25 famous predictions that turned out to be wildly wrong


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Notice the pattern. These predictions are all negative, expressing doubts and having no faith in the possibilities of what humans can achieve. Use this as a guide when you hear comparable negative predictions today. As someone once said, “When a scientist says something is impossible it just means it will take a little longer.”

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13 comments

  • “When a scientist says something is impossible it just means it will take a little longer.”

    Corollary (and I’m paraphrasing):

    When a respected scientist says something is possible, they are almost certainly right; if they say something is impossible, they are almost certainly wrong.

  • You are paraphrasing Arthur Clarke, by the way.

  • Thanks. I had the quote in mind, I was just too lazy to look it up.

  • Cotour

    How about this for a prediction, Hillary is in the cross hairs of her own party and will be forced to withdraw from her personal accomplishment aspiration of being the “First Woman President”.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/role-of-hillary-clintons-brother-in-haiti-gold-mine-raises-eyebrows/2015/03/20/c8b6e3bc-cc05-11e4-a2a7-9517a3a70506_story.html

    Do you think that Senator Robert Menendez thinks that this apparently well documented and what appears to be a quid pro quo story that ties the State department under Hillary’s direction and the right given to her brother to mine gold in Haiti might result into at least an investigation? If not an indictment as in Menendez’s case?

    My prediction: Hillary gone by the end of the year to make room for the “progressive” agenda dream Elizabeth Warren.

    The acquisition of and the retention of power knows no limits.

  • Cotour

    To clarify, Her brother was apparently added to the advisory board of the mining company, re-reading the story, I don’t know if any rights have been granted at this moment to mine anything yet.

  • Paul Hosea

    I see heavy selection bias here. One could also find all sorts of predictions about life in the future, inventions, and the like that turned out to be optimistic.

  • Matt in AZ

    #3, the late 60s holiday safaris in Vietnam, was an optimistic prediction that somehow slipped through onto this list.

  • Of course. But I still think these are some of the more famous examples of underestimating human potential.

  • Cotour

    And more:

    “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/02/the-u-s-constitution-actually-bans-hillarys-foreign-government-payola/

    I am sure that they have structured or figured some lawyerly way that this should be interpreted by the little people but it is what it is, The Clinton Foundation has taken monies from other states while Hillary was in office.

  • Edward

    It is all too easy to underestimate human potential. When we, as individuals, are unable to think of a use for something — or we are unable to accomplish something — we tend to assume that no one else can, either. We forget that there are billions of others, any one of whom could have the potential to do what we did not do.

    Albert Einstein’s quote, at the top, shows that even the brilliant among us can fall into that trap.

  • PeterF

    Wait, WHAT? Are saying the title of “Tsar” is unconstitutional?

    And what are we to make of the Iranian-born “Grand Vizier”; Valerie Jarrett?

  • PeterF

    Umm, it is possible to take a holiday safari in Viet Nam. It would probably even be preferable and safer than taking a vacation in say, Iraq.

  • Edward

    At the risk of responding seriously to a sarcastic comment, I believe that the relevant part is: “… accept of any present, Emolument, …”

    The accusation is that there was some quid quo pro going on, as in donations to an office holder’s favorite charity (a present), or a compensation for some form of favor (emolument) coming from at least one foreign country. If it is true that a present was given, even if it were not for quid quo pro, Congress did not consent (and it was not reported on the form 990), making it nefarious and suspicious.

    It seems that the administration has — or had — some high level officials, with law degrees, who do not know or follow the laws of the land. Such behavior can easily lead to (or be due to) blackmail or corruption.

    As for the unofficial title of Tsar, that was “conferred” by US officials (or was it the press?), not foreign officials, so it is constitutionally OK.

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