daughters to school but it can be proven that a bus takes my daughters to school, then it can be argued that a Vlandenburken MK VII, as defined, does not exist.

    If what we call supernatural capacity actually exists, then it is not supernatural but just another form of the natural world. Supernatural entities cannot exist because supernatural is impossible. All that exists within reality, by any mechanism and with any capacity, is natural by definition.



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