Guns, Germs, and Steel

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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies is a best-selling 1997 book by the Jewish professor of geography and physiology Jared Diamond. It was written as one response to The Bell Curve.


The book argues that geographical differences caused differences in available resources for different groups, which caused some groups to get a head start, which explains today's differences in achievement between different parts of the world.


One problem with Diamond's book is that it contains no actual arguments against the race and intelligence explanation, but simply describes an alternative explanation regarding worldwide developments.

The book also states that the populations in question separated a long time ago and that they faced different environments thereafter. These facts have been argued to virtually guarantee that the populations diverged genetically. Rushton notes, "It seems incredible that, as an evolutionary biologist, Diamond seems unaware that it is different environments that cause, via natural selection, biological differences among populations."[1]

Furthermore, IQ proponents have not denied that geographic and other non-IQ factors may also be important. For example, IQ and the Wealth of Nations argued that average IQ, natural resources such as oil, and the presence or not of Communist economic systems have been major determinants of economic growth after WWII.

Also, Diamond's argument does not explain why the different races in the same country achieve differently.

Another problem is that the argument does not explain why most conquests of people(s) by another people throughout human history have involved a northern people conquering southern people(s). This despite the northern regions being usually less populous due to harsher climates. For example, China was never threatened by southerners, but repeatedly conquered by northerners. Similarly, India was repeatedly conquered by northerners, Europeans conquered various southern peoples (but not East Asians), and so on.[2]

There are also non-genetic, non-IQ criticisms, such as the book exclusively focusing on geographic determinism and ignoring factors such as culture (also a politically sensitive explanation).

The book has also received criticisms from proponents of White guilt, who are critical of the message that Whites essentially gained an advantage over non-Whites through winning a geographic lottery, and instead wants of focus on topics such as Marxism and White exploitation of non-Whites.

The book has been criticized for argued factual errors, citing discredited theories, and drawing illogical conclusions.[3]

In some cases (such as the Americas), geographic barriers are argued to have slowed technological development (by preventing technology sharing between different societies), but in other cases (such as in China), lack of geographic barriers are also argued to have slowed technological development (by preventing technology competition between different societies), arguably making the argument rather ad hoc.[4]

The book Understanding human history: An analysis including the effects of geography and differential evolution argues that sub-Saharan Africa had a much more favorable geography than Mesoamerica regarding potentially useful flora, potentially useful fauna, length of geographic east-west span, and access to technologies and flora/fauna from other regions. The book argues that sub-Saharan Africa therefore (according to the theory of Guns, Germs, and Steel) should have been a more advanced region than Mesoamerica (prior to the European expansion), but that instead Mesomaerica had more advanced cities, stone constructions, mathematics, and astronomy.[5]

Regarding the book's arguments on Australoids, see Australoids: Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Jewish genetics

The author, the Jewish and argued Zionist Jared Diamond, has been accused of hypocrisy and double standard, since he in other publications has stated that Jews are a somewhat “pure race", has argued against the view that “being Jewish is more a matter of belief than of genes”, has argued that the high average Jewish IQ may have genetic causes, and has argued that genetic testing may be used for purposes such as identifying who is a Jew or not, which may be used by Israel to decide who has the right or not to settle in Israel.[6]

See also

External links


Partly critical


  1. Rushton, J. P. (1999). [Book Review of J. Diamond: Guns, germs and steel. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997]. Population and Environment, 21, 99-107
  2. A Real Diamond: Michael Hart`s Understanding Human History. August 12, 2007, 9:00 am.
  4. Squaring the Circle
  5. Hart, M. H. (2007). Understanding human history: An analysis including the effects of geography and differential evolution. Washington Summit Publishers.
  6. Race and History, Part 1, The Zionist Racism of Anti-Racist Jared Diamond