The Full Wiki

Controversy: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Controversy

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of opinion. The word was coined from the Latin controversia, as a composite of controversus - "turned in an opposite direction," from contra - "against" - and vertere - to turn, or versus (see verse), hence, "to turn against."

Perennial areas of controversy include religion, philosophy and politics. Other minor areas of controversy may include economics, science, finances, and race. Controversy in matters of theology has traditionally been particularly heated, giving rise to the phrase odium theologicum. Controversial issues are held as potentially divisive in a given society, because they can lead to tension and ill will. Because of this, some controversies are considered taboo to discuss in public among other people, unless people are either mature enough or can find a common ground to share and discuss its people's feelings, and one's own direct observations and experiences on a controversial issue.

In the theory of law, a controversy differs from a legal case; while legal cases include all suits, criminal as well as civil, a controversy is a purely civil proceeding.

For example, the Case or Controversy Clause of Article Three of the United States Constitution (Section 2, Clause 1) states that "the judicial Power shall extend ... to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party". This clause has been deemed to impose a requirement that United States federal courts are not permitted to hear cases that do not pose an actual controversy—that is, an actual dispute between adverse parties which is capable of being resolved by the court. In addition to setting out the scope of the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary, it also prohibits courts from issuing advisory opinions, or from hearing cases that are either unripe, meaning that the controversy has not arisen yet, or moot, meaning that the controversy has already been resolved.

Benford's Law of Controversy

Benford's law of controversy, as expressed by science-fiction author Gregory Benford in 1980, states: "Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real (true) information available." In other words, the fewer facts are known to and agreed on by the participants, the more controversy there is, and the more is known the less controversy there is. Thus, for example, controversies in physics are limited to areas where experiments cannot be carried out yet, while all of economics is in continuous controversy, because, in stark contrast, none of its mathematical models accurately and predictably represents reality. Benford's Law implies that controversy is inherent to politics, where communities must frequently decide on courses of action based on insufficient information.


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate usually concerning a matter of opinion.


  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • When men differ in any matter of belief, let them meet each other manfully.
    • Francis Wayland, p. 162.
  • No great advance has ever been made in science, politics, or religion, without controversy.
    • Lyman Beecher, p. 162.
  • It is humbling to mankind to contemplate men capable of grasping eternal truths, fencing and debating in trivialities, like gladiators fighting with flies.
    • Désiré Nisard, p. 162.
  • Doubtless there are times when controversy becomes a necessary evil. But let us remember that it is an evil.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Wiktionary has an entry about controversy.

Simple English

A controversy is when people have a problem related to opinions. There are several groups of people who have different opinions and who cannot fully agree. Examples for controversial topics are the question if abortion should be legal, or whether the research on stem cells should be permitted.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address