Talk:Guns, Germs, and Steel

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    Rushton again[edit]

    A few hours ago, PK019 (talk · contribs) added some text with Rushton's thoughts on the book (which I removed). Now The Devil's Advocate (talk · contribs) has made their first edit to the article to insert a reworked version of the text (diff). The new paragraph was inserted under Guns, Germs, and Steel#Weaknesses in arguments with text:

    Psychometrist, professor J. Philippe Rushton, criticized Diamond's characterization of the hereditary perspective as racist, saying the book did not give sufficient consideration to genetic explanations for differences in cultural achievement despite these differences overlapping with geographic variances in measured intelligence.[1]


    1. ^ Rushton, J.P. (September 1999). "Book Review of J. Diamond: Guns, Germs and Steel". Population and Environment 21 (1). 

    The edit summary was "insert in a rewritten fashion, the book directly addresses the theory of hereditary intelligence and Rushton worked in the relevant field".

    It's a big book which I read a long time ago, but I am confident that the book did not "address the theory of hereditary intelligence". On this talk page (at "10:45, 23 February 2012"), I pointed out that the book is nothing to do with IQ tests or intelligence in general, and I provided an outline of what the book does cover (nothing to do with hereditary intelligence). I am putting all these thoughts here rather than just reverting again because it's likely that a longish discussion will be required, and we will have to repeat many of the points already made on this talk page. In brief, it would be great to hear what Rushton thought in the right article, but brief mentions in the prolog by Diamond of his mainstream view do not warrant a rebuttal by Rushton because the content of the book is nothing to do with intelligence or racism or IQ. Let's hear from a qualified author who has criticisms of what the book is about—the effects of geography on agriculture; the fact that very few wild animals can be domesticated; and lots more similar stuff. Johnuniq (talk) 11:27, 3 February 2013 (UTC)


    For reference, here is what the prologue of Guns, Germs and Steel says about racism and IQ:

    "The objection to such racist explanations is not just that they are loathsome, but also that they are wrong. Sound evidence for the existence of human differences in intelligence that parallel human differences in technology is lacking. In fact, as I shall explain in a moment, some modern "Stone Age" people are on average probably more intelligent, not less intelligent, than industrialized peoples. Paradoxical as it may sound, we shall see in Chapter 15 that white immigrants to Australia do not deserve the credit usually accorded to them for building a literate industrialized society with the other virtues mentioned above. In addition, peoples who until recently were technologically primitive-such as Aboriginal Australians and New Guineans-routinely master industrial technologies when given opportunities to do so.

    An enormous effort by cognitive psychologists has gone into the search for differences in IQ between people of different geographic origins now living in the same country. In particular, numerous white American psychologists have been trying for decades to demonstrate that black Americans of African origins are innately less intelligent than white Americans of European origins. However, as is well know, the people compared differed greatly in their social environment and educational opportunities. This fact creates double difficulties for efforts to test the hypothesis that intellectual differences underlie technological differences. First, even our cognitive abilities as adults are heavily influenced by the social environment that we experienced during childhood, making it hard to discern any influence of preexisting genetic differences. Second, tests of cognitive ability (like IQ tests) tend to measure cultural learning and not pure innate intelligence, whatever that is. Because of these undoubted effects of childhood environment and learned knowledge on IQ test result, the psychologists' efforts to date have not succeeded in convincingly establishing the postulated genetic deficiency in IQs of nonwhite peoples."

    Link to Google books

    Intelligence is discussed throughout the book, and a later part focuses on The Bell Curve.

    Link to Google books — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.0.71.26 (talk) 17:16, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

    As I explained, Rushton was the leading proponent of the theory of hereditary intelligence. Diamond does focus on geography as a cause for higher levels of success, but he does this to raise a counter-point to the theory of hereditary intelligence or any notion of higher intelligence as a causal factor. Consider this interview Diamond did for PBS, where he mentions the claims of racial superiority pretty much immediately in the context of his book. In one instance when asked why the book sold well he explains it as thus:

    The book has sold millions of copies because it grabs people, it addresses the biggest question of history; why history unfolded differently. It's a question that all of us ask and when we're teenagers its just obvious as you look around in your own country that different peoples fared differently in history. We ask ourselves the question but historians haven't told us the answer, racists have told us the answers and we haven't understood what is wrong with that racist answer and the result is that most of us then back away from the question. We think the question stinks. To raise the question means buying into the racist paradigm. I think that people buy the book because the question is such an interesting one, and because the answer is understandable and is substantially correct.

    As noted above, the book's introduction, which you can see for yourself here, focuses explicitly on the point of observed racial differences in intelligence, with IQ mentioned specifically. Reliable sources also portray and understand the book as a rebuttal of claims about group differences in intelligence. In the Daily Telegraph: "Diamond first examines, then rejects, the hypothesis that there were racial differences in intelligence: a hierarchy of man, such as that in which the Victorian colonialists believed." In an article in the American Conservative:

    The author, a professor of anthropology on the East Coast whose blog has accumulated a remarkable 8,800 Likes, suggested that my analysis might constitute a far more effective refutation of the “strong hereditarian IQ position” than those previously made by such notable academics as Jared Diamond and Stephen Jay Gould, whose “extremely weak rebuttals…would be dismissed, in a kind of ‘that’s all you have?’ sort of way.”

    In other words, the book is regularly seen as a rebuttal to the hereditary view of intelligence and Diamond himself has made prominent reference to that view when discussing his book, with this also being the focus of his book's introduction. There are other sources noting this such as Guy P. Harrison's book Race and Reality. As this book is directly addressing claims of inherited intellectual differences and is seen as a refutation of the hereditarian view, it only makes sense to note criticism from someone who actually advocates that view.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 18:09, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

    Please see WP:FRINGE - what Rushton thinks about Diamond's work isn't relevant "because Diamond is used to rebut Rushton". The fact that GGAS may be relevant to Rushton does not mean that Rushton's opinion is relevant to GGAS. Guettarda (talk) 22:55, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
    We don't include the views of random creationist to The Origin of Species no matter how often creationists attack Darwin. Guettarda (talk) 22:58, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
    WP:FRINGE states: "Fringe views, products, or the organizations who promote them, may be mentioned in the text of other articles only if independent reliable sources connect the topics in a serious and prominent way." This article clearly falls under that criteria and a single mention of Rushton's criticism is definitely not giving him undue weight. Your example is misguided on several fronts, but the most obvious front is that response from Darwin's creationist contemporaries would most assuredly be pertinent to the article on The Origin of Species. Rushton and Diamond are both contemporary credentialed academics in the relevant fields discussing the same phenomena and coming to different conclusions. Noting the response from hereditarians to a book that seeks to rebut their position is just common sense.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:35, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
    As best I can tell, there are no independent reliable sources which support Rushton's book review as a serious and prominent critique. Rushton's own review certainly doesn't qualify as independent. aprock (talk) 07:46, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
    Calling them "contemporary academics" doesn't change the fact that Rushton's views are fringe positions. Academics push fringe views all the time - look at the whole intelligent design community - but that doesn't make them mainstream. And it certainly doesn't make Rushton's views notable here. Diamond didn't write about Rushton, and the argument that Diamond's work is used to rebut Rushton only makes GGAS relevant to Rushton, it doesn't make Rushton relevant to Diamond.

    Darwin may not have been the best example...so let's use a more contemporary one: the fact that Rich Lenski engaged with Andrew Schlafly doesn't mean that we add the exchange between Lenski and Schlafly to the E. coli long-term evolution experiment article or to Lenski's bio. We add it to the Conservapedia article, if we think it notable enough. Guettarda (talk) 14:50, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

    No that is not a good example. Schlafly was not an academic in the relevant field whose position the experiment was attempting to refute. He was just some random activist critic who disagrees with the results of an experiment that were simply following on from established science. Rushton was a credentialed academic in the field of psychometry, which deals directly with gauging intelligence and he was one of the leading proponents of the hereditarian view. You cannot rationally equate him to a random activist suggesting that well-established science is bogus or anyone else who suggests that actually. Diamond's position is not considered established science. Since his book is explicitly attempting to offer a counter-point to the hereditarian view it is pertinent to include Rushton's position on the book.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 16:16, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
    Again, you have independent no source which establishes Rushton's review as warranting mention here. aprock (talk) 16:23, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
    There is no such requirement. WP:FRINGE is rather explicit that what matters is if reliable sources connect a fringe view prominently to the subject. In this case there can be no dispute that the book is prominently connected to the hereditarian view as this book is presented as and seen by reliable sources as a rebuttal of that view. As a result, response from advocates of that view is appropriate to mention. Should you want a reliable source independent of Rushton that mentions Rushton's position on the book then you can see here. We could include that as a counter-point to Rushton's review.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:03, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
    Actually yes, it's a very appropriate example (and your failure to understand it suggests that you are operating under a misconception about Rushton's work which, his academic position notwithstanding, was fringe). But you're missing the main point entirely - Rushton's views of GGAS, like Schlafly's views of Lenski's experiment, are only notable to Rushton's followers.

    Rushton's possession of an academic position is similarly irrelevant here - Michael Behe has a tenured faculty position, and probably has far more supporters, both in academia and among the general public. But intelligent design is still fringe. Rushton had his supporters, but his ideas were still seen as fringe (or, often, as far worse). See, for example here and here for some summaries. Guettarda (talk) 18:54, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

    Once more, Lenski's experiment wasn't presenting itself as a rebuttal or counter-proposal to the creationist narrative or any variation on it. Darwin did that over 150 years ago. Lenski's experiment was furthering research on established scientific principles and people such as Behe and Schlafly criticizing his research is trivial. The cause of achievement gaps in different groups, however, is still a matter of considerable discussion with no settled theory. Diamond's book was presented and described as an attempt to refute or rebut one theory by putting forward an alternative theory. His book's introduction specifically discusses the IQ differences between groups that constitute the substance of Rushton's research. Even the blatantly slanted and unreliable source you give acknowledges that Rushton has published papers in reputable peer-reviewed scientific journals touching on this very subject of group differences. The idea that he can be reasonably compared to ID advocates who have not gotten their views published in such journals is ridiculous and it is even more ridiculous to suggest that a single sentence noting his opinion is inappropriate when Diamond's book explicitly addresses Rushton's field of research, that is, differences in IQ between population groups.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 21:22, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
    No. Just no. You're in "not even wrong" territory. But this isn't the place to correct your misconceptions.

    Let's try this again: what source do you have to support your claims that Rushton's opinion is relevant to GGAS? Without WP:SYNTH. Guettarda (talk) 22:28, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

    There is no synth involved. Rushton did a review of the book that was published in a major scientific journal, making his opinion of immediately apparent relevance by right of that fact alone. What is being disputed is whether noting his opinion is consistent with WP:FRINGE and WP:UNDUE and I have already explained plainly why that is also the case as the theory he espouses is being directly addressed by the book itself and the hereditarian view he espouses is what the book seeks to refute or counter. I also provided this source a bit back where his review of the book and criticism of his review is included.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:06, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
    Rushton did a review of the book that was published in a major scientific journal, making his opinion of immediately apparent relevance by right of that fact alone -
    1. Population & Environment isn't a scientific journal, it's a social science journal, and it's certainly not a "major" journal (it's impact factor is below 1.5)
    2. A book review isn't a peer-reviewed publication, and it's the lowest form of publication. It's the sort of thing graduate students do in the social sciences to get their name out there (and in the sciences book reviews have approximately no weight in your academic cv). More importantly, they almost never get cited (like this one, apparently).
    3. Anyone can write a book review. I could have written one of GGAS, and had I written a good enough one, and submitted it promptly enough, I might have had a review published. But that wouldn't mean that my opinion would have been notable.
    I also provided this source a bit back where his review of the book and criticism of his review is included
    1. That's a 12,000-word article. You can't expect someone to read through it all to figure out what you're talking about
    2. Gil-White briefly - very briefly - quotes from (another) review that Rushton wrote (this one published in a newsletter) he does it to say that Rushton's critique of Diamond has no point. In fact, despite discussing both Rushton and Diamond at length, Gil-White never (as far as I can tell...it's over 12k words long) implies that Rushton's opinion has bearing upon Diamond's. The source pretty much makes my point... Guettarda (talk) 00:03, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think this book review in a peer reviewed journal is relevant for several reasons, but I could make a similar point with more recent authorities. a) Diamond's starting point is that evidence of psychometric differences is loathsome and wrong. In fact Diamond's view is very much the minority view (see Snyderman Rothman survey 'IQ Controversy) - it makes sense to note that this criticism has been made. b) Diamond again puts the issue in question by making an argument about the intelligence of Papua New Guineans c) Rushton's book review points out that different environments may in turn favor selection for different behavioural traits which in turn impacts on rate of development (also see. 'The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution', 'Before the Dawn' by NY Times' science writer Nicholas Wade, Peter Frost anthropologist 'genetic pacification' posts, Greg Clark 'A Farewell to Alms'). Would it be preferable if I just noted the (c) criticism that the basic thesis of the book – that environments vary, but that wouldn't affect populations (eg. via gene-culture coevolution) – is dubious and contrary to empirical evidence? I could use a different source. PK019 (talk · contribs) 12:18, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    It has been established that Rushton does not agree with Diamond, and that Rushton wrote a review to explain Rushton's opinion. What would be required for this article is an independent secondary source with a detailed article claiming that Diamond said X in this book, and that X was claimed to refute Rushton (that would make Rushton's view significant for this article). Furthermore, the source would have to make a credible claim that Rushton was promoting a non-fringe view. Perhaps Rushton is a 100% correct, but regrettably Wikipedia won't be able to push his views until the scientific community catches up. I have not recently read the book, but despite the mentions of racism in the prolog and bell curve in further reading, I am confident the book is not about intelligence (is there a secondary source saying otherwise?). Johnuniq (talk) 23:32, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
    That is completely at odds with the actual wording of WP:FRINGE. When discussing whether to mention a fringe topic in a page it is only expected that reliable sources connect those topics. Diamond's book itself connects the book prominently to the fringe topic and thus noting Rushton's response is plainly acceptable. You are suggesting some labyrinthine requirements that exist nowhere on Wikipedia. As to secondary sources noting this book as being about intelligence, I have already provided several above in my initial response to this thread.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 00:01, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    It's a great book, and I can thoroughly recommend reading it (although Diamond likes to lay it on a bit thickly, and the book would benefit from a 10% prune IMHO). It is true that people (including Diamond) have regarded the book as providing an alternative to the suggestion that whites do better because they have higher IQ, but the actual book really is about geography and domesticated animals. This article is about the book—it is not Controversy regarding Diamond's views. Johnuniq (talk) 00:39, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    The underlying thesis of his book is that civilization developed at a different pace with different populations because of differences in their environment, rather than alleged differences in their biology i.e. alleged differences in innate intelligence. Geography and domesticated animals are simply some aspects of the environment that he analyzes in relation to how they impacted said development. He presents this view rather explicitly as a counter-point to claims about innate intelligence being the cause of that development.-The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 01:21, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    "Book review in a peer-reviewd journal" - but book reviews aren't peer reviewed. Guettarda (talk) 00:04, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    Again - how is a review from a hereditarian perspective irrelevant if at the outset Diamond is stating that that the evidence on group differences is wrong? Further he also speculates that Papua New Guineans are smarter than Westerners. Also, I suggested other sources of critique regarding Diamond's basic position that environments vary, but people don’t & the environments alone explain the differences (eg. NY TImes science writer Nicholas Wade's 'Before the Dawn', or 'The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution' by Greg Cochran & Henry Harpending). Would it be preferable to do a draft criticism from one of those sources rather than Rushton? PK019 (talk) 7:27, 2 March 2013 (UTC)


    All this talk and nobody even pauses to mention that PK019 is an obvious single purpose account and very likely a sock puppet of a banned user. Just look at the previous discussion. It's the same stuff all over again.Volunteer Marek 02:23, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    In that previous discussion there was apparently still some mention of Rushton in the article. Since then it seems all mention of him has been expunged. The fact is that Rushton was a leading proponent of the hereditarian view on this question, a view which the book mentions prominently in its introduction. Having some indication of how a proponent of the opposing view received Diamond's work seems desirable in any academic coverage of the book.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 04:16, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    You appear to be seriously misusing sources. I suggest you come up with some independent sources which establish that Rushton's view should be accorded any weight or put aside your nonconstructive argumentation. aprock (talk) 04:21, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    The independent sources stating that the book is about rebutting or countering the hereditarian view are all that is need to establish that Rushton's view should be mentioned per WP:FRINGE. It is not according "weight" to his view, but simply allowing that the view of a hereditarian is worthy of mentioning in an article about a book that seeks to refute that view. My first comment already included sources that met the necessary threshold for inclusion provided by WP:FRINGE, at this point I am simply trying to accommodate other editors by trying to satisfy their personal thresholds for inclusion.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 04:35, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    No, it's not "all you need". Diamond devotes about a page (pp. 18-19) to the "racist" explanation, in the 20-page prologue to an approximately 430-page book (exclusive of front and back matter). So to say that Diamond discusses this "prominently" is a bit of a stretch. More importantly, he isn't talking (much) about scientific racism, he's (mostly) talking about popular racism. Now, granted, you can use Diamond's book to rebut Rushton (as Gil-White and many others have done), but that doesn't mean that the book is "about" Rushton or his speciality.

    The real problem though involves making the leap from Diamond to Rushton. Going from Diamond's statements to Rushton involves making a leap that's unsupported by a simple reading of the source. You can infer that he's talking about Rushton's work, or Rushton's kind of work, but we don't do things like that. That's where the WP:SYNTH problem comes in. In your opinion they're connected. But we can't go on the opinion of Wikipedia editors, we need sources that attest to the relevance of Ruston's opinion here. Guettarda (talk) 04:46, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    Including Rushton's opinion on the book is not synthesis as his review is of the book. We would not be positing anything original in the article by including it. Synthesis does not apply to editorial discretion on the use of sources that concern the subject, but use of sources that do not mention the subject. The consideration here regards the inclusion of fringe views. We can establish with the book's contents and statements in reliable sources that the book is purposed as a counter-point or refutation of the hereditarian view, particularly in regards to intelligence. As such a review from someone who advocates that view is appropriate for inclusion per WP:FRINGE. It was not undue as I inserted it, since it concisely and neutrally noted his view with attribution. All the guidelines and policies plainly allow for mentioning his view on the book, so as it stands you do not have any policy-compliant reason supported by sourcing to justify keeping any mention from being included, while I have provided all the sourcing necessary to justify inclusion.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 05:43, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    Again, I urge people to actually read the book. It is nothing to do with "rebutting or countering the hereditarian view". I assume there is a webpage somewhere with that claim, and that's why we see the periodic excitement here, but the claim is just not correct. Perhaps rebutting some argument was Diamond's intention, but that intention is not in the book (which very clearly explains its purpose which is unrelated to rebutting anything). Johnuniq (talk) 05:49, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    John, your opinion of what the book says or means has no bearing on this. We have many reliable sources, some of which I have provided, that explicitly describe the book as a refutation or counter to the hereditarian view on intelligence. However, even then, consider page 25 of the introduction where he writes:

    Authors are regularly asked by journalists to summarize a long book in one sentence. For this book, here is such a sentence: "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among people themselves."

    I think the author's summary of his book in the prologue to his book holds some weight in determining what the book is about.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 06:09, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    TDA, making this connection is WP:SYNTH. And saying "Rushton's opinion on the book is not synthesis as his review is of the book" is just WP:IDHT crap. I've already explained to you why that's false. Despite repeated request, from several editors, you have yet to provide a single source to support your view. Please stop wasting everyone's time. Guettarda (talk) 06:18, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    As for: I think the author's summary of his book in the prologue to his book holds some weight in determining what the book is about - this isn't "the author's summary". This is taking the author's summary, making a whole lot of other assumptions, and leaping to a set of conclusions not supported by the sources. Classic WP:SYNTH. Of course, all of this has been explained to you. Over and over. Please find an editor you trust and ask them to explain WP:SYNTH to you, since you obviously don't get it. Guettarda (talk) 06:23, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    What Rushton said[edit]

    Rushton explained the situation accurately in his "review":

    Diamond tells us ... the peoples of the Eurasian continent were environmentally rather than biologically advantaged. They had the good fortune to have lived in centrally located hornelands that were oriented along an east-west axis, thereby allowing ready diffusion of their abundant supply of domesticable animals, plants, and cultural innovations.

    In his geographical determinist answer, Diamond ... joins the debate about group differences in intelligence. But you won't find any careful weighing of the evidence for or against his and other environmental, as opposed to genetic arguments in Guns, Germs and Steel.

    Rushton could have more accurately said "you won't find any weighing of the evidence"—that's because the book is nothing to do with such arguments. The book provides what Diamond believes is an explanation for certain outcomes. Rushton apparently has another explanation—that's great, and that should be explained in some article about Rushton. It is Rushton's opinion that Diamond "joins the debate about group differences in intelligence"—but there is no such commentary in the book (there might be some mentions somewhere I don't recall, but there is no significant treatment—no weighing of the nature/nurture evidence). Rushton believed certain things about Diamond and his book, but his qualifications do not justify comments here per WP:DUE. Johnuniq (talk) 07:22, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    As a biogeographer applying his science to a question about humans, Diamond addresses a wide range of issues in the book. Though he's far better qualified than Rushton was to discuss human evolutionary genetics, he doesn't do so in the book, presumably because it's not relevant to his thesis. A good hypothesis uses as few explanatory variables to explain as much as possible. That doesn't mean that you need to address every other possibility (see, for example, Charles Mann's discussion in 1491 of the potentially additive role that genetics may have played in the "germs" explanation, which complements, rather than undermines, Diamond's thesis)...rather, the rule of parsimony tends to favour simpler explanations over more complex ones. Diamond undermined Rushton not by venturing into his world, but rather, by showing it was unnecessary. This doesn't make Ruston's view important, it makes it irrelevant. Guettarda (talk) 13:17, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    Are you basing your claims on "It's a big book which I read a long time ago, but I am confident" ? That's a severe mistake. (FWIW, I'm a fan of Diamond and an anti-fan of Rushton, that WP isn't about editors' preferences, ideologies, or confidence in their beliefs based on failure of recollection.) -- 96.248.226.133 (talk) 04:53, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

    How is a review from a hereditarian perspective irrelevant if at the outset Diamond is stating that that the evidence on group differences is wrong? Further he also speculates that Papua New Guineans are smarter than Westerners. Also, I suggested other sources of critique regrading Diamond's basic position that environments vary, but people don’t (eg. NY TImes science writer Nicholas Wade's 'Before the Dawn', or 'The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution' by Greg Cochran & Henry Harpending). PK019 (talk) 7:27, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

    RfC on Rushton review[edit]

    As a few editors have already pointed out, there is a clear consensus not to include the criticism by Rushton. There have been concerns raised about the criticism section in general, which will need to be discussed further, but that was beyond the scope of this RfC. StAnselm (talk) 04:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

    The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

    Should this article include a brief mention of hereditarian J. Philippe Rushton's review of this book?--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:53, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    Comments[edit]

    • Support As I noted above, the book is often noted by reliable sources as a rebuttal or refutation of the hereditarian view, something indicated by Diamond's summary of his book's thesis and his statements in interviews. Per WP:FRINGE mentioning the view of a hereditarian is thus appropriate as that view is prominently connected to the subject by reliable sources. In addition Diamond's introduction specifically mentions group differences in IQ, which is Rushton's field, so his view on the book is particularly acceptable for inclusion per WP:FRINGE. I believe it appropriate and desirable to mention opposing views to the book, especially when those views are mentioned in the book and are seen by reliable sources as views the book seeks to refute.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 17:53, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose WP:FRINGE says (emphasis mine):
    Fringe views, products, or the organizations who promote them, may be mentioned in the text of other articles only if independent reliable sources connect the topics in a serious and prominent way. However, meeting this standard indicates only that the idea may be discussed in other articles, not that it must be discussed in a specific article. If mentioning a fringe theory in another article gives undue weight to the fringe theory, discussion of the fringe theory may be limited, or even omitted altogether.
    Guns, Germs and Steel is a very widely discussed book. What one fringe author has to say about it, even if his particular field of crankology is mentioned in passing in the work itself, has very little prominence considering its impact as a whole. It's a clear case of giving undue weight to the fringe author. joe•roetc 18:09, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose - the basic premise is WP:SYNTH. While the connection between GGAS and so-called "hereditarian" views (albeit thinly, since it's not the topic of the book), drawing from that the conclusion that "Ruston's opinion is relevant" requires extrapolation beyond what can be found in reliable sources. Several editors have asked TDA for sources that make the link, over the course of several days, and his response (including this RFC) has simply been WP:IDHT. Guettarda (talk) 18:53, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose - Clear misuse of sources contrary to WP:ARBR&I#Correct_use_of_sources Principle 3.1. aprock (talk) 19:02, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose TDA appears to be misrepresenting sources. Diamond's book concerns the impact of geography on human development, not psychometrics. Mathsci (talk) 20:28, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose per all opposers above. If enough good sources establish notability Rushton's arguments might possibly merit a very brief mention, but none seem to have been suggested so far. I note that GGAS (which I have read) consists of an alternative argument to hereditary Eurasian superiority, rather than a refutation of it. The present wikilinks in the lede, Race and intelligence and Heritability of IQ, are sufficient to address the issue. I hope this helps. Richard Keatinge (talk) 20:54, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose This book is nothing to do with a "hereditarian view", and while Diamond's "geographical determinist answer" (quote from Rushton—search this page for more) may be taken as a refutation of something, there are no arguments for such a refutation in the book, despite a mention of racism in the prolog. To air Rushton's views here would be coatracking fringe commentary from a psychologist/psychometrician. I also oppose starting an RfC without addressing the detailed explanations already given on this talk page. If the topic Diamond vs. Rushton is notable, start an article (see Dawkins vs. Gould). Johnuniq (talk) 21:15, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose Sounds like the fallacy of balance is being invoked here. Why is Mr. Rushton a notable reviewer? Certainly his criticism of the book is not notable. Moreover, the book is quite long indeed, and refutes and mentions numerous other positions; giving space to each one would end up completely coatracking the article. siafu (talk) 05:37, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Comment Per my comment below I think we have a source which suggests that Lynn's ideas (and thus, by implication, Rushton's) are in fact, independent of and uncorrelated to Diamond's. Which, per WP:ARBR&I#Correct_use_of_sources Principle 3.1., should weigh heavily toward excluding Rushton's review from this article. Guettarda (talk) 15:34, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose per WP:UNDUE via WP:FRINGE. Using a book review by a fringe psychologist as a source to rebut Diamond does not align with our policies and guidelines (it also seems a bit coat rackish). — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 03:47, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Comment Arguments that Rushton is "fringe" or that including any mention of the well documented fact that Diamond's view has been contrasted with the hereditarian explanation of national differences would be a "coatrack" (a large amount of material obscuring the ostensible content of the article) are simple false, no matter how many votes they have. RockKnocker (talk) 16:13, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
    • The book has been cited by numerous authors, in particular geographers and historians. It would be impossible to give an account of all those citations, even those which are lengthy. I found one scholarly article citing Rushton's review: "Globalization, global history, and Africa" by Tilman Dedering in the Journal of Asian and African Studies. It discusses at length Diamond's theories in relation to the history of Bantu settlements in South Africa. After that discussion, Dedering writes, "Some scholars have expressed scepticism about Diamond’s geographic determinism because they feel that he overemphasizes environmental factors at the expense of historical causation. Significantly, however, other critics have been more incensed by his rebuttal of racially based theory (Rushton 1999) because Diamond (1998) insists, 'Europe’s colonization of Africa had nothing to do with differences between European and African peoples themselves, as white racists assume. Rather, it was due to accidents of geography and biogeography—in particular to the continents’ different areas, axes, and suites of wild plant and animal species. That is, the different historical trajectories of Africa and Europe stem ultimately from differences in real estate' (p. 401). Diamond, however, even though he does not explicitly deconstruct theories that explain Africa on the basis of race, ethnicity, and culture, has presented a powerful reminder of the importance of understanding and redefining Africa’s marginality within a genuine global context. Therefore, his contribution could be useful in complementing the historical analysis of Africa and its chances for a revival." This critique gives a mainstream view of Rushton's essay-review. Mathsci (talk) 17:20, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Factually, Rushton's views have little support, if any, beyond a relatively small circle of psychologists (Jensen, Lynn, and Gottfredson being some of the more vocal). — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 02:01, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Comment above has been struck out as they are a sock of a banned user. Elockid (Talk) 13:55, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Almost certainly Mikemikev, given his last three edits. Mathsci (talk) 03:10, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose. The WP:UNDUE analysis above is correct. The WP:FRINGE claims might be as well, in theory, but I see no cited evidence that Rushton is widely regarded as a nutter (that said, "historical causation" is often simply a euphemism for a bankrupt, anti-anthropological, Victorian idea called "the Great Man hypothesis"). We don't need to go there anyway. WP:NOT#FORUM is policy; the fact that GGaS is, among a large number of other things, in small part a refutation of some hereditarian views, does not mean that this article must provide a forum for rebuttal of the book by any hereditarians, much less Rushton in particular as if there were something magically special about him. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 12:00, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Comment Some additional sources to consider supporting the specific relevance of Rushton's view to this book: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5].--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 21:54, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
    This is getting absurd. I reviewed each of the sources you offer, and none of them indicate that Rushton's review of GG&S deserves mention here:
    • [6]: A link to a book which uses Guns, Germs, and Steel as an example of an alternative explanation. Nothing about Rushton's views of GG&S.
    • [7]: A single note on Rushton which does not discuss Rushton's view of GG&S.
    • [8]: Similar to above, Diamond's work is juxtaposed to Rushton's. Rushton's view of GG&S is not mentioned.
    • [9]: Again, Rushton and Diamond discussed in proximity, with no mention of Rushton's views on GG&S.
    • [10]: Rushton's review appears as a footnote to a footnote which reads: "Other critical reviews have not addressed this point."
    Presenting these sources as supporting WP:DUE weight of inclusion of Rushton's review at best stretches reasonable policy interpretation past the breaking point. aprock (talk) 22:32, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Oppose per WP:WEIGHT and WP:FRINGE. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:18, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Soft support. The one- or few-sentence mention under consideration does not give undue WEIGHT to the view.

      More importantly, editors above who say Diamond does not address hereditary issues are simply incorrect: he pointedly (and without providing real evidence) says his New-Guinean comrades are just as smart, skillful, &c. and thus something else must be responsible for Eurasian hegemony. It's part of what launches his entire discussion.

      Some criticism/discussion of Diamond's offhand dismissal of hereditary influences is certainly worth mentioning, even if this particular reviewer may be the wrong one (I can't speak to his general reputation as I've never heard of the guy). — LlywelynII 23:41, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
    • no opinion on includong or not this one criticism. But the 'criticism' section looks bloated. Criticism, antecipation of criticism (if that is relevant, better put it on the synopsis, no?), criticism of the criticism!?... All the struff in criticism could probably be spread - without any loss- into 3/4 parts. Some in the synopsis, some in the reception, some removed, and may, just maybe, a little bit on criticism - Nabla (talk) 20:03, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

    Threaded discussion[edit]

    Joe, it isn't just mentioned in passing, but noted prominently at the beginning of the book. The book itself is cast frequently as a rebuttal to hereditarian claims about intelligence as I demonstrated above. The material that was added involved a single sentence in this large article, that is hardly giving undue emphasis to his view.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 19:03, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    Ap, the material that I added was simply noting what he said in his review. No interpretation was involved so the principle you cite has no bearing on this question.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 19:07, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    • Passing comment. As I explained to you here; trivially connected, as I explained here.
    • The book itself is cast frequently as a rebuttal to hereditarian claims about intelligence - this is the basis of the WP:SYNTH claim, and the WP:ARBR&I issue Aprock raised. By proposing a new, and more powerful model to "answer Yali's question", Diamond undercuts the "racial genetics" view. But he makes to attempt to confront that view - he merely acknowledges that it exists (and expresses his distaste for it). The nature of that whole world-view is irrelevant to Diamond's model - he isn't disproving it. His model supplants it because it is more powerful and better explains the data. The directionality is clear - GGAS may be important to Rushton, but Rushton is irrelevant to GGAS.

      It's possible to find sources that use Diamond's work to "rebut hereditarian claims", but that in itself doesn't mean that their views on GGAS are notable. A psychologist's (Rushton, Jensen, Lynn, Herrstein,...) or political scientist's (Murray) views on biogeography aren't particularly interesting, and the importance of their opinion isn't intuitively obvious. Hence the link to ARBR&I: interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than to original analysis of the primary-source material.

      The links you provided are editorials, not scholarly works, and thus should only be taken as "reliable" sources for the author's opinions. So there's the question of why I should care about Chivers' (a journalist) or Unz's (a businessman and political activist) take on this issue. Nonetheless, if you look at them, Chivers (incorrectly) says that Diamond "examines, then rejects, the hypothesis that there were racial differences in intelligence", while Unz quotes Jason Antrosio's assertion Diamond's rebuttal of the "strong hereditarian IQ position" is extremely weak. (Again, to be honest, Diamond doesn't rebut the hypothesis, he provides a superior hypothesis. But Popper's influence on our thinking is pervasive.) Taking these statements at face value still doesn't get us to Rushton. To get from Chivers or Unz to Rushton you need to introduce a whole series of assumptions - assumptions that we can't make unless they are referenced to a secondary source. Therein lies the problem - per the arbcomm, even before we consider whether Rushton's views are mainstream enough to highlight here (and they aren't) we first need to get from GGAS to Rushton, not from Rushton to GGAS. Guettarda (talk) 20:11, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

    • I don't know how many times I have to point this out, but multiple reliable sources have stated the book is a refutation or rebuttal to hereditarian claims. They have not merely used it as such, but stated it is such. There is no denying the existence of these sources that I have already provided, or denying what they say. Maybe you think they are wrong, but your opinion about what the book is really about has no bearing on this matter. However, if you wish for additional sources see the following: [11] [12] [13] [14]. All of these sources make the point of noting Rushton's views as contrasted with Diamond's views in the book.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 21:33, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    Continued misuse of sources is only disruptive. The first and second links refer to footnotes for goodness sake. The third link mentions GGAS once in passing, and the fourth mentions Rusthon once in passing. This set of sources appears to have been cobbled together using google. aprock (talk) 22:16, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    Sources are not being "misused" as they plainly demonstrate that numerous reliable sources have explicitly contrasted the views Diamond expresses in the book with those Rushton expresses. You have made several mistaken remarks regarding the contents of those sources. The first source and third source mention Diamond in the text, and note GGAS in the footnote. It is not that the connection is in the footnote, the footnote just explains that the reference to Diamond is explicitly a reference to his book. The second source does involve a footnote, but it is a detailed footnote and explicitly mentions Rushton's review. The fourth source does not mention Rushton "in passing", but notes Rushton as a noteworthy advocate of an opposing view to that presented in Diamond's book. Not only have I provided sources indicating the relevance of the hereditarian view to Diamond's book, I have also provided sources that indicate Rushton's specific relevance to Diamond's book, in addition to the one I already provided some time ago.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 00:06, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    What, pray tell, does the Mancall and Merrell ref "plainly demonstrate"? There are, apparently, 17 mentions of Diamond, but it's only showing me 3 - pp. 55, 77 and 80. None of these have enough context to show much of anything, but from the look of it they aren't the ones you're talking about. Since you obviously have the book, can you please supply page numbers so I can verify you claims? The library has a copy, so I plan to take a look at it tomorrow, but I need specific page references. Guettarda (talk) 00:37, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    I do not have the book, however the mention on page 77 is the relevant detail. The mention of Rushton is in the context of noting reviews as criticizing Diamond for "downplaying the importance of racial differences" in the book. However, it is the other sources that have more meaningful mentions.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 04:32, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    Huh? All I can see on p. 77 is "...actually criticize Diamond for downplaying the importance of racial differences". It's a sentence fragment lacking a subject. You post that in response to my request (per the arbcomm ruling) for secondary sources that get us from GGAS to Rushton. How does this sentence fragment achieve that? Guettarda (talk) 13:05, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    If anything, the other links you provided may be even less relevant. In the first one, Inrig says "Some, such as J. P. Rushton and Richard Lynn, have argued..." and, in the following sentence "Here, I follow theoreticians like Thomas Farley, Jared Diamond and L. Cavalli-Sforza in assuming..." Inrig makes no attempt to relate Rushton to Diamond, all he's doing is putting himself in the company of Farley, Diamond and Cavelli-Sforza. This is in way, whatsoever, indicates that Rushton's work has any bearing on Diamond's (or Farley's, or Cavalli-Sforza's). Using your logic, we could just as well use that reference to coatrack Rushton into an article on Genes, People, and Languages. Guettarda (talk) 13:17, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    You seem to be cherry-picking the sources you address, going for the low-hanging fruit as it were since they are easier to dismiss, even if your reasons for dismissing them are not very compelling. All of the sources I have provided make it pretty clear that the hereditarian view is considered to be of considerable significance to the book and that Rushton's view specifically is seen as being part of that significance. The example you give of Sforza's book is not really relevant because, as far as I can tell, his book is not seen in such a way by reliable sources and Rushton did not do a lengthy review of the book either from what I can find.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 15:01, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    Cherry picking? 3 of 4 is hardly "cherry picking". I started with the one that Aprock raised. Since there's nothing there, I went back to the start of your list. And found that, once again, you're misusing sources. This is the sort of behaviour that's begging for a topic ban, especially on an article subject to arbcomm sanctions. Guettarda (talk) 15:29, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    You have only addressed two of the four sources above, as far as I can tell. I fail to see how I have misused these sources. Did I not satisfy the request for sources that connect Diamond's book to Rushton's views? The first two do this, but the last two of those four sources are the most significant. Both of them connect Diamond's book with Rushton's views.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 19:06, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    Yep, two of four. Made a mistake. But working through the refs one by one isn't "cherry picking". The fact of the matter is that fully half of the refs you supplied don't meet the requirement that Aprock mentioned. "Connecting" GGAS with Rushton's views isn't enough to warrant inclusion. Either you're ignoring the facts (which is disruptive editing) or you're misrepresenting sources. Either of those things can earn you a topic ban on an article subject to arbcomm sanctions. Guettarda (talk) 19:21, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    The third source is the best source from my perspective, with the fourth being decent as well. I do think the first two sources demonstrate that his view is seen as relevant to Diamond's, but the last two are the better ones.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 23:57, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    Are you serious? You got caught misrepresenting sources and all you have to say is "but the third one is good"? You got one more chance than you deserve. Misrepresenting sources is a level of intellectual dishonesty that goes beyond the pale. I can handle zealots and true believers, I can handle various sorts of nonsense. But I have a no tolerance for the type of people who are willing to fabricate or misrepresent sources. Guettarda (talk) 05:36, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
    TDA, no one disputes the claim that Diamond's work is relevant to Rushton. We're asking for some evidence that runs the other way - that Rushton's opinion is somehow relevant to Diamond's work. Guettarda (talk) 22:38, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    Another source contrasting GGAS with hereditarianism is this book by Earl Hunt. Might it be better to cite that book instead of Rushton? That book discusses how GGAS relates to the concept of global IQ differences by contrasting Diamond's perspective with Lynn's, and says there is not enough data to decide between them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.0.71.17 (talk) 23:04, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
    I don't see it in that link. Can you specify a page number? The author index lists Diamond on pp. 309 and 444-445, neither of which make this contrast. A search for Guns, Germs and Steel shows up nothing (which may reflect what's accessible to me, I don't know). Again, the library has a copy, so if you point me to specific pages I can have a look. Guettarda (talk) 00:49, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    It's pages 444-445. The author first explains Lynn's perspective, then he introduces GGAS by saying "Using the record of historical events, rather than modern test scores, Jared Diamond has proposed a quite different scenario." He then explains Diamond's perspective, and says "We have two truly orthogonal explanations: the East-West one (Diamond's) and the North-South one (Lynn's idea of how latitude affects selective pressures on IQ). He then says he is more impressed by Diamond's ideas than by Lynn's, but Lynn's and Diamond's analyses both are "just so" stories, and knowing which is correct depends on data we cannot have. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.0.71.9 (talk) 01:24, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    I don't see much we can use here. He supports what we've been saying all along - that Diamond's model isn't a rebuttal of Rushton and Lynn, it is, as Hunt says, orthogonal. If this were an article about the broader topic, it might be a useful source. But I don't see how we would use that here. Can you be more specific in what sort of an addition you're proposing? Thanks Guettarda (talk) 12:45, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    It's an orthogonal explanation of the same question. RockKnocker (talk) 14:54, 6 February 2013 (UTC) banned user
    Please see Aprock's comment above re WP:ARBR&I#Correct_use_of_sources. You have a relationship from A → B, and a relationship from C → B. There's no relationship implied between A and C...in fact, the very principle of orthogonality would suggest that Hunt is saying that there is no relationship between Lynn's ideas and Diamond's. They are, to quote the orthogonality article, "non-overlapping, uncorrelated, or independent objects of some kind" (with all the necessary caveats about quoting Wikipedia articles; I'm quoting because I like the phrasing, not because I consider the article to be authoritative). Guettarda (talk) 15:29, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    The explanations are orthogonal. The question is the same. Your "ABC" stuff is meaningless. There is a question (0), and two orthogonal explanations (X and Y). RockKnocker (talk) 15:55, 6 February 2013 (UTC) banned user
    I don't think you understand the meaning of the word orthogonal. Guettarda (talk) 16:06, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    I'm not the one to look it up. It means "at right angles" or metaphorically "completely opposed". RockKnocker (talk) 16:08, 6 February 2013 (UTC) banned user
    So no, you don't understand. Then look it up. Guettarda (talk) 16:19, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    It's you that doesn't understand. RockKnocker (talk) 16:29, 6 February 2013 (UTC) banned user
    I provided a link, I hoped you would have used it to familiarise yourself with the concept. Had Hunt meant "completely opposed" I rather doubt he would have called on East-West and the other North-South. But I also rather doubt he meant anything as literal as "at right angles". Hunt is, apparently, a psychologist and computer scientist. In either context (experimental design or programming) orthogonality refers to non-overlapping properties of two objects. Which is, of course, what we've been talking about here all along - Rushton and Lynn's explanation is independent of and non-overlapping with Diamond's. And per the link I provided (or Aprock did, really), we cannot add an unrelated explanation (even if it addresses the same phenomenon). (This is what I meant by the A → B and C → B thing, which was, apparently, not expressed clearly enough.) HTH. Guettarda (talk) 17:24, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    The link you provided says "All interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than to original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors." Hunt's book is a secondary source making an interpretive analysis, comparing Diamond's perspective to Lynn's. If we cite Hunt's book to make the same comparison that's in the book, that is not original research, it is just summarising what the secondary source says. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.0.71.12 (talk) 21:08, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    Yes, we can cite Hunt. Hunt looks at both models, says he agrees more with Diamond's, but concludes that they're both "just so stories" and the data to conclusively distinguish between them is impossible to obtain. And it might not be a horrible thing to say, but it wouldn't make for very compelling reading. If we took the time to go into details about Lynn's model, we'd need to justify including extraneous material in the article - "coatracking". But if we leave it out, then there's no context for the statement. Either way, it's hard to justify including it.

    There is, of course, a different way of doing this, and that would be to create an article that discusses different theories for why the world is as it is. I suspect that would be a challenging article to write, and unsatisfying for people who want to see a fight between Diamond and Lynn/Rushton. Guettarda (talk) 22:27, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

    My goal was to suggest a compromise between you and The Devil's Advocate. He would like to see Rushton cited for contrasting Diamond's ideas with the alternative evolutionary explanation of European prosperity, and you objected to that suggestion because you think it would be original synthesis. If citing Hunt could be tolerable to both of you, then maybe we can finally stop arguing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.0.71.14 (talk) 23:05, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
    Citing Hunt to say what? Hunt is a good source for keeping Lynn and Rushton out of this article. And even if I wanted to coatrack Lynn in, the developing consensus in the RFC is pretty clear against it. Guettarda (talk) 05:36, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
    The consensus in the RFC is to not cite Rushton. Nobody besides you has commented about whether or not to cite Hunt. I think I could write a summary of what Hunt says without coatracking, but I doubt it would be of any use. The Devil's Advocate is being stubborn that the article should cite Rushton, and you are being stubborn that every other source comparing Diamond's explanation to the evolutionary explanation is also unacceptable. If neither you nor he is willing to compromise, we won't get anywhere, and there is no need for me to waste my time suggesting a compromise that both parties likely will reject. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.0.71.8 (talk) 18:10, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
    You appear to be editing from a site which causes you to IP hop, so it's not clear if the other edits from 101.0.71.* are from you, or are from others in that rage. While your intentions are good, people will likely take your contributions more seriously if you sign up for an account. It's especially difficult to track discussions when one of the participants is changing their signature with every comment. aprock (talk) 19:21, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
    He calls one "North-South" because it invokes latitude and cold climate. He calls the other "East-West" because it involves cultural exchange pathways. They are "truly orthogonal". Have you read the works in question? Whether they are independent or opposed is clear from the line "knowing which is correct depends on data we cannot have." Clearly Hunt thinks one is correct or the other, they are not independent. RockKnocker (talk) 12:01, 7 February 2013 (UTC) banned user
    How does this apply to the RFC or the article? Please be specific with your proposed changes to the article. Guettarda (talk) 13:43, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
    "Diamond's view that ease of cultural exchange entirely explains differences in national development has been contrasted with the view that genetic differences are a significant factor.[ref]" RockKnocker (talk) 12:35, 9 February 2013 (UTC) banned user
    That is basically what I would have suggested. And the ref should be to Hunt's book. That accurately summarises what Hunt says, without engaging in coatracking. 101.0.71.23 (talk) 20:18, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
    Hunt doesn't appear to say that Diamond claims that "cultural exchange entirely explains differences...", and given that the title of the book is "Guns, Germs, and Steel", saying something like that would undermine a source's credibility. Guettarda (talk) 05:25, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
    Then we can leave out that part. This sentence doesn't have to attempt to describe Diamond's view, because his view is described in the rest of the article. "Diamond's view has been contrasted with the view that genetic differences are a significant factor in different levels of national development" and this would be cited to Hunt. Is there any problem with that wording? 101.0.71.8 (talk) 15:00, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
    Then we run the risk of having too little context in the statement for anyone who doesn't know the whole backstory to understand it. Guettarda (talk) 15:15, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
    My suggestion is to say Diamond's perspective has been contrasted with the hereditarian view that European prosperity is because colder climates selected for higher intelligence. Hunt's book doesn't present either theory as a criticism of the other, but it contrasts them, so our article could also contrast them. If Hunt's book is cited, the content would go in a section of the article other than the criticism section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.0.71.21 (talk) 16:00, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

    Oppose conditionally I haven't been in before, because I just got the RFC. (And wish I hadn't...) Bottom line: Never mind all the about-it-and-abouting foregoing; most of that stuff is beside the point. If the theme is relevant in context, is encyclopaedic, and adds value to the article, then certainly include it. If however I am correct in my assumption that pigs will fly first, then exclude it, either to be rejected altogether, or to form another (worthy) article, in whole or in part. JonRichfield (talk) 13:58, 25 February 2013 (UTC)


    The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


    suggestion[edit]

    I don't know if this has been resolved already but using the term, evolutionary advantage, is closer to the use of "superior" or "inferior" that were discussed before. It has been a long time since I read the text, (which I still have somewhere in hard-copy), but I have to agree that the above discussed use of "superior/inferior"--in the proposed context does not fit the book's use which if the words were used were used in another context.
    I also think that it should be mentioned that the book itself is used as a scholarly reference for whatever reasons. I have the book classified as "academic text book" in my collection in the event that I would list it for sale because it has been used in curricula.24.0.133.234 (talk) 21:43, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

    Critique Section[edit]

    A critique section of a list of critique is not a NPOV. It is better to deal with it in one section which discusses both the positive and the negative. With some balance. Having reception (how the book was received) and then having a critique section (how the book was poorly received) makes no sense. I did not actually think this needed explaining. --Inayity (talk) 10:29, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

    When Celtic people ruled over most of Europe they did not have a civilization.[edit]

    When Celtic people ruled over most of Europe they did not have a civilization. Guns germ and steel does not explain this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.103.131.238 (talk) 19:59, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

    Please see WP:OR. We can only put in the article what reliable sources have written about the book. — goethean 22:37, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

    Deletion of Critique[edit]

    An Ip editor has deleted the following Blaut noted examples of North-South diffusion Now was it deleted because Blaut did not say it? If there is a problem with a sentence it is better to add a tag than delete large portions of the article. Esp when there is no talk page to back it up. --Inayity (talk) 16:53, 15 February 2014 (UTC)


    The links used in citations 3 and 10 have issues and are in need of repair. The formatting for citation 18 seems off, and it might be better off replaced or supplemented with a link to http://www.cup.columbia.edu/static/interview-shenefelt-white-logic. Although, to be honest, that entire Adam Smith subsection needs to be reduced to maybe 1/3 its size unless it truly is the most substantial and popular criticism of GG&S (and frankly, it doesn't seem to be). In fact, even after taking an axe to some of the uncited, redundant chaff, the whole "Reception" section still gives far too much weight to negative reception compared to positive reception. There's only one single sentence describing the awards that the book has won (which, oddly, doesn't even mention the Phi Beta Kappa award that the publisher seems to think is quite significant) and nothing else positive before launching into a rather muddled collection of criticisms. Oh, and "Weaknesses in Arguments"? Could there be a more vague heading? And "Eurocentrist determinism" should probably be changed to "Eurocentrism and environmental determinism". In addition, (sorry, but I just noticed this), perhaps some stronger criticisms could be found for the "Weaknesses in Arguments" subsection? Tomlinson flat out states in his conclusion that his criticisms/objections are "cavils" and that the flaws he points out are "minor". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.75.37.169 (talk) 22:26, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

    You make some good points. Who are you? Paulmlieberman (talk) 17:47, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

    I removed the section with Pickover’s “criticisms” because Pickover clearly wasn’t “pointing out” much at all about political factors, let alone using political factors as a criticism of GG&S. He was commenting about maps and how great they are (which, as Diamond notes, is part of the broader discussion of writing technologies that is already addressed in the book itself). In fact, in the latter part of Pickover’s comment, he speculates about how changes in geography would have affected geopolitics and culture, which is in keeping with and supportive of the book’s overall thesis. Using Pickover’s comment strikes me as coming up with a criticism category called “Political Factors” first and casting about for something to add to it second. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.75.37.169 (talk) 23:42, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

    Hi there, article watchers, I have some questions/comments about some possible changes that I'd like to open up for discussion rather than make myself:

    I'm thinking that the sentence "The National Geographic Society produced a documentary of the same title based on the book that was broadcast on PBS in July 2005" doesn't really belong in the "Reception" section, but I'm not really sure where it might fit better. Would its own little section be appropriate? Or perhaps simply move the sentence to the "Publication" section? Of course, this move would leave the "positive" part of "Reception" even more ridiculously anemic, but again, that section really needs more fleshing out anyway.

    On a completely different note, what's up with the "Aventis Prize" mentioned in the introduction? Apparently it's the same as the "Rhône-Poulenc Prize" mentioned in "Reception"? That's kind of confusing. Would it be clearer to go by what the prize is called on its own wikipedia page ("Royal Society Prizes for Science Books")?

    And help a newbie out: Is it proper style to list an unrelated book's full title and publication data in the text of an article (e.g. "...in their book If A, Then B: How the World Discovered Logic (Columbia University Press, 2013)") instead of putting it in a citation? That really stood out to me, especially when all Blaut gets is "In his last book published in 2000..." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.75.37.169 (talk) 04:12, 12 March 2014 (UTC)