For me the most shocking case is about Semmelweis and before him Alexander Gordon de Aberdeen.
http://www.antimicrobe.org/h04c.files/history/Lancet%20ID-Alexander%20Gordon%20puerperal%20sepsis%20and%20modern%20theories%20of%20infection%20control%20Semmelweis%20in%20perspective.pdf The most shocking is that the illiterate poor mothers wer totally aware of the statistics and prefered to give birth on the street front to the hospital not to be helped by doctors who regularly were infecting them. The doctors were deluded sincerely since for example one doctor suicided after exchange with Semmelweis when he understood he killed a cousin. Motivated beliefs are not conscious computations, but looks very sincere, yet it is a motavated self blinding. http://www.princeton.edu/~rbenabou/papers/REP_4_BW_nolinks_corrected%201.pdf The worst motivation are not money (in fact money should help as real innovations and discovery can be expected to give money and fame to the discoverer), but laziness, ego, fear of change, ideology...It is not far from the Innovation Dilemna... 2018-01-26 2:53 GMT+01:00 Jed Rothwell <jedrothw...@gmail.com>: > A follow-up posting by me: > > Cold fusion is not unique. There are many, many examples of previous > claims that were rejected even though the proof was rock solid, and there > was no reason to doubt the claims. Lasers, the MRI and h. pylori are good > examples. I have studied much of this history, digging up old books and > contemporaneous original sources. People don't like to talk about these > events so you seldom see them in history textbooks. > > I think there are many causes. As I said, it is human nature. Another > major contributing factor is money. M-o-n-e-y, especially research funding. > The locus of opposition to cold fusion has been the hot fusion program > researchers, for obvious reasons. You see this in other institutions. The > coal industry is fighting tooth and nail against natural gas and wind > power. The congressman from Big Coal (WV) tried to pass a law banning the > use of wind turbines, ostensibly because they kill birds. That's ridiculous > for many reasons, not least because coal kills orders of magnitude more > birds than wind per megawatt-hour, not to mention 20,000 Americans per year. > > The extent of opposition, and the irrationality of it, is surprising. You > have to read original sources to get a sense of it. Take early aviation. > Before 1908, practically no one believed that airplanes are real. The > Scientific American printed vicious, irrational, unscientific attacks > against claims, and the Wright brothers -- very similar to their attacks > against cold fusion. (The Sci. Am. still has it in for the Wrights, > repeating their nonsense attacks as recently as 2003.) In 1908 the Wrights > demonstrated in France and in Washington DC and become famous overnight. > They were on the front pages of newspapers worldwide. Hundreds of thousands > of people saw them fly over the next several months. They were given awards > by every country including a gold medal issued by Congress in 1909. > Starting in 1909 there were air races with 10 or 20 pilots competing. > > So, you would think the controversy would end, wouldn't you? Nope. I have > newspaper accounts and books describing events as late as 1912, where, for > example, a person showed up with an airplane packed into railroad shipping > containers in a Midwestern city, and advertised he would demonstrate > flights before a paying crowd. He was arrested for fraud. The citizens > threatened to tar and feather him because "everyone knows people can't > fly." They sheriff told the pilot to get out of town in the dead of night. > Apparently the citizens of that city thought the national press coverage > was, in modern parlance, "fake news." They did not trust those big city > newspapers. > > You see similar disbelief and opposition to things like self-driving cars > today. There are many unfounded and hysterical claims about them. Someone > in the comment section at the N. Y. Times said that a terrorist might use a > self-driving car to drive on the sidewalk and mow down pedestrians, and it > would not be the terrorist's fault because the robot is in charge. > Obviously, the cars are programmed not to leave the road or run down > anyone! Another letter claimed that thousands of self-driving cars on the > New Jersey Turnpike might suddenly to exit to the island Service Centers. > The letter writer seemed to think they might pile on top of one-another in > a gigantic demolition derby, trying to occupy the same parking spaces. > Again, obviously, a robot car that can drive in traffic would not try to > park in a spot that was already taken. Such objections resemble one of the > main objections made by scientists circa 1908 who did not believe airplanes > were possible: "even if you can fly, there is no way to slow down and land > safely." These people apparently never watched a pigeon turn up its wings > to a steep angle of attack, spread its tail, stall, and land. That is > exactly how an airplane lands, and you can be sure the Wright brothers knew > that before they glided the first time. > > Here is a famous quote about how it is impossible to land an airplane: > > "And, granting complete success, imagine the proud possessor of the > aeroplane darting through the air at a speed of several hundred feet per > second! It is the speed alone that sustains him. Once he slackens his > speed, down he begins to fall. He may, indeed, increase the inclination of > his aeroplane. Then he increases the resistance necessary to move it. Once > he stops he falls a dead mass. How shall he reach the ground without > destroying his delicate machinery?" > > Source: Newcomb, Simon. *Outlook for the Flying Machine. The Independent*, > October 22, 1903. > > http://www.foresight.org/news/negativeComments.html > > You can see that Prof. Newcomb is describing how to land an airplane, yet > he does not even realize he is! If he were here, now, I would say: > "Professor, you just answered your own question. All you need to do is > glide to within a few feet above the ground and then do what you just > described. You fall a dead mass the last few feet, and then roll to a > stop." Most of the objections to cold fusion are similar. They are asked > and answered. > > - Jed > >