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The person I think most influenced the world is ...

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eclecticreader10
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Post by eclecticreader10 » Fri October 17th, 2008, 6:02 am

Back at the turn of the century (that sounds so strange) the history channel did a multi part series on the 100 most influential people in the last millenium. Each night as they counted down thru the 100 I kept trying to figure out who would be in the top 10. I was utterly facinated. I wanted to discuss it with my co-workers, but they just looked at me like I was nuts. They didn't care, how sad.

This would make a good topic for a new thread. According to the History Channel the person whose contribution most influenced the world today was ...........................................................................................


are you ready?


Guttenberg

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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Fri October 17th, 2008, 7:42 am

It would be an interesting discussion. I have copied this post to a new thread in the Chat section to see what others think.
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donroc
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Post by donroc » Fri October 17th, 2008, 10:02 am

I have difficulty settling on one.

Edison and the electric light bulb could be one along with his other inventions.

Both Gutenberg and Edison affected the entire world.

Founders of religions also are influential but not as totally as the above.

I am tempted suggest either Adam and Eve metaphorically for the first of our species or literally for the fundamental believers.
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Post by Ash » Fri October 17th, 2008, 1:36 pm

I also am going to have a very difficult time pinning this one down. But my first instinct is Jesus - not because of his teachings as much as what his Church became. Its influence led to conquests, wars, pogroms, genocide, as well as architecture, music and art, effects that changed the lives of millions throughout the world for good or bad, and that influenced governments for 2000 years.

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Leyland
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Post by Leyland » Fri October 17th, 2008, 2:21 pm

Louis Pasteur's achivements in immunology and vaccination, identifying germs as sources of contamination, and finally, pasteurization processes as enabling the world's population to safely preserve food for longer periods and thus transport food long distances where needed, should be considered very highly as one of the most influential persons. Human basic health needs must be met to ensure greater overall survival before reading and worship needs can be attained.

I guess I'm thinking about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs here.

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eclecticreader10
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Post by eclecticreader10 » Fri October 17th, 2008, 4:41 pm

The original history channel series was for the most infuential in the last 1000 years, so people like Jesus, Moses were not included.

My choice at the time was William the Conqueror because his actions ultimately spread the English language throughout the world and is now the predominate language.

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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri October 17th, 2008, 4:50 pm

Whether you believe he was god or just a man, the person who most influenced the world was Jesus of Nazareth. Just think: every day, look at the date. Even if you want to call it 'CE' for 'current era', there is no avoiding the fact that we date everything from the year of his birth. (Never mind that it is two-four years late; given what he had to work with, I think the guy who set it around 300 AD did a pretty good job getting that close.)
Islam is a derivative of Christianity. Not the most effective one, it's true, but certainly an argument for Jesus changing the history of the world. Buddha and Confucius, on the other hand, created philosophies that supported a status quo, eventually leading to stagnation for the cultures that adopted their 'circular timeline worldview'. The faiths that espoused a 'linear timeline worldview' (the biggest three being Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, although Zoroatrianism and the Norse Mythic cycle certainly deserve a mention) were the ones that pursued a goal of 'progress', always learning and adding to mankind's knowledge and changing culture by their inventions and discoveries.
In the West, the push for general literacy came from the Reformation, because everybody needed to read scripture for him or herself.
Literacy fueled the knowledge boom, without which all these other shakers and movers would not have been able to build on the work of those who came centuries before.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri October 17th, 2008, 5:03 pm

[quote=""eclecticreader10""]The original history channel series was for the most infuential in the last 1000 years, so people like Jesus, Moses were not included.

My choice at the time was William the Conqueror because his actions ultimately spread the English language throughout the world and is now the predominate language.[/quote]
Um-- William the Conqueror spoke French -- or a dialect of it. And England was pretty small potatoes on the European stage for the next 600 years or so, even if we English-speakers love to read about her dynastic contortions. Admittedly ol' bastard Bill was a link on the chain, but why pick him as the most important one? I'd go for Elizabeth I, who managed to spring England onto the global stage with her shipbuilding programs and encouragement of privateers like Raleigh and Drake. It was Britain's navy that led to her ruling the world.
But if you are limiting it to the last 1000 years, hmm-- how about Portugal's Prince Henry the Navigator, who started the whole European sea exploration in his bid to bypass the Mediterranean trade routes, a generation before Columbus? He was also instrumental in develping the caravel from the Duthch 'round ship' and the north sea fishing cog. Not to mention the navigation instruments he developed and perfected, without which columbus would not have been able to find the West Indies.

I suppose Columbus is no longer politically correct as a candidate?
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Fri October 17th, 2008, 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by LCW » Fri October 17th, 2008, 5:39 pm

Since I have to pick just one it would definitely be Charles Darwin. While the idea that species change over time had been around for quite a while, it was his remarkable powers of observation where he tied the changes in a given environment to this change in species. By observing nature and coming up with the idea of Natural Selection Charles Darwin changed Science which then changed the world. Nearly every branch of Biology, Medicine, Epidemiology, Bacteriology, The Cell Theory, Germ Theory, Genetics, Ecology, and many many more have all been possible through understanding Evolution. No one in history has contributed more to this than Charles Darwin!
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Post by Ash » Fri October 17th, 2008, 7:25 pm

[quote=""MLE""]I suppose Columbus is no longer politically correct as a candidate?[/quote]

Not even correct. A better and more far reaching suggestion would be the Portugese king in the 1500s who encouraged and supported discovery missions. (Sorry I can't remember his name, someone here will :) )

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