Quotations about   opinion

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



Youth finds no value in the views it disagrees with, but maturity includes discovering that even an opinion contrary to ours may contain a vein of truth we could profitably assimilate to our own views.

Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
Pieces of Eight (1982)
    (Source)
Added on 27-May-19 | Last updated 27-May-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Harris, Sydney J.

Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power, and want a certain result with all your heart, you naturally express your wishes in law, and sweep away all opposition. To allow opposition by speech seems to indicate that you think the speech impotent, as when a man says that he has squared the circle, or that you do not care wholeheartedly for the result, or that you doubt either your power or your premises.

But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.

That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year, if not every day, we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system, I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) American jurist, Supreme Court Justice
Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919) [dissent]
    (Source)
Added on 23-Apr-19 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Holmes, Jr., Oliver Wendell

I must intreat your patience — your gentle hearing. I am not going to question your opinions. I am not going to meddle with your belief. I am not going to dictate to you mine. All that I say is, examine; enquire. Look into the nature of things. Search out the ground of your opinions, the for and the against. Know why you believe, understand what you believe, and possess a reason for the faith that is in you.

Frances "Fanny" Wright (1795-1852) Scottish-American writer, lecturer, social reformer
A Course of Popular Lectures, Lecture 3 “Of the more Important Divisions and Essential Parts of Knowledge” (1829)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Apr-19 | Last updated 10-Apr-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Wright, Fanny

An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth; or it is an error: it can never be a crime or a virtue.

Frances "Fanny" Wright (1795-1852) Scottish-American writer, lecturer, social reformer
A Few Days in Athens, Vol. 2, ch. 14 (1822)
Added on 1-Jan-19 | Last updated 1-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Wright, Fanny

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

John Wooden (1910-2010) American basketball player and coach
They Call Me Coach, ch. 9, epigram (1972)
    (Source)
Added on 31-Jul-18 | Last updated 31-Jul-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Wooden, John

Not everyone is worth listening to.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 1 “Consolation For Unpopularity” (2000)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Oct-17 | Last updated 12-Oct-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

No well-informed person has declared a change of opinion to be inconstancy.

[Nemo doctus unquam mutationem consilii inconstantiam dixit esse.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Atticum, Book 16, Letter 7 (59-54 BC)

Alt. trans.: No philosopher ever yet -- and there has been a great deal written upon the subject -- defined a mere change of plan as vacillation. [Nemo doctus umquam (multa autem de hoc genere scripta sunt) mutationem consili inconstantiam dixit esse.]

Often mis-cited as Letter 8.
Added on 13-Jul-17 | Last updated 18-Jul-17
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

It is a golden rule that one should not judge people according to their opinions, but according to what these opinions make of them.

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) German physicist, writer
In Adolf Wilbrandt (ed.), Selected Writings of Georg C. Lichtenberg (1893)

Alt. trans.:
  • "It is a golden rule not to judge men by their opinions but rather by what their opinions make of them."
  • "One must judge men not by their opinions, but by what their opinions have made of them."
  • "Don't judge a man by his opinions, but what his opinions have made of him."
Added on 30-May-17 | Last updated 30-May-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lichtenberg, Georg C.

The truth is always in the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because as a rule the minority is made up of those who actually have an opinion, while the strength of the majority is illusory, formed of that crowd which has no opinion — and which therefore the next moment (when it becomes clear that the minority is the stronger) adopts the latter’s opinion, which now is in the majority, i.e., becomes rubbish by having the whole retinue and numerousness on its side, while the truth is again in a new minority.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Journal (1850)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Feb-17 | Last updated 8-Feb-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kierkegaard, Soren

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
The Conduct of Life, “Worship” (1860)
Added on 30-Jan-17 | Last updated 30-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.

mill-height-of-absurdity-wisdom-wist_info-quote

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Often cited from a quote in Adlai Stevenson, Call to Greatness (1954), but appears earlier in, e.g., National Magazine (Nov 1911). Unverified in Mills' writings.
Added on 15-Dec-16 | Last updated 15-Dec-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Mill, John Stuart

Change your opinions, keep to your principles;
change your leaves, keep intact your roots.

Hugo - keep intact your roots - wist_info quote

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Victor Hugo’s Intellectual Autobiography (1907) [tr. O’Rourke]
Added on 8-Sep-16 | Last updated 8-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hugo, Victor

Our loyalty is due entirely to the United States. It is due to the President only and exactly to the degree in which he efficiently serves the United States. It is our duty to support him when he serves the United States well. It is our duty to oppose him when he serves it badly. This is true about Mr. Wilson now and it has been true about all our Presidents in the past. It is our duty at all times to tell the truth about the President and about every one else, save in the cases where to tell the truth at the moment would benefit the public enemy.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Kansas City Star (7 May 1918)

Reprinted in "Lincoln and Free Speech," The Great Adventure (1926).
Added on 22-Aug-16 | Last updated 22-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Roosevelt, Theodore

How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?

Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970) French statesman and soldier
(Attributed)

Quoted in Ernest Mignon, Les Mots du Général (1962).
Added on 28-Jul-16 | Last updated 28-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by De Gaulle, Charles

Life is not a static thing. The only people who do not change their minds are incompetents in asylums, who can’t, and those in cemeteries.

Everett Dirksen (1896-1969) American politician
(Attributed)
Added on 14-Jul-16 | Last updated 14-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Dirksen, Everett

Opinion, and the just maintenance of it, shall never be a crime in my view; nor bring injury on the individual.

Jefferson - opinion - wist_info quote

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Samuel Adams (29 Mar 1801)
    (Source)

Sometimes misattributed to George Washington.
Added on 1-Jul-16 | Last updated 1-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

I suppose he’s entitled to his opinion, but I don’t suppose it very hard.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
“Seven Steps to Grand Master,” Nebula Awards 22 (1988) [ed. G. Zebrowski]
Added on 7-Jun-16 | Last updated 7-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Asimov, Isaac

There’s a brave fellow! There’s a man of pluck!
A man who’s not afraid to say his say,
Though a whole town’s against him.

Longfellow - brave pluck - wist_info quote

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
John Endicott, Act 2, sc. 2 (1868)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Jan-16 | Last updated 8-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe,
Sadder than owl songs or the midnight blast,
Is that portentous phrase, “I told you so.”

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, Canto 19, st. 50 (1823)
Added on 11-Nov-15 | Last updated 11-Nov-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Byron, George Gordon, Lord

It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee-house for the voice of the kingdom.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
The Conduct of the Allies (1711)
Added on 5-Nov-15 | Last updated 5-Nov-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Swift, Jonathan

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who, in the midst of the crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1841)
Added on 14-Oct-15 | Last updated 14-Oct-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

In the manner of one who has just beheld a two-headed calf they repeated that they had “never heard such funny ideas!” They were staggered to learn that a real tangible person, living in Minnesota, and married to their own flesh-and-blood relation, could apparently believe that divorce may not always be immoral; that illegitimate children do not bear any special and guaranteed form of curse; that there are ethical authorities outside of the Hebrew Bible; that men have drunk wine yet not died in the gutter; that the capitalistic system of distribution and the Baptist wedding-ceremony were not known in the Garden of Eden; that mushrooms are as edible as corn-beef hash; that the word “dude” is no longer frequently used; that there are Ministers of the Gospel who accept evolution; that some persons of apparent intelligence and business ability do not always vote the Republican ticket straight; that it is not a universal custom to wear scratchy flannels next the skin in winter; that a violin is not inherently more immoral than a chapel organ; that some poets do not have long hair; and that Jews are not always pedlers or pants-makers.
    “Where does she get all them the’ries?” marveled Uncle Whittier Small; while Aunt Bessie inquired, “Do you suppose there’s many folks got notions like hers? My! If there are,” and her tone settled the fact that there were not, “I just don’t know what the world’s coming to!”

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Main Street, ch. 20 (1920)
    (Source)
Added on 22-Sep-15 | Last updated 22-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lewis, Sinclair

“I suppose there are two views about everything,” said Mark.

“Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one.”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
That Hideous Strength (1945)
Added on 9-Sep-15 | Last updated 9-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Lewis, C.S.

The latter part of a wise man’s life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1706)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Sep-15 | Last updated 3-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Swift, Jonathan

Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Letter to a Young Clergyman” (9 Jan 1720)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Aug-15 | Last updated 20-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Swift, Jonathan

We are susceptible only to those suggestions with which we are already secretly in accord.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
Modern Man in Search of a Soul, ch. 3 [tr. Dell & Baynes (1933)]
Added on 25-Jun-15 | Last updated 25-Jun-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jung, Carl

It is only when you truly don’t care what people think that you truly don’t need to care what people think.

Abdal Hakim Murad (b. 1960) British Muslim shaykh, researcher, writer, academic [b. Timothy John Winter]
“Contentions 2,” # 5
    (Source)
Added on 10-Apr-15 | Last updated 10-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Murad, Abdal Hakim

“I believe that the Bible is the literal word of God.” And I say no, it’s not, Dad. “Well, I believe that it is.” Well, you know, some people believe they’re Napoleon. That’s fine. Beliefs are neat. Cherish them, but don’t share them like they’re the truth.

Bill Hicks (1961-1994) American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, musician [William Melvin "Bill" Hicks]
Filling Up the Hump (1993)
Added on 10-Apr-15 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by HIcks, Bill

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting, too ….

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
“If–” st. 1 (1910)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Mar-15 | Last updated 3-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kipling, Rudyard

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet
“Song of Myself,” Sec. 51 (1855)
Added on 12-Jan-15 | Last updated 12-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Whitman, Walt

No man ought to be hindered saying or writing what he pleases on the conduct of those who undertake the management of national affairs, in which all are concerned, and therefore have the right to inquire, and to publish their suspicions concerning them. For if you punish the slanderer, you deter the fair inquirer.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
Political Disquisitions, Book 1 “Of Government, briefly” (1774)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Dec-14 | Last updated 11-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burgh, James

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own. But the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Ethics,” Lecture, Masonic Temple, Boston (17 Feb 1837)
Added on 19-Sep-14 | Last updated 19-Sep-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one’s own opinion.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
Added on 24-Jul-14 | Last updated 24-Jul-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Bierce, Ambrose

Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
A Room of One’s Own, ch. 3 (1929)
Added on 21-Jul-14 | Last updated 21-Jul-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Woolf, Virginia

You get to say the world is flat because we live in a country that guarantees your free speech, but it’s not a country that guarantees that anything you say is correct.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (b. 1958) American astrophysicist, author, orator
Interview, “The Colbert Report, (10 Mar 2014)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Mar-14 | Last updated 21-Mar-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Tyson, Neil deGrasse

I like the scientific spirit — the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine — it always keeps the way beyond open.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet
Remark to the author (4 May 1888), Horace Traubel, Walt Whitman’s Camden Conversations [ed. W. Teller (1973)]
Added on 12-Feb-14 | Last updated 12-Feb-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Whitman, Walt

There’s no end to the list; there are millions of them! And all insane; each in his own way; insane as to his pet fad or opinion, but otherwise sane and rational. This should move us to be charitable towards one another’s lunacies. I recognize that in his special belief the Christian Scientist is insane, because he does not believe as I do; but I hail him as my mate and fellow, because I am as insane as he insane from his point of view, and his point of view is as authoritative as mine and worth as much. That is to say, worth a brass farthing. Upon a great religious or political question, the opinion of the dullest head in the world is worth the same as the opinion of the brightest head in the world — a brass farthing. How do we arrive at this? It is simple. The affirmative opinion of a stupid man is neutralized by the negative opinion of his stupid neighbor — no decision is reached; the affirmative opinion of the intellectual giant Gladstone is neutralized by the negative opinion of the intellectual giant Newman — no decision is reached. Opinions that prove nothing are, of course, without value any but a dead person knows that much. This obliges us to admit the truth of the unpalatable proposition just mentioned above — that, in disputed matters political and religious, one man’s opinion is worth no more than his peer’s, and hence it followers that no man’s opinion possesses any real value. It is a humbling thought, but there is no way to get around it: all opinions upon these great subjects are brass-farthing opinions.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Christian Science, ch. 5 (1907)
    (Source)
Added on 25-Oct-13 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other; it will unriddle many riddles; it will make clear and simple many things which are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and obscurities now.

Those of us who are not in the asylum, and not demonstrably due there, are nevertheless, no doubt, insane in one or two particulars. I think we must admit this; but I think that we are otherwise healthy-minded. I think that when we all see one thing alike, it is evidence that, as regards that one thing, our minds are perfectly sound. Now there are really several things which we do all see alike; things which we all accept, and about which we do not dispute. For instance, we who are outside of the asylum all agree that water seeks its level; that the sun gives light and heat; that fire consumes; that fog is damp; that six times six are thirty-six, that two from ten leaves eight; that eight and seven are fifteen. These are, perhaps, the only things we are agreed about; but, although they are so few, they are of inestimable value, because they make an infallible standard of sanity. Whosoever accepts them him we know to be substantially sane; sufficiently sane; in the working essentials, sane. Whoever disputes a single one of them him we know to be wholly insane, and qualified for the asylum.

Very well, the man who disputes none of them we concede to be entitled to go at large. But that is concession enough. We cannot go any further than that; for we know that in all matters of mere opinion that same man is insane — just as insane as we are; just as insane as Shakespeare was. We know exactly where to put our finger upon his insanity: it is where his opinion differs from ours.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Christian Science, Book 1, ch. 5 (1907)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Jun-13 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“What Is Man?” (1906)
Added on 6-Mar-13 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
“A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980)
    (Source)

More on this quotation here and here.
Added on 31-Dec-12 | Last updated 9-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Asimov, Isaac

Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.

Horace Mann (1796-1859) American educator
Thoughts (1867)
    (Source)
Added on 29-May-12 | Last updated 4-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Mann, Horace

Each nation, knowing it has the only true religion and the only sane system of government, each despising all the others, each an ass and not suspecting it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
What Is Man? ch. 6 (1906)
Added on 12-Mar-12 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

A man’s private thought can never be a lie; what he thinks, is to him the truth, always.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Letter to Louis Pendleton (4 Aug 1888)
Added on 23-Jun-11 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

That is just the way with some people.  They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ch. 1 (1884)
Added on 3-May-11 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Novum Organum, Book 1, Aphorism 46 (1620)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Sep-10 | Last updated 16-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bacon, Francis

A man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.

William Blake (1757-1827) English poet, mystic, artist
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, “A Memorable Fancy” (1790)
    (Source)
Added on 29-May-09 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Blake, William

Opinions are made to be changed — or how is truth to be got at?

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Letter to John Murray (9 May 1818)
Added on 28-May-09 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Byron, George Gordon, Lord

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) American physicist
“What Is and What Should Be the Role of Scientific Culture in Modern Society,” lecture at the Galileo Symposium, Italy (1964)
Added on 31-Dec-08 | Last updated 27-May-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Feynman, Richard

The three most important things a man has are, briefly, his private parts, his money, and his religious opinions.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
Further Extracts from Note-books of Samuel Butler (1934)
Added on 15-Aug-08 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Samuel

The public buys its opinions as it buys its meat, or takes in its milk, on the principle that it is cheaper to do this than to keep a cow. So it is, but the milk is more likely to be watered.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler, ch. 17 (1912)
Added on 14-Aug-08 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Samuel

All the martyrs in the history of the world are not sufficient to establish the correctness of an opinion. Martyrdom, as a rule, establishes the sincerity of the martyr, — never the correctness of his thought. Things are true or false in themselves. Truth cannot be affected by opinions; it cannot be changed, established, or affected by martyrdom. An error cannot be believed sincerely enough to make it a truth.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Great Infidels” (1881)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Jun-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ingersoll, Robert Green

You cannot change the conclusion of the brain by torture; nor by social ostracism. But I will tell you what you can do by these, and what you have done. You can make hypocrites by the million. You can make a man say that he has changed his mind; but he remains of the same opinion still. Put fetters all over him; crush his feet in iron boots; stretch him to the last gasp upon the holy rack; burn him, if you please, but his ashes will be of the same opinion still.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child” (1877)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Feb-08 | Last updated 4-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

On the necessary points, unity. On the questionable points, liberty. In everything, love.

[In necessariis unites, in non necessariis libertas, in omnibus caritas.]

Rupertus Meldenius (1582-1651) German writer [pseud. of Peter Meiderlin]
Paraenesis votiva pro Pace Ecclesiae ad Theologos Augustanae Confessionis (1626)

Also translated as "essentials" and "non-essentials."

Paraphrase of final lines of the work: Verbo dicam: Si nos servaremus IN necesariis Unitatem, IN non-necessariis Libertatem, IN UTRISQUE Charitatem, optimo certe loco essent res nostrae. ["In a word, were we to observe unity in essentials, liberty in incidentals, and in all things charity, our affairs would be certainly in a most happy situation."]

Commonly attributed to St Augustine, but also to John Wesley, Richard Baxter, and several others. See discussion here and here
Added on 14-Oct-05 | Last updated 8-Apr-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Meldenius, Rupertus

At Cambridge University I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people’s opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.

Salman Rushdie (b. 1947) Indian novelist
“Do we have to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again?” The Independent (22 Jan 2005)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Feb-05 | Last updated 7-Mar-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Rushdie, Salman