The Foundation of Al Qaida

I liked the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. Unfortunately that puts me in the august company of nut-cases like Bin Laden of Al Qaida (which means ‘Foundation’ or ‘Base’ in Arabic) fame and the Aum Shinrikyo sect.
They liked the idea that a small band of highly talented people can by making a small start, rescue the world from engulfing decadence. I, on the other hand was interested in the idea that the events in society can be predicted statistically if we are talking of a sufficiently large number of people.
I realized later that this idea was flawed. Technology tends to have an unpredictable effect on society. Say that you have two societies at war with each other. They still fight with bows and arrows. If one of them invents gun powder, it immediately wins the war. But invention of gunpowder is a random, unpredictable event. If you have no idea what gunpowder is, you have no way of figuring out what a lethal advantage it provides to the society that invents it.