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    (Original post by Gilliwoo)
    I could live my entire life and do great things without giving it a second thought, dandy thought I think it is.
    That goes for absolutely anything that has been mentioned and could ever be mentioned on this thread.
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    (Original post by Dionysus)
    The wheel. It's pure genius. It seems so obvious to us now, but how did anyone ever think of it?
    Rock's rolling down mountains, eg?
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    The enlightenment? Industrial Revolution? Theory of Evolution? Nuclear Fission? What is the single greatest intellectual achievement of humanity and why?
    Fast Food
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    That goes for absolutely anything that has been mentioned and could ever be mentioned on this thread.
    Half the things mentioned have improved our quality of life and industrial and analytical capabilities rather more than an awareness of evolution does.
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    (Original post by Gilliwoo)
    Half the things mentioned have improved our quality of life and industrial and analytical capabilities rather more than an awareness of evolution does.
    You could do great things without the industrial and analytic capabilities...such as invent industrial and analytical capabilities.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    You could do great things without the industrial and analytic capabilities...such as invent industrial and analytical capabilities.
    What are you on about?
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    (Original post by Gilliwoo)
    What are you on about?
    You said you could live your entire life and do great things without giving evolution a second thought...You could live your entire life and do great things without giving analytic philosophy, the principae, relativity, QM or nuclear fission second thought. It's a completely arbitrary criticism.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    You said you could live your entire life and do great things without giving evolution a second thought...You could live your entire life and do great things without giving analytic philosophy, the principae, relativity, QM or nuclear fission second thought. It's a completely arbitrary criticism.
    The people who apply it to their work - engineers, economists, chemists, physicists - do in fact affect my quality of life, in ways that are more immediately relevant to my life than Darwin's evolution is. What's arbitrary about that?
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    (Original post by Gilliwoo)
    The people who apply it to their work - engineers, economists, chemists, physicists - do in fact affect my quality of life, in ways that are more immediately relevant to my life than Darwin's evolution is. What's arbitrary about that?
    If engineers, economists (you must be an economist for including that), chemists, physicists hadn't done things to affect your quality of life, your capacity for doing great things would be in no way diminished.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    If engineers, economists (you must be an economist for including that), chemists, physicists hadn't done things to affect your quality of life, your capacity for doing great things would be in no way diminished.
    Yet much less amplified. The shoulders of giants?
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    (Original post by Gilliwoo)
    Yet much less amplified. The shoulders of giants?
    Sure, but the first giant knows nothing of any other giants so he doesn't feel their absence.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    Sure, but the first giant knows nothing of any other giants so he doesn't feel their absence.
    What's your point, Confucius? :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Gilliwoo)
    What's your point, Confucius? :rolleyes:
    That you can't judge the value of a scientific achievement by whether you could survive without it, Protagoras.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    That you can't judge the value of a scientific achievement by whether you could survive without it, Protagoras.
    I didn't, and why not?
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    (Original post by Gilliwoo)
    I didn't, and why not?
    Because you can survive without any intellectual achievement. All you need is to eat, breathe, **** and ****.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    Because you can survive without any intellectual achievement. All you need is to eat, breathe, **** and ****.
    Penicillin might be useful when Mr Caveman is wounded.

    KwungSun, you miss my point. If we're going to talk the greatest intellelctual achievement, I'm going to hold out for smething unique, or something that altogether changes or adds to our sources of knowledge about the world, and, subsequently, our perceptions of reality. I consider Darwin and many scientists to be rather more concerned with analysing what's actually there through their methodical travails, as opposed to positing new sources of knowledge. His Theory of Evolution is not thus, as far as I can see, a new source of knowledge - it doesn't address or invent a new question and then answer it, even if it alters the way we answer the old one. In that respect, being descended from apes is neither here nor there, given that many people probably already suspected that they came from someone or something, with all sorts of competing theories about the details. Getting the details of the process down, and the nitty-gritties of his research took great intellectual skill of course. But the greatest? I just don't think so.

    I like the theories that started where there was no question, as it were. Now, that's very clever. Where there was no question before it was asked, and no reason to suppose what was supposed by the question, and no immediate evidence at all for the answer. Theories of origin of anything at all - not just of life on earth - have a different kind of usefulness to theories that illuminate new sources of knowledge about reality in a synoptic, universal sense. There's no reason to just suppose much of what Newton or Einstein wrote - I'd say they were standing on nothingness. But there are good deductive reasons to suppose that we orignated from a common ancestor etc. The complexity of their reasoning and the abstractness of the thought required, is what impresses me in the people like Newton, Einstein and Feynmann. I take Darwin to have offered an insightful interpretation of the fairly prevalent facts, not altogether positing a new way of knowing. The difference, I think, with Newton and Einstein, is that they were positing a whole new question altogether, a new facet of reality itself, not simply "making notes on it". I hope you understand me now, when I say that I just don't rate that as the 'greatest' intellectual achievement.
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    (Original post by Gilliwoo)
    Penicillin might be useful when Mr Caveman is wounded.
    Yeah and cheerios might be useful when Mr Caveman is hungry but nooobody cares about those little-o's
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    (Original post by Dionysus)
    The wheel. It's pure genius. It seems so obvious to us now, but how did anyone ever think of it? It's certainly the most influential invention in history.
    Arguably, no. The wheel was not universally applied, but still complex societies flourished without it. Here I am thinking of the Incans, who continued to use Llamas as a source of logistics and despite having the technology of the wheel, did not apply it.

    Arguably, it has fallen to recent theory to suggest that this may have been one of the causes (along with the 16th Century Spanish invasion) for the collapse of the society, being unable, without wheels, to increase their relative output in relation to the growth of the population.

    The wheel was useful only where it could be exploited; in societies with a considerable 'package' of domesticated animals such as Europe or the near East.
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    (Original post by supernova2)
    but nooobody cares about those little-o's
    Speak for yourself.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    Because you can survive without any intellectual achievement.
    For a given value of "survive".
 
 
 
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