The Year In Quotable Finds

The Year In Quotable Finds June 13, 2015

Every year at Camels With Hammers on June 13, I put up a post with some of the witty or insightful quotes I want to remember which I came across in the last year. I give you this year’s installment.

“Inductive and deductive arguments are okay but I prefer seductive arguments.” Ed Brayton

“Human progress has always been a motorboat of bright idealists slowly towing a barge of lethargic bigots.” ~ Bruce S. Springsteen

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.” ~ World’s Greatest Dad

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” ~ Muhammad Ali

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. […] There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when ‘our’ side commits it. Even if one does not deny that the crime has happened, even if one knows that it is exactly the same crime as one has condemned in some other case, even if one admits in an intellectual sense that it is unjustified — still one cannot feel that it is wrong. Loyalty is involved, and so pity ceases to function.” ~ George Orwell

“You can’t have larger ideals if the smaller ones get compromised.” Babylon 5

“If you cannot say what you mean, you cannot mean what you say. The details are everything.” Babylon 5

“The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.” Bastiat

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken

“One of the many comforts of having children is knowing one’s youth has not fled, but merely been passed down to a new generation. They say when a parent dies, a child feels his own mortality. But when a child dies, it’s immortality that a parent loses.” American Horror Story

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” AnaïsNin

“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” James Baldwin

“It isn’t the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that trouble me, it’s the parts that I do.” Mark Twain

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Douglas Adams

“I can tell you what kids learn from being hit. They don’t learn whatever you’re telling them while you’re hitting them. They learn about hitting, and about you. When violence is the medium, violence is the message.” William Saletan

“An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge.” David Dunning

“Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.” unknown

“One of [Christopher] Hitchens’s stock of quotes was a warning against allowing hatred to so grip your mind that you no longer cared what you said. ‘The man who thinks any stick will do will pick up a boomerang.’” Nick Cohen

“Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.” Umberto Eco

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?” Richard Dawkins

“Email is good for one thing only: flirtation. The problem with flirtation has always been that the nervousness you feel in front of the object of your infatuation deprives you of your wittiness. But with email you can spend an hour refining a casual sally. You trade clever notes as weightless, pretty, and tickling as feathers. The email, like the Petrarchan sonnet, is properly a seduction device, and everyone knows that the SUBJECT line should really read PRETEXT.” from N+1, Issue Number 5, Decivilizing Process

“Why do they say ‘Science is based on faith too!’ in that angry-triumphal tone, rather than as a compliment? And a rather dangerous compliment to give, one would think, from their perspective. If science is based on ‘faith,’ then science is of the same kind as religion — directly comparable. If science is a religion, it is the religion that heals the sick and reveals the secrets of the stars. It would make sense to say, ‘The priests of science can blatantly, publicly, verifiably walk on the Moon as a faith-based miracle, and your priests’ faith can’t do the same.’ Are you sure you want to go there?” ~ Eliezer Yudkowsky

“[T]he most important principle for designing an ethical society is to make sure that everyone’s reputation is on the line all the time…”~ Jonathan Haidt

“We should only be astonished at still being able to be astonished.” ~ LaRochefoucauld

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