Naturally, what makes patriotic and religious fanatics such dangerous opponents is not the deaths of the fanatics themselves, but their willingness to accept the deaths of a fraction of their number in order to annihilate or crush their infidel enemy. Fanaticism in war, of the type that drove recorded Christian and Islamic conquests, was probably unknown on Earth until chiefdoms and especially states emerged within the last 6,000 years."
- Jared Diamond in "Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies" (1997)
Two types of choices seem to me to have been crucial in tipping the outcomes [of the various societies' histories] 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."
— Jared Diamond in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. (2005)
Put another way, the chimpanzees' closest relative is not the gorilla but humans."
- Jared Diamond in "The Third Chimpanzee" (1991)
Science is often misrepresented as "the body of knowledge acquired by performing replicated controlled experiments in the laboratory." Actually, science is something broader: the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world."
— Jared Diamond in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" (2005)
History, as well as life itself, is complicated; neither life nor history is an enterprise for those who seek simplicity and consistency."
- Jared Diamond in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005)
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!"
- Jared Diamond in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" (2005)
Perhaps our greatest distinction as a species is our capacity, unique among animals, to make counter-evolutionary choices."
— Jared Diamond in "Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality"
Twelve thousand years ago, everybody on earth was a hunter-gatherer; now almost all of us are farmers or else are fed by farmers. The spread of farming from those few sites of origin usually did not occur as a result of the hunter-gatherers' elsewhere adopting farming; hunter-gatherers tend to be conservative.... Instead, farming spread mainly through farmers' outbreeding hunters, developing more potent technology, and then killing the hunters or driving them off of all lands suitable for agriculture."
— Jared Diamond in "Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997)"
"Jared Mason Diamond (born September 10, 1937) is an American scientist and author whose work draws from a variety of fields. He is currently Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA. He is best known for the award-winning popular science books The Third Chimpanzee; Guns, Germs, and Steel; and Collapse. Diamond has been called a polymath."
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