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Thread: have "accidents" changed the course of history?

  1. #1 have "accidents" changed the course of history? 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    It seems to me that history is merely cause and effect. Considering that, then "accidents" also result from cause and effect. I know that "bad luck" and "accidents" do not cause themselves. When you take risks and do not have a back up, you eventually have an "accident" or "bad luck".

    Suppose you are an ancient leader and your army is advancing on the enemy. Suddenly, your horse stands up and throws you to the ground. You crack your head and cannot get up. Your army looses will, retreats and is routed.

    Did it all happen because of the horse? No, your army did not have the will to fight but followed unwillingly and saw your fall as an excuse to get the hell out of there! Many could not run fast enough and were slaughtered.

    To me, that is the way it works. What do you think?

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  3. #2  
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    along this line i have wondered how many future geniuses have been aborted, prematurely died or taken a wrong path. if FDR had not died would the war be over, if Lincoln, not shot would history be what it is or if John John had not died, would he have been the president.

    i have tried to understand the pre-destined theories for people in regards to pre and post life, but their seems to be no link...


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    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Myself, I don't think that way because if everything occurs only because of cause and effect, then it is impossible for anything to have happened in the past other than the what did happen.

    This determinism seems to bother people, but since we are never able to know all or even much of the cause and effect involved in everything or anything, we have no feeling of things being pre-determined.

    If there really was an omnipotent intelligent design running the universe, it would certainly know EVERYTHING and, hence, be able to predict exactly everything that will occur in the future.

    But, there is no such thing and even if there was, he would not be able to pass all that information on to us. We have no way to handle infinite knowledge. We are, after all, finite.

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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    A lot of events result from accidental situations that have affected history.

    Most Accidents have a greater impact on a smaller scale (our human perspective) and a more nuanced impact on a greater scale(history would be different but there might sometimes be trends or similarities emerging from alternate histories, if one person did not discover X someone else might discover it a few decades later). If one accident seldom has a great impact overall the cumulation of accidents probably has a greater impact on history.

    There are also some rare single accidents that can change everything (large asteroid impact, nuclear war)
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    A lot of events result from accidental situations that have affected history.

    Most Accidents have a greater impact on a smaller scale (our human perspective) and a more nuanced impact on a greater scale(history would be different but there might sometimes be trends or similarities emerging from alternate histories, if one person did not discover X someone else might discover it a few decades later). If one accident seldom has a great impact overall the cumulation of accidents probably has a greater impact on history.

    There are also some rare single accidents that can change everything (large asteroid impact, nuclear war)
    -true alot of inventions were formed by accident, like synthetic rubber i "think"
    -i dunno if chernoble would count, it was an accident that changed the way people conduct safety in plants, in my opinion
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    There was a very funny British show on a couple of years ago called Red Dwarf. In one of the episodes, they (four of them) go back in time, they appear in a room in America 1963, as one of them picks something off of the floor he accidentally nudges someone out of a window, this person turns out to be Lee Harvey Oswald. They then go forward in time to discover that it has ruined America. In the story Kennedy lives, he is eventually blackmailed by the mafia (it had something to do with his womanising), communism takes over the world, there was no space race, every think we take for granted today has changed. So (long story) they needed to take JFG back in time to shoot himself, for the long term good.
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    "Fact": Most insanely innovative inventions have been discovered by accident. This is the only reason humans have them, they're damn lucky.
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    Forum Senior anand_kapadia's Avatar
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    Suppose you are an ancient leader and your army is advancing on the enemy. Suddenly, your horse stands up and throws you to the ground. You crack your head and cannot get up. Your army looses will, retreats and is routed.
    I have never heard such accident in the past.
    Their horses are trained to the best.
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    Forum Ph.D. Nevyn's Avatar
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    it's a hypothetical, the idea that accidents have changed the course of history is nothing new. During WWI Hitler was a messenger boy for the germans and the troop he was with got shelled, he was the only one that survived and went on too start WWII
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    There are many notable disasters in history which have clearly influenced thinking afterwards, and, by improving safety could have saved the lives of people who's descendants are yet to be born and make their contribution to society.

    Disasters have also cost lives, it is possible that a second Einstein never made it through childhood (or was even conceived) as a result of some fatal accident.

    IN general there is a balance, Had Einstein suffered a fatal accident whilst working as a patent clerk, it would have had little effect on history, It would just have needed somebody else to put two and two together.

    Would the second world war not have happened if Hitler was killed in the first?

    Who knows.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Would the second world war not have happened if Hitler was killed in the first?

    Who knows.
    naw man the treaty of versailles (speeling) messed up germany bad, someone would have ceased the moment
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    Forum Ph.D. Cat1981(England)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Would the second world war not have happened if Hitler was killed in the first?
    I don't think so, Germany was divide politically into lots of smaller groups. Unluckily for the world he had a very forcefully and persuasive personality.
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    As I said, who knows!
    The japanese had already invaded china (1936?) so the US Japanese conflict would have happened, it would have involved the British and then others would have had to takes sides. I have read that Hitler felt agrieved at the outcome of the Versaille(?) agreement and this led him to re-arm and re-take 'German' land, whether an alternative statesman had followed the same path I don't know, His radical ideas had no rivals at the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    As I said, who knows!
    The japanese had already invaded china (1936?) so the US Japanese conflict would have happened, it would have involved the British and then others would have had to takes sides. I have read that Hitler felt agrieved at the outcome of the Versaille(?) agreement and this led him to re-arm and re-take 'German' land, whether an alternative statesman had followed the same path I don't know, His radical ideas had no rivals at the time.
    -yea thats what i read too that treaty placed the entire blame of ww1 on germany, 65 million lives later
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    It's startling the small scale of certain events that have changed the course of history. The 'what if's.

    What if another two dozen farmers had shown up to fight along side Harold at the Battle of Hastings?.... In the American Revolution, it was sometimes just a few dozen fellows on each side of these 'famous battles' that changed history. The list goes on.

    I suppose one could take the Marxist view that changes in the particulars of events wouldn't have change patterns of history. I sort of agree with that until the development of the nuclear bomb.

    'What if' German physicists were just a couple more years ahead of themselves (literally only two or three) in 1938 and had expalined with confidence to Hitler the reality of producing an atom bomb in a couple years. What if Hitler's eyes had started to glow and he ordered everything else stopped and all resources put into the development of the Bomb?

    YIKES!! What Battle of Britain? London gone. What Stalingrad? Gone.

    The irony is that it was persecution of the Jews, and with it Jewish scientists that helped deny Hitler the one weapon that would have assured the Nazi victory.
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  17. #16  
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    yes accidents have changed history, just like everything else
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyologist
    It's startling the small scale of certain events that have changed the course of history. The 'what if's.

    What if another two dozen farmers had shown up to fight along side Harold at the Battle of Hastings?.... In the American Revolution, it was sometimes just a few dozen fellows on each side of these 'famous battles' that changed history. The list goes on.

    I suppose one could take the Marxist view that changes in the particulars of events wouldn't have change patterns of history. I sort of agree with that until the development of the nuclear bomb.

    'What if' German physicists were just a couple more years ahead of themselves (literally only two or three) in 1938 and had expalined with confidence to Hitler the reality of producing an atom bomb in a couple years. What if Hitler's eyes had started to glow and he ordered everything else stopped and all resources put into the development of the Bomb?

    YIKES!! What Battle of Britain? London gone. What Stalingrad? Gone.

    The irony is that it was persecution of the Jews, and with it Jewish scientists that helped deny Hitler the one weapon that would have assured the Nazi victory.
    Yeah. It was an exiled Jewish scientist (not Einstein) who had studied under Hessler who realized that Hessler's estimation of critical mass (at something like 100 tons of uranium) was based on the assumption that every single released neutron had to hit another atom in order to have a chain reaction. (The truth is that a reasonable percentage will suffice)

    So Germany never even came near getting an atom bomb because Hessler was in charge of the project and believed it would take this unrealistic amount of Uranium.

    In other words: The difference between Germany getting the bomb and not getting the bomb was a very simple common sense mistake that anyone trained in the field could have been lucky enough to notice.
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  19. #18  
    Forum Sophomore CShark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anand_kapadia
    Suppose you are an ancient leader and your army is advancing on the enemy. Suddenly, your horse stands up and throws you to the ground. You crack your head and cannot get up. Your army looses will, retreats and is routed.
    I have never heard such accident in the past.
    Their horses are trained to the best.
    Actually, this was not uncommon. The most famous example has to be William the Conqueror, who died while on a minor seige in what is now France. His horse stumbled into a hole (or some say a rock), driving the overweight William into the pommel of his saddle. He died a few days later, likely from a ruptured spleen or other internal bleeding.
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