Oh I believe the scholarship is authentic. But, it’s the lens. It’s not just the parts that are included, it’s the parts that are not included that I look for.
I critique scientific articles the same way. [just as an amateur]. One can do solid science (which is equivalent to sold historical scholarship) and provide sufficient and necessary evidence in the conclusion to support the hypothesis.
So it all works, tied up in a neat box with a bow.
However: Greater context. There’s always a greater context.
I love this little graphic: http://cdn.antarcticglaciers.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/precision_accuracy.png
My personal bias is that I strive for high accuracy, low precision. I don’t need to hit the bullseye, but I like to be the vicinity.
The reason is that there is a danger when shooting for high accuracy, high precision that’s VERY difficult to avoid:
That of being low accuracy, high precision.
One can produce a lot of evidence that hits the target with high precision. All the t’s are crossed, all the i’s are dotted. It’s marvelously precise.
But… it’s missing the general range of the target, even if it precisely hits another one.
Even in proofs that are _about_ the context and about the background, they can still suffer from the same issue:
Mind you, I haven’t read the book. I’m giving a really short overview based upon a Wikipedia article and a few sentences you wrote.
But I wanted to give a sense of my approach, a feel for my skepticism. I’m likely incorrect: That’s one of the reasons why I don’t strive for precision: whenever i do, I end up missing the bullseye completely and hit the wrong target precisely but inaccurately.
So, I don’t know if Jared Diamond fits the criteria I mention. But it’s the initial bias I approach with. I see history as a very complicated thing indeed, whereby there are some discernible patterns but I try to be careful of those that tie it all together in some way because they could be hitting the wrong target while feeling as if they’ve hit the bullseye.
Confirmation bias, in short. Very difficult thing to extract from one’s self. Very very difficult. It’s a constant struggle of mine. I have to subject my own heros to it constantly so I can at least get a more accurate if less precise reading of them.
Given the sources you presented (which by the way, I _tend_ to agree with generally smile emoticon ) – what would be the proper next steps for a citizen that finds themselves within a culture that is exhibiting all of the signs of a collapsing civilization?
[as a quick PS – I critique my own beliefs/assumptions the hardest – and this environmental narrative is one that tends to be generally a part of my belief structure, so I give it the most poking and prodding smile emoticon ]