Project History Cage Match – Episode 1

This is the pilot of a new pet project of ours that will hopefully take off.   Five History Podcasters have gathered in an intellectual Thunder Dome to discuss historical questions and determine who is the greatest.

Today’s Topic:  Who was the most influential character in all of history?

Roifield Brown – How Jamaica Conquered the World
Ray Harris – A History of WWII
Jamie Jeffers – The British History Podcast
James (aka Jamie) Redfern – A History Of: Alexander
Zack Twamley – When Diplomacy Fails


17 Responses to “Project History Cage Match – Episode 1”

  1. I like the idea of this podcast, and think that everyone did a good job in the discussion. The background music, however, HAS to go. It sucks, and it makes it hard to hear what you guys are saying. Also- are there no lady history podcasters?

    • I’ll pass along your comments to Roifield, our editor.

      As for lady podcasters, there are. But they have to want to join. We have an open invite to a variety of history podcasters, including the well known History Chicks, but I haven’t heard back from them yet.

  2. Richard Rae says:

    The intro is far too hardcore history.
    I think the idea is worthwhile, but someone needs to give the more obvious answers and a result at the end would be nice too!

  3. I was surprised at the naive responses to this question, who was the most influential person in history? Hitler? Bismarck? Ridiculous. Jamie got closest to the right answer because he thought beyond politics with his answer of Pasteur’s discovery of the germ theory of disease. But how did Pasteur get to his theory? Who influenced Pasteur?

    If you want to answer the question of who is the most influential person of all time, you just have to look around. What do you see? Houses, cars, aircraft, rovers on Mars, medicines, hospitals, iPhones, the Internet, food for everyone, political and economic freedom, books by the millions. How did all these things get here? Where did they come from? Well someone invented them, and produced them. How? By applying knowledge, industry, technology, natural laws, science, logic, reason. By focusing on this world, and using the power of the human mind to reason out the solution to problems. This might seem obvious to us, but this method had to be invented by someone. The method of focusing on this world–not some supernatural dimension, or your own feelings, or the tribe’s feelings, or tradition–and applying logic and reason to grasp truths and create new knowledge about how nature actually works. The person who invented this method, the method that has eventually given us all the food, homes, cars, iPhones, and everything around us, the person without whom we’d be living in destitution with the rest of the third world, is Aristotle. Aristotle invented science and logic. Every man, woman, and child should thank Aristotle for the civilization we have. Aristotlen is clearly the most influential person who has ever lived.

    The second most influential person, the one who represents all that is bad, with a focus on some other supernatural world, and a political philosophy of pure dictatorship, the root cause of almost everything that seeks to tear down our civilization, is Aristotle’s teacher, Plato. These two men’s ideas have been at war in the Western world for over two millennia. When Plato is dominant, we get the Dark Ages, the rule of dictators and priests. When Aristotle’s ideas are dominant we get the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment, and the Constitution of the United States.

    • To be honest, I was surprised that I didn’t get shouted down with philosophy in the episode (or immediately after posting this). We all have our biases, and the question itself was a bit ridiculous. In fact, it was incredibly ridiculous. How do you possibly measure the “most influential”? What metric do you use? And that’s kind of why we used that as an initial question because it served as a good way to get to know us and our biases, as well as give something that people will never /ever/ agree on. It’s simply too broad of a question with no measuring stick.

      But look at it this way. In future episodes, you will have a good idea of where we are all coming from. There are biases towards modern history, biases towards science and culture, biases towards the Great Man approach. There are all sorts of biases and we all have them. And now you have a better idea of the lens through which we view things.

      And that will probably be useful to understand when we are arguing about Rome. ;)

  4. First off I would like to thank all of you for producing this episode. I am a subscriber to all of your individual podcasts and am very excited to hear more of these round table discussions.
    Concerning the first episode…. I think this is an impossible question to answer. It would be easier to answer if the question was more distinctive. Perhaps something along the lines of “Who has had the most global influence in the are of…..?” Fill in the ellipses with inventions, philosophy, religious movements, warfare, political theory, etc. Other names would naturally rise to the top in each of those categories. (personally I was a little surprised that Johannes Gutenberg wasn’t mentioned) Fantastic job. Looking forward to the episode about the roman empire.

  5. Sharon Garner says:

    I really enjoyed this experiment and hope there are many more, even allowing for the fact that the question was impossible and perhaps something a little more discussable should be considered next time. My only complaint was the one already stated – the music was distracting and at times made it hard to understand what was being said.

  6. I loved the cage match! The format was lots of fun – a group pf history fan-boys kicking ideas around fast and loose. It was funny and fascinating. Please do more of these! (And oh yeah, after the initial intro, please drop the music. Although the music itself was cool, it was distracting when you’re trying to distinguish between several different voices.) Thanks so much guys and keep up the good work!

  7. Mark foxhall says:

    Just wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed this new format! There’s a genuine chemistry and warmth between you guys and you even made me laugh a couple of times! You’re like the pocast Avengers, although I’m not sure who gets to be the hulk! Thank you and keep up the excellent work!

  8. Love this keep it up ^^.

  9. I laughed out loud in delight at this episode, which got me more than a few strange looks at work; but hey they already know I’m a half bubble off level. Please keep them coming as everyone’s time permits.

    I personally would have picked Socrates, because how many peopele do you remember from Ancient Greece? And we still discuss his ideas today, as I well remember from my Begininng Philosophy class in college. It might be easier in the future to limit it to eras rather than all of history; or perhaps fields; ie who’s the best General or the greatest King? I would also be interested to hear a version of “which person from history would you like to sit next to at dinner?” or “If you could change one event in history which event would you change?”

    The only bad thing? Damit Jamie now I’ve got four more podcasts to check out!

  10. Johannes Gutenburg and mechanical, moveable type! Without him the flow of information is a trickle not a flood.

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