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Way of Life Literature


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Wrong Predictions
January 30, 2014
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
Wrong Predictions
The following are some of the glaring mistakes that highly educated scientific men have made in predicting the future. On the other hand, the Bible has never been wrong in its predictions, and this is one of the many infallible proofs that it is the divinely-inspired Word of God.

“Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further development”
(Julius Sextus Frontinus, Roman engineer, 1st century A.D.).

“In the big ditch [the Erie Canal] will be buried the treasure of the State, to be watered by the tears of posterity” (1810, opponents to the building of the Erie Canal which brought great prosperity and advantage to New York State in particular and to the United States in general when it was completed, cited from Noble Whitford,
History of the Canal System of the State of New York, introduction).

“Railroad carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by engines which endanger life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring livestock, and frightening our women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed” (Martin Van Buren, governor of New York, in a letter to President Andrew Jackson seeking his help in preserving canals against the onslaught of railroads, Jan. 31, 1829, cited from
Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation by Peter Bernstein).

"Louis  Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction” (Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872).

“This 'telephone' has  too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us” (Western Union internal memo, 1876).

“... after a few more flashes in the pan, we shall hear very little more of Edison or his electric lamp. Every claim he makes has been tested and proved impracticable” (
New York Times, January 16, 1880).

“We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy” (Simon Newcomb, 1888).

“Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever” (Thomas Edison, 1889, spoken during his losing battle against AC current).

“Everything that can be invented has been invented” (Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899).

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible” (Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895).

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value” (Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, France).

"May not our mechanicians," he asked, "be ultimately forced to admit that aerial flight is one of the great class of problems with which man can never cope, and give up all attempts to grapple with it?" (astronomer Simon Newcomb, founding president of the American Astronomical Society, October 1903, less than a month before the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, quoted from “The 123,000 MPH Plasma Engine,”
Popular Science, Oct. 13, 2010).

"The aeroplane will never fly” (Lord Haldane, Minister of War, Britain, 1907).

“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom” (Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923).

“Very interesting, Whittle, my boy, but it will never work” (professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Cambridge, in a statement to Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, 1920s, quoted from “The 123,000 MPH Plasma Engine,”
Popular Science, Oct. 13, 2010).

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” (Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943).

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out” (Decca Recording Co.’s statement rejecting the Beatles, 1962).

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a  'C', the idea must be feasible” (Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service; Smith went on to found Federal Express).

“The  bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives” (Admiral William Leahy , US Atomic Bomb Project).

“The whole procedure [of shooting rockets into space]... presents difficulties of so fundamental a nature, that we are forced to dismiss the notion as essentially impracticable, in spite of the author's insistent appeal to put aside prejudice and to recollect the supposed impossibility of heavier-than-air flight before it was actually accomplished” (Richard Woolley, reviewing P.E. Cleator's “Rockets in Space,”
Nature, 1936).

“I  don't know what use any one could find for a machine that would make copies of documents. It certainly couldn't be a feasible business by itself” (president of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox).

“Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine” (Ernest Rutherford, 1937).

“Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances” (Lee DeForest, inventor of the Audion tube and one of the fathers of radio).

“Space travel is utter bilge” (Richard Woolley, Astronomer Royal, 1956).

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year” (The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957).

copyright 2013, Way of Life Literature

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