Yali's question is essentially "Why did white Europeans become so much more powerful than other peoples?" Diamond rephrases this question by asking "why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents?" He posits three potential objections to considering this question:
- Explaining why Europe became more advanced than other areas tends to confirm the notion that Europe is superior.
- Framing the question in this way contributes to a Eurocentric view of human development.
- The question assumes that the natural progression of human history is towards "civilization" and that being "civilized" is better than being "primitive."
Diamond's ultimate concern in answering Yali's question has to do with its potentially racist assumptions. He argues in his prologue that white people are not "smarter" than other races and that the Europe's ability to conquer other civilizations in the 1500s had more to do with the chance combination of geographic, biological, and technological...
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