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Choice quote from Steven Weinberg

  1. Nov 23, 2006 #1

    marcus

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    Newsweek had an article earlier this month (10 November) about a conference on Science and Religion attended by many top scientists including Nobel laureate physicist Steven Weinberg.

    Weinberg said something that was both poignant and apt. I never heard anyone use this figure of speech

    "...Much as Weinberg would like to see civilization emerge from the tyranny of religion, when it happens, "I think we will miss it, like a crazy old aunt who tells lies and causes us all kinds of trouble, but was beautiful once and was with us a long time."

    Weinberg is an atheist who seems to relish blunt intellectual honesty, but he imagines "missing" religion like a troublesome old lady who was beautiful once. The unexpected simile made me catch my breath.
    I hope PF readers will not be offended by this from Weinberg and some will find the figure of speech entertaining as I did.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15653706/site/newsweek/
    The quote is at the end of the second paragraph (or third depending on how you count paragraphs). The conference of 30 leading scientists was at La Jolla and was called the "Beyond Belief" conference.
     
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  3. Nov 23, 2006 #2

    arildno

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    Did we inherit anything from her? :confused:
     
  4. Nov 23, 2006 #3

    Gokul43201

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    A Weinberg gem from some years ago: “With or without religion, 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.”
     
  5. Nov 23, 2006 #4

    marcus

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    Notre Dame cathedral
    The Mozart Mass in C minor
    and a few baubles like that:smile:
     
  6. Nov 23, 2006 #5

    arildno

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    Ah yes, and the whole of Bach..

    (But I've heard she was rather batty, even as a young gal..)
     
  7. Nov 23, 2006 #6
    What a load of crap.

    marlon
     
  8. Nov 23, 2006 #7
    Who cares ? He should just stick to the things he knows and not judge a common human concept like religion. Most people's lifes are more affected by religion than by whatever stuff this guy did. Really, this is another case of your typical "intellectual" self overestimation.

    marlon
     
  9. Nov 23, 2006 #8

    Gokul43201

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    And perhaps he shouldn't hold judgement about other common human concepts like overeating, drunken driving and taking a holiday? So it's not okay for him to judge something, but it's okay for you to judge his judgement?

    This is something he is more than aware of and never contradicted it. He even goes so far as to describe history as being carved largely by religious strife.

    Strawman.
     
  10. Nov 24, 2006 #9

    EL

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    Very true. That's indeed my signature!
     
  11. Nov 24, 2006 #10

    EL

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    So who are then "allowed" to judge religion? Just the priests?
     
  12. Nov 24, 2006 #11
    As far as I can tell only the religious, it's neat like that, it doesn't lend itself well to criticism from ungodly sinners,just the Godly ones; at least we don't burn or hang people for judging a religion any more though:smile:
     
  13. Nov 24, 2006 #12

    EL

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    In fact we still do in some places...

    And that's like not being allowed to criticise healing without being a healer yourself.

    I guess this topic is on the edge of being "allowed" here, but as long as we don't discuss the validity of religious thoughts it may perhaps survive.
     
  14. Nov 24, 2006 #13
    Indeed I happen to be agnostic and generally a bit of cynic particular about religious history and how faiths developed; I do actually know a fair amount about many religions, probably more than some of those who claim to be from that faith in some cases. I consider the contrary to be true, whilst I may not be able to preach or to judge what is correct as far as dogma goes, I am quite able to offer opinion, a moral critique or camparrisons, having a broad knowledge of religion in general should give you a better perspective to judge it IMO.

    I don't think anyone has been specific enough yet? As you say as long as we're talking about religion generally we can't be accused of promoting or degrading any one belief.

    Anyway I think a better comment would be not that it takes religion to make good people commit evil, but it does sometimes take religion for evil people to justify actions as good.
     
  15. Nov 24, 2006 #14

    EL

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    Yes, sometimes it's like that. But often the bad things comming out of religion cannot be explained that simple. For example take agitation against homosexuals, opression of women, intelligent design, etc...
     
  16. Nov 24, 2006 #15
    ....or palestrina's pope marcellus mass. mozart is awfully overrated imho

    nah all my favourite bach stuff was secular (brandenburg concertos, cello suites, etc)

    that's awesome! but one could also say that about corporations, slavery & probably other stuff as well. there might be good people running corporations but the things they do in their occupational role may be evil. same with slavery of course.
     
  17. Nov 25, 2006 #16

    turbo

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    It is easy to speak in terms of absolutes regarding religion, and it is almost always wrong to do so. Personal faith is one thing. Organized religion is another entirely. Organized religion results in concentrations of power and influence, and that is an asset that will be used for good or evil depending on the motivations of those in control. When people join in a common bond - especially if that bond has strong societal support and a shared sense of allegiance to some authority (like a deity) they can be manipulated en masse, sometimes subtly, sometimes quite overtly. If you will re-read Weinberg's quote in light of this, you may come away with a different view of him.
     
  18. Nov 26, 2006 #17

    JasonRox

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    Yeah, most people don't use medicine and medical facilities. :rolleyes:

    Science affects people more than religion does. Everyone is just blindly ignorant and naive.
     
  19. Nov 26, 2006 #18

    JasonRox

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    Yeah, but those corporate people are normally involved in religion. Going to church is considered a networking tool for businesses. Be a fake religious guy.

    Anyways, Steven was probably more comparing to the science world and not the corporate world, which the two are completely different. One has power, while the other does not.
     
  20. Nov 26, 2006 #19
    Any concentration of power will be abused by the people gaining positions of power. That includes large religious organizations, coporations, and government. Physicists and engineers have been tools of the governments for a long time now, creating weapons of mass destruction and other harmful technologies.
     
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