My current listen-to-it-while-driving book is John Adams. Given my interest in the role and status of facts in 21st century education, my ears perked up when I heard the venerable Mr. Adams say:
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
Pushing pause, I grabbed my cell phone and dictated, “Note to self: Facts are stubborn things something something from John Adams; look it up.” When I got home, I did. I found it easily, but I also found some other quotations that appealed to me:
Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by the air. Facts are the air of science. Without them a man of science can never rise. — Ivan Pavlov (1849 – 1936)
Where facts are few, experts are many. — Donald R. Gannon
I’m not sure I want popular opinion on my side — I’ve noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts. — Bethania McKenstry
Now I know who Pavlov was, but I’m ignorant as to Donald R. Gannon and Bethania McKenstry. No amount of Googling or Binging got me anything but a vague reference to Bethania as an “American activist.” I’m glad they purportedly uttered these pithy, trenchant bon mots, but I’d feel better if I knew who the heck they are. Have a clue?