« Falling into the muscle gap: Sally Jenkins on women’s sports | Main | Dead and good riddance: Keli Goff on the American Dream »

10/06/2014

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Megan Wright

In "I love cars-the greatest invention of mankind" Ben Stein describes his adoration for cars. Stein writes how cars have made a profound impact on not only his life but society as a whole. He states that cars allow humans to take on qualities of gods. Stein also believes in the healing powers of cars. To Stein, cars offer a safe haven from the pressures of daily life. He also mentions that cars provide others with a glimpse into the person you are. Ultimately, Stein wholeheartedly believes that cars are truly the greatest aspect of life.
Although I agree with Stein up to a point, I cannot accept his assumption that cars are the greatest invention of mankind. I do like cars and while I am very grateful for my car, after being on campus for almost two months I have to disagree. Originally I thought being without a car would be difficult, but I have realized that my phone and my computer are much more important. Stein does make a good point about the incredible things cars allow humans to do, but the doors of communication that phones have opened, seem much more impressive to me. In the current point of my life, a car would not be a necessity.

Megan Wright

In "I love cars-the greatest invention of mankind" Ben Stein describes his adoration for cars. Stein writes how cars have made a profound impact on not only his life but society as a whole. He states that cars allow humans to take on qualities of gods. Stein also believes in the healing powers of cars. To Stein, cars offer a safe haven from the pressures of daily life. He also mentions that cars provide others with a glimpse into the person you are. Ultimately, Stein wholeheartedly believes that cars are truly the greatest aspect of life.
Although I agree with Stein up to a point, I cannot accept his assumption that cars are the most important historical invention. I do like cars and while I am very grateful for my car, after being on campus for almost two months I have to disagree. Originally I thought being without a car would be difficult, but I have realized that my phone and my computer are much more important. Stein does make a good point about the incredible things cars allow humans to do, but the doors of communication that phones have opened, seem much more impressive to me. In the current point of my life, a car would not be a necessity.

 Ben Mckimm

"I love cars-the greatest invention of mankind", Ben Stein provides numerous funny experiences with his cars. He is a very well known public figure and has worked for/with many very large and successful companies. According to Stein cars and trucks are the greatest things ever. I don't fully agree with him but I don't disagree. They are very handy if you think about how much time they do save us but they can also be a pain.

Amanda H.

The opinion of cars being the greatest invention is somewhat irrelevant because there can't be a grading scale in which all inventions were graded on. While motorized vehicles have revolutionized the lives of many across first world countries, other inventions such as a filtered water well have changes the lives of many people across the entire world. I cannot relate entirely to the poverish lives that people live in the third world countries where a simple water well creates the same joy that isn't even achieved by middle class American families spending hundreds of dollars at an amusement park. However, Stein does make a good point by saying that the cars revolutionized the modern lifestyle, but the effectiveness of the invention varies from person to person. A person attending a college and spending the majority of time on campus or near campus would probably say that a car has less of an impact than a farmer who farms land 15 miles from home. In the same sense, a cell phone has a larger impact on an office employee working in the heart of New York city than a homesteader working in Alaska. Overall the effectiveness and importance of inventions change from person to person, and it's all a matter of opinion.

bob tomato

BLARGH

Patrick Hill

Megan makes a great point here in stating that cars are not the greatest invention of mankind. Although Ben Stein in his article, “I Love Cars-The Greatest Invention of Mankind,” states that nothing is better and humans were useless without them. As Megan points out she agrees with Stein to an extent and I agree with her on this. Cars are not the greatest invention of mankind. To begin there are quicker methods of transportation rather than a car for example trains and planes. They are even cheaper ways to get around. As Megan points out being a college student shows you this. I get around on my pedal bike everyday and I do just fine. Also, stating that it is the best of all mankind is a bold statement. There are medical advances and technological advances I believe to be better. Megan points out how her phone and computer are much more important to here, and I agree with this statement completely. Although, the car is a great invention it is not the greatest invention of all time, sorry Ford.

Taylor

I'd also have to disagree with Stein. I think communication is far more important than travel. I would agree that without cars it would certainly be a struggle having to get from point A to B, but without phones and computers this generation can't simply do without either of them. Personally both computers and phones are the greatest inventions. Just imagine how long it would take to send a message, when it would just take us seconds through an e-mail or text message.

Kris P

Stein is a highly entertaining personality, an interesting blend of great intelligence mixed with a unique delivery. His article is obviously written tongue in cheek here but on its own level does have merit. One as intelligent as Stein couldn't possibly think that cars are as great an human invention as simple machines such as the lever and wheel, or the life saving breakthrough of vaccines, but the car through the 1900's and specifically the combustion engine that drives them has been the greatest advance of the last century. Cars, and trucks, as Stein likes to add, are the pinnacle of the industrial revolution reaching maturity. Factories, machines, logistics, commerce, and on and on are all the result of the development of the car. The age of technology and computing and the vast world connections and access to knowledge happening today are going to make the development of the car look so trivial in a few short generations. But for Stein and for his generation, as well as myself, a self described "car guy", the automobile can encompass all the amazing advancements of the last hundred years in a neat little package of metal and glass, composed of amazing modern complexity and human achievement. And it makes us feel "cool" at the same time.

Jade

I agree with all of the comments above. I think that cars are needed in this world and are very helpful in todays society. I believe that cars help people not only get around but they also help when it is time to interact with others and also helps with getting to work. I also agree with the fact that cars are not the greatest invention either. Like Taylor, communication is key in todays world and slightly more important than cars but if you think about it, sometimes traveling is what helps get people to communicate like by going to parties, etc.

Collin Leonard

Megan and Patrick make great points when they state that cars are not the greatest invention of mankind and that there are many other important inventions. Along with Megan and Patrick, I also only agree with Stein to a point. While cars are very important and changed mankind, things like the cell phones, the internet, and advances in medicine can be argued to be even more important. Along with that, as Patrick stated, transportation has been improved from cars to planes and trains that are cheaper, faster, and safer. While cars are a very important invention that changed the world, I do not think that Stein can say that they are the greatest invention of mankind. Cars are just another major technological advance of the many that mankind has made.

English 104 group 2

Although the car is a great invention, a car does not turn you into a Greek god. first off, if you are in a car going over 100 mph and you get into a wreck you are most likely going to die. A car does not make you immortal. One point we do agree on is that the type of car you have can define your image. This sounds cheap but if people see you on the streets with a nice car they are going to automatically assume that you are wealthy even though you could be struggling financially. Yes, a car is a helpful invention but our group thinks that inventions that help you communicate are more important. similar to other comments, communication can connect you to other people faster and better than cars can.

105-518 Group One

It can be agreed that cars benefit us on many aspects. Cars allow us to do many things that we were not able to do in the past. A phone, a computer, and a tv are luxury items. Without a car we would be stuck. It gives us job and education opportunities. Cars allow us to advance as people. Cars are almost essential to our everyday lives. On the other hand cars do just as much damage as they do good. They pollute and harm the environment but technology is advancing and is creating Eco-friendly cars. It's hard to argue that a car is the "greatest invention", all of the technology has helped us get to where we are today.

Group One
English 104-518
Dr. Harris

Group 4 - English 104-520

Stein emphasizes the massive influence cars have had on the world. It has helped to advance society, and has sped up everything in our world. While we all agree that cars have been beneficial to the advancement in society, we disagree that cars are the greatest invention ever. While it is impossible to say for sure what the greatest invention ever actually is, we would agree more with Taylor, that communication has advanced society more than anything. Without communication, society would be unable to function at all. No other advances would be able to be made without communication. Something as complicated as the development of a car would not be possible without the ability to share ideas and knowledge with others. Communication is always advancing. What began with basic language, has evolved into instant communication with others thousands of miles away through computers, phones, and the internet.

English 104 Section 520 Group 1

Amanda has a great point in that although cars are a huge advancement they can not be graded on the same scale as all inventions due to the fact that each invention was created to suite specific needs. While it can be agreed that cars are a great invention in terms of transportation cars can not be compared to advancements in communication and medical technology. For instance the significance of a car greatly differs from that of the invention of vaccinations against often deadly diseases. The importance of cars also has to due with ones culture and lifestyle. For instance in Europe the use of cars in some areas is insignificant due to transportation via subway or bus. However, in America cars take on a greater significance due to the greater distance between cities. Therefore while Stein does have a point in saying that cars are great invention it can not be said that they are the greatest invention of all.
English 104 Section 520
Group 1

Maggie Durning

I think that Megan makes a great point. While I appreciate having a car to drive and I acknowledge that it makes aspects of life much easier, I don’t agree with Ben Stein that it is mankind’s greatest invention. As Megan points out, being a college student gives you a new perspective on the necessity of cars compared to other inventions, including cell phones and laptops. However, I don’t think I would consider any electronic to be the greatest invention. While they certainly make life more convenient, I find inventions such as vaccinations, and other advancements that promote the betterment of society more extraordinary. I don’t know if I could pinpoint a particular invention as mankind’s greatest, but, if I did, it wouldn't be the car.

Caitlin Moore

Collin makes a great point that cars are just another form of technological advance. I agree with this and the fact that transportation is not everything. Also, while they are a great invention, they surely are not the greatest invention of mankind. It is not fair for Stein to state that comment with greater things in the world created like different ways of communication and ways to prevent and cure some illnesses.

Avni Dalal

Amanda, in the previous comments, states that "the opinion of cars being the greatest invention is somewhat irrelevant because there can't be a grading scale in which all inventions were graded on." What makes a great invention is relative to one's life and as great as transportation is, there are also many negatives involved with cars too. Cars are a major reason for carbon emissions and feed into society's consumerism. It was also interesting that Stein used his cars as a confidence-builder by being able to pick up women.

Drew Latour

I agree with Megan Hill up to a point. She disagrees with Stein on the car being the most important invention, and then states that to her the most important invention is her phone/computer. In general, the cell phone has been slated with the title of "world's greatest invention," but this does not allow me to completely disagree with Stein. To me, my car and my phone have allowed me to make great strides in my work, but I believe Stein was trying to make a statement about what invention has done the most for him, as opposed to making a general statement of what the world's greatest invention is. Yes, he might say that cars allow people (as a whole) to have god-like capabilities, but I interpret this as him mistakenly generalizing when he really just meant that he feels it gives him (as an individual) god-like capabilities, as he might imagine could feel the same way.

Ethan DeWaal

In the article “I Love Cars – The Greatest Invention Of Mankind”, the author Ben Stein argues that the most important invention in the history of man was the motor vehicle. Stein starts his argument by discussing how slow traveling was before the car was created. Stein then argues that when the car was invented, man was changed forever because of all the new possibilities with travel being so much faster. Stein also brings up the point that with the car, we are immune from the natural elements.

I agree with Stein’s argument that the greatest invention in the history of mankind is the car. When I read this article, I started thinking of other big inventions that changed our society throughout the years. But when I thought about other big inventions, like the Internet, I realized that cars were involved in creating a lot of them. Cars are such a big part of our society, and without them we would still be living in centralized cities without suburbs. Cars have been around since I was born, and I honestly can’t imagine a world without them.

A. Schwarz

I do agree with Ethan that cars are one of the most important inventions of all time. They facilitate faster travel and freedom to travel where one wants. I do not think it is the most important invention though. I believe this for two reasons. First of all many inventions went into the car that changed the world. Two of these can be argued are as important or even more important than the car. The wheel is important in many different types of transportation that could step up if the car was never invented such as trains and bicycles. The second invention that could be more important that is involved in cars is the harnessing of electricity. Electricity powers all things we do now and the harnessing of it, like the car battery, is arguably the most important event in human history. The second reason I feel that cars are not the most important invention is that there were and still are other forms of transportation. Bicycles, trains and planes all exist and could be used if cars never existed. If it is argued that something is the greatest and thus most important invention in history then it must be something that without it our lives would have to change dramatically. There are plenty of other modes of transportation that could come about without cars or fill the gaps left by cars without a significant change in our lifestyles.

K. Caron

Stein had me really thinking in this article, I love cars too. In no way did I think of cars as transforming us into gods. Protecting us from all the elements outside that we wouldn't be able to survive in. Stein makes valid points but it feels more of a true obsession that is really making the reader not focus on anything else that has made a huge impact to society. Stein mentions the internet, I consider that the most important invention, you can connect with people, look up anything you want and since were on the topic of cars, look up car values and different types of cars and compare them.

Caitlin

In this article, Ben stein's claim "And buying a car has gotten to be so easy. No more guessing at the price. No more haggling. No more going back and forth between dealers beating them down to a lower price. You look up the price online and that’s the price", is extremely overrated because depending on the dealer, most of the time they post certain prices of cars online to gain your interest and to get you to come visit their dealership. For example, one of my friends found car online that she was interested in and found the price to be reasonable. But when she went down to the dealer they claimed that wasn't the right price and were asking more money for the car then it was worth.

David J

In this piece, Stein gives a lot of credit to cars and what they can provide for people. No where does he mention all of the surrounding innovations that only worked their way into the automotive industry after being applied elsewhere. Look at the air conditioning Stein refers to as "immunity from the elements" even though air conditioning was available in homes long before it was available in cars. I feel that although his points may be valid, they aren't being presented accurately.

Brian S. Fairchild

I was up last night, another one of those insomniac attacks and while I was waiting for the early a.m. news to come on I was watching about the history of Daytona Beach’s land speed races held in the 1920’s and 30’s. After the show w2as over and no news I turned homework and read Mr. Ben Stein’s report about cars. Two things hit me; one is that Mr. Stein would have loved the segment I had just finished watching on PBS and how it drifted in the end to Mr. France, the father of modern NASCAR, and two, WOW, this article of Mr. Stein’s got me to thinking of my first car, the first ride down Daytona with that first girl, and how I would be eternally grateful for having been born in the time of cars. As Mr. Stein said, “no more moving like insects, slowly, that cars had made all the difference in human life.”

Andrew Giacona

I agree with stein but I also disagree. I disagree that cars are the greatest invention to mankind because in my opinion the cellphone and internet is the greatest invention. I look around everywhere I go and all I see is people looking at their phones. Our society revolves around it. We could honestly live without a car and just buy a bike or ride a bus to work or school. Especially with the gas prices being so high, driving my car I spend at least 160 a month on gas. Having a car is a great benefit because its a fast transportation and like Stein said you wont get wet, it might be to cold outside and you wont be affected by the weather much if you are in a car. I love my car just like Stein does but just owning it costs alot of money a month or even a year just to make payments, maintain the car and what not.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

By signing up you agree to W. W. Norton’s
privacy policy and terms of use.

About They Say / I Blog

  • New readings posted monthly, on the same issues that are covered in “They Say / I Say” with Readings—and with a space where readers can comment, and join the conversation.

Follow us on Twitter to get updates about new posts and more! @NortonWrite

Become a Fan