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World's greatest secular human in history.
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Posted 8/4/10
I'm just curious to see who comes up. But some ground rules:

(1) I'll stipulate in advance that, for you, the Great Propet, One True King, Grand Pirate of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or what have you is indeed the greatest human ever. Almost by definition, how else can it be? So to avoid a contest of 'my god is bigger than your god' I'm only interested in secular humans. All Prophets, Saints, Demi-Gods, etc need not apply.

(2) I'm interested in historical figures, real people whose identity is reasonably established by the written record. Legends don't count. Hercules, as a legendary demi-god for example is doubly disqualified. But anyone with a dubious historical pedigree such as King Arthur, Robin Hood, Prester John, had better come with some references. IE if you wish to argue that there was a real man behind the legend of king Arthur and nominate that man.. great! let's hear the argument.

(3) Obviously no characters from stories either, No Sherlock Holmes, Ali Baba, Aladdin, Baron Munchausen etc...

(4) Only one nomination per forum member at a time. If you change your mind and want to nominate someone new as the greatest please tell us why you're withdrawing your earlier nomination in favour of the new entrant.

other than that... nominate away. Who do you think is the greatest? tell us about them because we may be a little ignorant of the relevant history. And why are they the greatest?

I have to head off to work in a moment. I will make my nomination later.
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Posted 8/4/10 , edited 8/4/10
My Entry:

Alfred Nobel

A chemist and physicist, he developed two critical chemicals that go 'BOOM!' - Dynamite and Ballistite (Gelignite?).

What red blooded male wouldn't think the guy who invented modern explosives and smokeless gun powder was pretty awesome?

After his death, the execution of his will established the Nobel Prizes. These prizes annually reward people for excellence in scientific fields and for promoting peace.

As a patriot and a diabetic I'm happy that my fellow Canadians Banting and MacLean were awarded a Nobel Prize for discovering insulin and that Then Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson received the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering the concept of UN peace keeping Troops. A mission that Canadian soldiers have been heavily involved with ever since (63 years now).

so... that's my nomination: Alfred Nobel.



(edited for grammar errors and clarity)
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Posted 8/4/10
George Washington is a person with integrity to me. He could have been king and walked away from it.
Posted 8/5/10 , edited 8/5/10
Religion is the opium of the people. -Karl Marx

Just for that critical analysis of organized religion alone, I think Karl Marx is the model exemplar for secular human, IMHO. And even when there was a problem with his criticism of religion is wholly determined by material and economic realities. But when we apply the concepts of human irrationality known as "loss aversion" and "confirmation bias", within the context of behavior economics. It's thereby not had to see just how easily humanity can be fooled by their own pattern for self-deception, when organized religion equals superstition.


tarakelly wrote:

George Washington is a person with integrity to me. He could have been king and walked away from it.
The fact that he could be religious makes him fallible as a secular human.
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Posted 8/5/10
How about Sigmund Freud???
Maybe there are contradictions as well as new understandings to subjects about the human mind which he initiated, but the fact that he was willing to begin the study of the human mind, thought patterns, dreams, behaviors, etc. does make him the Father of modern psychotherapy & began the research into the brain. Since living with a brain which often deviates from the norm, I'm grateful for the continued research into brain functions & human behavior. Since a good deal of Freud's ideas were way out in left field, continued progress in this field of study will benefit us all.
I reserve the right to disagree with myself, as a subject such as this one is so fraught with possibilities, one choice is virtually impossible.

I wonder, it would be hard to find many secular people in early history, compared to modern times. There wasn't really an option to be openly secular throughout a lot of ancient world history. Would it be possible to nominate say, Plato? What defines non-secular, I mean, specifically? Couldn't agnostics from any time period be considered secular since they don't adhere to specific religious convictions, but merely & passively leave the door open to possibilities?
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Posted 8/5/10
I only care. that their claim to greatness comes from secular activity not what name they called god.
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Posted 8/5/10 , edited 8/5/10
I like to nominate a few.

1. Percy Bysshe Shelley, author of The Necessity of Atheism.

Shelley's unconventional life and uncompromising idealism, combined with his strong disapproving voice, made him an authoritative and much-denigrated figure during his life and afterward. Shelley never lived to see the extent of his success and influence. Some of his works were published, but they were often suppressed upon publication. Up until his death, with approximately 50 readers as his audience, it is said he made no more than 40 pounds from his writings.


2. Democritus
Democritus was an ancient Greek philosopher, the most prolific and influential of the pre-Socratics and whose atomic theory is regarded as the intellectual culmination of early Greek thought. For this atomic theory, which echoes eerily the theoretical formulations of modern physicists, he is sometimes called the "father of modern science." He was well known to Aristotle, and a thorn in the side to Plato - who advised that all of Democritus' works be burned.

A cheerful and popular man with the citizenry for his uncanny ability to predict events, his was known among his fans as the "Laughing Philosopher," a title that may well have referred more to his scoffing rejection of assigning to gods the mechanistic operations of nature itself. His cosmology and atomic theory held that the world was spheroid, that there were many worlds and many suns, and that all things manifest in nature were comprised of atoms bound together. There are varying accounts of his age at death, ranging from a ripe 90 all the way to 109 years.


3. Diagoras of Melos

The first and most ancient of recognized atheists must include a 5th century b.c.e. poet and sophist from Melos known as Diagoras the Atheist. Not content to simply speak against the popular pantheon of Greek gods, he also criticized the Eleusinian Mysteries. He became a disciple of Democritus after that notable philosopher paid a hefty ransom to free Diagoras from captivity following the subjugation of Melos in 416 b.c.e.

Prosecuted by the Athenian democratic party for impiety in 415 b.c.e., he was forced to flee the city and died in Corinth. None of Diagoras' own writings survive, but in the 1st century b.c.e. Cicero wrote that one of Diagoras' friends tried to convince him that the gods did exist by citing the many people saved from storms by their pleas to their favorite gods, to which Diagoras was purported to reply, "there are nowhere any pictures of those who have been shipwrecked and drowned at sea."


4. Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov [1849-1936] was a Russian physiologist, psychologist and physician. He won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1904 for research on the digestive system. It was his investigation of the saliva of dogs that first led him to notice that the animals salivated more when they expected food, a phenomenon he termed "psychic secretion." He was particularly interested in studying conditioned behaviors as an experimental model of the induction of neuroses. His approach became known as "behaviorism," and after his death his work was extended by William Sargant and others in an attempt to develop a systematic method for brainwashing and implantation of false memories.

Pavlov died in Leningrad, his laboratory in St. Petersburg was carefully preserved by the Soviet government as a museum. He had one of his students attend him on his deathbed to record the circumstances of his dying, as if it were just another psychological experiment.


5. George Carlin (like hell I could leave him out of it.)

George Denis Patrick Carlin [1937-2008] was one of the most popular and controversial comedians during his lifetime, having won five Grammy awards for his comedy albums. He was the very first guest host for Saturday Night Live and is considered one of the most brilliant satirists of American culture. He was most noted for his focus on psychology, religion, the English language and any other subject that might shock and delight his audiences. He came in second on the Comedy Central network's list of 100 Greatest Comedians of all time.

Just four days before his death the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced that he would receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. An outspoken atheist, Carlin joked in his book Brain Droppings that he worshipped the sun because he could actually see it. He also introduced in an HBO special the "Two Commandments," a condensed version of the ten ending with one additional commandment, "Thou Shalt keep thy religiion to thyself."


6. Bruce Lee (one of my first hero's.)

Bruce Jun Fan Lee [1940- 1973] was an American born Chinese martial artist, philosopher, instructor and actor, the founder of the Jeet Kune Do combat form. When he turned to development of his martial arts form in the 1960s, he also became notable for his views and practices of promoting peak physical fitness with proper training, diet and vitamin supplements. Bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger was influenced by Lee, described his physique as defined, with very little body fat. "I mean, he probably had one of the lowest body fat counts of any athlete. And I think that's why he looked so unbelievable."

Lee had majored in philosophy at the University of Washington and kept an extensive library of philosophy. His first book expressed a well-developed philosophical outlook and was entitled Chinese Gung-Fu: The Philosophical Art of Self Defense. As he developedJeet Kune Do he cited influence from Taoism, Jiddu Krishnamurti and Buddhism, but was himself an atheist who expressed disbelief in God.

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Posted 8/5/10
Hmmmm... I'm tempted to consider the one promoting atheism a religious candidate because Atheism is a religious stance. I'm trying to keep religion out of this thread which is why I stipulated that everyone's "hero of the faith" is automatically their greatest person and could they nominate someone more universal. In all fairness I see your number one pick in the same light.

It's nice to that you have a number of runners up but which one would you Nominate, right now, (you can change your mind later) as THE greatest?
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Posted 8/5/10

DomFortress wrote:

Religion is the opium of the people. -Karl Marx

Just for that critical analysis of organized religion alone, I think Karl Marx is the model exemplar for secular human, IMHO. And even when there was a problem with his criticism of religion is wholly determined by material and economic realities. But when we apply the concepts of human irrationality known as "loss aversion" and "confirmation bias", within the context of behavior economics. It's thereby not had to see just how easily humanity can be fooled by their own pattern for self-deception, when organized religion equals superstition.


tarakelly wrote:

George Washington is a person with integrity to me. He could have been king and walked away from it.
The fact that he could be religious makes him fallible as a secular human.


Okay. the prohibition on religious figures was to keep the God Baiters and holy book Thumpers from hijacking my thread.

I find it Ironic that you'll begin your nomination with the famous quote referencing religion, argue his greatness from the perspective of him attacking religion and then have the hypocrisy to suggest another person's nomination of a wholly military/political figure is invalid because he happened to be the adherent OF a religion.




Posted 8/5/10

papagolfwhiskey wrote:



Okay. the prohibition on religious figures was to keep the God Baiters and holy book Thumpers from hijacking my thread.

I find it Ironic that you'll begin your nomination with the famous quote referencing religion, argue his greatness from the perspective of him attacking religion and then have the hypocrisy to suggest another person's nomination of a wholly military/political figure is invalid because he happened to be the adherent OF a religion.
Then what is the general view of the secular societies on illegal drugs, due to the characteristics and qualities of both the addictive substance and its addicts? Whereas you might see Marx as nonreligious, I OTOH see him flawlessly proven the irrationality of humanity. Using organized religious ideology within human society as the perfect evidence, from a secularist perspective, Marx managed to prove that human irrationality and superstitious behaviors are a part of the human nature, IMHO.
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Posted 8/5/10 , edited 8/5/10

DomFortress wrote:


papagolfwhiskey wrote:



Okay. the prohibition on religious figures was to keep the God Baiters and holy book Thumpers from hijacking my thread.

I find it Ironic that you'll begin your nomination with the famous quote referencing religion, argue his greatness from the perspective of him attacking religion and then have the hypocrisy to suggest another person's nomination of a wholly military/political figure is invalid because he happened to be the adherent OF a religion.
Then what is the general view of the secular societies on illegal drugs, due to the characteristics and qualities of both the addictive substance and its addicts? Whereas you might see Marx as nonreligious, I OTOH see him flawlessly proven the irrationality of humanity. Using organized religious ideology within human society as the perfect evidence, from a secularist perspective, Marx managed to prove that human irrationality and superstitious behaviors are a part of the human nature, IMHO.


Look Dom, just how hard can it be to understand? Don't start the religious/anti-religious debate here. That's ALL I'm asking. and it seems you and Dark Phoenix cannot do it.

The definition of a fanatic is someone who won't change their mind and can't change the subject (or is it the other way around)

Personally I don't find fanatics fun to talk to. and I'm here on ED for FUN. Please don't drive me away.


Posted 8/5/10

papagolfwhiskey wrote:


DomFortress wrote:


papagolfwhiskey wrote:



Okay. the prohibition on religious figures was to keep the God Baiters and holy book Thumpers from hijacking my thread.

I find it Ironic that you'll begin your nomination with the famous quote referencing religion, argue his greatness from the perspective of him attacking religion and then have the hypocrisy to suggest another person's nomination of a wholly military/political figure is invalid because he happened to be the adherent OF a religion.
Then what is the general view of the secular societies on illegal drugs, due to the characteristics and qualities of both the addictive substance and its addicts? Whereas you might see Marx as nonreligious, I OTOH see him flawlessly proven the irrationality of humanity. Using organized religious ideology within human society as the perfect evidence, from a secularist perspective, Marx managed to prove that human irrationality and superstitious behaviors are a part of the human nature, IMHO.


Look Dom, just how hard can it be to understand? Don't start the religious/anti-religious debate here. That's ALL I'm asking. and it seems you and Dark Phoenix cannot do it.

The definition of a fanatic is someone who won't change their mind and can't change the subject (or is it the other way around)

Personally I don't find fanatics fun to talk to. and I'm here on ED for FUN. Please don't drive me away.
Which I can assure you that I wasn't. But the fact of the matter is that it took a nonreligious secular human's observation to prove the irrationality of humanity, using organized religious ideology within human society as the irrefutable self-evidence. It's a design feature for we humans are pattern seekers, while our three dimensional stereographic visual perception works within the three principles of recognition, abstraction, and assumption. We're by nature very bad at being culturally reasonable, rational, and logical, when we had to be socialized into internalizing social behavioral patterns, sexuality, scientific theories, all the way down to the concept of a complex self-identity.

Finally, nurture is human nature, which is why what we're nurturing to our future selves seems ever more so important, IMHO. Personally, I would make fun at my own expense, but when my expression requires inspiration and innovation, I bring up my A-game.
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Posted 8/5/10 , edited 8/5/10
Gorge Carlin tops any one in this category to ever walk the earth. Nobody even holds a candle to him.
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Posted 8/5/10
Well if Gorge Carlin top your list would say Gorge Burns that right he did play God.
Posted 8/5/10
Tucker Max.
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