One of my first atheist heroes, Victor Stenger, dead at 79.

SteVi_Web_StillHemant reports that the great Victor Stenger is dead.  He is neither in heaven or hell, but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is the mark he left in the world we all share.  If a person’s greatness is defined by the number minds changed and lives altered, Victor Stenger memory shall reside in the most admirable heights in the pantheon of history.

Victor Stenger was often referred to as the stable boy of the four horsemen, and the association with the likes of Dawkins, Harris, Dennet, and Hitchens was well-deserved.  My mother bought me his NYT best-seller God: the Failed Hypothesis for Christmas one year.  It was the second book on atheism I ever read after Sam Harris’ The End of Faith.  It is the only book that I still take with me to debates to use as a reference.  My copy has highlighted passages on virtually every page to point me to where Stenger rebutted something more concisely and more fully than I can.  If you’ve not read the book, you should.

Stenger, an eminent physicist, wrote for all levels.  God: the Failed Hypothesis was meant to reach everybody while The Comprehensible Cosmos was written for people with a background in physics.

When we put out the call for speakers for Skepticon 2, he was one of them who agreed to come and speak for free.  When I met him it was one of the greatest honors of my life.

I would trade anything save my wife and family to have his passion and/or his mind.  We’ve truly lost someone special.  For me, he will live on in the arguments I make which only came into my mind once I was exposed to the work of Dr. Victor Stenger.

No heaven is worthy of him.

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