Positive Atheism's Big List of
Steven Weinberg
Quotations

     • No-Frames Quotes Index
     • Load This File With Frames Index
     • 
Home to Positive Atheism

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Steven Weinberg
Physicist and Nobel Laureate; researcher and professor at the University of Texas

     • Continue with Alphabetically Sequenced Quotations

Steven Weinberg (color: -cw)Even though their arguments did not invoke religion, I think we all know what's behind these arguments. They're trying to protect religious beliefs from contradiction by science. They used to do it by prohibiting teachers from teaching evolution at all; then they wanted to teach intelligent design as an alternative theory; now they want the supposed "weaknesses" in evolution pointed out. But it's all the same program -- it's all an attempt to let religious ideas determine what is taught in science courses.
-- Steven Weinberg, discussing the motives of proponents of intelligent design during a September, 2003, State Board of Education hearing, from Michael King, "In Search of Intelligent Life at the SBOE (State Board of Education)" (Austin, [Texas], Chronicle: September 19, 2003), quoted from (and citation notes derived from) The Texas Freedom Network, "TFN Clips" (September 19, 2003)

Their [the proponents of Christian "intelligent design"] discussion of the supposed weakness of evolution rests on a fallacy about the way science works. Scientific theory is never regarded as certain; it's continually confronted with testing, asking if it can explain what we can see in nature. That work is never finished. There are always some things left that haven't yet been explained. That's true of physics as well as biology.... This work goes on and on -- it's not a weakness of the theory. I don't regard it as a weakness of my own work that it hasn't explained everything in elementary particle physics.
-- Steven Weinberg, having been asked to describe the merits of the claims made by Christian creationists that they want only "more" or "better" science, during a September, 2003, State Board of Education hearing, from Michael King, "In Search of Intelligent Life at the SBOE (State Board of Education)" (Austin, [Texas], Chronicle: September 19, 2003), quoted from (and citation notes derived from) The Texas Freedom Network, "TFN Clips" (September 19, 2003)

Later, Weinberg was asked about the anti-evolutionists' arguments that they are only advocating for "more" or "better" science.

[Excerpt]:
If there is a God that has special plans for humans, then He has taken very great pains to hide His concern for us. To me it would seem impolite if not impious to bother such a God with our prayers.
-- Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory

[Passage]:
Religious people have grappled for millennia with the theodicy, the problem posed by the existence of suffering in a world that is supposed to be ruled by a good God. They have found ingenious solutions in terms of various supposed divine plans. I will not try to argue with these solutions, much less to add one of my own. Remembrance of the Holocaust leaves me unsympathetic to attempts to justify the ways of God to man. If there is a God that has special plans for humans, then He has taken very great pains to hide His concern for us. To me it would seem impolite if not impious to bother such a God with our prayers.
-- Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory

Premature as the question may be, it is hardly possible not to wonder whether we will find any answer to our deepest questions, any signs of the workings of an interested God, in a final theory. I think that we will not.
-- Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory

It's a consequence of the experience of science. As you learn more and more about the universe, you find you can understand more and more without any reference to supernatural intervention, so you lose interest in that possibility. Most scientists I know don't care enough about religion even to call themselves atheists. And that, I think, is one of the great things about science -- that it has made it possible for people not to be religious.
-- Steven Weinberg, quoted in Natalie Angier, "Confessions of a Lonely Atheist," New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2001

I can hope that this long sad story, this progression of priests and ministers and rabbis and ulamas and imams and bonzes and bodhisattvas, will come to an end. I hope this is something to which science can contribute ... it may be the most important contribution that we can make.
-- Steven Weinberg, Freethought Today, April, 2000

This is one of the great social functions of science -- to free people from superstition.
-- Steven Weinberg, Freethought Today, April, 2000

Science should be taught not in order to support religion and not in order to destroy religion. Science should be taught simply ignoring religion.
-- Steven Weinberg, Freethought Today, April, 2000

[C]reationists [and] other religious enthusiasts [are], in many parts of the world ..., the most dangerous adversaries of science.
-- Steven Weinberg, “Sokal’s Hoax,” The New York Review of Books (Volume XLIII, No. 13, pp 11-15, August 8, 1996); (origially, “Sokal did not satirize creationists or other religious enthusiasts who in many parts of the world are the most dangerous adversaries of science, ...”)

Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things -- that takes religion.
-- Steven Weinberg, in a dialog on religion with other scientists, 1999, quoted from "The Constitution Guarantees Freedom From Religion" an open letter to US Vice-Presidential candidate Senator Joseph Lieberman, issued by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on August 28, 2000

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
-- Ste
ven Weinberg, Freethought Today, April, 2000

I enjoy being at a meeting that doesn't start with an invocation!
-- Steven Weinberg, at a lecture to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Freethought Today, April, 2000

The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.
-- Steven Weinberg, his "much-quoted aphorism" according to The New York Times, "Physicist Ponders God, Truth and 'a Final Theory'" by James Glanz, January 25, 2000

The whole history of the last thousands of years has been a history of religious persecutions and wars, pogroms, jihads, crusades. I find it all very regrettable, to say the least.
-- Steven Weinberg, The New York Times, "Physicist Ponders God, Truth and 'a Final Theory'" by James Glanz, January 25, 2000

Though aware that there is nothing in the universe that suggests any purpose for humanity, one way that we can find a purpose is to study the universe by the methods of science, without consoling ourselves with fairy tales about its future, or about our own.
-- Steven Weinberg, in an article in the New York Review of Books, quoted in Dennis Overbye, "The Universe Might Last Forever, Astronomers Say, but Life Might Not" (January 1, 2002), The New York Times

It seems a bit unfair to my relatives to be murdered in order to provide an opportunity for free will for Germans, but even putting that aside, how does free will account for cancer? Is it an opportunity of free will for tumors?
     I don't need to argue here that the evil in the world proves that the universe is not designed, but only that there are no signs of benevolence that might have shown the hand of a designer. But in fact the perception that God cannot be benevolent is very old. Plays by Aeschylus and Euripides make a quite explicit statement that the gods are selfish and cruel, though they expect better behavior from humans. God in the Old Testament tells us to bash the heads of infidels and demands of us that we be willing to sacrifice our children's lives at His orders, and the God of traditional Christianity and Islam damns us for eternity if we do not worship him in the right manner. Is this a nice way to behave? I know, I know, we are not supposed to judge God according to human standards, but you see the problem here: If we are not yet convinced of His existence, and are looking for signs of His benevolence, then what other standards can we use?
-- Steven Weinberg, "A Designer Universe?"

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

 

The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea

Please Feel Free
to Grab a Quote
(or Maybe Three)

Grab some quotes to embellish your web site,
to use as filler for your group's newsletter,
or to add force to your Letters to the Editor.

Use them to introduce the chapters of a book or
accent the index or margins of a special project.

Poster your wall!    Graffiti your (own) fence.
Sticker your car!!
Poster your wall.    Graffiti your (own) fence!!!

That's what this list is for!
That's why I made it!

In using this resource, however, keep in mind that
it's someone's life's work, a hedge against old age.

If you decide to build your own online
collection, then find some new material!
Dig up quips that haven't yet been posted!

 

AndCopy Graphic Rule

 
 

Biographical sketches, source citations, notes, critical editing, layout, and HTML formatting are copyright ©1995–2008, by Cliff Walker, except where noted.

 
 

AndCopy Graphic Rule

 

There's something to be said
for doing your own work.

 

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!