One of my joke mailing-lists listed several quotes of dubious origin under the heading "The Skeptics:"
What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?
- The Quarterly Review, England (March 1825)
The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it. . . . Knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patient.
- Dr. Alfred Velpeau (1839) French surgeon
Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.
- Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1838) Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College, London
The foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious specialization will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments.
- A.W. Bickerton (1926) Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Canterbury College, New Zealand
[W]hen the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.
- Erasmus Wilson (1878) Professor at Oxford University
Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.
- Editorial in the Boston Post (1865)
That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no
improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.
- Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909
Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
- Lord Kelvin, ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist