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Jared Diamond, a distinguished professor of physiology and

June 12, 2013

Jared Diamond, a distinguished professor of physiology and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, has devoted much of his life trying to understand man’s impact on nature. Diamond’s thesis in “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is that geography, which governs climate which, in turn, governs indigenous species, is the reason for the unequal distribution of wealth in the world today. In short, Diamond is focused on why the Europeans conquered so much of the world.  “Guns, Germs and Steel” posed the interesting hypothesis that Western civilization’s preeminence is due to mere happenstance, simply because its ancestral Fertile Crescent civilizations were lucky to have the richest abundance of potentially domesticated grains and animals. The eventual triumph of Western civilization is due to its successful colonization of the temperate regions of the globe, via its rich abundance in domesticated grains and animals, advanced weaponry and technology, and the accidental spread of virulent, often deadly, diseases associated with domesticated animals such as pigs and sheep. I watched this documentary in hopes to better understand a history of people groups rooted in a mysteriously, uniquely European-enacted will to dominate others internationally. In contrast, I found the message communicated by this documentary to be one of luck, “blessing,” and positive ambition. Overall, this was likely a well-meaning work but struck me as a grossly misrepresented and Eurocentric portrayal of both history and relationships between people groups. The information gained from the documentary was overshadowed by its unapologetic bias. The choice to engage in conquest and the brutal and racist foundations for colonization practiced by Europeans are glossed over or ignored.

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