Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Diamond scratched

I thoroughly enjoyed Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel", although did think that his insistence on including New Guinea as a centre of civilisation was, how shall one put this, a little eccentric.

But for some reason I've never be able to bring myself to read his later effort "Collapse", mainly because the reviews were distinctly cold, and there seemed to be the curious twist of societies 'choosing' to go kersplonk.

Now Society is not an independently intelligent species: the phrase is, I believe, a reification:

To regard or treat (an abstraction) as if it had concrete or material existence

So choosing Collapse actually didn't happen in that sense. And, ferchrissake, using Easter Island as an example of said collapses must shurely be a whopping Hasty Overgeneralisation.

So I'm rather pleased to see one of my favourite pundits - Roger Sandall - have a scratch at Diamond. (hat tip to the skeptics) The core argument can easily be levelled much closer to home as well:

Just what was so special about that culture, compared to (oh, say) the Greeks?

The answer, of course, is "well, nothing".

Multiculti relativism love, civilisation 15.

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