Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations

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Rufus V Weaver

Everywhere all who cherish religious liberty should break through every hindering barrier to unite in the support of this common cause.
-- Rufus V Weaver, Champions of Religious Liberty, 1947, p. 12, quoted from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

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Daniel Webster (1782-1852)
American lawyer and statesman

Daniel WebsterAll creeds are fallible and uncertain evidences of evangelical piety.
-- Daniel Webster, from Rufus K Noyes, Views of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
-- Daniel Webster (attributed: source unknown)

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Sarah Weddington
Attorney in Roe v Wade

The violence of some anti-abortionists was an ongoing problem. On October 10, 1985, security was tightened at the Supreme Court after Justice Blackmun received a death threat; the day before, an anti-abortion protester had disrupted court proceedings. Anyone who has ever attended a Supreme Court hearing knows one doesn't even whisper, much less interrupt the Court. On December 4, the FBI released figures on terrorism, but these did not include data on abortion clinic bombings, as they were supposedly not attributable to organized groups. Abortion clinics were increasingly the targets of acts of vandalism, death threats to employees, telephoned bomb threats, and other forms of harassment. On Christmas Day, three clinics were bombed in Pensacola, Florida, and on New Year's Day, 1986, a Washington, DC, clinic was bombed. The Christmas bomber, who was later arrested, said his actions had been a Christmas present for Jesus.
-- Sarah Weddington, attorney in Roe v Wade, in her book, A Question of Choice (1992), p.206

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Sen. Lowell Weicker (b. 1931)
Third-party Connecticut governor, known for his maverick style, he took on the Nixon White House as a Republican Senator

Lowell WeickerThe United States is not a Christian nation. It is a great nation with Christians, among others, in it. But our greatness is based on the fact that there is no official religion.
-- Lowell Weicker, (attributed: source unknown)

That wall, embodied in the First Amendment, is perhaps America's most important contribution to political progress on this planet.
-- Lowell Weicker, Free Inquiry (Summer 1983), quoted from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

Lowell Weicker (Watergate Hearings)The time has come to knock off this religion business in American politics. There's no end to the mischief that can occur. It is like putting nitroglycerine in a Waring blender.
-- Lowell Weicker, Remarks, August 1984, quoted from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

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Steven Weinberg
Physicist and Nobel Laureate

     • Check our Big List of Steven Weinberg Quotations

Steven WeinbergEven 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)

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

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

Most scientists I know don't care enough about religion even to call themselves atheists.
-- Steven Weinberg, quoted in Natalie Angier, "Confessions of a Lonely Atheist," New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2001

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

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?"

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Victor Frederick Weisskopf (b. 1908)
Austrian physicist

Victor WeisskopfIn a Jewish theological seminar there was an hours-long discussion about proofs of the existence of God. After some hours, one rabbi got up and said, "God is so great, he does not even need to exist."
-- Victor Weisskopf (attributed: source unknown)

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Herbert George Wells (1866-1946)
British author

H. G. WellsBiologically the species is the accumulation of the experiments of all its successful individuals since the beginning.
-- H G Wells, A Modern Utopia, ch. 3, sct. 4 (1905; repr. in The Works of H G Wells, vol. 9, 1925), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Qu