This book begins with a discussion of the meaning of order and examples of orderly patterns generated by chance. (Play enough poker hands, Stenger writes, and one day you will be dealt four aces.) Subsequent chapters introduce readers to the unique perspective of the universe provided by physics, with historical and philosophical material intertwined with a systematic but non-technical presentation of basic physics. This leads to a description of the basic structure of the universe and the way in which symmetries of space, time, and inner dimensions account for the "laws" obeyed by particles. The origin of the universe is then described as a chance event, with space, time, matter, and the laws of nature the result of a spontaneous process of symmetry-breaking. Focusing on the question of planned versus unplanned origin, Stenger shows that the issue is not philosophical but scientific and that order can and does happen every day - by chance.
Victor J. Stenger (1935 - 2014) was an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He was the author of the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis, God and the Atom, God and the Folly of Faith, The Comprehensible Cosmos, and many other books.