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Forums > Social Chat > New Poll - man's best invention?

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SAPPHIRE Member since Nov 2003


HOP admin
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 1027
Posted:See current poll

Man did not invent fire but has harnessed it in many cases to bring about great inventions for good and bad.

Not all inventions by man are used both for good and evil, or are they?

What do you believe is mankinds greatest invention that is truly only good?

May your balls always burn

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Malcolm, by that token, man didn't invent the wheel or electricity, either.

Anyways, I picked "Language." Language is the mother of advance. Language allows us to pass on information to others so that they can take the thinking that we've already done and turn it into something else.

Without language, there would be no electricity, no wheel, no religion, no medicine, no cell phones, no airplanes, and...yes...no firepoi.

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura


GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi Malcolm, I reckon the greatest invention waz the “ball”

Unfortunately, I think that many of the inventions inspired for truly good reasons are often hijacked, by unscrupulous people and used for malicious purposes.

Yeah, and something about necessity...

[ 03. December 2002, 15:56: Message edited by: Stone ]

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


BRONZE Member since Nov 2002


Location: Beyond Time, South of Melbourn...

Total posts: 282
Posted:Given beer doesnt appear in the poll I guess I have to pick Music

[ 03. December 2002, 15:57: Message edited by: Zoltar ]

So much fire, so little body hair...



Location: Mpls, MN, USA

Total posts: 646
Posted:I went with language too, that seems to incorporate or at least influence everything else on the list. Music to me is language, it conveys meaning and emotions just as structured words do.

Fuzzy Dice.......................................


flash fire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

flash fire

Sporadically Prodigal
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 2758
Posted:hmmmm - I had a little trouble with this one, because I think many of the things listed, such as language and religion, are simply the result of human evolution rather than true invention... I don't think language was invented; I think it came about from necessity. And, I like to think that had we not developed spoken language, then we would perhaps be more highly conscious beings with the capacity to use far greater portions of our brain power.... Also, do you call a baby an inventor for screaming and crying? That's their language; they are trying to inform us of their discomfort. They didn't invent it... It's natural progression.

My pick was the wheel....

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SAPPHIRE Member since Nov 2003


HOP admin
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 1027

Man did not invent lightening electricity but did create a battery and a generator and motor and the valve followed by diode.
Man may not have invented the wheel but he did put rubber and air in it so we don't get a sore bum driving over bumps

BTW: When I say man I mean mankind.
Did you know it was a woman that invented Kevlar, sadly I do not think she was a fire performer.

May your balls always burn



back from the dead...sort of
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

Total posts: 884
Posted:Hmm...I don't know. Language was hands down the most influential on the list, as Jello mentioned. But I wouldn't have said that man invented language.

Evolution has wired our brains to learn language, and to create a language in the absence of one. It's not something that required an insight or stroke of genius on the part of any individual or group of humans. It just happened to us. It's like saying we invented the eye.

It could be argued that someone invented a primitive naming system of some sort, and that that ability got naturally selected for to the point that our entire spieces naturally does such a thing. But I'd say that happended with the apes, not mankind. Primates do not have language like us, but I think it's clear that they have rudimentary language, and that that's where it probably all got started.
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Either way, I put mathematics. I think it's neat the way math can descriibe phenomena in the natural world, and, once you get to the subatomic level, reality itself. No other tool has aided so much in our progression to where we are today.

Math is like a universal language. It means the same thing to everyone. Language is dependent to and defined by our brain processes. Mathematics is independent. Ways of representing it may differ, but the same math underlies it all.

Then again, I also think that mathematics is not so much invented so much as it is discovered...like I said, it is independent of us and thus would still exist even if we were not here.

So now I'm right back where I started.



back from the dead...sort of
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

Total posts: 884
Posted:Bah, why do I not read more closely? Flashfire seems to have already made the same point as me...

Sorry for the skimmin'.


SILVER Member since Apr 2002


Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: , United Kingdom

Total posts: 15414




Location: Florida

Total posts: 1463
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Jello:
Music to me is language, it conveys meaning and emotions just as structured words do.But language comes from tounge in latin so technically by language you can only reffer to spoken communication or written descriptions of the spoken word.

Music is not spoken its played like we play poi.

I chose music because I believe it is one of the most useful forms of communication of any type of emotion or situation...

Cant think enough to come up with clever answers to this...




Aurora (1/2 a firesister)
GOLD Member since Jan 2002

Location: Canada, Ontario, Toronto

Total posts: 249
Posted:Still no votes for Money or Law...

Om Namah Sivaya




Location: Halifax, NS

Total posts: 165
Posted:religion... finding a way to put in words undeniable faith in the uncomprehendable ... tho music is a close second ...

thats right i look like an albino ape that has had a bad day.. go ahead say something stupid... i dare ya !


Trippie Hippie
BRONZE Member since May 2002

Trippie Hippie

old hand
Location: Bewildered state of nothingnes...

Total posts: 733
Posted:I voted for language my reasons are this:
(In my opinion)

Music- In nature already
Through the natural rhythm of nature.
The dripping of rain water *A Beat*,
The song of a bird *The Lead vocals*
The rustle of leaves in the wind *The Backing*

Wheel- Led to cars *need i say more*
Although allowing people to get from A to B, the cons far out way the pros *IMO* for example, cars cause pollution both in the construction of them and then when they are put onto the roads, They account for millions of deaths each year. The pros getting from A to B.

Mathematics-Would be my forth choice
Gave us an understanding of how the world around us worked (gravity etc) also led to an understanding of weights *1/4oz 1/2oz*

Electricity- In nature already
Through friction/static/lightening, but man did find away to create his own electricity.
But as with every thing at a cost to the environment.

Religion- Would be my third choice
Although raised in a very Catholic family *The polish are great believers in christ/god* i don't follow a religion, but religions do give people a purpose, a meaning in life, a following, something to cling onto when times are hard. For this reason it gives people a way forward in their lives.

Medicine- In nature already
Saves peoples lives, SAVED ME!!!!!
No point in saying any more than that.

Plumbing- Would be my sixth choice
Sanitation, stops the un-necessary spread of disease.

Flight- Rather walk or swim thanks
Too risky. Like to keep my feet firmly on the ground!!!!!

Law- LAWYERS, Please!!!!
A bunch of narrow minded fools who like argue.

Money- Greed
*IMO* Money is at the root of all problems, on a personal level and a world wide one- Some have too much, others too little. People always want more, the more they have, the more they want, the more the want, the more they'll do for it and more people get hurt

Motor- Destroying the planet
Drives the planet, look around you what isn't powered by a motor?? Even your own body is a motor!!!!
But in the sense that the question is set, to power theses motors fuel is needed and as always at the price of the environment.

These i struggled on as they, in a way, lean on each other??

I will explain, The three are a from of communication- language through voice or word. print- by written word.
Art by visual means.
But if you are deaf you cannot hear the language,
If you are blind you cannot see the print
If you are blind you cannot see the art.
But Art, language, and print can all be 'felt' through touch 'brail'. So no matter what you are inflicted with, language can be put across from one person to the next.

All though all the advances listed are advances that we no longer could do with out, they are not necessarily for the better of man kind.
Just thought that i would share all the things that went through my head, to come to the final answer. But it is only a personal opinion.

*Oh, UCOF, don't ask what happens if you have no arms!!! *
Taking it easy

Last night i met some pixies and we danced around a stone.

"I Got Soul"
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[ 05. December 2002, 02:32: Message edited by: Trippy Hippy ]

Trippie Hippie- Monty Dons secret love child

Fly like a mouse, run like a pillow, be the small book case.

"Last night i met some pixies and we danced around a stone".

Because dressing up is fun.


BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Location: madagascar, USA

Total posts: 156
Posted:i would have to say that none of the items listed are human kind's greatest invention.

instead i would argue that the invention and development of AGRICULTURE has been the most significant step for humanity.

no other creation has impacted so many cultures across both space and time. it created a shift in social paradigm where rather than relying on the earth from a hunter gather perpective we instead shifted towards controling the earth and directly altering the dominant species of an area to meet our needs. the human impact on this earth has risen expenentually since the begining of the development of agriculture.

the direct manipulation of ecosystems to meet our anthropocentric needs has had a HUGE impact on global biodiversity levels. as a result humans are considered to be the greatest cause of extinction seconded only by the extinction of dinosaurs 60 million years ago. it has been estimated that HALF of all life on earth that currently exists will either be extinct or endangered by the end of this century.

the invention of agriculture has been deemed as both a blessing and a curse as far as human relations. it has been argued that with argiculture came the rise in inequiptible resource destribution and the increase in a pyramid society where an elite few have control over the majority of the land and resources but where the majority are struggling to survive. weither or not this theory is true could be debated but it is an interesting association to consider.

anyhow to sum it all up, agriculture is the most significant invention associated with human kind.


BRONZE Member since Dec 2000


the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I am going to have to agree that spoken/gesture language exsisted long before the humans figured their own out. It has been proven that many, many species of animals communicate in their own languages. In fact, has anyone read about the guy who cracked the language of horses, and can literally train one by talking to it rather than by breaking it in? I saw a documentary on it, amazing, astounding and breathtakingly lovely. Anyway, I think the discovery (rather than invention perhaps) of written language and then durable paper and my home of poi pen ( ) are really my among my favorites!

Anyway, I actually think that all of man's critically acclaimed inventions (Music, art, law, medicine,etc...) are very much derrived from something that already exsisted, and we simply created varying ways to harness these natural phenomenon, and so therefore are not necessarily an absolute in creation but more of pioneers in discovery and utilization. Though I agree humankind has really thought of many ingenious things, many horrible things, and many, many useless things that seem to be advertised at 3am on every single channel!

In this respect, I find it hard to choose any particular favorite, since all seem to have merit, at least in the basic inceptions (I think law and medicine have gotten out of hand), though I want to thank whoever the people were who decided to figure out how to crack a lobster open to eat it, crack a coconut open to eat it, beat the crap out of a helpless plant to make fresh baked bread....ever wonder about stuff like that? I do.

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK



Location: St. Paul, MN USA

Total posts: 174
Posted:My vote is for mathematics. As much grief as the subject has brought to me over the years (especially in engineering), it is a universal constant that humans learn to use and abuse every day. And we are constantly finding out more and more about it, proving theories right and wrong and achieving the impossible amongst a world of doubt.

I agree with Paddy, mathematics is a used to descirbe every type of phenomena - from splitting atoms to peering through the Hubble at a super nova. Math is understood at every level of society without language as a barrier. Without it, we would be very much like our primate relatives. Can't we agree to some extent that our world is run by money? Algebra was first invented in the 14th century as a way to keep track of profit and loss for the Italian merchants who were begining to travel the globe. Okay, before i divulge into another history lesson, I will end this by just saying I believe that we could not possibly be where we are today without math.

peace & luv,

Without further guilding the lily and with no more ado, I bid you farewell and sweet dreams...



Location: virginia

Total posts: 12
Posted:well, its difficult to say what is only "good" as that is all dependant on your perspective. are you speaking about good for you, or for me, or for everyone at once? I think my personal favorite invention would have to be spandex, although it can be improperly implemented and then it loses its appeal to me. lol so I think this shows that there is at least 2 sides to that subject.

I sought advice and cooperation from all, but not permission...