I am an anthropologist who works primarily at the intersection of Religion and Science, both as discourses and as epistemologies. However, one of the things I tend to notice among my students and the public alike is either a general misunderstanding of what anthropology is and does overall or an understanding of anthropology that comes from the writings of Jared Diamond.
This tends to be a problem primarily because 1.) Jared Diamond is a popular writer and his ideas therefore have gained a more wide-spread audience than others who work on culture and history and 2.) He is not a good anthropologist. Nor, actually an anthropologist at all. But because his books are becoming more and more widely read, I think it is time for more commentary and visibility of the social science criticisms of these works.
As such, I am posting here, an anthropologist’s critique of Guns, Germs, and Steel for thought, consideration, and discussion. There are links to additional critiques at the end.