This post is proof that the effort required to rebut bullshit is an order of magnitude higher that that required to produce it.
"Guns Germs and Steel" is a 1997 book. I read it in 2000 but I still have my (hard) copy from the era before Kindle. But after seeing, on one thread a statement "recommending" that book
- it occurs to me that the style of argumentative rhetoric here is taken straight from that book. And some of it from his other work "Collapse"
Diamond argues (rightly) that astronomers and historians (a strange selection of dissimilar specialists) cannot conduct experiments to prove or disprove events that may have taken place far in the past or might occur in the distant future. So far so good.
Diamond goes on to argue that observation of events past for which we have evidence
can .. let me stop at this unfinished sentence because this is where rhetoric and clever words can replace the hard binary of science.
So I restart the sentence : observation of events past for which we have evidence
can _______________________________ (fill blank from choices below)
1. serve as a useful pointer to events in the future
2. provide us with the exact knowledge we need to predict what is likely to occur in future
3. point to how future events will
The concatenation of astronomy and history is an unfortunate one because beyond the rhetoric it is easier to reach conclusions about astronomical events which have a degree of mathematical regularity than human behaviour which does not have the regular predictability that one may like to assume if that is convenient.
If a supernova is occurring now, and you find evidence of supernovas that may occurred in the distant past and have evolved into what is visible now, one can reasonably predict that supernovas may occur again based on some physical principles and will evolve in a particular way. All credit to Diamond for explicitly stating that these methods cannot be ported to history - but yet he uses these methods in a way that can be misused to reach nonsensical conclusions as has been done by "historians" like David Anthony and nobodies like SriJoy
If a mass human migration has occurred in the past and is recorded in history as a mass migration that occurred from a particular reason - it is pretty easy to reach back into recent history and check the reasons. But accuracy requires honesty. The "mass" in mass migration need to be defined and without defining that a generalization about mass migrations would be utter rubbish. But even after defining that well the reasons for mass migration of humans fall into more than one category
1. People have migrated en masse in large numbers because of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and drought . Here the duration of the event is critical. Earthquakes are sudden. Floods could be sudden and temporary or a repeated and increasing annual phenomenon. So the rate of migration would be different in each case. Drought is typically an annually recurrent phenomenon and gradual drying of an area over decades would cause slow migration. An earthquake causing alteration of a river may cause floods in one area and drought in another.
2. Disease is also a "natural phenomenon" and migrations have occurred due to pestilence - usually plague, cholera or smallpox. But since diseases travel with humans the migration is usually temporary
3. Human causes of mass migration can be war. The Bangladesh crisis was a recent one. Baluchistan, Somalia, Syria are recent examples. The thirty years war in Europe that lead to the peace of Westphalia caused multiple mass migrations and 25% of the population of Europe was wiped out due to famine and disease, not genocide. Typically mass migrations such as these are a consequence of conflict. The migrants are refugees, not warriors. They are not migrating to make war, but to find peace.
4. Economic migration: This may be forced or voluntary. Slavery from Africa and workers transported for India to Trinidad, or Africa or even the UK are examples. The US is an example of migrants moving out of Europe for economic and social reasons. Europeans typically decimated the indigenous populations that they migrated to in the last 500 years. This is true of the continental US, South America and Australia. But this did not happen in India although the methods used were similar. I will not bother going into details. Interestingly, Jared Diamond too skims over India just like Huntington skims over India in his "Clash of Civilizations"
Now here is a statement made earlier
SriJoy wrote:I don't think simple & gradual settlement of these regions is cause for such a big war, but a huge migration pulse leading from IVC collapse is definitely a cause for India-wide strife.
This is as straightforward a collection of bluffs based on one fact in a single sentence:
The Indus Valley Civilization is generally accepted to have "collapsed". This is true. But it was never a sudden collapse. There is archaeological evidence of gradual depopulation over centuries. In the case of the IVC - migration out of the IVC were not warriors trying to conquer people. Heck no weapons have been found in the IVC. And even with a sudden mass migration of people due to natural disaster, historic precedents indicate that they migrate as refugees looking for succour, not as warriors looking to conquer. Finally the "India-wide strife" assertion is an out and out bluff.
And guess what the defence of bluff is?
1. I have an inferiority complex and I post here to save face
2. We believe in blind ancestor worship
3. We do not subscribe to evidence based conclusions
4. We are jealous of the west (This is straight form Jared Diamond - who couched his views in more polite terms
5. SriJoy is an engineer
6. SriJoy is a career student
7. He has studied history at least in part from a popular book by jared Diamond
8. He believes in accuracy
9. Given time he can parse any scientific paper
OK Ok fine. But how do the above observation serve as "evidence" that what he says is right, when most of the posts are masterful word-play?