Skip to comments.Why the Muslims Misjudged Us
Posted on 10/14/2002 4:45:22 AM PDT by dennisw
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So what caused the Greeks to develop their particular culture? Diamonds hypothesis is that civilization is accelerated by the availability of useful, domestic-able plants and animals and a geography suited for the transmission of the plants and animals over a large distance. I find this argument compelling
The issue is, in general, what gives rise to (what is key in) societal advancement.
Diamond doesnt really entertain why one civilization in a geographic region might out compete another. I would readily agree that cultural differences play an important role in this competition. Diamond is strongest when he discusses 1st causes.
Surpluses have been generated in most geographic regions. GGS provides a post hoc rationalization for the limitations of certain cultures.
I disagree. There are vast swaths of the Earth that can only support subsistence level hunting and gathering without domestic plants and animals. Until such items are imported there is no surplus, and thus no ability to develop a culture. One of Diamonds better examples is the Bantu expansion, where the introduction of Cattle allowed one group of people to dominate their neighbors and begin the development of Kingdom level civilizations.
Though not a historian, I believe there are numerous examples where cultural changes (sometimes imposed from without) radically changed a society for the better, while the "environment" was constant.
I would agree and transfer of ideas is addressed in the book. But what is the mechanism by which those cultures developed? How did the Mediterranean and Chinese peoples develop the right cultures in the 1st place? Was it simply luck? Whats your explanation for this phenomenon? I think you are expecting the book to address other questions than the authors intent. Guns, Germs, and Steel was not written as a final explanation why and how civilization developed, but Diamond adds some important pieces to the puzzle.
...a neighborly bit of advice for our Islamic friends and their spokesmen abroad: topple your pillars of ignorance and the edifice of your anti-Americanism. Try to seek difficult answers from within to even more difficult questions without. Do not blame others for problems that are largely self-created or seek solutions over here when your answers are mostly at home. Please, think hard about what you are saying and writing about the deaths of thousands of Americans and your relationship with the United States. America has been a friend more often than not to you. But now you are on the verge of turning its people -- who create, not follow, government -- into an enemy: a very angry and powerful enemy that may be yours for a long, long time to come.