Guns, Germs, & Steel

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Having just read the thread https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=39069 I have a question regarding somethinf mentioned there. It's been quite some time since I found a copy of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, & Steel. Way back when, I began reading it, and was astounded by the many errors and assumptions. So much so, that I began taking notes. However, I quickly ended up taking so many notes that I simply gave it up as a complete waste of time.

Has anyone else had a look at this book? If so, did you find it worthwhile? Did you find it a well-considered piece of writing, or an attempt to justify an opinion already devoutly accepted by the author, or something else? In short... what did you think of it?
 

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Nereid
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Adam said:
Having just read the thread https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=39069 I have a question regarding somethinf mentioned there. It's been quite some time since I found a copy of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, & Steel. Way back when, I began reading it, and was astounded by the many errors and assumptions. So much so, that I began taking notes. However, I quickly ended up taking so many notes that I simply gave it up as a complete waste of time.

Has anyone else had a look at this book? If so, did you find it worthwhile? Did you find it a well-considered piece of writing, or an attempt to justify an opinion already devoutly accepted by the author, or something else? In short... what did you think of it?
I too read it a long time ago, and have recently taken it out from my local library. Diamond certainly makes many assumptions, but errors? I'd be interested in hearing from you as to what errors you found (not just minor ones, nor material that's since been superceded by later research results - tho' these latter are also very interesting).

Yes, I found it well written, and if there were a book of comparable depth and length, which 'attempt to justify [a quite different] opinion already devoutly accepted by the author', please let us know!
 
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I did actually find a few books at the local library, similar in nature, similar in weight and usefulness as bludgeoning weapons. However, it was quite a while ago. I'll go back soon, and if I remember, I'll find some titles for you.
 
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Nereid said:
I too read it a long time ago, and have recently taken it out from my local library. Diamond certainly makes many assumptions, but errors? I'd be interested in hearing from you as to what errors you found (not just minor ones, nor material that's since been superceded by later research results - tho' these latter are also very interesting).

Yes, I found it well written, and if there were a book of comparable depth and length, which 'attempt to justify [a quite different] opinion already devoutly accepted by the author', please let us know!


I have a review of the book at my web site http://www.neoeugenics.com

Others also have reviewed the book, and it is mostly propaganda, and does not correctly portray differences as Diamond states. He set out to make a political statement surrounded in science and produced a just-so story.
 
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Nereid
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nuenke said:
I have a review of the book at my web site http://www.neoeugenics.com

Others also have reviewed the book, and it is mostly propaganda, and does not correctly portray differences as Diamond states. He set out to make a political statement surrounded in science and produced a just-so story.
Thanks nuenke; I found your website of considerable interest wrt eugenics and 'neoeugenics'.

A phrase about kettles and pots comes to mind, maybe nuenke even used it in his review :wink:

At first, I thought I must have read a different book to the one that nuenke reviewed; later I was puzzled as to why nuenke didn't address the *content* of Diamond's book (I'm slowly re-reading it, and have finished the parts about plant and animal domestication - as far as I can see, nuenke didn't mention this ~1/3 of the book).

nuenke writes; "So the salient parts of this book are summed up in just a few pages by Diamond, and expose his bias, no doubt a reflection of his extreme ability at self-deception in the promotion of his political agenda" and "the standard academic Marxist shrieking that we have heard for the last thirty years" You declare Diamond to be "a Marxist with a universalist agenda." In the interests of fairness, may we know your political position please nuenke?
 
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Nereid said:
Thanks nuenke; I found your website of considerable interest wrt eugenics and 'neoeugenics'.

At first, I thought I must have read a different book to the one that nuenke reviewed; later I was puzzled as to why nuenke didn't address the *content* of Diamond's book (I'm slowly re-reading it, and have finished the parts about plant and animal domestication - as far as I can see, nuenke didn't mention this ~1/3 of the book).

nuenke writes; "So the salient parts of this book are summed up in just a few pages by Diamond, and expose his bias, no doubt a reflection of his extreme ability at self-deception in the promotion of his political agenda" and "the standard academic Marxist shrieking that we have heard for the last thirty years" You declare Diamond to be "a Marxist with a universalist agenda." In the interests of fairness, may we know your political position please nuenke?
I reviewed Diamond's book with regards to my interests in eugenics. Of course I do not comment on parts of books or articles that are not of interest to eugenicists. I will often for example review just a chapter of a book because everything else is irrelevant.

As to my political position, I like Diamond am a particularist, not a universalist. I erred about Diamond. Later I came across his interest in Nazi like programs of racial management, but he often espouses just the opposite. So maybe Diamond and I in fact have the same agenda with regards to particularism. I will make a change in my review and insert the new material I have come across.

For a fuller explanation of my politics, see my Mission statement.
 
  • #7
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This is another good review by Michael Levin:

http://www.lrainc.com/swtaboo/stalkers/ml_ggs.html [Broken]
 
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