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The Great People of Real Life

cairo140

2+2=5
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Thornhill, Canada
Recently, I stumbled upon a very interesting book: The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. The author Michael H. Hart assembled his list of the most influential persons in world history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_100_(book)

Some of his key criteria were the actual acts of the individual, the long-term effects, and what the world would be like if it were not for them. The top six he noted were:

1. Muhammad (Founder of Islam & Political Leader)
2. Issac Newton (Discoverer of Macroscopic Physics Laws and Calculus)
3. Jesus of Nazareth (Initial Prophet of Christianity)
4. Buddha (Founder of Buddhism)
5. Confucius (Founder of Confucianism)
6. St. Paul (The Original Christian Missionary)

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My Own Paper

I agreed (roughly) with Hart's order and his justifications. When I brought the book to my friends, and shared its ideas, it certainly stirred up an enormous amount of controversy. I heard from religious apologists of all kinds to science advocates and the like. Long story short, the consequence is that I have chosen to take on my own venture to assemble my own list on a slightly different set of criteria.

Attached is my initial draft on my premise, and my key criteria are:
1. This is NOT a list of the "best" people. Even if a person was utterly evil, he must be given credit for those acts (if they did indeed change the world). Similarly, a person does not gain value from being a good individual.
2. The person and his credentials must be indisputably REAL. Yet another seemingly stupid rule. But this one is important. If disputed people or feats were accepted, Noah would recieve credit for saving all life, and Jesus would recieve credit for walking on water.
3. The "what if" factor. The question must always be asked: What if this person never existed? Would the world be very different? For instance, if Bell didn't invent the telephone, somebody else would have shortly thereafter, and the world wouldn't be much different. But if a Frenchman discovered North America instead of Columbus, then we would be living in a different reality.
4. This is influence on WORLD HISTORY. A person who contributed significantly to one country, like Bismarck or Peter the Great, may not be that important on the world stage.​

My Original List:

#10: Martin Luther
#9: Mao Tse-tung
#8: Confucius
#7: Louis Pasteur
#6: Buddha
#5: St. Paul (Saul)
#4: Muhammad
#3: Issac Newton
#2: Aristotle
#1: Jesus Christ

Other Candidates:

- Moses
- Johann Gutenberg
- Albert Einstein
- Karl Marx
- Shih Huang Ti (uniter of China and builder of Great Wall)
- Augustus Caesar
- Christopher Columbus
- Constantine the Great
- Alexander the Great

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The one biggest question that is going to pop out at the outset is why did I put Jesus as number one? The reality is that he did very little to actually spread Christianity (most of that was done by St. Paul and Jesus' apostles). He was probably not responsible for the miraculous acts that the Bible discusses.

But the reason that I put him number one is this. What would the world be like and how would the world have developed if it weren't for Jesus? If it weren't for Jesus, it is certain that Christianity as it was known would never have existed. Communities would have no such religious base upon which to unite; kings in the medieval ages would not be able to rely on Christian divine right; the crusades of Pope Urban II would never have happened. Jesus is just that important because he existed, and if he didn't, our world would be VERY VERY different.

---------------------------------------------------------

I hope to expand on my justifications at another time when I have the time to, but until then, I would very much appreciate if you could co mment on my selection, or feed me some ideas for justification.

Happy debating everyone! :goodjob:
 

Attachments

  • TOP TEN.doc
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At a first impression I'd say on the criteria specified the guys is spot on. I'll have to spend at least a few days arguing in my mind whether I can contradict his top 6.

Having said that though Liebniz also invented simultaneaously a method of calculus so I can argue the position of Isaac Newton and his positon on the shoulders of Copernicus and Kepler and Tyco Brahe. I'd put Einstein above him, because his postion although based on the shoulders of giants was to destroy said giants not to continue their work, but to leave himself on his feet not on shoulders, amongst colleagues, he forever lead us into a quantum age, no matter how much he himself tried to fight it.If you want to know just how many technological advances the relativistic and quantum world has given us try google, it's fundemental to the whole of 20th century technology.

As to the rest, and to your top 10, not something you can answer without a deal of research and without knowing a deal more than I do know.
 
I don't see any real problem with that list.

One question would be, how much 'influence credit' is given to any individual person that invented/helped invent a hugely influential invention like the printing press, atomic bomb or computer?
 
sahkuhnder said:
I don't see any real problem with that list.

One question would be, how much 'influence credit' is given to any individual person that invented/helped invent a hugely influential invention like the printing press, atomic bomb or computer?

Without Einstein neither the atomic bomb or the microchip would of existed in the 2oth century thus my point about Einstien.

The printing press is by the by. The entire 20th century is devoted to physics. and those 3 seminal papers that Einstien came up with, not on his own I might add he had certain influences, but he was the great instigater, and the great originater, Newton was merely expanding theories that were already in existence. Liebniz would have got there if he didn't, I rest my case. :)

Newton a giant, Einstein a colossus.
 
Sidhe said:
Newton was merely expanding theories that were already in existence. Liebniz would have got there if he didn't, I rest my case. :)

Newton a giant, Einstein a colossus.

You're kidding me right? Newton invented CALCULUS and made a ton of predictions and calculations and such that were way ahead of his time (one of them being that the Earth isn't a perfect sphere).
 
blackheart said:
You're kidding me right? Newton invented CALCULUS and made a ton of predictions and calculations and such that were way ahead of his time (one of them being that the Earth isn't a perfect sphere).

http://cincoranch.uh.edu/engines/epi1375.htm

Nope Liebniz came up with it at the same time sorry to burst your bubble.
 
I'm surprised nobody has blasted my choice of Jesus as number one yet. The idea behind Newton is that both assembled an incredible working body of experiemental physics (which has now become common knowledge), including observations on optics (the spectrum), the laws of motion, integral calculus (plus a bit of work on differentiation), thermodynamics. He basically served as the basis for Einstein.

But I see your point for TIME's Greatest Person of the 20th Century. It's so hard, though to compare Einstein to someone like Martin Luther (NOT Martin Luther King Jr., the African-American rights activist). I really appreciate the comments, guys, keep at it!
 
Sidhe said:
Without Einstein neither the atomic bomb or the microchip would of existed in the 2oth century thus my point about Einstien.
I'd doubt that. Einstein was an astoundingly smart man, and noone denies that he contributed an important part to physics. However, there was plenty of groundwork already available for Einstein to work with and he made a continuation off of prior work. His work on special relativity for example owes much to Lorentz. To say that noone else would've come up with this interpretation of Lorentz' results would be quite a stretch.
 
cairo140 said:
I'm surprised nobody has blasted my choice of Jesus as number one yet. The idea behind Newton is that both assembled an incredible working body of experiemental physics (which has now become common knowledge), including observations on optics (the spectrum), the laws of motion, integral calculus (plus a bit of work on differentiation), thermodynamics. He basically served as the basis for Einstein.

But I see your point for TIME's Greatest Person of the 20th Century. It's so hard, though to compare Einstein to someone like Martin Luther (NOT Martin Luther King Jr., the African-American rights activist). I really appreciate the comments, guys, keep at it!

Why would anyone question the influence of Jesus? Whether he really was the son of god or just a really smooth con-man with a gullible group of followers, there is no doubt that he managed to influence the world in a major way.
 


I find it funny that religious prophets get more reverence than inventors and scientist that really changed the world.I mean the real world,not abstract nonsense.
 
It seems counterintuitive, but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate with my own thesis and argue against putting Jesus as number one.

Firstly, this is not a list of the most influential MOVEMENTS in history, simply taking the figurehead of each. This is a list of the most influential PEOPLE.

Jesus, as a person, did NOT perform any of the miracles described in the Bible (or at least, it is disputed enough that it can't be included as evidence)

Jesus did not spread Christianity anywhere beyond the "isolated cult" stage. It was not until 30 years after his death during the years of St. Paul, and 300 years later during Constantine, where Christianity took of. Those people should be credited for the emergence of the religion - not Jesus.

Jesus did not write the doctrine of the Bible. The methodology of the Church, ethical laws, ministry, etc. were all established by his apostles and other individuals at a later date. Jesus had no real contribution to the "greatest story ever told."

COMPARE to a leader like Muhammad, the founder and leader of Islam. He recieved the archetypical "vision" and then took the reigns and got started, controlled a sizeable army, and in his lifetime, expanded with conquests over Persia, Arabia and North Africa. Muhammad played an active role in writing the Qur'an, and HE was the inspiration of the soldiers responsible for spreading the religion of Islam. Take that Christ!


Thoughts?
 
@ cairo140 -

Very valid point. Jesus himself was not widely influential, but actions done later on in his name were and still are.

Kind of like the pebble that started an avalanche. The avalanche can take on a direction of its own.
 
I think the Jesus question basically boils down to if you're Christian or not. If you're Christian, then He has to come first, because it's obvious that God should top the list of Most Important Persons. If you're not, then Jesus is a nice guy who said and did some wonderful stuff, and had much better PR than all the other nice guys who said and did some wonderful stuff. A non-Christian's list should probably have Paul above Jesus, since Jesus didn't even say anything radically new morally speaking, and maybe not even put Jesus in the top ten.
 
CartesianFart said:
I find it funny that religious prophets get more reverence than inventors and scientist that really changed the world.I mean the real world,not abstract nonsense.
Religion shaped the (so called) "real world" a LOT more than you say - think of aaaaallllllll those wars. :)
 
I wouldn't have Jesus in my list, given that I don't believe he existed, and that the Jesus myth elvolved from the fact that Jerusalem and the surrounding area was a hotbed of Jewish insurgents and that time and that Christianity spread the myth as a way of furthering itself.

Karl Marx I would defo have in my top 10 because his writings influenced the entire 20th Century includiong critically both World Wars, first one being that Marxists (Bolsheviks) pulled Russia out of world war 1 and the second being that Hitler got into power with alot of help due to German Conservative/Christian fear of Soviet Russia, and then of course proceeded to engage in a the biggest war we have ever seen. Then the whole of the 2nd half of the centrury was a 'conflict' between the West and the Marxist influenced Soviet Union.
 
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