Discussion in 'Team SANCTA' started by Karhu, Dec 9, 2008.
Feel free to redirect off-topic discussions to this thread.
Not to , but we're having a good discussion here.
I decided to finally read up on some of the criticism out there on Diamond. I haven't found what I was talking about earlier, but what I've read hasn't made me feel any better.
Here's the best summary of the criticism I've found of it so far. Key line for me is The problem isnt just in what Diamond has written, but how it is used and understood, Friedman says.
Also found an interesting critic specifically on Collapse. Key line for me was Diamond gets a lot of his facts right, but his analysis stinks. I must admit I don't care for how this article is laid out in all places.
As I noted before, I think it's great when an honest academic gets superstar status and is able to expose a wide audience to their discipline. But I am also suspicious of anything popular (chalk that one up to my history teachers who drove home critical thinking skills), and I think my suspicious of Diamond's work have proved to be well founded upon further exploration.
Ok, that's enough wasted time. For now....
@Karhu - thanks for the links. I will read through them later; prepping to play a game at the moment.
Where are you from? You don't have to answer that, really, and I might be pretty far off base but I'm guessing that it's not the USA. If you were to take a walk around Any City, USA you'd find that Diamond's message is not exactly 'popular opinion', nor even recognized by the majority of her citizens.
Again, I'll check those links out. Good call on making this thread -- I was hesitant in continuing the pattern of thread jacking elsewhere!
God...I just tried to pull up that Documentary to remember how bad it was. I couldn't watch more than 10 seconds. The narration is terrible and his voice is unpleasant, at best. However, when you see him talking in front of an audience, it seems much better. Here is a ~15min presentation he gave, as very brief example.
To be fair, he does credit himself with quite a bit of work...do you know where he got his info?
@General W: How's Evangeline doing by the way? I haven't chatted with you for quite some time (along with the Saber-Council relation "cooling off").
Yeah, the first is really a decent summary of what's out there. Read the 2nd only if you really feel motivated. I'm sure there's better material around.
I'm from Alaska actually (although living in Finland at the moment). Diamond actually came to my uni. Class was dismissed so that we could go hear him. Mind you I had already seen the documentary, so I was less than enthusiastic. By the time we got there the place was packed! Fire marshal had already closed the doors (fairly large auditorium). This was in the middle of the working day, and there were enough people standing outside to fill the place a second time.
I was feeling a little bad about the thread jacking too. But now we can jack liberally.
I'm glad to hear you speak poorly about the documentary. Remember for me, that's all I know (up till we started chatting that is). I'll definitely watch the video, but I need to reboot to do that.
Oh, and the shame of having placed a misspelled word in the title to the thread!
Though I deserve to live with said shame for all eternity, Whomp may see fit to take pity on me. Correcting my grievous error and returning some part of my good name. (I use "good" loosely there.)
I happened to find GG&S very entertaining and informative. I would imagine that most leaders (or people that fancy themselves as leaders) in their respective fields are somewhat arrogant. It is difficult to achieve great notoriety without a level of arrogance that lets one be bold enough to excel.
What I got out of the book as it relates to CIV....GOOD DIRT WINS!!!!!
I haven't read the second book so no comment on that.
The most fascinating part for me was the "why didn't the America's develop Chariots out of the wheel?"
They probably would have been screwed anyway...we all know how well "Chariots" stand up to "Conquistadors"...
OK so a few months back I went to my cousins wedding. She married a guy who works in "security" and has a bit of a secret past if you know what I mean. He was telling me about a book I should read called "The Siege of Mecca" by Yaroslav Trofimov so I read it.
The book discusses the events of the siege of the Grand Mosque by Juhayman and his band of brothers in Mecca November 20th, 1979 and the subsequent two weeks of battle that raged trying to get it back. After blunder after blunder, the Saudi Royals finally employed French commandos to plan out the final execution of retaking the Mosque. This is still not discussed in Saudi Arabia and has been very well chronicled in history (I'd be interested if Sullla has read much on the topic). When you think of the months preceding this (Iran coup and subsequent embassy hostage crisis) to the end on '79 which concluded with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan it was quite an extraordianary time full of blunders, miscalcuations and violence.
Anyhow, at this wedding my cousin decided to split up all my cousins at different tables, since we see each other at least once a month for dinner, and my gal and I were seated at a table full of what can best be described as "other security" type folks.
So after liquoring up a bit and not being shy to begin with I decide to ask the table (jokingly of course) "so which one of you was in Saudi Arabia in '79"? The table was stunned and started pointing and looking at the guy sitting across the table. Then they all burst out laughing. His laugh was a bit on the nervous side and he deflected the conversation away from the topic. Apparently, I was sitting with the American helicopter pilot who was doing passes over the Grand Mosque for the Saudis to see what the situation was. Let's just say the rest of the evening was interesting as these "security folks" talked...
Anyhow, are any of you familiar with this book or know the story behind the siege at the Grand Mosque, Juhayman, his seven epsitles and his vision that one of his students was the Mahdi (Messiah) and they would conquer their perception of the illegitimate monarchy of Al Saud and the geopolitics that surround much of this today?
Awe, he made it on Ted? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I really like the Ted talks. They've got great stuff.
However, I still wasn't impressed. Part of this maybe the taint of the documentary that was my first real introduction to Diamond. But I also think his analysis is flawed and shortsighted. Specifically in the talk, I just didn't feel there was any depth to it.
Mind you, I want to like his work! Global Environmental Policy is what my masters degree is about, so this stuff is really interesting and important to me. I'm also sure that if I had bought the book when it first came out, and I did want to buy it then, I would have enjoyed it. At this point though, I'm glad I didn't. Understanding cause and effect are extremely important to explain history and policy failures/successes and I just don't think Diamond meets an acceptable standard.
Mind you, this is still mostly off-the-cuff for me at this point. I've looked into this very little and haven't read his works for myself. Maybe I'll try to find some more info if this conversation keeps going.
No, but you've peaked my interest Good story too.
I did some recommended reading.
It was refreshing to see a counter-point, I'll give you that. Especially one as critical as Ronald Bailey's at Reason Online which I preferred over the other (which seemed to be more a critical book-review than a critical analysis of the book, if that makes sense). Until now I had not been familiar with Malthus' work...it was a little before my time, but I'm catching up!
I didn't know there was such a rabid debate over his work. I can see why though, after reading those links. Bailey conveys the point that you were touching on with regard to 'Diamond getting his facts right but his analysis wrong'. I am interested in learning more about this. Also, I've forwarded Bailey's article to the friend of mine who turned me onto Diamond's work in the first place. I will also try to find out where he heard of this book, though after reading that it is on the UC Berkeley List it makes sense -- we live about 20 miles from there and have many friends who attend.
Thanks, again, for the links. I have not read Collapse in its entirety, but another lecture I saw of his (for the longnow.org foundation) he basically talked about Collapse in general. Within that lecture he posits an argument dissimilar from the following quote.
In his lecture he clearly states that the reason (his reasoning) for this was not from population density and rainfall but, rather, from the insular elite who continued amid the problems it was creating for Haiti's population. Maybe Bailey omitted some information to make a more convincing argument? I don't know. There were others, but I thought I'd leave it at that and provide the link to the video I am referring to. You might want to sit down for this one as it is on the measure of an hour in length...but if you could sit through one of those documentary episodes this should be easy!
I agree with you completely. I almost didn't mention or link that article at all. There are at least two paragraphs where he is supposed to be attacking Diamond's argument, but really just restates it. But in the end I decided it added to the debate in some helpful way.
I think there is probably better a better critique of Diamond's work out there, but on my first round of searching I kept getting a lot of "book club" quality reviews instead of reviews from the anthropological community. I'll give it another go, and I'll watch that video too.
Do we need a name for our second warrior?
I guess Jarhod Diamond would be out of the question.
I'm fine with it, as long as he gets eaten by a bear....
That's a great idea...maybe we should save that one for the spearhead of our first assault.
Just to bump this with a bit of good news, but I got an interview from my first choice uni (the one I'm at currently) to study to become a teacher here
Sweet what age you gonna teach?
If I get in, hopefully high school/college chemistry (11-18)
sweet! yeah that would be awsome (both my paents are teachers!)
i however ended up as an engineer
damn Chemists! Physics is so much better.
I reality, we, physicists, love you chemists, though we hate to admit.
Separate names with a comma.