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).

Contents

QuotesEdit

  • 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.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (1997)Edit

  • White blood cells and other cells of ours actively seek out and kill foreign microbes. The specific antibodies that we gradually build up against a particular microbe infecting us make us less likely to get reinfected once we become cured. As we all know from experience, there are some illnesses, such as flu and the common cold, to which our resistance is only temporary; we can eventually contract the illness again. Against other illnesses, though—including measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, and the now defeated smallpox—our antibodies stimulated by one infection confer lifelong immunity. That's the principle of vaccination: to stimulate our antibody production without our having to go through the actual experience of the disease, by inoculating us with a dead or weakened strain of microbe.
    • p. 200

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
  • [..] the values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.

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