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27Jul/100

Ahead of their time

This post was originally from : http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=136797716343917&id=1790432390&ref=nf by Mihaela Schneiders

I'm willing to bet that most of the people who fight so desperately to discredit the VENUS PROJECT are well familiar with all of these examples, but somehow or another, they think that their own time and age is so very much more advanced in it's thinking than any of those examples, when really, it's anything but:

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

Various cultures have had conceptions of a flat Earth, such as Babylon, Ancient Egypt, pre-Classical Greece, pre-Classical India and pre-17th century China.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"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

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" --H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we' ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet." --Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.

"Men show their character in nothing more clearly than by what they think laughable." -J. W. Goethe

"When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift

"The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. It would not perhaps be too fanciful to say that a new idea is the most quickly acting antigen known to science. If we watch ourselves honestly we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated." - Wilfred Trotter, 1941

"This foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd lengths to which vicious specialisation will carry scientists." -A.W. Bickerton, physicist, NZ, 1926

Internet is impossible: " You cannot build a corporate network out of TCP/IP." --IBM; 1992
As late as 1992, IBM was known to say you couldn't possibly build a corporate network using Internet Protocol. And even some Internet engineers today say the whole thing is a pilot project and the jury is still out. lol
That's why the mascot of Internet engineering, if it had one, is said to be the bumblebee. Because the fur-to-wingspan ratio of the bumblebee is far too large for it to be able to fly. And yet, mysteriously, somehow the bee flies.

Can the Internet Really work? -- Like Bees, it can

Arrhenius (ion chemistry)
His idea that electrolytes are full of charged atoms was considered crazy. The atomic theory was new at the time, and everyone "knew" that atoms were indivisible (and hence they could not lose or gain any electric charge.) Because of his heretical idea, he only received his university degree by a very narrow margin.

Hans Alfven (galaxy-scale plasma dynamics)
Astronomers thought that gravity alone is important in solar systems, in galaxies, etc. Alfven's idea that plasma physics is of equal or greater importance to gravity was derided for decades.

Ignaz Semmelweis (surgeons wash hands, puerperal fever )
Semmelweis brought the medical community the idea that they were killing large numbers of new mothers by working with festering wounds in surgery, then immediately assisting with births without even washing hands. Such a truth was far too shameful for a community of experts to accept, so he was ignored. Semmelweis finally ended up in a mental hospital, and his ideas caught fire after he had died.

John L. Baird (television camera)
When the first television system was demonstrated to the Royal Society (British scientists,) they scoffed and ridiculed it.

Robert Bakker (fast, warm-blooded dinosaurs)
Everyone knows that dinosaurs are like Gila monsters or big tortoises: large, slow, and intolerant of the cold. And they're all colored olive drab too! 🙂

Bardeen & Brattain (transistor)
Not ridiculed, but their boss W. Shockley nixed their idea, and when they started investigating it, he made them stop. They assembled their point-contact experiment on a wheeled cart and continued. They could shove it into a closet whenever the boss came by.

J Harlen Bretz (catastrophy causing geology changes)
Endured decades of scorn as the laughingstock of the geology world. His crime was to insist that enormous amounts of evidence showed that the "scabland" desert landscape of Eastern Washington state had endured an ancient catastrophy: a flood of staggering proportions. This was outright heresy, since the geology community of the time had dogmatic belief in a "uniformitarian" position, where all changes must take place incrementally over vast time scales. Bretz was vindicated by the 1950s. Quote: "All my enemies are dead, so I have no one to gloat over."

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (black holes in 1930, squashed by Eddington)
Chandra originated Black Hole theory and published several papers. He was attacked viciously by his close colleague Sir Arthur Eddington, and his theory was discredited in the eyes of the research community. They were wrong, and Eddington apparently took such strong action based on an incorrect pet theory of his own.

Chladni (meteorites in 1800)
The scientific community regarded Meteorites in the same way that modern scientists regard UFO abductions and psychic phenomenon: quaint superstitions only believed by peasant folk. All the eyewitness reports were disbelieved. At one point the ridicule became so intense that many museums with meteorites in their geology collections decided to trash those valuable samples. (Sometimes hostile skepticism controls reality, and the strongest evidence is edited to conform to concensus disbeliefs.) Finally in the early 1800's Ernst Chladni actually sat down and inspected the evidence professionally, and found that claimed meteorites were entirely unlike known earth rocks. His study changed some minds. At the same time some large meteor falls were witnessed by scientists, and the majority who insisted that only ignorant peasants ever saw such things were shamed into silence. The tide of disbelief shifted... yet this important event is not taught to science students, and those ignorant of such history repeat such failures over and over, as with the hostile disbelief regarding Ball Lightning.

Crick and Watson (DNA)
Not ridiculed. But they were instructed to drop their research. They continued it as "bootleg" research.

C.J. Doppler (Doppler effect)
Proposed a theory of the optical Doppler Effect in 1842, but was bitterly opposed for two decades because it did not fit with the accepted physics of the time (it contradicted the Luminiferous Aether theory.) Doppler was finally proven right in 1868 when W. Huggins observed red shifts and blue shifts in stellar spectra. Unfortunately this was fifteen years after Doppler had died.

Robert L. Folk (existence and importance of nanobacteria)
Discovered bacteria with diameters far below 200nM widely present in mineral samples, able to both metabolize metals and to create calcium encrustations. Proposed their large role in creation of "metamorphic" rock and everyday metal corrosion. These ideas were rejected with hostility because the bacterial diameter is too small to include enough genetic material or ribosomes, and they seem immune to common sterilization techniques.

Galvani (bioelectricity)
"They call me the frogs' dance instructor."

William Harvey (circulation of blood)
His discovery of blood circulation caused the scientific community of the time to ostracize him.

Galileo (supported the Copernican viewpoint)
It was not the church authorities who refused to look through his telescope. It was his fellow scientists! They thought that using a telescope was a waste of time, since even if they did see evidence for Galileo's claims, it could only be because Galileo had bewitched them.

Karl F. Gauss (nonEuclidean geometery)
Kept secret his discovery of non-Euclidean geometry for thirty years because of fear of ridicule. Lobachevsky later published similar work and WAS ridiculed. After Gauss' death his work was finally published, but even then it took decades for Noneuclidean Geometery to overturn the Greek mathematically "pure" view of geometery, and to win acceptance among the professionals.

Binning/Roher/Gimzewski (scanning-tunneling microscope)
Invented in 1982, other surface scientists refused to believe that atom-scale resolution was possible, and demonstrations of the STM in 1985 were still met by hostility, shouts, and laughter from the specialists in the microscopy field. Its discoverers won the Nobel prize in 1986, which went far in forcing an unusually rapid change in the attitude of colleagues.

R. Goddard (rocket-powered space ships)
Goddard was relatively obscure until late 1944, when those disgusting Jules-Verne fantasies, the rocket-powered space ships, started raining down on London during WWII. (By analogy, imagine the consternation of the scientific community if Iraq responded to Desert Storm with fleets of glowing UFOs w/deathrays!)
"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."
-Sir Richard van der Riet Wooley, British astronomer, reviewing P.E. Cleator's "Rockets in Space", NATURE, March 14, 1936

Fritz Zwicky (Dark Matter)
Known in the astro research community as "Crazy Fritz," Zwicky investigated orbit statistics of galactic clusters in 1933 and concluded that the majority of mass had an invisible unknown source. He was ignored, dismissed as an eccentric.

George Zweig (quark theory)
Zweig published quark theory at CERN in 1964 (calling them 'aces'), but everyone knows that no particle can have 1/3 electric charge. Rather than receiving recognition, he encountered stiff barriers and was accused of being a charlatan.

Wright bros (flying machines)
After their Kitty Hawk success, The Wrights flew their machine in open fields next to a busy rail line in Dayton Ohio for almost an entire year. American authorities refused to come to the demos, and Scientific American Magazine published stories about "The Lying Brothers." Even the local Dayton newspapers never sent a reporter (but they did complain about all the letters they were receiving from local "crazies" who reported the many flights.) Finally the Wrights packed up and moved to Europe, where they caused an overnight sensation and sold aircraft contracts to France, Germany, Britain, etc.

Warren S. Warren (flaws in MRI theory)
Warren and his team at Princeton tracked down a Magnetic Resonance anomaly and found a new facet to MRI theory: spin interactions between distant molecules, including deterministic Chaos effects. Colleagues knew he was wrong, and warned him that his crazy results were endangering his career. Princeton held a "roast", a mean-spirited bogus presentation mocking his work. Warren then began encountering funding cancellations. After approx. seven years, the tide of ridicule turned and Warren was vindicated. His discoveries are even leading to new MRI techniques. See: SCIENCE NEWS, Jan 20 2001, V159 N3, "spin Control" (cover story)

Jacobus Henricus van't Hoff (theory of 3D molecules)
As a relative newcomer and unknown, he was attacked and ridiculed for proposing that a 3D tetrahedral structure would explain many problems in chemistry. His foes rapidly went silent, and finally his ridiculous cardboard models won the first nobel prize in chemistry (1901.)

Virginia Steen-McIntyre (found that ancient indian villages date to 300,000BC)
Steen-McIntyre innocently stumbled into heresy when she found wide-ranging evidence that native settlements in the USA southwest were 300,000 years old. This damaged here career, since the dates acceptable to the archeologist community are more like 50,000BC.

Stanford R. Ovshinsky (amorphous semiconductor devices)
Physicists "knew" that chips and transistors could only be made from expensive slices of ultra-pure single-crystal semiconductor. Ovshinsky's breakthrough invention of glasslike semiconductors was attacked by physicists and then ignored for more than a decade. (When evidence contradicts consensus belief, inspecting that evidence somehow becomes a waste of time.) Ovshinsky was bankrupt and destitute when finally the Japanese took interest and funded his work. The result: the new science of amorphous semiconductor physics, as well as inexpensive thin-film semiconductor technology (in particular the amorphous solar cell, photocopier components, and writeable CDROMS sold by Sharp Inc.) made millions for Japan rather than for the US.

Prusiner, Stanley (existence of prions, 1982)
Prusiner endured derision from colleagues for his prion theory explaining Mad Cow Disease, but was vidicated by winning the Nobel.

George S. Ohm (Ohm's Law)
Ohm's initial publication was met with ridicule and dismissal. His work was called "a tissue of naked fantasy." Approx. ten years passed before scientists began to recognize its great importance.

B. Marshall (ulcers caused by bacteria, helicobacter pylori)
Stomach ulcers are caused by stress changing the stomachs acid levels. All physicians knew this. Marshall needed about ?? years to convince the medical establishment to change their beliefs and accept that their confident knowledge was wrong; it was nothing but a widespread belief. Ulcers are actually a bacterial disease easily treated with anti-biotics.

B. McClintlock (mobile genetic elements, "jumping genes", transposons)
Won the Nobel in 1984 after enduring 32 years being ridiculed and ignored

Fernando Nottebohm
Mammal brains never grow new neurons after birth? We're given a set number of brain cells, and we can only kill them but not make new ones? After twenty years as a ridiculed minority, Nottebohm's work with songbird brains was finally taken seriously, and the biologists of today now recognize that the age-old dogma was wrong: brains DO regenerate neurons after all. As of the late 1990s the information has not yet reached most of the biological community, nor the general public.

Lynn Margulis (endosymbiotic organelles)
In 1970 Margulis was not only denied funding but also subjected to intense scorn by reviewers at the NSF. "I was flatly turned down," Margulis said, and the grants officers added "that I should never apply again." Textbooks today quote her discovery as fact; that plant and animal cells are really communities of cooperating bacteria. But they make no mention of the barriers erected by the biological community against these new ideas. Even today Margulis' ideas about cooperation in Evolution are not widely accepted, and are only making slow headway against the assumption that Evolution exclusively involves absolute selfishness and pure competition.

Julius R. Mayer (The Law of Conservation of Energy)
Mayer's original paper was contemptuously rejected by the leading physics journals of the time. And yet, billions of adults ACCEPT THE IDEA, UNCONDITIONED that some creature in the sky is watching us, and he is our friend, and he loves us and blahblahblah...

Taken from : http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=136797716343917&id=1790432390&ref=nf by Mihaela Schneiders

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