> In plain English, it is a problem if leaders regularly make categorical
> statements about the future, and then flip-flop. It means that any
> particular statement / prediction has a credibility cloud over it. This
> makes planning more difficult, never mind the unnecessary social friction.
Actually, I'm afraid history really doesn't support this view.
Stevenson was told by all medical authorities that people would suffer seizures if they travelled at more than 30mph, so the Rocket was a stupid idea.
Max Planck despised Ludwig Boltzmann's statistical mechanics because of the challenge it gave to classical thermodynamics. He went as far as to attack Boltzmann both verbally and in print for the heresy. Planck was ultimately forced to use statistical mechanics to solve the ultraviolet catastrophe and lay the basis for quantum mechanics ...
Einstein famously and vehemently denied the conclusions of the EPR paradox with his "spooky action at a distance" comment. He recanted very reluctantly when the Bell inequalities proved it.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Great discoveries are made by challenging the accepted and laid down "facts". The corollary to this is that if no-one lays down the "facts" to be challenged, the human instinct for contrariness doesn't get aroused as much as it should and some of our brilliance sinks into the mire of mediocratic reasonableness.
Being wrong is a recoverable error. Never daring to be wrong is an opportunity missed and a life never lived