Rachel Wood Phil 210 Reading Questions to Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel Preface 1. Answer this question before you start reading . Why, in your opinion, has history unfolded differently on different continents? That is, why in the last five hundred years, have Europeans been able to impress their culture on non-European cultures? Why didn’t the indigenous peoples of Africa, Australia, or the Americas conquer and colonize Europe? There are several reasons. The first is that certain climates made it easier for civilizations to grow together and become specialized enough to make technological and military advancements. The second is that some civilizations had less space to grow in so when they became overpopulated they looked for new lands to conquer and colonize to accommodate the population. The last is the availability and accessibility of natural resources. Prologue 1. What is Yali’s question? Why had white people developed so many things and brought them to New Guinea and the people of New Guinea had so little of their own? 2. According to Diamond, may we assume that civilization (to include science, technology, and industry) improves or blesses human life, while uncivilized people (those living in a stone age) are necessarily less happy and less fulfilled than civilized people? Do you agree with Diamond? Why or why not?
Hsueh 1Grace Hsueh Davis AP World History 8 August 2016 1) Yali’s question is: “‘Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people have little cargo of our own?’” (14). In other words, Yali wishes to know why there is an unequal amount of materials for the two different kind of people, and how the white people's materials were more advanced than his own people’s. One answer to Yali’s question relates to “innate ability” (18) which are skills one is born with, and it cannot be acquired or developed. Diamond refutes this idea saying that our ability to learn things is based on the “social environment” people were raised in and the “educational opportunities” (19) available to them. White Americans and black Americans learned different religions, cultures, educations, and had different interactions between their own people. Both societies taught different things, which contributed to the disparate developments of the two peoples. Another answer to Yali’s question is the difference in physical environment, where “coldclimates require one to be more technologically inventive to survive” (22). Diamond, on the other hand, believes that humans who lived near a source of water (or had complex irrigation systems) progressed quicker as a society than those who did not. The earliest known systems of writing and central governments were discovered in the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile Valleys in Egypt (22). Water systems allowed agriculture which created a surplus in food which eventually constituted a government.2) The 5 continents Diamond mentioned were Africa, Eurasia, Australia/New Guinea, North America, and South America. Humans originated from Africa, around 7 million B.C. and