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Quotes of the day: Debates

Published Sunday, August 09, 2015 @ 9:20 PM EDT
Aug 09 2015

Debate is masculine, conversation is feminine.
-Amos Bronson Alcott

Debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide- open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

Debates conceal rather than reveal the truth. Truth is revealed in solitude.
-Leo Tolstoy

Disagreement produces debate but dissent produces dissension.
-Daniel J. Boorstin

Disagreement, vehement disagreement, is healthy. Debate is impossible without it. Evil does not question itself. Even the incorruptible are corruptible if they cannot accept the possibility of being mistaken.
-Craig Ferguson

Facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away while scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome.
-Stephen Jay Gould

For the sake of democracy, vigorous, civilized debate must replace the law of silence that political correctness has imposed.
-Theodore Dalrymple

Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.
-Hubert H. Humphrey

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.
-Michael Crichton

I think that you can disagree with people and debate over their positions with issues without engaging in the politics of personal destruction.
-Hillary Rodham Clinton

In a body (like Congress) where there are more than one hundred talking lawyers, you can make no calculation upon the termination of any debate.
-Franklin P. Adams

It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.
-Joseph Joubert

Nothing is gained by debate on non-debatable subjects.
-Theodore Roosevelt

On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.
-Thomas Jefferson

One rule observed in their council is, never to debate a thing on the same day in which it is first proposed; for that is always referred to the next meeting, that so men may not rashly and in the heat of discourse engage themselves too soon, which might bias them so much that, instead of consulting the good of the public, they might rather study to support their first opinions, and by a perverse and preposterous sort of shame hazard their country rather than endanger their own reputation, or venture the being suspected to have wanted foresight in the expedients that they at first proposed; and therefore, to prevent this, they take care that they may rather be deliberate than sudden in their motions.
-Thomas More

Religious believers of the world, you are free to continue to debate the simple, narrow question that divides you from atheists, but you have no right, in so doing, to treat the Humanists of the world with contempt. You owe them a deep debt of gratitude, for not only have they shed much light on a naturally dark world but they have very probably helped civilize your own specific religion.
-Steve Allen

Sloths move at the speed of congressional debate but with greater deliberation and less noise.
-P.J. O'Rourke

That's one of the major lessons: no president should ever take this nation to war without full public debate in the Congress and/or in the public.
-Robert McNamara

The ethical debates are like stones in a stream. The water runs around them. You haven't seen any biological technologies held up for one week by any of these debates.
-Ray Kurzweil

The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of clichés the first prize.
-Saul Bellow

There needs to be debates, like we're going through. There needs to be town-hall meetings. There needs to be travel. This is a huge country.
-George W. Bush

There's a time for debate and a time for consensus. There's a time for advocacy and time for first principles.
-Anthony Kennedy

What I think the political correctness debate is really about is the power to be able to define. The definers want the power to name. And the defined are now taking that power away from them.
-Toni Morrison

Whatever the field under discussion, those who engage in debate must not only believe in each other's good faith, but also in their capacity to arrive at the truth.
-W.H. Auden


(August 10 is also the birthday of Herbert Hoover.)

Categories: Debates, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic


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