Bullshit history that turned out to be true

However, the condemnation is not over the theory itself per se.

If someone had made the statement “We are not ruling out the lab leak hypothesis” I would have agreed with that position, and indeed I think many Democrat politicians and even some of the medical scientists said words to that effect.

However, asserting that it came from the lab, as many on the right did, and still do, and even implying that anyone that didn’t agree with them was covering for the CCP is incredibly irresponsible. It has contributed to hate crimes, and general misunderstandings about this virus in particular, and pandemics in general. And largely just to shift the blame for the terrible handling of the pandemic in the US.

And, despite the fact that certain circumstantial data has lent some support to this hypothesis, we’re nowhere near it being the most likely cause.

Perhaps we need a thread, “people who turned out to be right…but for the wrong reasons.”
Or, perhaps this fits within the boundaries of this thread already?

If we include the history of science, then I’d like to throw in meteorites. Up until the early 19th century, reputable Western scientists regarded the notion that stones would fall from the sky as superstition. Isaac Asimov based the dénouement to one of his “Black Widower” stories on this (but I’m not going to say which one, to spare people the spoiler).

I wouldn’t say that, I’ve definitely learned a lot from them. However I think that Simon Whistler is just the presenter, as far as I have seen all his videos have “Written By <not Simon>” in the credits.

He’s always reminded me of Rafe Fiennes a bit. Interesting stuff, but as a trivia buff, I usually have already heard of it.

For a more technical side of things, usually stuff I’d never heard about, I like Tom Scott’s YT vids.

Heh, I was also going to recommend Tom Scott.

The coelacanth was thought to have gone extinct about 66 million years ago. Some fishermen knew better.

The major threat towards the coelacanth is the accidental capture by fishing operations, especially commercial deep-sea trawling.[67][68] Coelacanths usually are caught when local fishermen are fishing for oilfish. Fishermen sometimes snag a coelacanth instead of an oilfish because they traditionally fish at night, when oilfish (and coelacanths) feed. Before scientists became interested in coelacanths, they were thrown back into the water if caught. Now that they are recognized as important, fishermen trade them to scientists or other officials when they are caught. Before the 1980s, this was a problem for coelacanth populations. In the 1980s, international aid gave fiberglass boats to the local fishermen, which moved fishing beyond the coelacanth territories into more productive waters. Since then, most of the motors on the boats failed, forcing the fishermen back into coelacanth territory and putting the species at risk again.[6][69]


We ought to see if they’ve caught any chupacabras, yetis, skinwalkers, etc.

Martha Mitchell really was drugged and held under guard to prevent her from calling the media with info about the Watergate scandal.

In fact, instances where a medical professional calls a patient’s accurate depiction of events “delusional” are called the Martha Mitchell Effect.

I heard Bart actually wrote them.

I like Tom Scott.

Wish he put stuff out more often.

Edgar Allan Poe came up with the Big Bang and the expanding universe back in 1848, in his essay “Eureka.” He suggested that the universe originated from a “primordial Particle” that diffused outward in all directions. At the time, a lot of people thought Poe had lost his mind.

On the same vein: Contact between Polynesian and South American cultures in pre-Columbian times and the Kon Tiki and Ra II expeditions, by Thor Heyerdahl. I remember reading his books with great pleasure when I was a kid.

Reading the Wiki article, Heyerdahl seems to have a bit of a nutty theory. the tradition, language and genetics of the Easter islanders are specifically Polynesian, with the recent claim that there is some tiny amount of South American DNA is mixed in. But this could be mitigated by the problems that the treatment of Easter islanders - mostly being enslaved and taken to Chile in the 1800’s -could mean it’s hard to be sure the results are accurate. However, whether it’s the Greeks at the time of Troy (1000BC), or caravans across Asia in Roman times, Aborigines crossing to New Guinea and then Australia 50,000 years ago, Vikings 1500 to 1000 years ago in Iceland and Greenland, or the Polynesians over the last 2,000 years - “primitive” people travelled a lot farther and more accurately than we give them credit for. Genghis Kahn conquered and ruled an empire from China to eastern Europe almost 1000 years ago using only horseback travel. Alexander the Great made it to India in 330BC. The Chinese and India regularly traded back and forth by sea in the last 2000 years.

I had a book (I can’t recall if I kept it or donated to Goodwill during a recent decluttering) titled Everybody Discovered America. I also have An Introduction To Viking Mythology by John Grant. It includes photos of coins from China and the Middle East found in Viking graves.

The whole “Polish Calvary Charged German Tanks” in 1939 was something that was reported on at the time, then dismissed as being Nazi propaganda (since the Nazis made it about the stupidity of Polish commanders to send calvary against modern tanks) but turned out to be real, though IIRC the calvary didn’t know the Germans had armored vehicles and retreated after coming under fire by them.

Re: Richard III - a specific bullshit-history-proved-right moment relates to the unearthing of his skeleton. The “Richard The Hunchback” story was taken to be exaggerated, black propaganda etc. From my ancient Brittanica*: “Tradition represents Richard as deformed. It seems clear that he had some form of physical defect, though not so great as has been alleged”.

And then they dug him up. Whoops.


* - Rescued from a closing workplace many years ago. 1960 ed, 24 volumes. Infrequently used these days.

The theory is that there was no single author for the Iliad (or the Odyssey) but that both poems were the work of groups of non-literate poets, who would improvise spoken poetry using formulas (the famous “Homeric epithets”–“wine-dark sea”, “swift-footed Achilles”, and so on) and really phenomenal memories, with any given bard riffing off of well-known bits and pieces of story. Much later, the various fragments of this oral tradition were gathered together and written down in one place. (I suppose you could call this compiler “Homer”, but they wouldn’t have composed much of anything.)

See this New Yorker review of a biography of Milman Parry (the guy who first proposed the theory), “The Classicist Who Killed Homer”, for details.

Are you saying that Poe was sane? Have you read any of his work?

The Katyn massacre was initially dismissed as Nazi propaganda. As it turned out, the denial was Soviet propaganda.

It turned out that Native American oral traditions about a terrible flood in the coastal northwestern U.S. were documenting the 1700 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami.