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Posted: Jun 6 2012, 12:31 AM
Chief of Staff
Member No.: 1
Joined: 17-November 04
Squaring the Circle (Michael Levin, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, July 1998)
Jared Diamond can't find the key to superior civilization (Bruce Thorton, Ph.D. Professor of Classics and Humanities, January 5, 2005)
The Diamond Fallacy (Gene Callahan, Ph.D. Economics, March 28, 2005)
Anthropology’s Guns, Germs, and Steel Problem (Kathleen Lowrey, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology, July 24, 2005)
What's wrong with Yali’s Question (Kerim Friedman, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology, July 25, 2005)
Geography As Causal In Societal Ascendance: An Austrian Retrospective on Diamond (PDF) (John Bratland, Ph.D. Economics, 2009)
A politically correct UCLA Professor of Geography sets out to rewrite history so liberals could wash away their neurotic guilt of why inequality exists in the world. No such thing as superior culture or intellect played any part in the rise of Western Civilization. It was just a role of the dice as dumb Europeans fumbled around "accidentally" creating superior steel weapons and guns because they were able to geographically farm wheat and livestock unlike the "genius" New Guineans who through their "superior" ingenuity still farm like it is the Stone Age.
According to the Professor it is all about Geography and the advantages of certain latitudes in line with the Fertile Crescent. Who knew? Only those west and east along this latitude can thrive says the Professor because the change of climates prevents migration of these crops and livestock in other directions. Using the Professor's logic the existence of the Inca Empire and its shared crops and farming methods that spread thousands of miles North to South along the west coast of South America should never have existed. Let’s just ignore these inconvenient facts.
Then of course the dumb Europeans stumble across South Africa like bumbling idiots and get lucky again! He goes on about early Dutch settlement failures heading North from South Africa and the superiority of the Native Africans in maintaining a "thriving" tropical civilization. The Zulu are marveled at when they ambush the Dutch settlers but the dumb Dutch must of rolled more dice when they set up a superior military position and efficiently used it and their (accidentally created) superior guns to obliterate the Zulu in their second encounter. These “lucky” Europeans learned military tactics from books and acquired knowledge they taught to themselves, how unfair!
This incoherent mess makes less and less sense as it goes on. The Europeans just could not adapt to the African tropics claims the Professor, so how did they dominate in the Caribbean and Central Americas? Supposedly the native Africans had superior resistance to Malaria and some tribal form of "vaccination" (never explained) yet now Malaria is decimating Africa. What? I thought they had a superior natural resistance to it? His gloating of the "tables being turned" on the Dutch settlers by them getting Malaria and dying by the thousands is unconscionable, as if the white settlers genetically engineered small pox to unleash on indigenous races and are now getting “justice” for this imagined “crime”.
Finally, Singapore is held up as an example of how a tropical society can turn its fortunes around. The clueless professor fails to realize they did so by being a bastion of free-market capitalism.
I have no idea how such an illogical mess such as this book was ever written. Its popularity is a disturbing trend of politically correct idealism using pseudo-intellectual reasoning to justify emotional beliefs.
Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power (Victor Hanson, 2002)
Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire (Patricia A. McAnany, Norman Yoffee, 2009)