No matter how qualified he is and how urgent and relevant his expertise is to the problem at hand, his warnings will be treated like madness or lies. The Ignored Expert will be ignored by his peers, or reviled and ridiculed regardless of evidence, credibility or persuasiveness. If he's lucky, he'll manage to persuade a philanthropist to help, or make The Hero aware of the problem. In extreme cases, he will be fighting nearly alone to stop (or at least expose and delay) a nigh unstoppable disaster. His situation isn't helped if he has a reputation as (or is) an Agent Mulder.
In natural disaster movies or Science Is Bad stories, expect the Ignored Expert to be the lone voice of sanity warning against a particular course of action that will, of course, be taken. That action could be entrusting the newborn AI with control over nuclear missiles, releasing The Virus in a field test, administering Super Serum to criminals, or the use of machines Powered by a Forsaken Child. His natural enemy will be the Suit with Vested Interests.
If the Ignored Expert himself created the phenomenon he is warning against, he's the Reluctant Mad Scientist.
This trope was previously named after Superman's father, Jor-El, a Kryptonian scientist whose dire warnings that their home planet would die were ignored. Famously, he managed to save his son, Kal-El, by putting him on an escape pod and sending him to one of the most successful media franchises in history.
The Ignored Expert is very similar to The Cassandra, but he also he has an impressive track record to back himself up. Of course, this doesn't help him one bit, and he can still be subject to Cassandra Did It. If the "expert" is someone totally unrelated to a situation who manages to notice something all the experts working on it have missed, he is an Einstein Sue. An "expert" whose credentials or expertise aren't too clear is The Worm Guy.
Note that while this trope can be Truth in Television in certain cases, reality is always far more complex. Scientific discoveries need to be repeatedly proven experimentally, so there is a reluctance to immediately accepting new information as fact. The release of findings may also be subject to political pressure, and may thus be suppressed or heavily controlled for political or ideological reasons. Or just plain old Anti-Intellectualism.
Finally, it should be noted that, especially in the "soft" or social sciences, the experts may themselves heavily disagree on the right course of action. In these cases, one expert's conclusions and ideas may seem like complete lunacy to another expert.
- Bleach: Although Mayuri's knowledge of Quincies was deeply shaken by his encounter with Ishida, he's the closest thing to an expert on the Quincies and their powers that the Soul Reapers have. During the Thousand Year Blood War arc, Yamamoto even tries to invoke Cassandra Did It on Mayuri for allowing the current situation to happen. Mayuri quickly points out that he had specifically warned him that a Quincy attack was likely to happen, but Yamamoto dismissed him as paranoid and thus did nothing to prepare, which is exactly what left them vulnerable to Yhwach's invasion to begin with.
Yamamoto: "If your Research and Development Department had reported and managed it more promptly, this situation may have been avoidable."
Mayuri: "That is not true. I foresaw and suggested this situation the moment Uryuu Ishida, the Quincy, infiltrated the Soul Society as a Ryouka. It was you who disregarded that as being absurd. Isn't the principle cause of this situation you, Captain-General?"
- Subverted by Dr. Kabuto from Mazinger Z. Despite he was a renowned scientist and a witness, he did not try to warn the world of what had happened in Bardos Island (to wit: one of his colleagues had murdered the entire archaeological expedition minus Kabuto after finding an army of ancient Humongous Mecha buried in the underground mazes of the island) and what Dr. Hell was planning (to wit: Take Over the World), opting for shutting himself away to build his super-weapon. Of course, he could have reasonably thought that nobody would believe his story.(Would you?)
- Chief Engineer Precia Testarossa in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie First. Even though she told the corporate executives of her company that the reactor she was developing was a new design and had a chance of a meltdown, they slashed the testing time of the reactor from one month down to ten days. They also had the safety protocols of the reactor done by their own people, who were more interested in getting the testing done quickly rather than properly. Needless to say, the Chief Engineer's fears were realized on the day of the reactor's live test run, and a meltdown occurred that killed several civilians in the process, including her daughter, Alicia.
- In Resident Evil: Degeneration, Leon S. Kennedy is brought in as a consultant to assist with a rescue operation at the Harvardville Airport outbreak. Despite his surviving several B.O.W.-related catastrophes by this point and offering plenty of evidence that he knows exactly what the hell he's talking about, the two S.W.A.T. officers accompanying him into the airport repeatedly ignore his advice for dealing with zombies, even after each of them nearly dies as a result. One of them wises up just in time to survive to mission, but the other one... well, he doesn't.
- Vividred Operation: Despite Kenjirou's knowledge of the threat that the Alone had presented to humanity, the scientific community remained skeptical and excommunicated him.
- In the Nirvana arc of Fairy Tail, Natsu fought against an artificial Dragonslayer by the name of Cobra, who taunted him by saying that Dragons don't exist anymore. Fast-forward to the end of the Tartaros arc, a series of Wham Episodes reveal that, barring the once-human Acnologia, the Dragons actually are extinct.
- In The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw Gharta is a seasoned wizardess who has led countless wilderness expeditions. She is likely the only magic-user available with the experience necessary to survive on the surface world. Yet her survival tips are continuously ignored by her rival Sandorst and the group at large leading to much wasted time and life.
- Superman's father, Jor-El, was at one point the Trope Namer, having correctly predicted the destruction of Krypton, but his warnings were not heeded, as demonstrated in the page image.
- Supergirl's father, Zor-El, was hit with this in the Post-Crisis universe. He and his wife Alura built the shield dome which saved Argo City when Krypton exploded. Afterwards he pleaded with Argo City's Science Council to find a new world to settle in, reasoning that the shields protecting the city wouldn't last forever. They didn't listen, even though he is the man who designed the shields to start with, and his brother was the man who correctly predicted Krypton's destruction.
- In Post-Crisis canon General Zod's backstory was rewritten to include involvement in Jor-El's story. Zod supported Jor-El's claims, but no-one would listen to him either. His motivation for trying to take over Krypton was to supplant the Science Council and force everyone to listen.
- One issue of the Nineties JLA features a city of sentient bacteria living in the folds of a young boys' brain. The bacteria mine the brain tissue to harness neural electricity for energy which is slowly killing him. One scientist is aware that "the world" is alive and they are killing it, but no-one will listen. Eventually doctors are forced to cut out the city with a laser, killing them all, but before it does the scientist and his wife load their son into a vessel and lauch it towards the liver, where "the iron-rich blood will give him powers and abilities undreamt of by our race". The last panel of the comic is the rocket lying on the surface of the liver, with two bacteria moving towards it.
- This is also the backstory of Superman villain Brainiac as of the New 52; he was the greatest scientist of Yod-Colu, but his discovery of an impending threat to the planet was laughed at. He was even labeled insane and sent into exile. It wasn't long before he returned, used his technologies to compile a record of the planet's culture and history, and killed most of the population.
- Parodied in normalman, where Norm's father was a no-name accountant who irrationally came to the conclusion that his planet was doomed, bought a rocket at a convenience store, and sent his son into space. Norm's mother killed him immediately after he did so.
- Subverted in a short strip written by Alan Moore for 2000 AD. A great man named R-Thur is rejected by the planet Klakton's other top scientists after making apocalyptic predictions, he plans to send his infant son N-Ree to a faraway planet called "Earth" where, because of the planet's lower gravity, N-Ree would "be able to fly, see through walls, and bounce bullets off his chest". After he sends N-Ree away in an escape rocket, R-Thur assures his wife that they will never see their son again, and begin to prepare for their eventual demise. It's gonna happen... It's gonna happen... aaaaand...
R-Thur: Er... L-Sie, I don't quite know how to tell you this but, ...er... I think I might have been wrong about Klakton exploding, heh heh!
R-Thur: Gosh, L-Sie, anybody can make a mistake!
- The same parody of Jor-El is the origin of Mr Might, Awkwardman's father in DC Comics' Self-Parody book Inferior Five. Mr Might was Barb-Ell the son of Dumb-Ell of the planet Neon. He was sent to Earth as an infant because he was convinced Neon was about to explode. As with R-Thur and normalman's father, he was completely wrong.
- Parodied as well with Brum-El, of Ambush Bug. However, Brum-El was not a scientist, just The Dandynote in a very advanced civilization, and instead of saving his family, he chose to save his wardrobe. Again, when his planet failed to be destroyed, he was just mocked and left naked.
- Transformers: Stormbringer: The Decepticon scientist Thunderwing was concerned that the war was damaging Cybertron's environment to the extent the planet would eventually be rendered uninhabitable, and tried to reach out to every scientist he knew (and Swerve) to try and solve the problem. They rejected his claims on the grounds that he didn't have enough evidence. So he created a means by which Cybertronians would be able to survive the on-coming cataclysm, and tested it on himself. The result? An unstoppable insane behemoth that required the combined firepower of both armies to just slow down, and the utter annihilation of a large chunk of Cybertron. Whoops.
- One chapter of Eugenesis opens with a statement delivered to Optimus Prime from the First Church of Primus some time after Unicron's defeat in 1991 explaining that he was going to return some time around 2005 or 2006. According to the backstory, they were ignored. And then in 2006 Unicron returned and attacked Cybertron. (Optimus gets excused because he was dead.)
- In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, the Citadel Council decides that they're going to ignore all of Admiral Adam Grayson's warnings about the Force, despite the fact that he's the only one other than the villains with which it was introduced to show any knowledge of it. When Sarah goes berserk during an interrogation session, Grayson pulls an I Told You So.
- Xander occasionally has this problem in Working for the Weekend when someone tags along for one of his "trips"note . Most girls understand they're out of their depth and listen to everything he says; most guys (usually jocks) will ignore him until something almost kills them.
- A more mundane example occurs in Xendra when the titular character, who works for a construction company, warned a couple about the damage to their chimney and the expensive repairs needed to keep it from falling off their house. They instead hired a Crooked Contractor who's much cheaper to save money, said contractor simply using a 2x4 and cheap metal to hold up the several hundred pound chimney. A couple weeks later, their chimney falls off their house, taking a large section of the wall and part of their neighbors fence with it. Xendra only keeps from saying I Told You So due to the wife bursting into tears over it.
- Subverted in Last Daughter Of Croupton. While the Crouptonian Council of Research does refuse to publish or endorse Laurel Wreath's warnings that overuse of mana taps will soon annihilate their star system, they all but explicitly state that they do believe him. It's simply that there's no way to avert the catastrophe short of shutting off the mana taps, which will destroy their civilization just as thoroughly. They even state that if there is anything the Council can do for him, he has only to ask. He later takes them up on it, getting the necessary resources to build a device that translates his daughter, Collision Risk, into a new universe.
- In Enough Rope, Steve Rogers ignores all experts on principal due to having an almost pathological need to be the one people turn to for answers rather than the other way around. That Steve doesn't think long term and prefers to solve every problem with violence only makes things worse.
- In Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Dr. Sid's claims that the Phantoms are actually Exactly What It Says on the Tin are met with this trope. This is all the more unreasonable when one reflects that Dr. Sid is the inventor of not only the only weapons that have had any effect at all upon the Phantoms, but is also the inventor of the energy shields that keep Earth's remaining cities intact.
- In Fantastic Mr. Fox, Fox chooses to ignore his real estate agent's advice not to move into Boggis, Bunce and Bean territory. However it wasn't because he lived there that they hated him, it was because he stole from them.
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Olivia tells the Kingpin that his particle collider isn't ready, and could blow up the whole city if he tries to use it early. He tells her to get started anyway. Turns out that Olivia Octavius is this universe's version of Doctor Octopus, and the only reason she doesn't want to blow up the city is because her work would be destroyed as well.
- In Man of Steel, a variation occurs on the Superman myth pertaining to Jor-El. Krypton's destruction was the Kryptonians' own doing as they attempted to tap the planet core for power when all other sources were exhausted. Jor-El warned that it was a colossally stupid idea, and was disregarded, and he warned again that the planet's doom could be mere weeks away some time after it was implemented, and only General Zod believed him.
- Watch a Syfy Original thriller movie. There's always one of these, and he (plus his inexplicably hot girlfriend, unless the roles are reversed) is always the hero who deduces how to stop the plague/virus/infestation/attack/etc/etc.
- Dr. Dalton in Dante's Peak, although the movie does subvert how the trope is usually played — Dr. Dalton doesn't have enough conclusive evidence, and the economy of the town could be ruined if he was wrong. The second Dr. Dalton finds concrete proof, it's immediately taken seriously; the town was in the middle of a town meeting discussing the evacuation plan when the volcano started erupting.
- Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in 2012 is a subversion. He brings a written report of his findings about the imminent end of the world directly to White House Chief of Staff Anheuser. Anheuser initially dismisses him, until Helmsley insists; Anheuser takes one look at the report and immediately brings it to the President's attention.
- Anne Heche in Volcano, which at some points seems to be set in an alternate reality where the very existence of volcanoes is an obscure geological fact completely unfamiliar to the public. Although that's probably less "people don't know what a volcano is" and more "no-one expects a volcano to erupt in the middle of Los Angeles."
TV Anchorwoman: Well, we now have a name for this crisis. It is, according to the US Geological Survey, a "volcano"...
- A rare non-scientist example, Carter Blake in Deep Blue Sea is a "shark wrangler" who correctly points out that using genetic engineering to make sharks (already apex predators) smarter is not a good idea. He's blackmailed by the Hot Scientist into keeping quiet, but at least he tried to warn her of the danger.
- Jack Hall and his son, Sam, in The Day After Tomorrow. First the Vice President ignores Jack's warnings about climate change. And then an entire public library full of survivors ignores Sam's warnings about the temperature even after he tells them he knows this because his father is a government climatologist.
- Subverted in the no budget, pseudo-philosophical, So Bad, It's Good film Creation of the Humanoids. Set After the End, the main character is a member of an anti-robot organization that insists that the "Clickers" have a secret plan to replace humanity and Take Over the World. He's half right. They do have a secret plan, but the plan is actually to create fully human robots (starting by copying the minds and bodies of recently deceased humans) and interbreed with the remaining human survivors, so that humanity still will live on after biological humans eventually die out. At the end of the movie, when the main character learns exactly what the plan is, and what HE is, he concludes that the robots really are as harmless as everyone else has been saying!
- This happens in tons of horror movies — for example, Jaws (as referenced below).
- David Duchovny's Ira Kane in Evolution and the associated napalming. This has less to do with the government distrusting Kane (which they do thanks to his huge screw-up with the anthrax vaccine) and more with him being a complete Jerk Ass to his former commanding officer, who's in charge of the napalming.
- The Dead Zone: "The ICE... is gonna BREAK!!!"
- Flash Gordon. NASA scientist Hans Zarkov warned that the unusual events were the result of an an attack on the Earth. He was fired from NASA and the authorities rejected his ideas as "irrational". It turned out that he was absolutely correct: the phenomena were sent by the Emperor Ming to amuse himself.
- In Day of the Wolves, Chief of Police Pete Anderson tries to warn the town council that Wellerton is vulnerable to a criminal takeover. They fire him.
- In City of Ember, Doon is the only one convinced that the eponymous city's generator is beyond repair, and it needs to be overhauled, or the city abandoned. Naturally, the older generation tells him to shut up. It turns out he and Lina are Legacy Characters (of sorts) to their fathers, who were part of a cabal who foresaw the collapse years ago. Her father died trying to find a solution.
- If you're ever in a lab trying to free animals and a scientist who works there begs you not to because "they're infected and it only takes one bite", don't do what the activists of 28 Days Later did and completely ignore him.
- The Story of Louis Pasteur is about Pasteur trying to convince the French medical establishment that germs cause disease, and that doctors need to wash their hands and sterilize their instruments. No one listens, and he actually gets ordered by the Emperor to quit his research.
- Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys: Will, the lamprey expert, is ignore by one of his team members and the Mayor.
- In Pixels, nobody takes Sam's claims of alien invaders using retro video games as weapons seriously until Taj Mahal is attacked and Ludlow finds aliens' first message.
- O'Brien in Terminator Genisys. He tries to warn the authorities about the dangers of Skynet but nobody wants to listen.
- In Independence Day: Resurgence, David Levinson is the head of the Earth Space Defense Initiative, but his insistence that the spherical ship that has popped up over the Moon comes from a different alien race is blatantly ignored by the world leaders, who opt to blow it out of space. Of course, he turns out to have been right.
- In The Sixth World, The Navajo general is creeped out by the spaceship corn, but everyone tells him it's been genetically-modified for this trip and it will work great.
- Every Jurassic Park movie has at least one guy who knows more about dinosaurs than everyone else and has to watch his warnings go unheeded, from Alan Grant to Owen Grady.
- Zigzagged in Die Hard 2 Die Harder, John McClane is ignored by the obnoxious captain of the Airport Police when he points out what are brushed off as "luggage thieves" were carrying weapons far too expensive to be used for such a mundane task. However he's not ignored when he manages to get in front of guy in charge of the airport and points out one of said "luggage thieves" is a soldier who allegedly died several years ago and how fishy all this is considering a deposed "diplomat" from a Banana Republic is en-route by plane. Unfortunately by then it's too late and the terrorists have seized control of the airport.
- Even films made outside Hollywood follow this trope. In Norwegian disaster film The Wave Kristian warns his entire geological team whose job it is to monitor seismic activity in the mountains and fjords, only to be ignored repeatedly, even as he presents more and more evidence to support his claims.
- Transformers: Played with. Maggie breaks into a Pentagon meeting to present her theory about the nature of the machines attacking the Earth. The Secretary of Defense John Keller is willing to listen to her, but when she admits she has no evidence, he politely asks her to leave. She later gets herself arrested in the process of trying to find more information on the aliens. Soon after, Keller independently finds evidence that she might have had the right idea, so he collects her from custody.
Maggie: What's going on?
Keller: We're going to the Pentagon. You're going to be my adviser.
Glenn: What about me?
Keller: Who's this?
Maggie: He's... my adviser.
Keller: He comes too.
- In A Brother's Price, Captain Tern senior, head of the guard and expert for security, warns the royal family that the theatre they're going to visit hasn't been properly checked for safety risks. They go inside nevertheless, because their husband Keifer is impatient and prone to temper tantrums ... and in the middle of the play, the theatre explodes.
- In A. E. van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle, the lone nexialist (a scientist whose specialty is nonspecialization) is surrounded by an expedition that laughs him off in spite of his increasingly frequent responsibility for saving the entire ship. This eventually escalates to the point where he hypnotizes the entire crew and enslaves them for three years in a massive effort to defeat an insatiable nebula-like monster that has nearly sterilized its galaxy.
- Isaac Asimov:
- Hari Seldon in Asimov's Foundation Series, even though he did have some listen to him. Partly because the collapse is happening so slowly that people don't really notice beyond occasional "this used to work better in my day". Seldon himself didn't believe it in the prequels until Chetter Hummin showed it to him. In fact, Hummin had Seldon develop psychohistory precisely to find a solution for the problem. He's actually put on trial outright once for treason, but since he says the empire will last for another thousand years he's mostly laughed off and informally exiled to a planet on the galactic fringe. Just as planned.
- The Gods Themselves a science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov has three Jor-Els attempting to warn everyone of a danger. One is an alien trying to warn her planet and the two others are humans trying to warn Earth to stop using an electron transfer device that gives everyone infinite energy. The aliens actually do believe the one alien arguing against what they're doing, but it's only Earth that will be destroyed by the exchange and the aliens can't live without it, so they don't care. The humans in turn can't convince anyone because infinite free energy, meaning nobody even wants to look at their research. The name of the novel (as well as those of the three parts) comes from the quote, "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."
- "Nightfall (1941)": The astronomers have been mocked for their doom-sayings, having announced a "dark body" that will eclipse Beta after the other five suns have set. One of the newspaper reporters who has been mocking them actually comes to get their side of the story during their announced eclipse, so that he can get the scoop on why they were wrong (and hedging his bets to get an even better story in case they were right).
- Nightfall (1990): (co-authored by Robert Silverberg) Scientists from many different fields discover that soon, darkness will fall over the planet Kalgash for one night (it happens every 2048 years; the planet is surrounded by 6 suns so it has constant light). Astronomers predict the actual event, archaeologists predict the mass destruction (it's happened previously), and psychologists predict the human reaction to it, and no one believes them. They're reviled, denounced, and eventually, 100% correct.
- Subverted in Invisible Man: the main character realizes that there's going to be a riot, but his warnings come to nothing because those he's warning want there to be a riot so they can gain power from the resulting chaos.
- Superman: Naturally, Jor-El himself in the surprisingly good Adaptation Expansion novel The Last Days of Krypton. For one point in defense of his detractors, Jor-El had already predicted the end of Krypton in a fair number of ways already by the end of the book.
- Dr. Kreitzler in Caleb Carr's The Alienist.
- In Nevil Shute's No Highway, Theodore Honey, a scientist with the Royal Aircraft Establishment is flying to investigate a plane crash. He's told the authorities that he thinks the crashes are due to metal fatigue and to ground all planes that are getting on a bit. To his horror he realises that the plane he's in should have been grounded because it's flown far too many miles and he runs around telling everyone what to do if the wings fall off. No one believes him, so he lifts the undercarriage while the plane's on the ground.
- In Going Postal, Clacks engineer Mr. Pony keeps insisting that the Grand Trunk's semaphore towers need to undergo proper maintenance or the whole business will go under. Unfortunately, his superiors are only concerned with immediate profits, and think that shutting down the towers for an extended period of time is madness, since it will lose money (plus, there's the matter of them buying the Trunk on embezzled funds). When he presents hard facts and explains the exact minimum amount of money he'd need to at least keep the service running a while longer, his boss (Big Bad Reacher Gilt) agrees to give him a quarter of it, and makes a grand show of it as though he's being generous. Of course, in this case Gilt does in fact believe the engineer, but just doesn't care, because he knows that even if the Clacks did collapse, he would still be able to make a massive profit selling the business to someone else, regardless of whether it was a total shambles. In fact the Board of Directors approved the full amount; Gilt pocketed the rest. Pony is able to avoid the eventual fallout (and aid the city's case against Gilt and the Board) thanks to a scrupulously maintained paper trail.
- In the Harry Turtledove novel Supervolcano: Eruption, one of the main characters is a geologist studying Yellowstone park. Despite being a clear expert (and even being interviewed on television news as a geology expert several times), and despite a lot of pretty strong scientific evidence that something was going on, she can't get anyone to take her warnings about imminent eruption of a supervolcano under Yellowstone park. The justification the Government gave her was basically that an eruption on that scale would be too big a disaster for the government to respond to anyway, so there was no point in worrying about it.
- In Jurassic Park, Hammond invites a group of various experts to his park before it opens to advise him, and basically all of them become this. Most vocal are Malcolm, who insists that trying to replicate an ecosystem that disappeared millions of years ago is a fool's errand, and Muldoon, who says that the Velociraptors are too intelligent to be held and must be killed before they escape. Both turn out to be right.
- Honor Harrington: Assorted military analysts in the Solarian League try desperately to inform their superiors, political and military, that the League fleets are completely and hilariously outclassed by the fleets fielded by the navies involved in the Haven-Manticoran War. They find out to their horror that they underestimated the technology gap.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: The Night's Watch have seen more than enough to convince them that the Others are coming and mean to cross the Wall. Good luck trying to get King's Landing to listen, even after repeated attempts... Only Stannis takes them seriously.
- Pyramid Power has an unusual example: The Pyramid Security Agency employs outright blackmail in order to conscript the services of the experts that they then proceed to ignore. In the end, there is a direct correlation between the people who enter the pyramid who listen to (or are) the people who have escaped the pyramid in reasonably good health before, and those who escape the pyramid in reasonably good health this time.
- In The Dresden Files, the coroner Butters declares that a corpse he examined is "humanoid, but not human". He promptly loses his job and becomes the laughingstock of the medical community. The trope is justified in that there are a lot of political and financial luminaries invested in keeping the supernatural secret.
- In Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise, the titular character recounts the fates of several planets that underwent some kind of The End of the World as We Know It. When asked if there was no one to warn people that it might happen, he says that of course there were, but everyone else just ignored them and blamed them for slowing down progress, even for warning about things that should be blatantly obvious, such as attempting to use powerful ultrasonic generators to improve a planet's climate (result: massive volcanic activity) or attempting to alter a planet's axial tilt with powerful nukes (result: melting of polar ice caps and global flooding). Some were arrested for inciting panic and disenfranchised. In more severe cases, they were punished with aging. Naturally, when everything went to hell, those who tried to warn everybody were the first to be lynched. Well, no one ever said humans were rational beings.
- Smaller & Smaller Circles: Most of the higher-ups in government condescendingly dismiss Father Saenz's theory that serial killers do exist in the Philippinesthey maintain that the Serial Killer phenomenon is restricted to the West, and to "white males in their thirties".
- When Attorney Arcinas takes charge of the investigation, he ignores the two priests' advice and warnings despite their proven expertise.
- In "The Star", a Short Story by H. G. Wells, an astronomer figures out the wandering planet is probably going to hit Earth within the next few days. Some people react to this news, but the vast majority still need to live day by day.
- Essentially every reality show where someone hires an expert to help them fix their business (such as Bar Rescue, Kitchen Nightmares, etc). Despite begging for their help to get them there, the owners will argue over every single change the expert suggests. This is especially true when the expert claims that it was the owner's actions that caused the failure and they refuse to believe it.
- ALF's grandma. She was the only one who'd guess that Melmac could explode, and could save the planet... Though they locked her in a nuthouse.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor finds himself in this situation quite often, what with being both highly intelligent and highly eccentric.
- Still, it's subverted in the new series episode "Army of Ghosts", where he tells the head of Torchwood Institute to stop punching holes in reality. She brushes him off as being too alien-supremacist... then, when the Doctor sits back to watch, relents and admits that she should listen to the guy who, not only is named in her organization's charter, but has a very long pedigree that she's very well aware of about being right on these matters..
- An earlier subversion occurs, along with a Lampshade Hanging, in "Four to Doomsday". Referring to an impending alien invasion:
Tegan: We've got to get to Earth and warn them!
The Doctor: Of what? Who'll believe us? We'll be laughed at.
- In between those two subversions, there's an example of it played straight in "Dalek". The Ninth Doctor tries to warn everybody of just how dangerous the Dalek is, but nobody believes him until all of the soldiers and most of the scientists in the silo have been killed by it.
- Kim Delaney's character in the miniseries 10.5 fits into this. Of course, the Cassandra Truth reception her warnings received wasn't helped by her abrasive personality.
- Adama in the original Battlestar Galactica warns everyone that the Cylons are up to no good. No one believes him.
- Game of Thrones:
- A flashback in Season 6 shows that Ned actually saw a potential for Hodor (then known as Wylis) to become a warrior due to his size and allows him to train with Benjen. Old Nan, who was Wylis' guardian, politely brushes off her then little Lord's suggestion, citing social status.
- Robb ignored Catelyn's well-reasoned advice regarding the Greyjoys, Karstarks, and Freys, which resulted in the fall of the Northern army and House Stark.
- Carl Kolchak in the original film and series (The Night Stalker, The Night Strangler (films) and Kolchak: The Night Stalker (series)) is almost always entirely alone in noticing what is really happening.
- The Invaders. David Vincent spends the entire series struggling in vain to warn people of the alien invasion taking place in the series. It doesn't help that the evidence has a nasty habit of disappearing right in front of his eyes and the people he goes to for help have a nasty tendency to be alien agents.
- The final season of Lexx has Dr. Ernst Longbore, a Genius Cripple who used to belong to a group of scientists working on a particle accelerator capable of determining the mass of the Higgs boson particle. He became an Ignored Expert after realizing that determining the particle's mass would trigger a massive chain reaction that would implode the planet into a dense chunk of matter the size of a pea (apparently, this is the fate of every civilization that tries to determine the Higgs boson's mass). Having lost his career and academic standing, he's spent his remaining time with a small cult of college-aged followers working on a way to escape Earth. Gets subverted when after securing a means to escape for himself and a rocket full of hotties with which to repopulate the species, he decides to trigger said chain reaction himself as a middle finger to the rest of the planet.
- In the second season of Heroes, Mohinder opens the very first episode warning people about the virus that killed his sister. Nobody listens, and to add insult to injury, the people who do end up destroying the virus find out about it from totally unrelated sources.
- Kyukyu Sentai GoGoV: Dr. Mondo Tatsumi, ten years before the start of the series, predicted the coming of a horde of demons during the Grand Cross of 1999. When nobody in the scientific community believed him, he left his family and spent the next decade developing technology to combat the demons, and at the start of the series he approaches his five children to ask for their help in it.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- In the episode "The Inner Light", an alien probe connects to the mind of Capt. Picard, who seems to find himself living on a pre-space-flight planet; he spends years there, trying to figure out where he is by studying the stars and the movement of the sun. Eventually, he builds a life for himself, starts a family, and even learns to play the flute. Unfortunately, he uncovers from his study of the sun that the drought they have been enduring is the result of the sun getting ready to go nova very soon. His efforts to warn the people of his community and the government of the planet at first seem to go ignored, and it looks like this trope is going to be in effect. But they reveal they already knew about the problem but were powerless to do anything about it. The truth is they were just trying to prevent a panic while working on a secret project to preserve something of their civilization: a special probe that would be launched into space using their most advanced rocketry, in hopes of finding someone in the future to carry on the memory of their people
- In "Q Who", the ship is sent 7,000 light years by Q, placing them unknowingly in an area where the Borg are active. Picard chooses to ignore Guinan's advice to turn back now. (Though when they actually encounter the Borg, and Guinan tells them to protect themselves, they finally take her advice.)
- Some people, such as SF Debris, see Worf as this, as he frequently gives sound advice about how best to deal with enemies and crises, but never allowed to act until it's powerful enough to beat him, thereby causing The Worf Effect.
- Worf actually lampshades this in one Expanded Universe novel, where his repeated suggestions to shoot the apparent cause of the away team's problems keep getting rejected until the climax, when Data has him destroy the control systems of the machine that is the ultimate source of the problems of the novel. Worf then says that if people would just let him shoot things when he initially wanted to shoot them, life would be a lot simpler.
- There doesn't even need to be a crisis either. In one episode Worf simply asks if they could send a regular engineer over to inspect a disabled alien space ship instead of wasting the time of their Chief Engineer for something so minor. When that question's shot down he insists they send over some security personnel for safety since it's still a random space ship they just met. He's shot down again and their Chief of Engineering becomes a prisoner as a result.
- On Star Trek: Enterprise, Archer mentions an argument he once had with fellow Starfleet Captain Jeffries regarding the armaments of NX-class starships. Archer's position was that he didn't want to make peaceful contact with other species while flying around in a warship. After a year of fighting through the Delphic Expanse to save Earth from a Xindi attack, however, he decides that Jeffries was right about well-armed starships and makes sure that both Enterprise and her sister ship Columbia can fight anyone who attacks them.
- On Downton Abbey, Dr. Clarkson's warnings that Sybil may have eclampsia and must be taken to hospital immediately are ignored in favor of the the other doctor who is more respected than he. Sybil ends up dying of eclampsia
- Though in fairness, Clarkson had a terrible resume on the show before this, almost killing a man with a false diagnosis, and then missing the obvious signs that a patient was suicidal.
- In the Masters of Horror episode "The Screwfly Solution", Alan and Barney have a meeting in Washington D.C. with members of the government and the military. They explain that the ongoing Gendercide is a concerted attempt to exterminate the human race, that the women in the infected areas need to be evacuated, and that the men, especially those in important positions, need to take medication that will lead to chemical castration to prevent them from turning into murderers. All their advice is ignored.
- Lie to Me essentially boils down to this per episode. They hire the team to find out if someone is lying, then dismiss everything they have to say.
- Jor-El himself, of course, although we don't get much focus on him. He warned that tapping Krypton's core for energy would soon cause it to explode, but he was dismissed as a crackpot.
- Kara's parents (Jor-El's brother Zor-El and Zor's wife Alura) believed Jor-El enough to send Kara on a ship after Kal-El, though there are some signs that they were ignoring Jor-El until the last moment as well.
- General Astra (Alura's sister and Kara's aunt) believed Jor-El enough that she started attacking government buildings, trying to stop the core project. She always made sure the buildings were empty, but there was a guard in one of them, whom her husband Non killed. Alura felt that this crossed the line, and had Astra and all her supporters locked away in the Phantom Zone.
- The story of the ride Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World is that you're part of a team of mountaineers taking a train ride to Everest Base Camp that takes a shortcut along the slopes of a mountain rumored to be the home of the Yeti. Part of the queue area is a museum run by a local naturalist, Professor Pema Dorje, presenting his evidence that the Yeti is real and dangerous, including a plaque at the end warning people of the danger of entering its domain, below which is a note by the operators of the railroad saying they don't agree with or endorse his opinions. If you board the ride vehicle, you're "ignoring" this warning and going to the mountain anyway, and your train gets attacked by a Yeti, making Professor Dorje an example of this trope.
- In Mass Effect, one of the few surviving scientists in the lower levels of the Peak 15 research station is dismissed as mad by every other person in the place (except for Shepard and company) for believing that the project to recreate the the Rachni, who proceeded to go mad and devour just about everyone in the hot labs, was a terrible mistake, and wanting to inform the rescue effort about it. "Crazy? I'm sane. God am I sane."
- Manuel, a scientist encountered on Eden Prime. He's rambling and about to be sedated when Shepard encounters him, with his dialogue hinting that he may have looked into the Prothean Beacon himself and been driven insane as a result, something Liara later speculates could happen to those without the iron-will that Shepard and Saren have. As nonsensical as his hysterical babbling is without the context of the beacon's message, by the end of the game almost every single thing he says has turned out to be entirely correct.
- In the first game, a scientist is working on scanning the Citadel's keepers to learn more about them. By the second game, he's discovered the basic truths about them and their connection to the Reapers, but no one will listen to him.
- Shepard has conversed with a Reaper, and heard the final testimony of the Protheans, and yet, as soon as s/he's gone, the Alliance and the Council try to sweep it under the rug. The only ones who believe him/her are Anderson, Hackett and The Illusive Man. Made more ridiculous that the Asari are capable of mind melding, so really, the Asari councillor could simply read Shepard's mind to verify the truth about the Reapers and everything that Shepard has experienced. It's explained in the final DLC for the third game that they actually did believe Shepard the whole time but were officially denying it to prevent panic.
- Doctor Marie Delacroix in System Shock 2.
- Crysis offers a perfect example. Hot scientist chick warns Admiral not to launch nukes as it will only make the aliens stronger? As ridiculous as it sounds, she is of course, right.
- In the backstory of Another Century's Episode 2, a scientist named Albert Rainen predicted an Alien Invasion but was laughed off by The UCE. Years later his son, Fidel Barkholz enacts a plan to discredit the UCE by helping its enemies escape capture/defeat/destruction and by using Rainen's proposed Humongous Mecha to take out the alien threat — which turns out to be the Zentraedi.
- And before the ACE example, there was Bian Zoldark of the Super Robot Wars franchise. In Super Robot Wars 2, Super Robot Wars Alpha and Super Robot Wars Original Generation, Bian warned the Earth Federation of an alien invasion approaching Earth; naturally for this trope, he's right (in the original timeline it's the Inspectors, while in Alpha and OG it's the Aerogaters). In the original timeline and OG the Federation rejects his proposals, which leads to him forming his own military force, the Divine Crusaders (even worse, in 2 it's composed of villain groups like the Principality of Zeon, Dinosaur Empire, and Dr. Hell's Mechanical Monsters. However, the trope is subverted in the Alpha timeline, where the Federation actually listens to Zoldark; he still forms the DC, but they're allies of the Federation rather than enemies.
- Inverted and then Played for Laughs in Team Fortress 2's supplemental comics, where the Sniper turns out to be from the lost country of New Zealand, which had sunk itself under the ocean on advice from a Stupid Scientist—Sniper's father, Bill-Bel. It's basically an extended parody of the iconic Superman example. In a somewhat straighter example, one of Engineer's lines about his sentry guns is "I toldja don't touch that darn thing." Can't say he didn't warn them...
- The Elder Scrolls
- In the backstory, the Psijic Order (a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel with some ability to predict the future which has, depending on the political climate of the time, advised the leaders of Tamriel) advised Emperor Uriel Septim V against his planned invasion of Akavir in the mid-3rd Era. Uriel V did not heed their warnings and invaded anyway, suffering from all manner of misfortune before eventually having his forces decimated and becoming a casualty himself. Later Septim emperors became distrustful of the Psijics, eventually banning their ambassadors from the Imperial City entirely.
- The now-extinct Ayleids (Wild Elves) once ruled a mighty empire out of Cyrodiil, said to be the very first empire in Tamriel. At least some of their success is credited to worshiping the Daedra, including some of the traditionally "bad" Daedra. This led their mighty empire down some very dark paths, including the enslavement and vile torture of the Nedes, human ancestors to many of the modern races of Men. The "moth eyes", Moth Priests who study the Elder Scrolls, warned them that their hubris would "bear bitter fruit." The Ayleids ignored this, and their hubris would indeed lead to their downfall when their Nedic slaves rose up and overthrew their Ayleid masters, eventually driving them to extinction.
- Karate Bears don't listen to their agents.
- The Crow advisor of Wallas in The Color of the Crystal is totally ignored (and abused) by his master, despite being the Only Sane Man and smart enough to point out that letting the heroine who bested his predecessor walzing around his domain is a bad idea.
- Backstory of Marooned has doctor Ugofandian, the Only Sane Man of the Green Martian race, as it seems. They still ignored him, and the result? Once-Green Mars.
- El Goonish Shive: Dr. Sciuridae tried in vain to tell his superiors that Rapid Aging wasn't possible so quickly breeding super assassins wouldn't be viable. Fittingly enough, one of those superiors was a Pointy-Haired Boss expy. The other scientists ended up providing their bosses with something that supposedly worked, but... didn't.
Dr. Sciuridae: It was a hypothesis based on another hypothesis based on a theory based on several episodes of Star Trek. It was worthless.
- In Superman: The Animated Series, Jor-El was actually discredited by Brainiac, who realized that Jor-El was right, but wanted to ensure his own survival over that of the Kryptonians.
- Interestingly enough, the later series Legion Of Super-Heroes (not canonically related to the DC Animated Universe) subverted this, with a flashback revealing that Jor-El was believed, and enacted a plan to save Krypton using a new invention housed in the city of Kandor. But then Brainiac shrunk it, and...
- Parodied by Dib in Invader Zim. He is perhaps the only person who believes Earth is in danger of alien invasion and is worried and he constantly speaks out about it and tries to expose Zim as an alien and a threat. Living in a Crapsack World means no one listens or cares, and he's continuously mocked and abused for his efforts to the point of Black Comedy. While his younger sister Gaz grudgingly admits Zim is an alien, she points out Zim is very lousy at trying to conquer it. Plus, his race has no real interest in conquering Earth; they just exiled him there and lied about it to Zim. However, some of Zim's plans did fail because of Dib's interference. Perhaps Dib simply needs to be calmer about it?
- Al Gore on South Park is portrayed as this; constantly warning everybody of the dreaded... Manbearpig. The idiotic way that he approaches the problem (although all adults on the show tend to be idiots), make his endeavors useless. Manbearpig was a complete fabrication of Gore's, though his belief was "proven" when Manbearpig came through to the real world from Imaginationland.note
- In a flashback episode of The Venture Bros. Hunter Gathers, and Brock Samson try to tell the rest of OSI that the Guild of Calamitous Intent is still around. No one believes them, ridiculing them for not fighting Sphinx. Sargent Hatred, The Mole for the Guild has Hunter relocated to Guam, and Brock relocated to "Rusty's blanket", a task for rookies. Given that in the present the Guild is a Weird Trade Union known to most super-scientists and wizards, something must have happened between then and now.
- Done in Futurama episode "Jurassic Bark" one by one, the cast tries to jump into the lava to save the fossil. Each time, they are stopped and the Professor explains that they will die if they do. He finally reaches a peak of frustration and exclaims "Why is no one listening to me?? Professor! Lava! Hot!!"
- This is the plot of at least half of the episodes of Sealab 2021, where genuinely brilliant scientist Dr. Quinn is invariably Surrounded by Idiots. Refusal to pay attention to Quinn's advice (or increasingly hysterical avowals of how unbelievably stupid everyone else is being) usually gets the undersea station blown up, though this is the kind of comedy series where there's next to no continuity and everyone can be dead at the end of one episode and back in the next.
- Mighty Mouse: Ralph Bakshi, when he gave Mighty Mouse a Superman-like origin, created a Jor-El parody who tried (in vain) to warn other residents of the condemned building it'd be demolished.
- The Simpsons: In "Trash of the Titans", Homer runs for Sanitation Commissioner against incumbent Ray Patterson. Patterson tries to tell Springfielders that Homer basically has no clue what being an elected official is all about, with all kinds of extravagant promises. Homer wins in a landslide, but true to Ray's predictions, Homer proves himself unqualified for the position, spending his entire year's budget in one month because he hadn't realized how expensive his campaign promises would actually be, recouping the money by having other cities take their trash to Springfield. This leaves Springfield so badly trashed that they have to move the town five miles away.
- Parodied in an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic when Twilight Sparkle tries to warn the citizens of Ponyville of an impending disaster. Of course disasters happen there regularly enough to set your pony watch to, but every pony laughs anyways... until she takes off the Groucho Glasses she inadvertenly ended up wearing. With those off, they take her deadly serious and proceed to fix up all of Ponyville.
- Chowder: Most of the problems that occur throughout the series are the direct result of Chowder quite blatantly ignoring Mung Daal's warnings about the potentially dangerous foods they deal with every day. It eventually gets to the point that Mung starts to blame himself for the trouble that Chowder causes because he should know better to expect Chowder to listen.
- Unfortunately, this tends to be Truth in Television for scientists whose discoveries go against the established ideas of the time. One example is Dr. Alice Stewart, who showed a correlation between pre-natal X-ray screening and cancer, and was ignored for several years.
- Similarly, Dr. Martin Couney created the incubator to help premature infants survive. However, since conventional wisdom was that those infants wouldn't make it, it was a waste of resources to establish them in hospitals, leading Couney to install them at sideshows and charge $0.40 admission to help fund it.
- Sir John Fastolf was the only English commander in France toward the end of the Hundred Years War who not only realized and was willing to declare publicly that England was, at long last, losing the war, but also had a constructive proposal for salvaging the situation. For his pains, he was disgraced after the defeat and turned into the clownish figure of Falstaff by Shakespeare. Shakespeare was originally going to call the character Oldcastle, but changed it to Falstaff at the insistence of his patron the Lord Chamberlain, descendant of the former. Ironically, the character himself is among Shakespeare's most beloved.
- A historical War & Politics example can be found in Sir Isaac Brock, the British General in charge of the defense of Upper Canada (present-day Ontario) against the United States in the War of 1812. He was one of a few who believed that war with the U.S. was imminent and one of fewer who actually cared about the implications this would have for British North America. He and a small number of other leaders (notably the Native Chief Tecumseh) took steps to prepare against a possible invasion (even his time collaborating with Tecumseh was only a short couple of days, and Brock's main focus was on making sure the militia would be ready). Although he died at Queenston Heights, his preparations (taken pretty much completely of his own accord) and his strategic skill in several battles ultimately secured the safety of Upper Canada. As his Wikipedia Article states:
"While many in Canada and Britain believed war could be averted, Brock began to ready the army and militia for what was to come. When the War of 1812 broke out, the populace was prepared, and quick victories at Fort Mackinac and Detroit crippled American invasion efforts. Brock's actions, particularly his success at Detroit, earned him a knighthood, membership in the Order of the Bath, accolades and the epithet "The Hero of Upper Canada"."
- In the American Civil War, Confederate General James Longstreet advised General Robert E. Lee during the Pennsylvania invasion to flank around Gettysburg to get between the Union Army and Washington to be able to fight their enemy from a position of strength. Instead, Lee ignored his subordinate's advice and fought in a direct confrontation in Gettysburg where Union General Meade was able to hold the high ground. This also culminated in the infamous Pickett's charge, a front assault Longstreet warned would be likely futile and practically suicidal, only for Lee to ignore him again. As a result, the offensive power of the Confederacy was broken in a fiasco that Lee took full responsibility for. However, Longstreet would later be made the scapegoat by the Lost Cause proponents for over a century until the famous history book, Killer Angels (adapted into the film, Gettysburg), rehabilitated his reputation as a sensible commander Lee should have heeded in the first place.
- In 1865, George Goyder drew a line splitting South Australia into two areas: land suited for agriculture in the south, and land unsuited for it in the north. He based it on sound observations of the vegetation, but farmers settled in the north anyway due to high rainfall in the previous few years. Then they had to vacate when the rains stopped and the land became just as dry and useless as he said it would.
- Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that childbed fever can be avoided by use of hand washing standards in clinics. His findings were rejected, and were only accepted after his death. The idea of disinfection only really took off after Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur produced definite proof of the relationship between germs and disease. Washing your hands to prevent infection was popular in England even before Semmelweis, but since the English scientists still believed in the theory of miasma, they were right for the wrong reasons. To be fair, Semmelweiss didn't advocate washing your hands with soap, he advocated washing them with carbolic acid (phenol, a known carcinogen), which doesn't exactly promote the kind of skin you'd see in a hand lotion commercial. You can see why folks might resist the idea. (Well, that, and Semmelweiss was by many accounts about as sane as Nikola Tesla.)
- In the hospital where Semmelweis developed his theory, the medical students examined women in childbed after having cut open and examined the corpses of women who died in childbed fever. Without washing their hands between. Advice to wash your hands with water after touching a corpse is in the Bible ... that's a lot of generations of stubbornly ignoring good advice.
- Worse still, doctors still only wash their hands about half as much as they need to...if they're one of the more hygienic hospitals.
- Otto von Bismarck, the closest thing the world will have to a Tywin Lannister, made some freakishly accurate predictions in his later years but was generally ignored by Wilhelm II. Some highlights:
- Your Majesty, so long as you have this present officer corps, you can do as you please. But when this is no longer the case, it will be very different for you.
- Jena came twenty years after the death of Frederick the Great; the crash will come twenty years after my departure if things go on like this.
- Von Bismarck died in late 1898. World War I ended in defeat for Germany in late 1918.
- "One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans."
- Thalidomide. When three German doctors created Thalidomide, they couldn't sell it because they couldn't prove its effects. They tested it on animals, but none reacted to the chemical. They gave it to one of their colleagues whose pregnant wife took it which actually helped her to sleep. Her child ended up being born without ears though and the man advised against selling the chemical. It was on market a few months later as Contergan, specifically marketed as a sleeping and relaxation drug for pregnant women and caused one of the biggest drug scandals of the 1960s and 1970s note . It is now only given to people with severe leprosy or multiple myeloma and even then only under strong surveillance and testing because of its genotoxicity.
- Thankfully averted by Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey of the FDA in regards to Thalidomide. She'd insisted on further testing before granting the drug approval for US distribution, holding out for long enough that the horrendous birth defects link became well-documented, earning Kelsey a medal from President Kennedy, and later an award named in her honor.
- For all of his faults, President Woodrow Wilson called World War II pretty early. For, I tell you, my fellow citizens, I can predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it. (Sept. 8, 1919). The world at large had a much more favorable view of Wilson in the years after World War II, the consensus being that if people had actually listened to him then the second one would have been avoided. Since then, his reputation has fluctuated a lot.
- Along the same lines, at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Marshal Ferdinand Foch warned "this is not a peace, it is an armistice for twenty years." Yet France was unprepared when World War II started 20 years and 65 days later.
- General Billy Mitchell who, in 1924, prophesied a war between the Japanese Empire and the USA over the two's interests in China and the Pacific. He also predicted that it would be the Empire who would strike first, much as they had done in the Russo-Japanese war of '04-'05. For that matter, his advocacy of air power, and actually demonstrating that ships at sea were vulnerable to enemy aircraft,note led to him being court-martialed after pissing off the Navy brass, who were addicted to bigger and better battleships, and refused to acknowledge the rising power of the aircraft carrier. Come December 7, 1941...
- Likewise, US Admiral Harry Yarnell proved in a war game in 1932 that Pearl Harbor was vulnerable to an aerial (sneak) attack. However, his superiors dismissed his findings and were proven wrong the hard way in 1941 when the Imperial Navy's air forces used the same approaches that Yarnell had used to attack the fleet at anchor there, to devastating but somewhat ephemeral effect.
- On the other side, when the USA placed crippling sanctions upon the Empire of Japan to protest their occupation of French Indochina (and implicitly, their continued war upon China), the Japanese cabinet refused to consider negotiating seriously on withdrawing Japan's forces. Instead, the Navy pushed to implement its Southern Attack Plan — which entailed, by necessity, declaring war on the Netherlands, Britain and America. The man they chose to orchestrate their attack upon the USA's fleet, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, explicitly told his superiors that the plan was fatally flawed. He understood that a war with the USA would not be like the war with Russia — the former was far more powerful relative to Japan than the latter had been. He predicted that the USA's 'massive' financial-industrial advantage (of about ten-to-one, which is even greater than it sounds because of the greater efficiency involved in economies of scale) would start to show within just six months of the start of a war with them. His exact words, in fact were: "I will be able to run wild for six months to a year at the outside. After that, I can give no guarantees." Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Battle of Midway, where Japan lost the cream of her carrier fleet, and which can be seen as the high-water mark of Japanese expansion during the war, ended on June 7, 1942 — exactly six months to the day of Pearl Harbor.
- He warned Japan against withdrawing from the Washington Naval Treaty, knowing of the sheer US advantage in industrial and financial strength, and argued that the treaty was actually excellent because (1) it stopped the US from outbuilding Japan by insane margins, and (2) Japan wasn't capable of building much more than what the treaty allowed them to build. However, he did this in an era where the Japanese, the IJN in particular, was fulminating against the treaty and thus got labeled as dishonorable. To make things worse, he did not have enough influence in the IJN or the government to do anything about it. He was proven right; US naval construction dropped in 1943-44 because they realised that they basically won already and didn't need any more.
- He also advised against making super battleships like the Yamato, which Army and Navy airpower advocates rightly considered a waste of very scarce resources. The Japanese Army was willing to listen, but of course the Navy predominated in the ship tendering process and forced the government to place orders for yet more battleships despite their incredible expense and very marginal utility. The most egregious example was the Yamato class, which was worse than useless in combat but consumed crew and materials sufficient to double the carrier fleet.
- The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 was predicted to swerve out to sea by the National Weather Service, but instead kept moving due North and slammed into Long Island and the coast beyond. The lone Weather Service employee who had pointed out the threat of such a landfall was disregarded due to his lack of seniority, and no warnings were issued until after the storm had demolished regional communication lines. The predictions that it would veer out to sea were very reasonable and actually probably more likely to come true. The main problem was that nobody kept watch on it just in case it didn't change course as predicted.
- Similar to the above, the death toll from the Hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900 would've probably been much less if the National Weather Service hadn't ignored information coming out of Cuba due to pride.
- Dutch engineer Johan van Veen. From 1937 on he started petitioning and warning the Dutch government to reinforce the diking system in the south-western part of the Netherlands. Nobody listened to him. Cue 1953, a freak storm and much of the province Zeeland was flooded, with 1800 people dead. After the stormflood... he got all of his plans approved and this started a 30 year project of protecting the south-western lands from the North Sea. Knowing the government would not listen to his warning, how did he sign his proposals before the fated storm? Dr. Cassandra.
- The Vajont Dam in Italy. When it was being constructed in the late 1950s, three experts published studies warning that the nearby Mount Toc was in danger of collapsing into the artificial lake if the barrage's filling went ahead. They were ignored and four years later, Mount Toc followed up on their predictions, earning Vajont the dubious honor of being the source of the largest man-made tsunami in history (a 250-meter-high, or 820-foot-high wall of water that wiped out several villages and killed thousands in its path).
- Engineer Roger Boisjoly found evidence that an essential component of the Space Shuttle's rocket booster was rendered unreliable by cold temperaturesnote ; nobody listened to him, partly because the company that made the booster was in the middle of negotiating a new contract with NASA. A year after Bosjoly's discovery, the Challenger space shuttle exploded because of this particular design flaw.
It was actually a lot worse: the launch of Challenger went ahead that morning, despite the official receiving screaming memos ("Red Alert!" in red ink) not to launch. "Take off your engineering hat, and put on your management hat." Commissioner Richard Feynman discovered massive disconnect between management and engineers in the Space Shuttle program. Management routinely disregarded what engineers said.
- Harry Markopolos spent years trying to convince the SEC that a well-connected genius investor was running a massive Ponzi scheme. They all ignored him until Bernie Madoff's fund collapsed. Some have pointed out his abrasiveness made his message harder to swallow (he once called the SEC staff "a bunch of idiots"). Others have pointed out it was well deserved.
- There were a number of people who saw the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing Great Recession coming, but were ignored.
- Former Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Brooksley Born identified a problem in the over-the-counter derivatives market that did not cause the financial crisis, but made the damage much worse. Naturally, she was ignored.
- Elizabeth Warren, a longtime bankruptcy and contract lawyer and Harvard professor, started predicting the 2008 market crash in The '80s. As the 2000s wore on, she continued to make hay about the issue, but was roundly ignored by everyone. In 2010, she became the main architect of a consumer advocacy agency designed to prevent such a thing from happening again, and in 2012, she was elected as Massachusetts' junior Democratic Senator.
- Michael Burry and John Paulson were hedge fund managers who, in the mid-'00s, independently crunched the numbers and saw that the American housing bubble was on track to burst in a few years. Both of them proceeded to short the market in anticipation that firms like Citigroup and Bear Stearns that were up to their noses in subprime mortgages would collapse under the weight of millions of foreclosures, a bet that made them and their investors hundreds of millions of dollars in 2008. Burry was the subject of the book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (which was later adapted into a feature film), while Paulson was the subject of The Greatest Trade Ever by Gregory Zuckerman.
- Likewise in the UK, Liberal Democrat MP Dr Vince Cable (that doctorate is a PhD in economics) spent the later years of the Blair government and the early years of the Brown one warning of "casino banking" exposing the London Stock Exchange and UK banking sector to huge risk. Cue the 2008 financial meltdown, and the eventual election of the current Coalition government in 2010. He's now the Rt. Hon Secretary of State for business. The Trope is them redoubled as large parts of the Conservative Party choose to ignore him because he's from the Liberal Democrat Party. (Politics can be messy.)
- Slightly subverted by Hussein Kamil Hassan al-Majid, Saddam's son-in-law and head of Iraq's WMD program. His statements about the progress Iraq's WMD programs had made surprised intelligence agencies but was accepted. His statements that Iraq's WMD were destroyed on the other hand...
- The UN Weapons Inspectors who went into Iraq in 2002-2003 would fit as well. They pointed out that many claims of Iraq possessing WMD were invalid or wrong. After saying they needed a few months to continue inspections, they were ordered to leave (not by Iraq, but by the US) in 2003...
- John O'Neil, an FBI agent who basically saw the War on Terror (including the 9/11 attacks) coming roughly a decade ahead of time but was ignored. In a fit of tragic irony, he ended up working as security of the World Trade Center and ended up dying in the same attacks he predicted. He was last seen running back into the WTC to get more people out.
- However he designed emergency evacuation plans for such an attack. These plans are the reason there are so many survivors.
- There were many studies that warned TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) of safety flaws in their Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, most notably that the seawall protecting the plant was insufficient if a powerful enough tsunami occurred. All of these were ignored by TEPCO officials, leaving the plant vulnerable to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, resulting in the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
- Sony was given notes by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and Marvel Entertainment president Alan Fine about The Amazing Spider Man 2, the latter detailing the problems fans ultimately had with the film. Some of Feige's tweaks were used, but Fine was completely ignored.
- John Yudkin, a British nutritionist, argued heavily that sugar consumption was the cause of heart disease and obesity, not fat, as prevailing scientific thought believed. He was ignored, largely because nutritional scientists were being paid off by the sugar industry.
- All of the above aside, it should be noted that conclusions and beliefs that seem obvious to one expert, particularly in fields such as economics or political science, may seem like complete idiocy to another. The experts themselves can heatedly debate theories and courses of action, each insisting that they are correct. In some cases, the experts' predictions have proven to be wrong, and ignoring them would in hindsight have been a better course of action.
- Just about any case of a parent warning their children about the consequences of their actions. Like eating too much confectionery and getting cavities. Bundling up before playing in the winter to avoid catching a cold. The list goes on. Many a teenager or young adult will acknowledge this and often say they wish they'd listened to their parents.
- Vladimir Lenin insisted that Russia could both industrialize and transition to full Communism at the same time. Karl Marx, on the other hand, saw capitalism as a necessary step that came before socialism and Communism. Marx believed Russia was too agrarian and underdeveloped to become Communist.
- During the filming of the "Time Out" episode of Twilight Zone: The Movie, one scene entails a man played by Vic Morrow escorting two Vietnamese children through a bombed-out village while a US Army helicopter pursues and bombs explode around them; Director John Landis was advised numerous times by his safety officials and the pilot himself that the helicopter was too close to the explosions, but Landis ignored them. What followed was one of the most infamous incidents in filming history as the helicopter became damaged by the explosions and crashed down on Morrow and the children, decapitating him and one child and crushing the under beneath the helicopter. Despite being charged with manslaughter, Landis was acquitted, but it pretty much snuffed out his directing career.