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(RNS) Who's got the biggest reputation in history? Two computer scientists have calculated a way to rank significance through measures of celebrity and achievement across time. Not surprisingly, it helps to be white and male.

25 Comments

  1. Madame Curie, Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur, Jonas Salk, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Henry Ford, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Galileo, Copernicus, Leonardo De Vinci — where were these people on this list?

  2. I disagree with Jesus being on top of the “biggest people” list. Assuming that he actually lived, he had little to do with his popularity or the propagation of Christianity. St. Paul and Constantine took care of that. Without them, Jesus would be an insignificant figure, and likely forgotten.

  3. @Guillermo. It was the event of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and public ascension into heaven that turned his demoralised, even terrified, followers into zealots who spread the news of Jesus Christ’s teachings, life and resurrection throughout the then-known world, in many instances at the cost of their own lives.

    St. Paul, in participating in this, was only acting in response to Christ’s teaching and his own miraculous conversion. Paul was just one of the many hands that participated in the writing of the New Testament and the organisation of the early church.

    As to Constantine, his legacy on Christianity was neutral, perhaps even negative, for while it established Christianity in the Roman Empire, it softened the church’s radical message of peace, love and forgiveness, and compromised the acceptance of Christianity in neighbouring empires, by too strong identification with one particular worldly power. The Roman Empire in any case was a declining force, and Christianity would in the coming centuries be stronger in countries well beyond its borders, e.g. Ethiopia, Armenia, and Kerala.

  4. Jesus is, in reality, a mythological figure – not sure why “he” would be included in a list of people for which there is good evidence for their existence and their lives aren’t preexisting mythology. I am not convinced Jesus existed (refer to Richard Carrier’s commentary about this) – even if he did, everything written about him is hearsay and borrowed mythology.

  5. Skeptic and Guillermo may exist now, but in a hundred years they will be forgotten and some will say “they never existed.” Awful strange that a Man who never existed split time in half as to what came before and what came after Him. Obviously these two clueless commentators have never studied history, ecclesiastical, secular, or Jewish, never mind the New Testament. Hey, Skeptic try starting your own myth and see how far you get! Imagine that, the whole world was duped into believing that Jesus Christ existed. Doesn’t say much for the human race. You are the ones who are “gullable” believing utter nonsense that flies in the face of facts and human testimony.

  6. I do not deserve the insult Sarah. And Dude, you’re right about Smith. That is why the Mormons are what they are. Non-existent prior to Smith, with no influence on the world and, compared to the Catholic Church, a tiny fraction of members who are mostly confined to Utah.

  7. Presley is certainly the top ranked amongst singers, musicians, whatever, in the entertainment world. He also ranks first as a singer, in MIT´s “Pantheon” a computerized and daily up-dated programme that ranks people by both the number of languages the bios of the most famous have been translated, at Wikipedia, and by how many hits for reading, knowledge, research, whatever, they´ve each received, both from their countrymen and from those who are not, since Wikipedia started. In other words, if the biography of someone from China is being searched, but just by people from China, and under its Chinese translation, then a factor goes against it. Under ¨Pantheon¨”, the life of Elvis Presley gets the same interest from every corner of the world, so it is not surprising that he would end up ranked 69 on this particular survey of the “biggest ” (meaning most celebrated, most famous, whatever), persons that have ever lived.

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