Quotes from the physicist Steven Weinberg that seem to be topical to the recent events in France

Some quotes from the physicist Steven Weinberg that seem to be topical to the recent events in France:

“I have a friend — or had a friend, now dead — Abdus Salam, a very devout Muslim, who was trying to bring science into the universities in the Gulf states and he told me that he had a terrible time because, although they were very receptive to technology, they felt that science would be a corrosive to religious belief, and they were worried about it… and damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive of religious belief, and it’s a good thing too.”

“There are those whose views about religion are not very different from my own, but who nevertheless feel that we should try to damp down the conflict, that we should compromise it. … I respect their views and I understand their motives, and I don’t condemn them, but I’m not having it. To me, the conflict between science and religion is more important than these issues of science education or even environmentalism. I think the world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief; and anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilization.”

Today these religious fanatics are murdering satirical cartoonists. I would not be surprised if in the future they turned their attentions to attacking intelligent atheists who express themselves as eloquently as Steven Weinberg does.

Richard Feynman metaphorically describes the quest for scientific understanding (video)

What Feynman is presenting in the video is an atheist’s version of the story of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. Feynman’s banana is analogous to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which is more typically depicted as an apple.

And as an atheist, Feynman rejects the version of man’s origins presented in Genesis, but rather considers man to be a close relative and a descendant of the apes. Plucking a banana from its tree is like obtaining one additional bit of understanding of “the ultimate laws of physics”.

Feynman asserted that science is imagination constrained by a tight straitjacket

“The game I play is a very interesting one. It’s imagination, in a tight straitjacket.” — Richard P. Feynman

“Feynman once said, ‘Science is imagination in a straitjacket.’ It is ironic that in the case of quantum mechanics, the people without the straitjackets are generally the nuts.”
–Lawrence M. Krauss

Here is link to a video clip where Feynman makes his science as imagination in a tight straitjacket assertion: http://youtu.be/ysYEAC4z66c

Here are two shots I took of a street performer entertaining spectators by struggling to get out of a straitjacket while balancing on a large ball. It’s interesting that some of the spectators watching him have their arms crossed as if they themselves were wearing straitjackets: