Looking back, yes indeed, hindsight does give 20:20 vision. It’s easy to be right after things have happened, but it is interesting to look back and see what experts of the day had to say about the things that had not yet happened. This is Part II of the list on Failed Expert Predictions in some brand new categories. *part I here*
Fails #1-3: Politics / Society
1. “It will be years — not in my time — before a woman will become Prime Minister.” — Margaret Thatcher, 1974 2. “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” — Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929
3. “Ours has been the first, and doubtless to be the last, to visit this profitless locality.” — Lt. Joseph Ives, after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861
Fails #4-8: Science
4. “I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone.” — Charles Darwin, The Origin Of Species, 1869
5. “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932
6. “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” — Workers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859
7. “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” — Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
8. “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” — Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873
Fails #9-13: Miscellaneous
9. “You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can’t be done. It’s just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training.” — Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the “unsolvable” problem by inventing Nautilus
10. “The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.” — Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project
11. “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” — Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.
12. “There will never be a bigger plane built.” — A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people.
13. “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” — Attributed to Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899; believed to be an urban legend, but still fun to quote.