Last modified on 13 September 2014, at 22:28

Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond (born 10 September 1937) is an American evolutionary biologist, physiologist, bio-geographer and nonfiction author. He is best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997).

SourcedEdit

  • Put another way, the chimpanzees' closest relative is not the gorilla but humans.
  • We have already discovered two species that are very intelligent but technically less advanced than us — the common chimpanzee and pygmy chimpanzee. Has our response been to sit down and try to communicate with them? Of course not. Instead we shoot them, stuff them, dissect them, cut off their hands for trophies, put them on exhibit in cages, inject them with AIDS virus as a medical experiment, and destroy or take over their habitat. That response was predictable, because human explorers who discovered technically less advanced humans also regularly responded by shooting them, decimating their populations with new diseases, and destroying or taking over their habitat. Any advanced extraterrestrials who discovered us would surely treat us in the same way...If there really are any radio civilizations within listening distance of us, then for heaven's sake let's turn off our own transmitters and try to escape detection, or we are doomed.
  • All this is not to deny that Watt, Edison, the Wright brothers, Morse, and Whitney made big improvements and thereby increased or inaugurated commercial success. The form of the invention eventually adopted might have been somewhat different without the recognized inventor's contribution. But the question for our purpose is whether the broad pattern of world history would have been altered significantly if some genius inventor had not been born at a particular place and time. The answer is clear: there has never been such a person. All recognized famous inventors had capable predecessors and successors and made their improvements at a time when society was capable of using their product.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005)Edit

  • History, as well as life itself, is complicated; neither life nor history is an enterprise for those who seek simplicity and consistency.
    • p. 349
  • People often ask, "What is the single most important environmental/population problem facing the world today?" A flip answer would be, "The single most important problem is our misguided focus on identifying the single most important problem!"
    • p. 498
  • Two types of choices seem to me to have been crucial in tipping their outcomes towards success or failure: long-term planning, and willingness to reconsider core values. On reflection, we can also recognize the crucial role of these same two choices for the outcomes of our individual lives.
    • On the fates of past societies facing problems of sustainability, p. 522

External linksEdit

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