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Old 08-29-2013, 08:33 PM   #1
Arbitrageur
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The most influential humans in world history?

My top 10 list.

1. Muhammad
2. Isaac Newton
3. Apostle Paul
4. Jesus
5. Confucius
6. Tsai Lun (inventor of paper)
7. Gutenberg
8. Buddha
9. Columbus
10. Pasteur
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:54 PM   #2
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

Hitler.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

Besides Hitler, Tesla. Tesla changed a lot.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:19 PM   #4
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Hitler.
If we were just talking about 20th century, absolutely. But he doesn't make the top 10 or even top 20 for all of human history in my opinion.

I think the most influential 20th century figure is Einstein.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:25 PM   #5
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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If we were just talking about 20th century, absolutely. But he doesn't make the top 10 or even top 20 for all of human history in my opinion.

I think the most influential 20th century figure is Einstein.
But how many dictators has he spawned? They've read Mein Kamph and used it As a blueprint to take over countries. And how else did Hitler's ways shape modern politics?

Last edited by Zeno; 08-30-2013 at 12:18 AM. Reason: Racist Spam
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:54 PM   #6
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

Can we ban this POS yet?
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:06 AM   #7
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

I'm sure he meant no harm. I know that's always my first stop for book shopping
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:27 AM   #8
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Can we ban this POS yet?
Perma-banned.

Anyway, It's what he wanted as confirmation/proof of his persecution/conspiracy complex.

He'll be back in another form. Or others of similar ilk. Hope I'm wrong - but I doubt it.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:51 AM   #9
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Originally Posted by Arbitrageur View Post
If we were just talking about 20th century, absolutely. But he doesn't make the top 10 or even top 20 for all of human history in my opinion.

I think the most influential 20th century figure is Einstein.
Didn't Shannon have more effect on people's lives than Einstein?
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:57 AM   #10
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Perma-banned.

Anyway, It's what he wanted as confirmation/proof of his persecution/conspiracy complex.

He'll be back in another form. Or others of similar ilk. Hope I'm wrong - but I doubt it.
Did you edit his post as to not make it racist, because right now it does not seem worthy of a ban? I probably wouldn't put Hitler in my top 10 most influential people, but it isn't absurd to think that someone would bring up his name.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:06 AM   #11
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

I'd put Gutenberg at the top. Movable type fueled the spread of knowledge. All of the religious types in OP's list benefitted from Gutenberg. A notable absence in OP's list is Martin Luther. If Christianity in Europe had just remained the RC Church with it's corruption in those times, it may well have not spread as much as it did after the Reformation.

I'd also add Thomas Edison to the list.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:11 AM   #12
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Originally Posted by Kurn, son of Mogh View Post
I'd put Gutenberg at the top. Movable type fueled the spread of knowledge. All of the religious types in OP's list benefitted from Gutenberg. A notable absence in OP's list is Martin Luther. If Christianity in Europe had just remained the RC Church with it's corruption in those times, it may well have not spread as much as it did after the Reformation.

I'd also add Thomas Edison to the list.
Gutenburg is top for me too. Aristotle and Plato should be on the list as well, most of Christendom doctrine was attempting to reconcile their philosophies with scripture.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:25 AM   #13
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

Lists like this often mean little, as if human history only started around 500 BC. Even if we only consider back to the time when we started to move beyond the hunter gatherer stage, the people whose actions have had the biggest influence on shaping the way we are today are usually unknown, and the people whose names we do know have usually only built on the back of that.

The first metal smelters, the developers the first writing systems, and of complex mathematics (beyond simple arithmetic), the inventors of pottery, glass and gunpowder — these are the people who made some of the biggest leaps, and whose influence is greatest imo. Only the very recent technological pioneers are recorded for posterity.


Take Cai Lun — he didn't really invent paper, he just standardised it, improving upon an ancient concept, but the idea of recording and representing ideas or information by making marks on a thin sheet of dried vegetable fibre had already been around for thousands of years.


Obviously there is a place near the top for some named persons too, such as the likes of Muhammad, Paul and Jesus. Most of the people of the world still live their lives by their teachings, alongside those of Buddha, Confucius and the rest.

But lol at saying that Gutenberg was responible for their place in history. A thousand years before Gutenberg was born, Jesus' reputation had become so well established that it brought about a 180º turn in Roman policy, where Christianity was changed from being treasonous and punishable by death to being the adopted state religion, courtesy of the Emperor Constantine. And Muhammad conquered and united Arabia, spawning a well established religion and Islamic state that was still going strong 800 years later, when Gutenberg finally got round to printing with movable type.

Like Cai Lun didn't really invent paper, Gutenberg didn't invent the idea of making ink marks to form words, he just found a way to make it happen a lot faster, and someone else would have come up with it if he hadn't, or if he didn't just steal the idea and market it better. Don't get me wrong, Gutenberg was good, so was Cai Lun, but both still over-rated imo.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:19 PM   #14
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Originally Posted by bahbahmickey View Post
Did you edit his post as to not make it racist, because right now it does not seem worthy of a ban? I probably wouldn't put Hitler in my top 10 most influential people, but it isn't absurd to think that someone would bring up his name.
You missed a lot with that poster, Holocaust denial and that whole bit. In this case yes he posted a link to a pretty lol site to buy the book. Was probably just trolling and looking for attention (I'd assume a true believer would at least know it's spelled Mein Kampf).

-

As far as answering the thread question, I think Jesus would probably be a top choice out of those in recorded history. He's important in Islam (as a prophet), something of a major nuisance in Judaism, and obviously a central figure in Christianity. I would choose him over Mohammad for that but it's close. Confucius would be another possibility.

Isaac Newton would be #1 for me. The breadth of his work spans the entire world regardless of religion or culture, and his work is taught in every school there is. Unlike religious figures, has an inescapable influence.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:32 PM   #15
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bahbahmickey View Post
Did you edit his post as to not make it racist, because right now it does not seem worthy of a ban? I probably wouldn't put Hitler in my top 10 most influential people, but it isn't absurd to think that someone would bring up his name.

Just to make it clear (and yes I did edit out the Nazi spam) - the last post(s) by the neo-Nazi Okayokayit'snotk........... were simply the nail in the coffin. I didn't infract the idiot for his past history in a number of threads (one major one in this forum) - that was a waste of my time. I simply let him spew (and used his own spew against him) until it was time for him to be perma-banned.


Now let's remain on topic for this interesting thread.

Last edited by Zeno; 09-01-2013 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Added claraification
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:48 AM   #16
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Originally Posted by TeamTrousers View Post
Lists like this often mean little, as if human history only started around 500 BC. Even if we only consider back to the time when we started to move beyond the hunter gatherer stage, the people whose actions have had the biggest influence on shaping the way we are today are usually unknown, and the people whose names we do know have usually only built on the back of that.

The first metal smelters, the developers the first writing systems, and of complex mathematics (beyond simple arithmetic), the inventors of pottery, glass and gunpowder — these are the people who made some of the biggest leaps, and whose influence is greatest imo. Only the very recent technological pioneers are recorded for posterity.


Take Cai Lun — he didn't really invent paper, he just standardised it, improving upon an ancient concept, but the idea of recording and representing ideas or information by making marks on a thin sheet of dried vegetable fibre had already been around for thousands of years.


Obviously there is a place near the top for some named persons too, such as the likes of Muhammad, Paul and Jesus. Most of the people of the world still live their lives by their teachings, alongside those of Buddha, Confucius and the rest.

But lol at saying that Gutenberg was responible for their place in history. A thousand years before Gutenberg was born, Jesus' reputation had become so well established that it brought about a 180º turn in Roman policy, where Christianity was changed from being treasonous and punishable by death to being the adopted state religion, courtesy of the Emperor Constantine. And Muhammad conquered and united Arabia, spawning a well established religion and Islamic state that was still going strong 800 years later, when Gutenberg finally got round to printing with movable type.

Like Cai Lun didn't really invent paper, Gutenberg didn't invent the idea of making ink marks to form words, he just found a way to make it happen a lot faster, and someone else would have come up with it if he hadn't, or if he didn't just steal the idea and market it better. Don't get me wrong, Gutenberg was good, so was Cai Lun, but both still over-rated imo.

You make some valid points here, but your line of reasoning follows the slippery slope. By this reasoning, the most ancient people should always be at the top of the list because human civilization is the accumulation of achievements. My ranking only takes into account individuals whose contributions have been verified by recorded history. I assume the **** erectus who first discovered how to cook meat with fire around 800,000 years ago should be more influential than Jesus, but that lies beyond the scope of history.

You're correct that the concept of writing on thin fibers existed before Tsai Lun. He however standardized it into a material without whose existence it would be hard to imagine how the world would function. By this reasoning, Einstein or Darwin should not be considered as influential because there were scientists before them who proposed various versions of relativity and evolution.

Finally, the point on Gutenberg doesn't make a lot of sense. Do I think he's as influential as Muhammad, Newton, Jesus? No. However, the invention of the printing press completely revolutionized how humans gain information, and it led to an exponential explosion in human knowledge.
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:55 AM   #17
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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You missed a lot with that poster, Holocaust denial and that whole bit. In this case yes he posted a link to a pretty lol site to buy the book. Was probably just trolling and looking for attention (I'd assume a true believer would at least know it's spelled Mein Kampf).

-

As far as answering the thread question, I think Jesus would probably be a top choice out of those in recorded history. He's important in Islam (as a prophet), something of a major nuisance in Judaism, and obviously a central figure in Christianity. I would choose him over Mohammad for that but it's close. Confucius would be another possibility.

Isaac Newton would be #1 for me. The breadth of his work spans the entire world regardless of religion or culture, and his work is taught in every school there is. Unlike religious figures, has an inescapable influence.

Muhammad vs. Jesus is a very close call. I ranked Muhammad ahead because he is the only human being who was both the founder of a major religion AND a major empire. In his life Muhammad recorded his teachings in the Koran and was eventually accepted by his fellow people as the Prophet of God. In contrast, Jesus was an outcast his entire life, persecuted by the Romans and the Jews. His teachings were recorded by other men, and the four gospels were written over a 50-year time period, each with a very different style and focus. Moreover, the core tents of Christianity-Jesus as the divine son of God and the holy trinity-were formalized by Apostle Paul. Politically and socially, Christianity did not become accepted by mainstream society until Emperor Constantine converted some 300 years after Jesus' death.

The main argument for ranking Jesus over Muhammad, in my opinion, is that Christianity has more followers than Islam and that the Western world has been far more dominant than the Islamic world since about the late 1600's (when the Ottoman Empire failed to capture Vienna in 1688).
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Old 08-31-2013, 06:40 AM   #18
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

So where does Leonardo Da Vinci fit then? He was only centuries ahead of his time.
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Old 08-31-2013, 06:14 PM   #19
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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So where does Leonardo Da Vinci fit then? He was only centuries ahead of his time.
DaVinci is one of the great geniuses in human history, along with the likes of Aristotle, Newton, Goethe, and Einstein. However, I would not even rank him in the top 30 because his contributions did not lead to a major change in the way we lived, a paradigm shift in our view of the universe, or political/social/cultural re-alignment.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:12 PM   #20
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Originally Posted by Arbitrageur View Post
My top 10 list.

1. Muhammad
2. Isaac Newton
3. Apostle Paul
4. Jesus
5. Confucius
6. Tsai Lun (inventor of paper)
7. Gutenberg
8. Buddha
9. Columbus
10. Pasteur

Your subsequent posts about this list hit many key components and points that I mainly agree with. [I will add that the making of these types of list is fun and a useful exercise to get people thinking, but by no means should be taken as seriously as many may think.]

Having Muhammad first is justifiable. But having Confucius # 5 is a bit off in my opinion. His influence on the most populous portion of the globe is enormous for a substantial period of years and continues unabated today and will continue well into the future.

If you are using Isaac Newton as a surrogate for the rise of scientific inquiry and method then I would agree with him being #2 but it was really a composite of people that started the scientific revolution - that has so influence the world since the late 1600's - which included the Royal Society and its members, plus Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler etc.

And it was St. Paul that really made Christianity viable - by making it more than just a Jewish Sect and bringing the message to the Gentiles. An important point that you made very well. I think you should combine Jesus/Paul. They are inseparable in that context.

The above dovetails into my next comment in that by just naming single individuals the list becomes somewhat problematic. But that is an inherent systemic difficulty with any and all lists of this type. Still, enjoyable to do and discuss.
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:43 PM   #21
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

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Your subsequent posts about this list hit many key components and points that I mainly agree with. [I will add that the making of these types of list is fun and a useful exercise to get people thinking, but by no means should be taken as seriously as many may think.]

Having Muhammad first is justifiable. But having Confucius # 5 is a bit off in my opinion. His influence on the most populous portion of the globe is enormous for a substantial period of years and continues unabated today and will continue well into the future.

If you are using Isaac Newton as a surrogate for the rise of scientific inquiry and method then I would agree with him being #2 but it was really a composite of people that started the scientific revolution - that has so influence the world since the late 1600's - which included the Royal Society and its members, plus Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler etc.

And it was St. Paul that really made Christianity viable - by making it more than just a Jewish Sect and bringing the message to the Gentiles. An important point that you made very well. I think you should combine Jesus/Paul. They are inseparable in that context.

The above dovetails into my next comment in that by just naming single individuals the list becomes somewhat problematic. But that is an inherent systemic difficulty with any and all lists of this type. Still, enjoyable to do and discuss.

Absolutely. This ranking is by no means objective nor is it meant to be taken completely seriously. Just a fun little exercise to get a good history discussion going, that's all.

Regarding Confucius, I ranked him behind Muhammad/Paul/Jesus because although the world's largest country adheres to Confucianism, China has not been the world's dominant power since around the 1400's. World history over the past 500 years has been about the dominance of the Western Christian powers. Of course, with the rapid rise of China, and the decline of Christian values in the West, this could very much change in the coming decades.
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:49 PM   #22
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

Lenin
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:29 PM   #23
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

I think Isaac Newton has had the biggest positive influence on mankind, creating the framework of classical physics so we could begin creating extremely advanced machinery.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:50 PM   #24
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

In science, I'd give big priority to four guys: Galileo, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein. Galileo for establishing the style of empirical publication that made public science possible (this ranks him above Copernicus IMO, even though he had prior publication of heliocentrism, because Galileo had a lot more data and method to back it up). Newton because he basically created modern physics and calculus... then he turned 26. Darwin for altering the way people thought about biological life and the place of humanity in the scheme of nature (though that goes for all four guys). And Einstein for completely altering the way people conceived of space and time.

In politics, I can't think of anyone more influential in the last 200 years than Marx. Whatever your opinion of him, the modern Left does not look remotely similar if devoid of Marxist influence. The greatest ideological battles of the 20th century raged over various interpretations and implications of his work (do not construe this to mean that Marx was responsible for the gulags or the killing fields). Before Marx, I'd go with Napoleon, but not for his conquests--his civil reforms dominate his military campaigns in terms of legacy by far; almost all modern non-British European law owes much of its structure to the Napoleonic Code.

In religion, Muhammad has to be highly ranked because he created a movement that took people from the very fringes of civilization and transformed the immediate regions they conquered into one of the great centers of civilization for nearly 1000 years. Paul of Tarsus and Augustine for shaping Christianity into a world religion and the dominant cultural influence on Western Civ. And let's not forget Luther, who did for the 16th and 17th centuries what Marx did for the 19th and 20th--lit a fire that completely reshaped the Western world.

I guess that's 10, but there are really good cases for a lot of other guys. In terms of military conquest, I'd have to give the edge to Genghis Khan. He easily displaces Augustine if we're moving someone into the top 10. Also, my list is really Eurocentric, but this is the best I can come up with in 15 minutes... also, I'm an Atlanticist--sue me.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:55 PM   #25
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Re: The most influential humans in world history?

Hitler def earns a place even within the top 3.
WWII not only brought a new world order, but along with it scientific research was pushed
to other limits. Regardless of withing the war or after (due to the new situation / east vs. west). Who even knows when the first man would have landed on the moon without the technology used from nazi researchers.
In general every war brought also some benefit for mankind.
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