It is awe inspiring even to think how the thought process in the humans evolved. At the stage of evolution we are now, it all seems so easy to speak, read and recall the past.
In the very beginning when speech was not evolved, it must had been a hell difficult for the homo sapiens to communicate.
Similarly, when hunting must had become very tiring and unsuccessful, and they were hungry, they must have tried to eat some leaves or fruits with many of them with fatal results.
But they were keeping track of the events and learning to discriminate between what was good and bad for them. It took thousands years of ups and downs for humans to reach the stage we are at.
Slowly and slowly, the mistakes began to shrink resulting in lower number of causalities. Each coming generation was thus more intelligent and more suitable to adapt to the environment.
It became even more easier when verbal communication was invented and after that writing. Now we have so much knowledge base at our disposal that we have to be very discreet about our selection.
In chemistry, there is one of the most respected figures whose name is Kekule. Without any advanced instruments, relying only on the laborious chemical substitutions, he elucidated the structure of the benzene which is the simplest and most symmetrical aromatic molecule and the starting compound of aromatic chemistry. His three students won the Nobel prizes in chemistry. Van’t Hoff for stereo chemistry, Emil Fisher for esterification reaction, Bayer for synthesis of heterocyclic compounds and indigo.
So can we say that today’s man is more intelligent than the previous stages of evolution? I don’t think so because each successive generation is using the capabilities of previous generation and building on it for advancement.
So we cannot compare who was greater among Einstein and Newton. Einstein had at his disposal the Newton’s work to build on or at least think on the different lines. He invented the relativity which encompasses the Newton’s Laws as the corollaries.
Similarly, Newton is said to have proceeded from the Johannes Kepler’s laws. It is another matter that some persons are lucky to get the credit due to their popularity and their personality.
At the same time, there are many a great scientists like E.C.G. Sudarshan who did not get the recognition they deserved. Similarly there was Riemann whose revolutionary mathematical advances provided Einstein tools required for inventing the general theory of relativity.
Again I recall what the Indian great classical singer Bhimsen Joshi told an interviewer that every artist is a kind of thief but he moulds the material according to his or her ability and product may be better in case the artist is really a genius.