Guns, Germs, and Steel Summer Reading

Topics: Domestication, Agriculture, Inca Empire Pages: 12 (4183 words) Published: September 9, 2013
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

Prologue
1. Summarize Yali’s question. This requires mentioning race, intelligence, and development of technology.  Yali asks "why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?" What Yali is asking is about the origins of inequality between countries and societies in the world.  He wants to know why people of European descent are rich and powerful while people like him lack wealth and power. He is questioning the issues of race and technology.  He wants to know if there is something "wrong" with non-white people that make them unable to be as advanced technology as white people. 1. 2. Summarize the three main objections to answering Yali’s question. 1. If we explain why some people rule over others, we are basically saying that domination is okay. If we say that the Europeans dominate or rule over Yali's people due to various reasons, basically aren't we saying that it is right for them to rule them? 2. If we answer this question, aren't we automatically being pro-European?  Isn't it wrong to talk about European dominance when there is a chance their “ruling” is going to disappear? 3. Doesn't the question hint that civilization is good and other types of society are bad?

3. What is meant by a “eurocentric” approach to history? A Eurocentric approach to history means glorifying Europeans, and obsessing over their prominence in the modern world.  In other words, Eurocentric history is history that is centered on and told from the point of view of Europe.  It is history that glorifies and assumes Europeans do is most important. 4. Summarize Diamond’s response to the idea that Europeans may perhaps be more innately intelligent that New Guineans. Use his major points to support your summary. Diamond says that this idea is simply wrong and that New Guineans are in fact more likely to be more intelligent than Europeans.  Diamond gives two reasons for this.  First, he says, intelligence has not helped Europeans survive and reproduce for thousands of years.  Thus saying, natural selection has not been "picking" the smartest Europeans and allowing them to live.  Whereas, intelligence has helped New Guineans survive.  Second, New Guineans are much more active than Europeans. They are always doing things that require at least some thought.  For these reasons, Diamond says, they are likely to be more intelligent than Europeans, not less. 5. Give an example of “passive entertainment”. Explain why we seem to have a better opportunity to experience this type of entertainment in America and its possible effect on our ability to think critically. TV is one of the most common passive entertainments in America; our country has made it assessable on phones and computers. Due to our advance in technology we can access it so easily. TV ‘s effect on our critical thinking depends on the person, but to such an extent I think it does, people love reality TV, but do they honestly think all that stuff is real ?,which most people do. Even though it says reality it’s all showbiz

6. Explain the theory of how cold European weather may have affected mental development of Europeans. The theory is that the cold weather in Europe made life harder for the Europeans.  The cold weather forced them to cope with challenges that were not wouldn’t face in the tropics.  The theory is that people who live on a tropical island have it easy.  They can just pick fruit off the trees every day and they don't have to figure out things such as technology.  Europeans had to deal with the harsh climate and they invented technology to help them survive. So the theory is that a harder life made Europeans smarter because they had to figure out ways to cope.

7. Explain how the theory of irrigation development may have affected the mental development of river civilizations. The theory talks about how maintaining and creating...
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