Monday, January 31, 2011

When We Fail to Dream or Believe

Last month Listverse posted some "extremely embarrassing science predictions." They were wrong, not because science thought too far out, but because for various and sundry reasons the "establishment" was not willing to think far enough. Here are a few....

  • X-rays are a hoax. – Lord Kelvin, ca. 1900 {If you can't see it, why believe it?}
  • The so-called theories of Einstein are merely the ravings of a mind polluted with liberal, democratic nonsense which is utterly unacceptable to German men of science. – Dr. Walter Gross, 1940 {Talk about politics and prejudice infecting science!}
  • “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” — Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899 {Human hubris will always want to think we have reached our pinnacle! A great way to stop growing and exploring!}
  • While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming. – Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer, 1926. {Narrow thinking, even from geniuses can be astounding.}

And a famous misquote,
  • "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,"
is attributed to IBM founder, Tom Watson. The quote has never been found and is considered false and discredited. It is used to prove this lack of vision in science, which is why it has become so widely believed to be true.

The reality of all this is that while we humans have so much going for us, we can and do still fall prey to lack of vision, hubris, narrow-mindedness and just plain unwillingness to change.

No comments: