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Wikipedia Mining Algorithm Reveals the Most Influential People In History

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the jesus-loses-to-a-botanist dept.

Wikipedia 231

KentuckyFC writes: 'In 1978, the American researcher Michael Hart published The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, a book that became an international best seller. Since then, various others have published similar lists. But all suffer the same drawback: they are subjective list ultimately influenced by numerous cultural factors. Now data scientists have come up with a way to extract an objective list of the 100 most influential people in history using the network of links between biographical articles on Wikipedia and how they vary between 24 different language editions, including English, Chinese, Russian Arabic and so on. The researchers assume that people who are highly ranked in different language editions are influential across both language cultures and that the more appearances they make in different language editions, the more influential they are. But the actual ranking is done by PageRank-like algorithms that consider a biographical article important if it is pointed to by other important articles.

The resulting lists of the most influential men and women might surprise. The top PageRanked individual is Carl Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist who developed the modern naming scheme for plants and animals, followed by Jesus. The top PageRanked women are: Elizabeth II followed by Mary (mother of Jesus). For comparison, just under half of the top 100 most influential also appear in Hart's 1978 book. But this is just the beginning. By counting the individuals from one culture that influence other cultures, the team is able to work out which cultures have dominated others. And by looking only at people born before certain dates, they can see how the influence of different cultures has waxed and waned throughout 35 centuries of recorded history.'

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objective list (3, Insightful)

dasacc22 (1830082) | about 3 months ago | (#47187267)

subjectively titled ...

Re:objective list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187419)

subjectively titled ...

Once you pick a method, the list is technically objective.

Of course, you can pick any method of ranking people you want....

I'm sure I can subjectively pick a mathematical system where, objectively, 1 + 1 = 3. Hell, I can just make one up and define it that way.

Re:objective list (2)

mestar (121800) | about 3 months ago | (#47187975)

Where is the actual list?

Re:objective list (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 3 months ago | (#47188227)

It doesn't seem to exist. Summary has no link, and the linked articles have no list (including the actual arXiv pre-print).

Re:objective list (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 3 months ago | (#47188261)

Annoying isn't it? Why do people link to (or write in the first place) an article about a list, and then not include the list? Where's the logic in that? Anyway, I dug through the supporting data fo the paper and found it, then ran it through a simple bash script to strip extraneous information. I'm only including the PageRank version because the methodology is more logical and the results more reasonable (the 2D rank version is mostly pop-culture).

1. Carl Linnaeus
2. Jesus
3. Aristotle
4. Napoleon
5. Adolf Hitler
6. Julius Caesar
7. Plato
8. William Shakespeare
9. Albert Einstein
10. Elizabeth II
11. Alexander the Great
12. Isaac Newton
13. Muhammad
14. Karl Marx
15. Joseph Stalin
16. Augustus
17. Christopher Columbus
18. Charlemagne
19. Louis XIV of France
20. George W. Bush
21. Immanuel Kant
22. Barack Obama
23. Mary (mother of Jesus)
24. Vladimir Lenin
25. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
26. Paul the Apostle
27. Charles Darwin
28. Martin Luther
29. Herodotus
30. Franklin D. Roosevelt
31. Galileo Galilei
32. Pope John Paul II
33. Constantine the Great
34. Benito Mussolini
35. Cicero
36. Ren Descartes
37. Saint Peter
38. Ludwig van Beethoven
39. George Washington
40. Moses
41. Johann Sebastian Bach
42. Bill Clinton
43. Leonardo da Vinci
44. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
45. Gautama Buddha
46. Winston Churchill
47. John F. Kennedy
48. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
49. Pope Benedict XVI
50. Richard Nixon
51. Sigmund Freud
52. Ronald Reagan
53. Abraham Lincoln
54. Saddam Hussein
55. Ptolemy
56. Richard Wagner
57. Diocletian
58. Queen Victoria
59. Napoleon III
60. Charles de Gaulle
61. Mao Zedong
62. William Herschel
63. Michael Jackson
64. Justinian I
65. Augustine of Hippo
66. Ali
67. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
68. Ernst Haeckel
69. Pliny the Elder
70. Pope Gregory XIII
71. Confucius
72. Henry VIII of England
73. Thomas Jefferson 74. Francisco Franco 75. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 76. Pierre Andr Latreille 77. Pope Paul VI 78. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 79. Chiang Kai-shek 80. John Herschel 81. Elizabeth I of England 82. J. R. R. Tolkien 83. Socrates 84. Genghis Khan 85. Qin Shi Huang 86. Umar 87. Philip II of Spain 88. Frederick the Great 89. Johannes Kepler 90. Emperor Wu of Han 91. Friedrich Nietzsche 92. Plutarch 93. Thomas Edison 94. Max Weber 95. Dante Alighieri 96. Ashoka 97. Tacitus 98. Ernst Mayr 99. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck 100. Elvis Presley

Not a bad list, honestly. Still not sure why Linnaeus is *that* high, but most of the rest is quite reasonable, methinks.

Oh, and because Slashdot is complaining, "Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 19.0)": Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Happy now, Slashdot? Stupid spambot that can't actually prevent spam but likes playing literary critic with my post and making me mangle the end of my list...)

Re:objective list (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187423)

Man caused Global Warming is a "Jew" scam that attempted a run during FDR. "Global warming" was changed to "climate change" when the liars were proven wrong by the RSS satellite that AGW was wasn't happening. It blew the jew scam on the radar. Busted.

Re:objective list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187947)

Link to actual paper [arxiv.org]

Seems like total bullshit to me. Madonna #3 on one of the lists? For fundamental impact on today's world, Woodrow Wilson probably has had a helluva lot more impact than Madonna's pop fluff. And if you don't know why, you really need to look at how Wilson shaped both international relations and organizations right at the beginnings of global society along with his impact on early progressive policies.

Re:objective list (1)

mestar (121800) | about 3 months ago | (#47187991)

In that list of 100 most influential persons, who is on the number 11?

Re:objective list (3, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 3 months ago | (#47188289)

It's only the 2dRank list that's screwed up, the PageRank list is a lot more reasonable. I don't know why they even included that 2dRank list, it ruins their credibility. The methodology doesn't even make sense. PageRank works based on determining how influential you are based on how much things link to you. Makes sense, right? Well, 2dRank uses that *plus* how much you link to other people. Why should how much you link to other people have any significance on how influential you are? Perhaps how influenced you are, but certainly not how influential you are.

Making stupid claims makes people stop listening to what you have to say. It's like you're sitting on a bus and you see the following sign: "1. This is a space ship. 2. No smoking". The demonstrable falsity of the first part undermines the credibility of the second part.

What about the dud that came up with fire? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187275)

No love for him?

Re:What about the dud that came up with fire? (1)

dasacc22 (1830082) | about 3 months ago | (#47187299)

jesus was in the list, isn't that enough? </sarcasm>

Jesus is Number One (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 3 months ago | (#47187313)

He wasn't first, which completely invalidates the study.

Re:Jesus is Number One (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#47187337)

What do you expect of a man that practically nobody had heard of until centuries after his death?

Re:Jesus is Number One (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187533)

I always wonder why such an important hypothetical character, who asked people to put god above every powerful entity on the earth, was shunned by powerful entities on the earth, in an age where damnatio memoriae was feasible, or even SOP.

I mean, let's look at Linux and other free operating systems. They have been all over the media as soon as they offered a minimum of usability, right? er, wrong.

You know that last week bought an internet usb modem (olidata 200) that is plug and play on debian stable (switched to modem mode) and working with wvdial? cool huh?
And on the box it came with, linux compatibility button is present and unchecked. Three times because those guys listed debian, redhat, and another distro.
Some guy a couple millennia from now might say: OF COURSE linux did non support standard AT modem commands, see this key we recovered, it uses standard AT commands yet the vendor explicitly marked it as incompatible... Makes perfect sense, still it's wrong because it doesn't take into account some factors, namely that people like forced obsolescence and that's difficult to achieve with linux (until the systemd era, at least).

Re:What about the dud that came up with fire? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187361)

It's weird that Jesus made the list but Batman didn't. In fact, he was the only fictional character mentioned.

Thanks for that, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187449)

Thanks for that, but I very nearly sprayed lunch all over my monitor.

Re:What about the dud that came up with fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187457)

The Batman is really nothing more than GCPD propaganda to disguise their massive corruption.

Re:What about the dud that came up with fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188125)

There is essentially no genuine doubt about the historical existence of Jesus. You should really look into that.

Re:What about the dud that came up with fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187655)

Well he is the only one that Americans will try to claim their 'own' outside of the shitty popular culture that will be forgotten in a 100 years time class.

Yeah, right (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 months ago | (#47187307)

Given those of us the world calls "nerds" seemingly have a weakness for championing the lesser-known, and given that nerd-driven edits are a disproportionately large percentage of Wikipedia edits... it's not surprising someone like Linnaeus has the top spot.

Really, the biggest surprise isn't that Linnaeus outranks Jesus - it's that Jesus managed to outrank Joss Whedon.

Re:Yeah, right (4, Informative)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#47187321)

I think he got the top spot due to the fact that just about every single critter on this planet has a link back to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org] on their page.

Re:Yeah, right (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 3 months ago | (#47187951)

Exactly. The results of this study could not be more bullshit. It's the kind of "why would you even bother doing that" study that should make people double over laughing.

Re:Yeah, right (1)

Rei (128717) | about 3 months ago | (#47188345)

Hahaha, I had been wondering about that! Most of the PageRank list I found reasonable, but that one really confused me. Here's his What Links Here [wikipedia.org] list. If you follow them, you see that most are from the Taxobox - there's a field called "type_species_authority", and the answer is often Linnaeus.

I do think that Linnaeus is a bit of an exception there, tough. Who else gets regularly linked in a template? It's not like there's an infobox for people with a field "personal_savior" or "favorite_roman_emperor" ;)

Re:Yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187333)

I can at least understand how the historical version of Christ has altered history and societies as a total... but for the life of me I can't figure out why "nerds" give a fuck about Joss Whedon.

Re:Yeah, right (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187381)

Joss Whedon's shows have female characters that nerds like to envision while masturbating.

Oh, and tend to have witty quips that can be quoted to other nerds. But it's mostly the masturbation thing.

Re:Yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187467)

My experience is that most nerds who think they're witty actually just sound like nerds as they're represented in popular media.
 
About as moronic as the fist bump/chest poundings that go on among armchair quarterbacks and jocks all over the world.
 
Just another reason to avoid both crowds.

Re:Yeah, right (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 3 months ago | (#47188341)

Violently abusive chauvinistic rapists with no accountability despite all their wangsting? I never envision that. It's that's the norm that would explain the self-flagulating manginism though.

Jesus isn't that influential (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#47187665)

if you're not a Christian. If you don't believe he was the son of god then he was just preacher whose particular sect took off. The Roman Emperor that convertered to Christianity after being 'saved' is the real power behind Christianity...

Yeshua didn't exist (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187785)

There are no contemporary accounts that Yeshua ben Youssif even existed. Some monk was so upset that Josephus didn't write about Yeshua in his history of the jews in that part of the world, that said nameless monk inserted a fake paragraph to correct that mistake. If you read it, it's pretty obvious bullshit. Centuries of similarly deluded Xtian scholars have convinced themselves that there is some original mention that was elaborated upon. There is no reason to believe this unless you have a vested interest in doing so. Further "evidence" relies on the "principle of embarrassment", e.g. John the Baptist was a real historical figure, and it was somewhat weird or otherwise embarrassing to the Church to have the Son of God baptized by this random dude in the desert, so therefore it is considered more likely to have actually happened. Friends, if that is your standard of proof, you can prove anything. We have no original copies of any documents related to the NT, and the earliest copies were written centuries after the events.

So, odds are actually pretty good that Peter and Paul just made it up.

Re:Jesus isn't that influential (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187891)

Even if you aren't Christian, your civilization has probably been influenced (converted, overrun, allied) by one that was acting in Jesus' name.

Constantine did not convert to Christianity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188055)

Constantine did not convert to Christianity. Despite the Catholic church's attempts at rewriting history this did not happen. What happened was Constantine's mother was dabbling in Christianity and Constantine insisted on Christianity being defined before being allowed to be considered a sanctioned roman religion. This gave us the council of Nicaea which gave us the bible and many other elements that today are considered the fundamental tenants of Christianity. Constantine was effectively editor-in-chief of the Bible and he likely had something to say about the number of 'authors' to be accepted for the new testament. Constantine would have considered himself the head of this religion along with all other things roman. His ego wouldn't have had any problems with him being the head of multiple religions.

Re:Jesus isn't that influential (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47188059)

So the dude the religion is named after is less important than the dude that worshiped him?

Re:Jesus isn't that influential (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 3 months ago | (#47188143)

Arguably, yeah. When Constantine "donated" the western Roman empire to the Church, it basically turned Christianity into a (known)-world-spanning empire in one fell swoop. It's not as easy as that, of course, but it was a massive leg up that led to Christian domination of Europe, and from there to the Western Hemisphere during the Age of Exploration.

Jesus was only indirectly involved in that, unless of course you believe that he actually did give Constantine the victory at Milvian Bridge.

Now, that's all kinda BS, since the "Donation of Constantine" is a forgery and the real path to Christian domination of the Roman empire is more complicated. But he did pave the way for Christianity in both the eastern and western Roman empire, so while he might not be more important than Jesus to the domination of the religion, he's surely way up there. (And anyway I'd argue that Paul was more important than Jesus when it came to setting up the religion as we know it.)

Re:Jesus isn't that influential (1)

epine (68316) | about 3 months ago | (#47188087)

The Roman Emperor that converted to Christianity after being 'saved' is the real power behind Christianity...

Are you sure? I suspect the power behind the throne was really Helena, Constantine's mother. Or maybe Fausta.

In July, Constantine had his wife, the Empress Fausta, killed at the behest of his mother, Helena. Fausta was left to die in an over-heated bath. Their names were wiped from the face of many inscriptions, references to their lives in the literary record were erased, and the memory of both was condemned.

The record is unfortunately thin on which influencer wielded more power on gullible Constantine, but clearly Helena prevailed in this particular deed.

Consider also Aunt Jemima. She was a nobody—if she even existed—before some marketing genius slapped her mug on a bottle. If future archaeologists someday put together a landfill page rank, she'll be waaay up there.

Re:Yeah, right (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 3 months ago | (#47187895)

I think the issue is that scientists are more likely to cite their works, and in particular there are a lot of different species and thus many different articles and papers about species.

There's a relatively few versions of the bible, and while they are almost always cited, they may not be via links to Wikipedia articles but instead by line & verse to a standard. And that's assuming that every bible reference should be counted as Jesus reference, which is untrue even for the New Testament.

And there you have it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187331)

Napoleon is the most influential person in history.

Influence? (3, Insightful)

Livius (318358) | about 3 months ago | (#47187335)

An interesting study, but nothing about the rankings has anything to do with measuring being 'influential'.

Re:Influence? (2)

Meshach (578918) | about 3 months ago | (#47187349)

An interesting study, but nothing about the rankings has anything to do with measuring being 'influential'.

I guess it is "influential" in the same way that Google news shows the most "influential" sites covering a significant story. Influential means "conforms most to the prevailing viewpoint" (at least in this case). These are the ones that the most people read and hence the most influential.

Re:Influence? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187387)

No, this isn't the wiki articles most people read.. it's the ones most people link other wiki articles to. I'd think a survey of which articles people actually read would be a more objective one in terms of influence, because only articles written by academics are going to be anal about the linkage.

Re:Influence? (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | about 3 months ago | (#47187379)

It depends on how you define influential. The winner is responsible for the name used in every culture in the world for every single living thing on Earth. Most people have never heard of him but he has certainly influence quite a bit.

Re:Influence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188069)

The winner is responsible for the name used in every culture in the world for every single living thing on Earth.

Can you give an example of such a culture where scientific names are used?

Re:Influence? (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 months ago | (#47187489)

It's a good point, and there is some question about the idea of using pagerank on Wikipedia as a method for measuring influential people. For one thing, it has a bias towards most recent events. They used two different algorithms for ranking influence in the English version of Wikipedia. The first version ended up with this list: "Napoleon, Barack Obama, Carl Linnaeus, Elizabeth II and George W Bush." At least it's bipartisan.

Another problem with pagerank on Wikipedia is the bias towards popularity. "Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Pope Pius XII, Elton John and Elizabeth II." Was Frank Sinatra more influential than Michael Jackson?

Going from that high quality single-language ranking, they tried to rank across languages. With their second algorithm, this is what they ended up with: "Adolf Hitler, Michael Jackson, Madonna (the singer) and Ludwig Van Beethoven." I really like Beethoven, but.....

If your algorithm only matches the pre-existing ranking by 50%, that might be an indication that your algorithm isn't getting good data. In fact, the scientists involved have some doubt about the quality of their research, saying: “Our analysis shows that most important historical gures across Wikipedia language editions are born in Western countries after the 17th century, and are male”

citation puffery (1)

wanax (46819) | about 3 months ago | (#47187525)

This is no different from trying to come up with ways of measuring scholars' intellectual impact using citation metrics, like the h-factor or the many recent successors to it, which try to repair the weaknesses in a fatally flawed idea. It makes no distinction between positive and negative citation, and it ignores the raw fact of historical precedence, while preserving every historical bias a culture may have.

The most influential people in world history, at least the very top-tier, isn't particularly debatable, but yet this list failed to capture it. In alphabetical order (and assuming they all existed):

Aristotle
Buddha
Confucius
Homer
Jesus
Lao Tzu
Muhammad
Plato
Ved Vyasa

Then there's the next tier, which include people like Al-Hazan, Alexander, Augustine, Einstein, Genghis, Hammurabi, Imhotep, Newton, Linnaeus, Peter (of Russia), Shakespeare, Suleiman, Zeami Motokiyo etc etc, since I'm sure the further I try to extend the list, the more it would converge with my cultural history.

While unsupervised algorithms can often find interesting things in high-dimensional data, they aren't interpret-able without some expert knowledge.. and if you don't have the 9 entries I mentioned above in your top 20 at least, you can toss the method.

hercules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187347)

i'm thinking hercules is finally a movie we can believe in -- if only for rht ebad ass fx

Doom and gloom comes by HFT, stealth, so no need to worry, when it hit's your ROASTY

so stay frosty and watch some bad ass video when ever the fuck it comes out.

Re:hercules (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 3 months ago | (#47187369)

Well done bot, well done.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187351)

Linné was a nice man.

Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187365)

You want to know why Carl Linnaeus is on top of that list? Every Wikipedia article about an Animal or a Plant has an infobox, containing their binomial name. And the person who got to name the animal or plant is linked in said infobox. Since Mr. Linnaeus basically created the binomial nomenclature, he named thousands upon thousands of species. Thus, he is linked from thousands upon thousands [wikipedia.org] of articles about all kinds of animals and plants. Here's a random example. [wikipedia.org] Notice the "L." at the bottom of the infobox. So, basically, Mr. Linnaeus is being Google.. ahem, Wikipedia-bombed.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (2)

iNaya (1049686) | about 3 months ago | (#47187509)

I'd consider the person that named every fucking species on Earth to be pretty influential.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (5, Insightful)

Jiro (131519) | about 3 months ago | (#47187561)

It's more influential than you or I, but it's not more influential than Jesus. The problem is that he's more influential in areas specifically related to the Wikipedia format.

If every page about someone born in August contained a link to Augustus Caesar, this would conclude that he's the most influential person in history.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187853)

Agreed - doesn't get any clearer than that.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188067)

But Jesus wasn't even a historical figure. I guess Joseph Campbell was right.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (3, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#47188335)

It takes a special kind of ignorance to deny history [wikipedia.org] , you should have read the Wiki page before posting. And no, you are not smarter than the the majority of reputable historians who have satisfactory proof that Jesus was a real person. (Be cautions with demanding absolute proof, because there are no historical persons that can be proven absolutely).

What people do debate are the acts performed by Jesus, because there are a limited number corroborating written records of many events recorded in books added to the Christian Bible. The same historians who agree that Jesus exists will give you those events as well. You should really learn to study history, it's fascinating stuff and will make you look less foolish when posting.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187569)

... pretty influential in a domain that has very little impact on anything else.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 3 months ago | (#47187615)

Biology actually has quite a bit of impact on just about everything else... everything alive anyway.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187719)

Plese. Biology is just applied chemistry. And chemistry is merely applied physics, which we all know is just applied mathematics. Thus, we conclude that Leonhard Euler is the most influential person in the history of mankind.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187971)

No shit, but the domain of Latin naming of species... not so much.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 3 months ago | (#47188053)

Leave it to a muggle to fail to understand the power true names have over things!

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187755)

He didn't name them. He came up with a system of naming them. You're putting it in a frame that would be like saying that Melvil Dewey deserves credit for every book over put in a library.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 months ago | (#47187841)

I'd consider the person that named every fucking species on Earth to be pretty influential.

For your kind information, he also named the non fucking species too. In fact he just came up with the system, actual naming of species was done by countless generations of biologists.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187693)

Who came up with the English alphabet? We can link him to every letter on wikipedia, and bang, immediately most influential. For whatever that's worth, it seems.

Re:Carl Linnaeus? Here's why: (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 3 months ago | (#47187925)

His objectively measured influence on history pales in comparison to that of Mr. Citation Needed.

Woho! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187377)

I'm a descendant of Carl Linnaeus, don't remember which generation but might be tenth.

The last part of this sentence cracked me up "The top PageRanked individual is Carl Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist who developed the modern naming scheme for plants and animals, >>> followed by Jesus."

I suspect Carl is top for the sole reason (2)

queazocotal (915608) | about 3 months ago | (#47187383)

that he invented the classification system for organisms.
And there are a _LOT_ of stub articles for the Lesser Spotted Garden Slimy Thing, that link to 'biological classification' and hence Carls page. (can you tell I can't spell his second name?

Re:I suspect Carl is top for the sole reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187395)

There are apparently tons of links to his wikipedia page where you can find the correct spelling...

Re:I suspect Carl is top for the sole reason (1)

iNaya (1049686) | about 3 months ago | (#47187513)

Almost everyone who is influential has a handful of reasons why. Doesn't change the fact they were influential.

Objective != definitive (0)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#47187435)

an objective list of the 100 most influential people in history

Objective does not equal definitive. Nor does "mentioned on Wikipedia" equal "influential."

It's an objective list calculated from subjective criteria, subjectively believed by its creator to be an indicator of a subjective quality.

The resulting lists of the most influential men and women might surprise.

Yes, it might, for a few seconds, until you realise that getting your name on a Wikipedia page does not count for influence.

The top PageRanked individual is Carl Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist who...

...named a lot of species and therefore gets mentioned a lot.

followed by Jesus.

I didn't know they had Twitter back then!

Subjectively, (1)

barfy (256323) | about 3 months ago | (#47187439)

I am going to give little credence to any objective list that puts Madonna (The Singer) on the top 5 of any such list. I just can't imagine that they aren't counting links to Madonna (The mother of Christ) and associating them to the singer.

Ah, Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187445)

History .... Jesus. Uhuh.

Re:Ah, Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187503)

There's a lot more history to suggest that Christ was a real person than there is to dismiss it.
 
And no, some random Joe Sixpack saying he's an atheist doesn't mean that Christ didn't exist. Most of these religious figures were real people. If the question is were they the people that history has made them out to be? Well, doubtlessly the answer is no but that's also true for the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Queen Victoria and Ho Chi Minh as well.

Re:Ah, Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187637)

There's a lot more history to suggest that Christ was a real person than there is to dismiss it.

And no, some random Joe Sixpack saying he's an atheist doesn't mean that Christ didn't exist. Most of these religious figures were real people. If the question is were they the people that history has made them out to be? Well, doubtlessly the answer is no but that's also true for the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Queen Victoria and Ho Chi Minh as well.

I believe Neptune, Zeus, and Hades are caricatures based on real humans.

Re:Ah, Americans (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | about 3 months ago | (#47187651)

Actually the only piece of actual evidence of the existence of Christ as a real person is an entry in the histories written by the Jewish historian Josephus. Those histories are not originals of course, in fact they are all copies made by the Catholics. There are no shortage of changes made by those copiers including additions and changes from the original text that have been detected by comparing various copies that were altered in different ways. The only thing that makes people who know what they are talking about say Jesus probably lived vs probably did not live is the subjective opinion of a few scholars (mostly theist scholars) who studied the passages in question and subjectively think they seem like the style of Josephus.

Given the thinking of the day it would be the most natural thing in the world for a Monk to "correct" a "mistake" in a history that failed to record the trial and death of Jesus and to patch it up with the details from their bible.

Re:Ah, Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188099)

Yep. Jesus was an invention of Peter or Paul based on a (at the time) 6000 year old 'Christ the redeemer' archetype that goes back to some of the earliest known Egyptian mythology, the first example that we know of today being Horus. This archetype is very powerful as it provides a way for a society to move beyond the eye-for-an-eye social justice meme.

Re:Ah, Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187847)

No, there really is not a lot of evidence that Yeshua ben Youssif existed. There's a single paragraph in Josephus that everyone agrees was faked, and that's it for contemporary mentions. Peter and Paul existed, but we just have their say-so for it, and not even original texts for that; the earliest surviving documents were recorded centuries after the events.

Joe Sixpack saying he's an atheist doesn't mean Jesus didn't exist. The lack of evidence means he didn't exist.

Objective but poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187447)

It might be objective but the method they use to find the most influential people is flawed. I'd trust the previous subjective list before this.

Most popular on Wikipedia, not most influential (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 3 months ago | (#47187475)

The most influential people are, in no particular order: the guy who invented fire, the guy who invented agriculture, the guy who invented the wheel, the guy who invented religion, the guy who invented writing, various other prehistoric inventors and scientists, various leaders of important nations (eg the Romans), various religious figures. Y-chromosome Adam, mitochondrial Eve, etc. The most influential people will be in the deep past, because what they did back then has enough time to affect so many people now. And we might not remember their name, much less have a Wikipedia article on them.

Re:Most popular on Wikipedia, not most influential (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187641)

The most influential people are, in no particular order: the guy who invented fire, the guy who invented agriculture, the guy who invented the wheel, the guy who invented religion,

Actually, it's the woman who created religion. Her name is Semiramis.

the guy who invented writing, various other prehistoric inventors and scientists, various leaders of important nations (eg the Romans), various religious figures. Y-chromosome Adam, mitochondrial Eve, etc. The most influential people will be in the deep past, because what they did back then has enough time to affect so many people now. And we might not remember their name, much less have a Wikipedia article on them.

Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed. (3, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | about 3 months ago | (#47187479)

Correct me if I am wrong, but even from the summary I get a strong suspicion this "research" is heavily flawed. I mean, the only way for "Carl Linnaeus" would be on the top spot would be if you blindly applied a sort of page-rank algorithm forgetting to only include non-standardized parts of pages. A significant percentage of Wikipedia pages on all languages are about the various species of plant or animal life, all of which have a stub which contains the link to "Scientific classification" perhaps also to "Binomial name", both of which feature Linnaeus prominently.
It reminds me a spider my boss had built to get a few thousands of pages to construct a word frequency list, and I had to point out that it needed some work, since words like "print", "home" etc were not in the top-5 most common words of the English language.

Re:Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed (1, Redundant)

iNaya (1049686) | about 3 months ago | (#47187523)

So, you're saying that the guy that invented a naming system, and then named thousands upon thousands of animals, the names and system of which are used by every culture on Earth isn't influential and doesn't deserve a spot on the list?

Re:Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187635)

If Linnaeus hadn't invented the binomial system (and there's argument about whether he actually did), then someone else would have eventually come up with a comparable system.

If Hitler hadn't come into power and provoked Germany into expanding into Europe and massacring the Jews, it's likely that our world would be substantially different right now. Similarly for Genghis Khan and Hannibal. Marx/Lenin/Stalin/Mao weren't even on the English list. Or Gandhi, who freed what is now the world's largest democracy.

So yeah, the fact that Linnaeus is on the list while none of those people are shows that the methodology is stupid, because it doesn't rank links ~themselves~ importance. Linking to Linnaeus from 'coriander' because he named the plant is not as meaningful a link as linking to Hitler from Auschwitz.

Re:Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188129)

Gandhi ? what did he do - the British did it by leaving not like he could drive them out is it? Also wtf has democratic India done (Yet) that hasn't been done before in that part of the world.

Re:Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#47188357)

You must be the same anonymous person above that claimed Jesus didn't exist, am I right? Are you trying to claim that the British just handed India over and let them run themselves? Read a history book, and see how wrong you are on all accounts. Most of this information does not take in depth study, just a cursory glance at a Wiki page is all you need to know you are wrong.

Re:Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about 3 months ago | (#47187881)

The MOST important person in the history of humanity is the one who made the species naming system we use, even if few people actually know him? Just because there are more species on Wikipedia than, say, elements whose pages link to Mendeleev (an example of a person I would consider more influential)? It is a good thing then that Jimmy Wales didn't put a link to his page on the "about" link of every Wikipedia, otherwise you know who would be #1 "according to research"!

Re:Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188101)

No such person has done this. Carl invented a classification system used almost exclusively by scientists. By that measure Napoleon was vastly more influential for his enforcement of the metric system across the French Empire.

Re:Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188433)

EVERYONE who invented a naming system deserve to be #1 on this list!
--
Melvil Dewey

Re:Is it even worth the time to RTFA? Seems flawed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187993)

If Carl Linnaeus really deserves to be in the top 5 from being link-bombed, consider the following that aren't listed but are far more influential because of their contributions that directly led to Linneaus being listed on every page:

some asshat that put a link to Linnaeus in a Wikipedia template
Jimmy Wales (creator of Wikipedia)
Tim Berners-Lee (HTTP)
Robert E. Kahn (IP and TCP/IP) and Vint Cerf (TCP/IP)
Jack Kilby (Integrated Circuit)
John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley (Transistor)
Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla (AC/DC)
Benjamin Franklin (for flying a kite in a thunderstorm)
and
Ogg (the guy who discovered how to create fire)

I'm sure I left off a ton of people far more deserving than Carl Linnaeus.

so, fictional people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187493)

are now 'influential people in history', what the fuck?

Garbage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187507)

Some of those people are still alive! Who influenced them?

Hitler? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 months ago | (#47187517)

No mention of Hitler? After Jesus he is probably the most mentioned historical figure on the Internet. And if influencing to not be like counts, then I would say he might rival even Jesus in influence.

But really, at the very least the politically party that he controlled (the Nazi's) influenced pretty much the entirety of the modern world in their short life. From the Olympic Games, through all of science, to modern animal welfare laws; These were all a hundred years ahead of their time and put in place by Nazi Germany, controlled by Hitler. And pretty much everything not directly copying something Nazi, is something specifically put in place to be unlike Nazi Germany.

Re:Hitler? (2)

Ksevio (865461) | about 3 months ago | (#47187543)

Want to guess how I know that you didn't RTFA? The main article even has a photo of him!

On the overall ranking, Hitler is ranked #5 after Carl Linnaeus, Jesus, Aristotle, and Napoleon
For the 2DRank (places emphasis on outgoing links as well as incoming) he's #1

Jusr before I read the linked article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187527)

... and thus before any bias on my part: influential is not all that meaningful -- at least, not always in a good direction: Cortez was certainly somewhat influential, and he/Spain just made the Americas miserable.

And Stalin was probably popular.

People or characters? (-1, Flamebait)

gerardrj (207690) | about 3 months ago | (#47187539)

If they're going to include fictional characters such as Jesus and Mary then they need to open it up to all other fictional characters: Dr. Who, Zaphod, Oz, etc.

Something's amiss with PageRank's algorithm (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#47187577)

And it's implicitly admitted by the article itself, where while it lists the top five people, it elaborates briefly on the first place holder of PageRank's algorithm, Carl Linnaeus, to state what the person was actually famous for. Really, if he was the most influential person in human history, one would typically expect that such clarification would not generally be needed. Indeed, there is no such clarification given for 2DRank's #1 place holder, Adolf Hitler, either. Neither is there any explanation needed or offered by others in the top five of either algorithm.

If you want to know how influential somebody was, try and count (or even just make a crude estimate of) how many people, both living and dead, that are or were impacted by that person, or what that person did. Honestly, the modern naming convention for organisms that Linneaus invented isn't liable to impact anyone outside of scientific circles, and probably doesn't even affect a billion people, while the founder of Buddhism, for example, I can't remember his name off the top of my head, almost certainly impacted the lives of at least tens of billions.

what utter bullshit! (2)

lophophore (4087) | about 3 months ago | (#47187649)

Michael Jackson, and Hitler?

What utter bullshit!

This is like mining Facebook to decide who the best rock band ever was! Think there's any bias?

My vote goes to Gutenberg. You want to talk about inflection points in human knowledge? Gutenberg, and then Tim Berners-Lee.

Jeff

evaluation? (1)

davids-world.com (551216) | about 3 months ago | (#47187671)

I wonder how this is evaluated, if at all. As others have been pointed out, the fact that Carl Linnaeus means that they define "influence" in a fairly poor, counter-intuitive way. Many mentions might make someone famous, but not influential in a deep sense. Deep influence, to me, affects the answer to a simple question. If the contributions of person A hadn't been made, would our world be a fundamentally different place? This will work for largely fictional figures (such as Jesus), as for evil people (Hitler). It will, IMHO correctly state that Mary (as in mother of Jesus) or Queen Elizabeth weren't all that influential.

Oh, no. The SEO guys are going to get on this. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 months ago | (#47187863)

They are going to sell to every damn politician and two bit national leaders "A service in improve your influence on the world. Results guaranteed. Independent tests based on wikipedia will show that your influence has increased. Includes a 110% money back guarantee!"

this seems silly (2)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 3 months ago | (#47187875)

I know who Michael Jackson is. I can't say he influences my actions very much. I know his name. I don't actually know anything about him. I know who Napoleon is. I can't say that he influences my actions much either. Etc etc etc..... By their methodology, I just name dropped these two guys. Big whoop. Doesn't make them influential.

Re:this seems silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47187935)

You don't have to be sporting a single glove and a sequenced jacket to be influenced by these people. There are a lot of indirect ones, such as the affect on popular culture with will affect what types of music you would hear, changing what chords are played or even the general structure of the piece. The mere fact that you know of the name has influenced you directly. It makes you seem a sliver more cultured.

Re:this seems silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47188051)

You just destroyed your own argument when you referred to Michael Jackson and "a sliver more cultured." A pop star. Culture. Wow.

if Jesus is in list, algorithm is broken (0)

dltaylor (7510) | about 3 months ago | (#47188295)

Almost no one is influenced by Jesus (Christ, Son of God and Mary, ...). Christians are almost exclusively followers of Paul (Saul of Tarsus), even the Evangelicals who claim otherwise. Jesus had a very straightforward message according to all of the New Testament translations I have read: treat each other with compassion, and claim my death as absolution for your sins. Christians have been failing the the first part of that message for at least 1600 years. Paul, OTOH was a legalistic SOB that wrote a bunch of "rules", most of which had nothing to do with Jesus' message, and it's the rules that Christians follow, not Jesus' message.

Wikipedia Mining Algorithm Reveals... (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47188401)

All this algorithm reveals is who the algorithm ranks highest. I wouldn't draw any conclusions beyond that.
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