Yali's Questions

Decent Essays
Guns, Germs, and Steel Guided Reading Ch 1 and 2

Prologue: Yali’s Question

1. What is “Yali’s question” and how does the author rephrase it?
Yali’s question is: “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?”
The author rephrased the question as: “Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents?”

2. What are the objections to the question?
The first objection to the question confuses explanation and justification. It argues that trying to answer the question would serve to justify the more advanced civilizations in conquering the less advanced civilizations.
The second objection is the assumption that answering Yali’s question will automatically involve focusing on western Europe.
The third objection argues that the use of phrases like “rise of civilization” conveys that civilization is better or more progressed than hunter-gatherer tribes.

3. What does the author think of racial arguments?
The author finds racial arguments loathsome, wrong, and lacking in sound evidence.

4. Who does he think is smarter “modern stone age” people, or “industrial” people?
The author thinks that, on average, “modern stone age” people are smarter than “industrial” people.

5. What do IQ tests measure?
IQ tests measure cognitive ability, but they usually assess cultural learning more than pure, natural intelligence.

6. What 2 reasons might make New Guineans more
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