Tag Archives: Neanderthals

Diamond Geezer

JDWhen an old and valued friend gave me a copy of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, I have to confess that I initially groaned a little. It was written 20 years ago in support of Jared Diamond’s theory that the comparative success of the peoples of the world has everything to do with the geography of their origin and nothing to do with their human characteristics.  I had not previously read it.

Now, nobody could sensibly deny that an early human population is bound to do better in some environments than others.  It is hardly a surprise that there are early signs of civilisation in the Middle East but not in central Australia. Useful vegetation and animals that can be usefully domesticated are, well, useful.  But Jared Diamond went further than that.  He thought that any suggestion that different populations have different inherent characteristics – genetic characteristics – which affect their success is racist.  He says so several times in the book. And he obviously feels, very strongly, that that is a BAD THING.  Instead, he explains his viewpoint:

The term “geographic determinism” is used by many scholars as a pejorative, to justify the quick dismissal of a proposed geographic interpretation of a human phenomenon.  Continue reading

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Moo

sacred cowA number of sacred cows have been rounded up in recent years.

Climate change is an obvious example. It used to be the case that the crowd thought one a bit nutty to be sceptical about the warmist agenda, but it now mainstream for intelligent people, and even a few governments, to doubt that we all heading helter-skelter for a fiery hell because of the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  And course now we have passed the 400 ppm threshold without ill effect, the idea of beggaring ourselves for no good reason is more or less dead on its feet.  More interesting is that the new evidence is that there is more vegetation in the world these days, and in particular the rainforests are growing, because of course carbon dioxide is very good for plants.

Then human genetics.  Not many years ago at all it was the universally accepted view that all people in the world had a identical genetic make-up. A result of the mapping of the human genome and the analysis of Neanderthal remains has meant that it is now fully accepted in scientific circles that Caucasians interbred with Neanderthals and Africans did not – hence a 4% genetic difference in origin.  Continue reading

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Filed under Climate, Politics