The History Book Club discussion

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HEALTH- MEDICINE - SCIENCE > 2. GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL ~ CHAPTERS 2 AND 3 (53 - 82) (09/20/10 - 09/26/10) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

For the week of September 20th through September 26th, we are reading approximately the next 30 pages of Guns, Germs and Steel.

This thread will discuss the following Chapters and pages:

Week Two – September 20th – September 26th -> Chapters TWO and THREE p. 53 – 82

TWO – A Natural Experiment of History and THREE – Collision of Cajamarca

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we have done for other spotlighted reads.

We kicked everything off on September 12th. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, on iTunes for the ipad, etc. However, be careful, some audible formats are abridged and not unabridged.

There is still remaining tim to obtain the book and get started.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Welcome,

~Bentley

Week of September 20th - 26th

Week Two – September 20th – September 26th -> Chapters TWO and THREE p. 53 – 82

TWO – A Natural Experiment of History and THREE – Collision of Cajamarca

This is a link to the complete table of contents and syllabus thread:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...


We are off to a good beginning.

TO SEE ALL WEEK'S THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond Jared Diamond Jared Diamond


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 14, 2010 08:28PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
And so we begin:

Welcome everyone to the second week of the discussion.

Here is an outline of the general topics of discussion for this week's reading and the scope of this week's assignment.

In Chapter Two of the book, Diamond "prepares us for exploring the effects of continental environments on history over the past 13,000 years, by briefly examining effects of island environments on history over smaller time scales and areas. When ancestral Polynesians spread into the Pacific around 3,200 years ago, they encountered islands differing greatly in their environments. Within a few millennia that single ancestral Polynesian society had spawned on those diverse islands a range of diverse daughter societies, from hunter-gatherer tribes to proto-empires. That radiation can serve as a model for the longer, larger-scale, and less understood radiation of societies on different continents since the end of the last Ice Age, to become variously hunter-gatherer tribes and empires."

Chapter Three "introduces us to collisions between peoples from different continents, by retelling through contemporary eyewitness accounts the most dramatic such encounter in history: the capture of the last independent Inca emperor, Atahuallpa. in the presence of his whole army, by Francisco Pizarro and his tiny band of conquistadores, at the Peruvian city of Cajamarca. We can identify the chain of proximate factors that enabled Pizarro to capture Atahuallpa, and that operated in European conquests of other Native American societies as well. Those factors included Spanish germs, horses, literacy, political organization, and technology (especially ships and weapons). That analysis of proximate causes is the easy part of this book; the hard part is to identify the ultimate causes leading to them and to the actual outcome, rather than to the opposite possible outcome of Atahuallpa's coming to Madrid and capturing King Charles I of Spain."

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond Jared Diamond Jared Diamond


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
These are the questions which we should have answered and discussed in last week's discussion. However, one of the questions is really answered throughout the book. I will place these first four questions once more at the beginning of this thread so that we can continue to discuss these.

Here they are:

1. What are the other commonly espoused answers to "Yali's questions," and how does Jared Diamond address and refute each of them?

2. Why does Diamond hypothesize that New Guineans might be, on the average, "smarter" than Westerners?

3. Why is it important to differentiate between proximate and ultimate causes?

4. Do you find some of Diamond's methodologies more compelling than others? Which, and why.


Additionally,

I believe that in Chapters Two and Three we can begin to start discussing the answers to a few more, specifically the following:

5. What is the importance of the order of the chapters?
Why, for example, is "Collision at Cajamarca" - which describes events that occur thousands of years after those described in the subsequent chapters - placed where it is?

6. How are Polynesian Islands "an experiment of history"? What conclusions does Diamond draw from their history?

7. How does Diamond challenge our assumptions about the transition from hunter-gathering to farming?


Although some of these we can continue to add to as we go through the chapters. I am posting them here to keep these foremost in our mind and please feel free to add more detail to any of them and/or post some other questions or comments you may have.


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Francisco Pizarro seizing the Inca Emperor Atahuallpa Painting by John Everett Millais (1846)




message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 10:13AM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Folks, we are beginning Chapter 2 - A Natural Experiment of History.

The chapter begins:

"On the Chatham Islands, 500 miles East of New Zealand, centuries of independence came to a brutal end for the Moriori people in December 1835. On November 19 of that year, a ship carrying 500 Maori armed with guns, clubs, and axes arrived, followed on December 5 by a shipload of 400 more Maori. Groups of Maori began to walk through Moriori settlements, announcing that the Moriori were now their slaves, and killing those who objected. An organized resistence by the Moriori could still then have defeated the Maori, who were outnumbered two to one. However the Moriori had a tradition of resolving disputes peacefully. They decided in a council meeting not to fight back but to offer peace, friendship and a division of resources."

The Moriori sounded like a wonderful people with noble intentions but when are noble intentions wasted upon an aggressor? When is war moral?

Do you think that offering appeasement to the enemy ever works or does it only bring about the demise of the peacemakers making them look weak and timid?

Can you think of any situation in modern times when folks opted for peace and peacemaking and it backfired upon them and their people? And likewise does warlike behavior and terrorist activity only make the situation for the terrorists worse rather than better?

In some ways the Maori were terrorists of the poor Moriori.



message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Here is a little bit more about the Moriori people who lived by a code of non-violence and passive resistance, which led to their near-extinction at the hands of Māori invaders.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moriori


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 10:14AM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
A picture of the Moriori people:




Moriori in 1877
Among these Moriori people, photographed in 1877, were survivors of the 1835 Māori invasion. Hirawanu Tapu (second left, standing), Rohana (second left, sitting) and Tatua (second right, standing) were adolescents at the time, and endured over two decades of slavery. Descendants of survivors include Wari Tutaki (left), Teretiu Rehe (third left, standing), Rangitapua Horomona Rehe (fourth left, standing), Piripi (far right), Ngakikingi (middle, sitting) and Te Tene Rehe (next right).


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Here is some background about the Moriori people:

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/moriori/1


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
19th Century Map of the Chatham Islands

Map of the Chatham Islands
This 19th-century map of the Chatham Islands shows the main physical features and settlements of the two inhabited islands, Rēkohu and Rangiaotea (here called Rangiauria).




message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


Tree carving
Moriori ancestors made carved images on the trunks of kopi (karaka) trees. Many of these carvings, or dendroglyphs, survive today. They have powerful spiritual associations, although their meanings are debated.


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
[image error]

The Chatham Islands
The oldest Moriori artefacts have been uncovered on the shoreline of Pitt Island. In the background rises the ancient remnant volcano Hakepa, also the highest point on the island. This photograph was taken in the 1980s.


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


The god Hatitimatangi
In the 19th century this figure of the Moriori god Hatitimatangi was found in a cave. The holes in the chin may have been drilled for the attachment of a beard. It is the only example of Moriori wood sculpture known to have survived.


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 10:36AM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod



Carving of seals
These stylised seals were carved on the walls of a limestone cave on Rēkohu (Chatham Island). Seals had immense importance for Moriori, both as part of their diet and as symbols of the spiritual world.


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


Rangiaotea (Pitt Island)
This is a view of Rangiaotea, the smaller of the two inhabited Chatham islands.


message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


Carved planks
These planks are from the front of a Moriori house that is thought to have been standing at Ōwenga in the 1840s. They are the only surviving examples of Moriori construction.


message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


A replica wash-through raft
The waka korari (wash-through raft) had a special construction to stop it capsizing in rough seas. Its base of inflated kelp and sides of bound reeds became partially submerged, giving the craft added stability.


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


19th-century inhabitants
From the early 19th century, sealing and whaling around the Chatham Islands brought Moriori into contact with people from other countries and cultures. This photograph illustrates the mixed communities that developed in the 19th century. The people are, from left, Pumipi Te Rangaranga (Moriori), Ellen (Māori), Rihania (Māori), George Kanaka (Hawaiian), Tarata (Moriori), Bill Tennant (American), Karete (Māori), Parawa Kanaka (Hawaiian), and Joe Flores (from the Azores).


message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


Moriori population of the Chatham Islands, 1800–1920
This graph illustrates the sudden dip and continuing decline in the Moriori population after 1835.
Source: Michael King, Moriori: a people rediscovered. Auckland: Viking, 1989


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


Moriori in the late 19th century
These three Moriori men (standing) are wearing a mix of traditional and European clothing. They carry defensive staffs and wear flax mats around the waist and shoulders, feathers on the front of the head, and albatross tufts in their beards.


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 02:22PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Three generations of the Solomon family

In this extract from a radio documentary, Māui Solomon talks about the peaceful stand taken by the Moriori people after Māori tribes arrived at Rēkohu in 1835, and its devastating consequences.
The image shows Māui (centre) holding his son Kahu beside a statue of their ancestor Tommy Solomon. When Tommy Solomon died in 1933 it was believed by many that the Morori ‘race’ was doomed. It was many years before it was widely accepted that Moriori were not a separate race, but a Polynesian people like the Māori.

Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (Moriori – Māui Solomon/Reference number MR891106).

This link gives you access to the sound file.

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/moriori/4/5


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod


Moriori descendants
The Preece family are Moriori descendants who have been prominent in local government and community affairs in the Chatham Islands since the 1940s. Shown here at the launch of Michael King’s book, Moriori: a people rediscovered,are Rīwai (left), Charles (second from left) and Alfred Preece (right). Alfred (Bunty) Preece was chairman of the Chatham Islands County Council for 16 years. Rīwai became Anglican minister for the islands, and Charlie has played a prominent role in the assertion of Moriori political, economic and moral rights.


message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 10:54AM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod



Wilford Davis with Michael King
Michael King (left), historian and author of Moriori: a people rediscovered, is pictured here with Moriori elder Wilford Davis.

Source: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/moriori/5/2

Moriori: a People Rediscovered by Michael King

goodreads does not have a cover available


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 10:52AM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod



Albatross feathers
During the Chatham Islands celebrations for Rēkohu in 1991, Moriori descendants wore albatross feathers in their hair. A traditional symbol of peace, these feathers were presented to the visiting dignitaries.


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 11:06AM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
The brutality of the Maoris was evidenced in their explanation that this was a matter of how they lived and behaved and was explained as their custom!

"A Maori conqueror explained. "We took possession..in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped. Some ran away from us, these were killed, and others we killed - but what of that? It was in accordance with our custom."

The brutal outcome of this collision between the Moriori and the Maori could have been easily predicted. The Moriori were a small, isolated population of hunter-gatherers, equipped with only the simplest technology and weapons, entirely inexperienced at war, and lacking strong leadership or organization. The Maori invaders (from New Zealand's North Island) came from a dense population of farmers chronically engaged in ferocious wars, equipped with more advanced technology and weapons, and operating under strong leadership. Of course, when the two groups finally came into contact, it was the Maori who slaughtered the Moriori, not vice versa."


Is it man's nature to plunder and take advantage of those more disadvantaged even if they never have lifted a finger to hurt someone. It just seems from this account that some peoples just want to be ferocious and uncivilized and in the case of a few countries that I can think of really do not care or want democracy. In fact, they seem bent on conflict versus getting along.

Even today some folks just embrace the old and only respect those who are more powerful and ferocious. Sad statement on the human race.

I did feel so much sympathy for the Morioris who were such a peaceful race of people and were even willing to share their resources and live in peace with their invaders. What did the rest of you think about the plight of the Morioris and their fate?


message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Who were the invaders? The Maoris.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Māori


message 26: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
This is an interesting story about the Maoris (the invaders) which was published on BBC.

Maoris may have come from China

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacif...


message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Here is an excellent site on New Zealand and its history:


http://history-nz.org/maori.html


message 28: by Michael (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) Some great links there Bentley. I find it interesting that it seems the more civilized, prosperous and organized a society is the more it seems to favor violence. We just need to look at today's world to see a parallel.


message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Michael, that is exactly what I was thinking reading about the poor and pretty wonderful for that time period Morioris at the hands of the Maoris.

I can see the parallels which to me are striking after all of this time.


message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
New Zealand's Colonization 1000 Years Later Than Previously Thought?

Science Daily - 2008 article

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 02:42PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
The Maoris

[image error]


message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 04:48PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Diamond goes on to say:

"Both were Polynesian peoples. The modern Maori are descendants of Polynesian farmers who colonized New Zealand around AD 1000. Soon thereafter, a group of Maori in turn colonized the Chatham Islands and became the Moriori. In the centuries after the two groups separated, they evolved in opposite directions, the North Island Maori developing more complex and the Moriori less-complex technology and political organization. The Moriori reverted to being hunter-gatherers, while the North Island Maori turned to more intensive farming.

These opposite evolutionary courses sealed the outcome of their eventual collision. If we could understand the reasons for the disparate development of those two island societies, we might have a model for understanding the broader question of differing developments on the continents."


Diamond believes that the Moriori and Maori history constitutes a brief, small-scale natural experiment that tests how environments affect human societies.

Diamond goes on to try to explain an analogy about studying rats and distributing groups of ancestral rats in different cages in different environments and coming back generations later and see how they did. He goes on further to talk about natural experiments where something befell humans in the past as the only way that scientists can study human societies. Diamond believes that such a "natural experiment" unfolded during the settlement of Polynesia.

Do you agree that the different evolutionary paths sealed the fates of the Maori and the Moriori?

Was the fact that the Moriori were peace loving and pacifists their undoing; having not developed weapons versus the fact that they were hunter-gatherers?

Are peace loving societies just "sitting ducks" to some warlike aggressor?

Are hunter gatherer societies doomed to primitivism because they cannot free up their peoples for other endeavors?

What do you think were the reasons for the "disparate development of these two island societies"?



message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 04:48PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Diamond seems to hypothesize that all of the Polynesians had a common ancestry, culture, language, founding technology and set of the same domesticated plants and animals and that these same ancestral types settled on a variety of islands virtually at the same time; and because of this we have a natural experiment which would allow us to study the human adaptation of all of these peoples.

He states what usually disrupts these kinds of studies are multiple waves of disparate colonists.

Do you agree or disagree with Diamond's take on the environment of Polynesia and the importance of what Polynesian history might show?


message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 20, 2010 04:53PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
What did you think of the Moriori's castrating some of the male infants to reduce potential conflicts from overpopulation?

Diamond seems to feel that the Morioris lacked strong leadership and organization. I have not read why he felt that way. They were obviously quite peaceful and content whereas their northern neighbors were exactly the opposite (ferocious, warlike, chronically aggressive).

How could the two tribes be so vastly different?


message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
An interesting article on the Moriori:

http://www.suite101.com/content/the-m...


message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
I (like you) wondered why all of a sudden the Maori decided to bother the poor Moriori.

Obviously it had a lot to do with the outsiders (the Australian seal-hunting ship which had visited the Chathams). Why they told the Maoris that there was an abundance of shellfish, eels, and karaka berries and the inhabitants did not understand how to fight or have weapons is suspect. I think that the Australian seal hunters wanted the seals to themselves and wanted to have the Maoris take on the Morioris.

Why do you think the Australian seal hunting ship would interfere in all of this if they did not have some ulterior motive?

Diamond considers what happened between the Maoris and Morioris a "collision". What does Diamond mean by "collision" in the sense of differing environments and specifically as it relates to these peoples?



message 37: by Rodney (new)

Rodney | 83 comments Bentley, thank you for posting all this information it is providing to be a most fascinating read. I have some brief opinions on your first three questions posed.

Do you agree that the different evolutionary paths sealed the fates of the Maori and the Moriori?

I agree with I believe is the authors contention that the evolutionary paths led to the fates. While my background is technical, it does appear that a farming type community is going to advance to more rapid technology developments, centralized government and greater population growth simply because of several factors. The first would be available time. Time allows for thought, progression, specialization of the population and the basic start of an economy. The second would be the rise of government necessary to create some rudimentary sort of property dispute and organization toward protection of the crops. Finally, the consistent food sources ensure the long time stability of the society.

I would also agree with the authors suggestion that this does not make a population inherently more intelligent, but just evolving differently.


Was the fact that the Moriori were peace loving and pacifists their undoing; having not developed weapons versus the fact that they were hunter-gatherers?

It would be my opinion this is totally accurate. They were an easy target.

Are peace loving societies just "sitting ducks" to some warlike aggressor?

Again, I would have to be of the opinion that this is true as well. I think history has proven this as well. I believe that the only thing that can deter warlike aggressors is to present and be prepared to respond with equal force. I realize that I may be in the minority on this opinion.


message 38: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Rodney,

I think you are on to something. What you stated is more than likely what we will soon discover to be very true about those societies that did indeed advance.

You stated:

I agree with I believe is the authors contention that the evolutionary paths led to the fates. While my background is technical, it does appear that a farming type community is going to advance to more rapid technology developments, centralized government and greater population growth simply because of several factors. The first would be available time. Time allows for thought, progression, specialization of the population and the basic start of an economy. The second would be the rise of government necessary to create some rudimentary sort of property dispute and organization toward protection of the crops. Finally, the consistent food sources ensure the long time stability of the society.

I would also agree with the authors suggestion that this does not make a population inherently more intelligent, but just evolving differently.


Once again even thinking about present day circumstances, unfortunately what you are saying is also true. Being prepared is the greatest deterrent to warlike aggressors. Sad isn't it; that the human race has not gotten beyond this fact. I wish that everybody really wanted peace versus superiority over others; but human nature being what it is; what you are saying has a lot of truth in it.

Excellent post Rodney. Keep posting with your comments. You have great insight.

And you are welcome regarding the information that I posted.


message 39: by Mindy (new)

Mindy (MindyL) | 10 comments Thanks Bentley for all the background reading. It is immensely helpful. I was interested in the question you posed earlier, namely, "Are hunter gatherer societies doomed to primitivism because they cannot free up their peoples for other endeavors?" This is actually a question that I continually keep coming across in my own personal research interests. Specifically, I am interested in what does the word "primitive" mean? Obviously I know there is a dictionary meaning and agreed upon definition, where primitive is seen as something (behavior, customs, etc) opposite and inferior to civilization and advancement. But again, I am also interested in exploring (and maybe deconstructing) what we mean by civilization.

I think maybe in a post for the last set of chapters someone wrote that when he or she thinks of the term civilization, they think of reading, writing, political centralization, agriculture/mass food production, etc. However, many "civilizations" that have these attributes do not act in what we define as civilized manners. The obvious examples I am thinking of are Belgium's conquest of the Congo and Germany's extermination of millions of people, as well as the examples Diamond gives with the "discovery" of the new world by the Europeans. These societies had great philosophers, great literature, great composers, but yet, when a genocide or mass extermination of an entire people occurs, it is usually the side with the arts and culture that are committing the crimes.

What I mean by all of this is that I still cannot answer your question Bentley, but I think it is a good one. I think further exploration of it will also bring us back to your discussion with Rodney about peaceful societies as targets for aggression.


message 40: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 22, 2010 08:54PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Mindy, by all means please explore here all of the above. How do you view the definition of primitive. I guess to me primitive could mean pure or the first or the beginning versus simply backwards. I guess it depends upon how one views the situation of each of these groups of people and in what context.

Civilization is a word that means many different things to many different people. Pizarro and his men thought being civilized meant not being Indian but being Christian. Yet in the name of civilization and Christianity they slayed the Incas and thought that perfectly acceptable and noble. I do not see that as being civilized but see the gestures of Atahuallpa as being much more genteel, civilized, peaceful, spiritual and just.

It seems there was a lot done to the Indians or other cultures in the name of religion, land grabbing and resource stealing that had nothing to do with being civilized or moral. Where is the morality in exterminating entire groups of people through mass murder. And why do all of these groups always think they are calling up their God as being on their side in these matters (as Pizarro and his men documented in their accounts).

Unfortunately not being the aggressor and being peaceful does not seem to be a formula for achieving peace yourself. Sometimes and often you are seen as an easy target. A shame really.

Very good post Mindy.


message 41: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments One of the assumptions I keep seeing made in these posts is that farmers have more leisure time than hunter gathers. I believe the studies show that is not true especially for the men. Farming is an almost continual cycle of preparing the land, planting, weeding, irrigation, insect control, protection of the crop from wildlife and harvesting and storage of the crop. For men, hunting might mean 4 hours of work every two or three days if the animal is big enough. A 300 lb deer or seal could probably feed a group of 50 for two days.

I think being a hunter gather was the preferred life style and people only adopted agriculture when they were forced into it by population growth or climate change. I've seen speculation that permanent settlements were only established when wild grain became too valuable for beer making to leave it unprotected.


message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Patricrk...apparently with more intensive farming....there was more food to go around and others freed up to perform other endeavors whereas the hunter gatherers ALL had to seek their own food.

It does seem that the book itself and other findings seem to indicate that with favorable climate conditions and the like, that the natural evolvement was towards an agricultural society and away from the hunter gatherer way of life. And if this did not occur the societies appeared to remain primitive, undeveloped and the like.

I have no idea about the beer making aspect of this. And of course the farmers way of life is not an easy one for sure.


message 43: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments I don't see the rise of agriculture as the natural progression. Ancient humans were not dumb. If they resisted going to agriculture for 90,000 years or so, it was probably because they saw that life style as easier than an agriculture one. I'm sure the transition from hunter gather to settled agriculture was a long and hard one over multiple generations. But look at the case of the Moriori who reverted back to the hunter gather society. It was an easier life style and at their particular technology level who needs specialists? Now I certainly agree that until you get settled societies and agriculture food stock we aren't going to get civilized but I don't think you can call it natural progression, after all that is what the whole book is about. Why here and not there.


message 44: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 23, 2010 08:07AM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
According to folks studying the Moriori, it was their climate which prohibited them from being agriculturists and not their heritage. Remember the Polynesians all had the same origin no matter where they had settled; unfortunately for the Moriori, they ended up settling in an extreme climate on the Chatham Islands which would not support agriculture.

I don't think I support your view on agriculture and I am not sure that agriculture is easier or harder than being a hunter gatherer. I think they both have their difficulties and I for one would feel far more capable of growing something versus hunting a seal. If the climate was warm enough and there was a long enough growing season to support crops of some kind.

Of course, this is just MHO. (smile)


message 45: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
By the way, I think next week's chapters examine this all in more detail so maybe we should wait to discuss more of the food production aspects until Monday on the next thread.


message 46: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 23, 2010 04:24PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Diamond begins Chapter Three with this quote"

"The biggest population shift of modern times has been the colonization of the New World by Europeans, and the resulting conquest, numerical reduction, or complete disappearance of most groups of Native Americans (American Indians).

Diamond described the initial colonization coming by way of Alaska, the Bering Strait and Siberia. But "after that initial colonization from Asia, the sole well-attested further contacts between the New World and Asia involved only hunter-gatherers living on opposite sides of the Bering Strait, plus an inferred transpacific voyage that introduced the sweet potato from South America to Polynesia."

Here is an article on how an unsteered ship could have delivered the crop to Polynesia. Do you buy this argument?


http://www.bioedonline.org/news/news....

Source: Biology News


message 47: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 23, 2010 04:26PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Folks, I will instigate discussion but please feel free to discuss any aspect of Chapters 2 or 3 on this thread plus any of the pages that came before.

You can also discuss spoilers on any of the supplemental threads or glossary. However, these weekly threads are the only non spoiler threads.


message 48: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 23, 2010 08:12PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
Diamond begins talking about collisions in Chapter Three.

He states that "for practical purposes the collision of advanced Old World and New World societies began abruptly in AD 1492, with Christopher Columbus's discovery of Caribbean islands densely populated by Native Americans.

And the most dramatic collision being the one between Inca emperor Atahuallpa and the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro at the Peruvian highland town of Cajamarca on November 16, 1532.

The collision: Atahuallpa - absolute monarch of the largest and most advanced state in the New World

AND

Pizarro - representing the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (also known as King Charles I of Spain), monarch of the most powerful state in Europe.

And what is most odd is that the numbers were decidedly on the side of Atahuallpa. But then there were the military advantages which lay in the Spaniards' steel swords and other weapons, steel armor, guns, and horses. And of course all that Atahuallpa had were stone, bronze or wooden clubs, maces, hand axes or sling shots or quilted armor. But steel is what saved the day for Pizarro and the ultimate outcome of possessing steel and horses was the slaughter of the Incas and the execution of Atahuallpa.

What did you think of the racist remarks of Pizarro and his men regarding the poor Incas?

Additionally, horses and rifles were not known to Native Americans. They were brought by Europeans and proceeded to transform the societies of Indian tribes that finally acquired them.

What did our group's readers think about what happened to Atahuallpa at the hands of a man like Pizarro or in his saying, "Our Lord permitted that your pride should be brought low and that no Indian should be able to offend a Christian?

Amazing really - because it was Atahuallpa who had acted peacefully and with graciousness and with almost religious ideals.

It is abhorrent that it was then also documented, "It was by the grace of God, which is great." Here they were documenting the slaughter of the Incas as being by the grace of God.

Unbelievable. I often wonder at all of the vile and immoral acts that have been done in the name of the world's religions (all of them really)


message 49: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 23, 2010 05:11PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
I think that the Pizarro collision was placed at this point of the book because of what Diamond stated at the end of the chapter:

"Thus Pizarro's capture of Atahuallpa illustrates the set of proximate factors that resulted in Europeans' colonizing the New World instead of Native Americans' colonizing Europe. Immediate reasons for Pizarro's success included military technology based on guns, steel weapons, and horses; infectious diseases endemic in Eurasia; European maritime technology; the centralized political organization of European states; and writing. The title of this book will serve as shorthand for those proximate factors, which also enabled modern Europeans to conquer peoples of other continents. Long before anyone began manufacturing guns and steel, others of those same factors had led to the expansions of some non-European peoples as we shall see in later chapters."

I also think that Diamond wants to put out there all of the questions of proximate causation outlined in this chapter so that he can focus the remainder of his book on the ultimate causes.

Why do you think that he placed this event at the beginning of his book when the remainder of the book actually focuses on events that occurred way before?


message 50: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 23, 2010 05:18PM) (new)

Bentley | 44167 comments Mod
How did writing contribute to Pizarro's success in the new world? Or infectious diseases endemic in Eurasia, European maritime technology or the centralized political organization of European states?

I can understand the guns, steel weapons and horses' examples; but what of the other arguments?


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