Quotations about   facts

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



A good rule for discussion is to use hard facts and a soft voice.

Dorothy Sarnoff
Dorothy Sarnoff (1914-2008) American opera singer, actress, image consultant
Speech Can Change Your Life (1970)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Sep-21 | Last updated 9-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sarnoff, Dorothy

“What is truth?” Sometimes people ask this question because they wish to do nothing. Generic cynicism makes us feel hip and alternative even as we slip along with our fellow citizens into a morass of indifference. It is your ability to discern facts that makes you an individual, and our collective trust in common knowledge that makes us a society.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, ch. 10 (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Jun-21 | Last updated 16-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about
them. […] In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one’s own mind.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Mar-21 | Last updated 16-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

Political or military commentators, like astrologers, can survive almost any mistake, because their more devoted followers do not look to them for an appraisal of the facts but for the stimulation of nationalistic loyalties.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
    (Source)
Added on 2-Mar-21 | Last updated 2-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

Nor let it be feared that erroneous deductions may be made from such recorded facts: the errors which arise from the absence of facts are far more numerous and more durable than those which result from unsound reasoning respecting true data.

Charles Babbage (1791-1871) English mathematician, computer pioneer, philosopher
On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, ch. 7 (1832)
    (Source)

Sometimes paraphrased, "Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all."
Added on 12-Feb-21 | Last updated 12-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Babbage, Charles

The problem with evidence is it doesn’t always support your opinion.

Stephen Colbert (b. 1964) American political satirist, writer, comedian
Interview with Ron Suskind (13 Jul 2006)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Feb-21 | Last updated 10-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Colbert, Stephen

Resolutions cannot nullify the truths of the multiplication table.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
“The Currency,” Speech, House of Representatives (15 May 1868)
    (Source)

A favorite phrase of Garfield's regarding the dangers of inflation, e.g., "I will not vote against the truths of the multiplication table" (Letter to Harmon Austin (4 Feb 1874)).
Added on 25-Sep-20 | Last updated 25-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Garfield, James A.

Protestant theology has restricted the meaning of Faith too much — explaining it as subjective assurance or trust. It has sometimes been assumed that this attitude of throwing oneself into the arms of Divine grace may dispense us from the duty of forming rational convictions, and of directing our lives in accordance with them. Faith and fact come to be divorced. Either they are supposed to be directed to different objects, or we are told that the same proposition may be true for faith and false for science — in which case we are on a quicksand, and are driven to play fast and loose with veracity.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
Assessments and Anticipations, ch. 7 “Faith” (1929)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Sep-20 | Last updated 21-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Inge, William Ralph

And I have no desire to get ugly,

But I cannot help mentioning that the door of a bigoted mind opens outwards so that the only result of the pressure of facts upon it is to close it more snugly.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“Seeing Eye to Eye is Believing,” Good Intentions (1942)
    (Source)
Added on 29-May-20 | Last updated 19-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Nash, Ogden

We are never so certain of our knowledge as when we’re dead wrong.

Adair Lara (b. 1952) American writer, columnist, teacher
“A Lot of Knowledge Is Dangerous, Too,” San Francisco Chronicle (9 Oct 1997)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Apr-20 | Last updated 20-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Lara, Adair

When the heavy-handed dogmatist requires a categorical assent to the literal truth of the miraculous, in exactly the same sense in which physical facts are true, a tension between faith and reason cannot be avoided.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Bishop Gore and the Church of England” (1908), Outspoken Essays: First Series (1911)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Apr-20 | Last updated 20-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Inge, William Ralph

You mean, your statistics are facts, but my facts are just statistics.

Jonathan Lynn (b. 1943) English actor, comedy writer, director
Yes, Prime Minister, S1E3 “The Smokescreen” (23 Jan 1986) [with Anthony Jay]
Added on 11-Feb-20 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Lynn, Jonathan

Never let the facts alone obscure the truth of your narrative. The truth is what your life really felt like.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Oct-19 | Last updated 10-Oct-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Angelou, Maya

I look at some of the great novelists, and I think the reason they are great is that they’re telling the truth. The fact is they’re using made-up names, made-up people, made-up places, and made-up times, but they’’re telling the truth about the human being — what we are capable of, what makes us lose, laugh, weep, fall down, and gnash our teeth and wring our hands and kill each other and love each other.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Aug-18 | Last updated 8-Aug-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Angelou, Maya

Although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to feel that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (1945)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Aug-18 | Last updated 3-Aug-18
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny, ch. 10 (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Jun-18 | Last updated 7-Jun-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

No fact in the world is instant, infinitesimal and ultimate, a single mark. There are, I hold, no atomic facts. In the language of science, every fact is a field — a crisscross of implications, those that lead to it and those that lead from it. We condense the laws around concepts. Science takes its coherence, its intellectual and imaginative strength together, from the concepts at which its laws cross, like knots in a mesh.

Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974) Polish-English humanist and mathematician
Science and Human Values, Part 3: “The Sense of Human Dignity”, §1 (1956)
Added on 19-Dec-16 | Last updated 19-Dec-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bronowski, Jacob

Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.

Henry Adams (1838-1918) American journalist, historian, academic, novelist
The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 22 (1907)
Added on 17-Nov-16 | Last updated 17-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, Henry

So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You’d better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can’t rearrange the universe.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
Nightfall (1990) [with Robert Silverberg]
    (Source)
Added on 18-Jan-16 | Last updated 23-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Asimov, Isaac

The facts are indispensable; they are not sufficient. To solve a problem it is necessary to think.

Robert M. Hutchins (1899-1977) American educator and educational philosopher
Great Books: The Foundation of a Liberal Education (1954)
Added on 15-Jun-15 | Last updated 15-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Hutchins, Robert M.

Wooden-headedness consists of assessing a situation in terms of preconceived, fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be confused by the facts.

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
“An Inquiry into the Persistence of Unwisdom in Government,” Esquire (1980)
Added on 31-Mar-15 | Last updated 31-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Tuchman, Barbara

Left to themselves, the facts do not speak; left to themselves they do not exist, not really, since for all practical purposes there is no fact until some one affirms it.

Carl L. Becker (1873-1945) American historian
“Everyman His Own Historian” (3), speech, American Historical Association, Minneapolis (29 Dec 1931)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Jan-15 | Last updated 20-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Becker, Carl

To establish the facts is always in order, and is indeed the first duty of the historian; but to suppose that the facts, once established in all their fullness, will “speak for themselves” is an illusion.

Carl L. Becker (1873-1945) American historian
“Everyman His Own Historian” (3), speech, American Historical Association, Minneapolis (29 Dec 1931)
    (Source)
Added on 13-Jan-15 | Last updated 13-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Becker, Carl

Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Studies,” Essays, No. 50 (1625)
Added on 4-Dec-14 | Last updated 16-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Bacon, Francis

Statistics are like alienists — they will testify for either side.

Fiorello LaGuardia (1882-1947) American lawyer, politician, Mayor of New York (1934-45).
“The Banking Investigations,” Liberty (13 May 1933)

("Alienists" means psychiatrists.)
Added on 18-Apr-14 | Last updated 18-Apr-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by LaGuardia, Fiorello

Great virtues may draw attention from defects, they cannot sanctify them. A pebble surrounded by diamonds remains a common stone, and a diamond surrounded by pebbles is still a gem. No one should attempt to refute an argument by pronouncing the name of some man, unless he is willing to adopt all the ideas and beliefs of that man. It is better to give reasons and facts than names. An argument should not depend for its force upon the name of its author. Facts need no pedigree, logic has no heraldry, and the living should not awed by the mistakes of the dead.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Great Infidels” (1881)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Jun-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ingersoll, Robert Green

The problem with ideology is, if you’ve got an ideology, you’ve already got your mind made up. You know all the answers and that makes evidence irrelevant and arguments a waste of time. You tend to govern by assertion and attacks.

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (b. 1946) American politician, US President (1993-2001)
Speech at event sponsored by the Center for American Progress (18 Oct 2006)
Added on 18-Jul-07 | Last updated 17-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Clinton, Bill

The opinion of ten thousand men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Marcus Aurelius

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of the facts and evidence.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
“Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials” (4 Dec 1770)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Mar-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, John