Field of Science

More on Diamond, Wemp, and Shearer

In the continued saga of Jared Diamond's story about Daniel Wemp in The New Yorker, here's a nice review of the situation (though it leaves out Biber's linguistic analysis). The author, Craig Silverman, is a friend of Rhonda Shearer, and yet gets away with being impartial:
Let me be clear: I’m not saying that Diamond forged his notes. I don’t think that’s the case in any way, shape or form. My guess, and that’s all it is at this point, is that Wemp spun some tall tales without realizing they could come back to haunt him. One expert quoted in the Science article suggests this was the case:
Anthropologist Pauline Wiessner of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, a leading expert on tribal warfare in PNG, thinks Diamond was naïve if he accepted Wemp’s stories at face value, because young men in PNG often exaggerate their tribal warfare exploits or make them up entirely. “I could have told him immediately that it was a tall tale, an embellished story. I hear lots of them but don’t publish them because they are not true.”
The part emphasized here is also my best guess of what went on, but it is emphatically not something that Rhonda Shearer agrees with. She is of the persuasion that Diamond fabricated the whole thing for monetary gain (see my discussion with Shearer here).

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