Hart Michael H. - Understanding human history

Author : Hart Michael H.
Title : Understanding human history An analysis including the effects of geography and differential evolution
Year : 2007

Link download : Hart_Michael_H_-_Understanding_human_history.zip

Introduction. Since there are already many books on world history, the reader may wonder why I have chosen to write another one. The answer is that most such books are unsatisfactory because they omit a crucial factor in human history. At one time, most history books gave a great deal of space to kings, wars, and battles, and to the generals who won or lost them. Later on, many historians shifted their focus to economic and social developments. More recently, historians have come to appreciate the critical role that scientific and technological advances have on human affairs. However, although it is now common for world histories to mention such advances, they usually do not delve very deeply into their causes. There are reasons why each particular technological or scientific development occurred when and where it did. However, it would be a mistake to consider only the special circumstances and not look for a common factor underlying those advances. In general, all such advances arise from human intelligence, and in particular from the application of the superior intelligence of one or more unusually talented individuals. This is obviously true for such inventions as television, computers, or holography; however, it is also true for earlier inventions such as the needle or the bow and arrow. This, however, begs a further question: How did that high human intelligence arise? The answer comes from Darwin’s theory of evolution. At some point in the distant past, the average intelligence of our ancestors was much lower than the average intelligence of humans living today. It is through the process of Darwinian evolution — and that alone — that the high intelligence needed to produce technological advances has arisen. In general, Darwinian evolution results in a species (or some subgroup of it) gradually becoming better adapted to its environment. But throughout prehistory, and through much of historical times, human groups have been widely separated from each other geographically, with relatively little interbreeding between them. Hence, each group tended to adapt to its own environment, and in the course of time various differences arose between those separate human groups. Some of the resulting group differences (such as the relatively dark skin of most Negroes, and the relatively light skin of most European whites) are easily visible; others are not visible to the eye, but are nonetheless of great importance. In particular, groups that resided for many millennia in regions with cold winters gradually — through the process of natural selection — evolved higher average intelligence than the groups living in milder climates. As a result, the peoples living in Northern Asia and Europe now have mean IQs of about 100, while the peoples living in sub-Saharan Africa have average IQs of around 70, and those living in a broad intermediate zone (stretching from North Africa across southern Asia and into Indonesia) have average IQs in the 80-90 range. At least four different types of evidence confirm these differences in intelligence: 1) The results of numerous IQ tests taken over a period of more than 80 years, not just in the United States but in many other countries. 2) Measurements of the average brain size of the members of various racial groups. 3) The poor performance (on average) of blacks in Europe and America in economic matters, contributions to mathematics and science, and in games of intellectual skill, such as tournament chess and duplicate bridge. 4) The extreme backwardness of the countries in the secluded zone of sub-Saharan Africa before they had contact with either Islamic or European civilization. The differences in average intelligence that evolved between the human races have been a major factor in the course of human history and prehistory. Any theory that ignores those differences, or denies their existence, will therefore be unable to explain various major aspects of history. Among the questions not adequately answered — indeed, often not even posed — by conventional history books are: a) Although Homo sapiens went hundreds of thousands of years without developing agriculture, within a few thousand years of the appearance of agriculture in the ancient Middle East it appears to have been developed independently in at least two other distant regions (China and Mesoamerica). What is the explanation for this? (See chapter 23.) b) In the second millennium BC, Indo-European tribes invaded India from the northwest and eventually conquered virtually all of northern India. How were they able to do this, despite being enormously outnumbered by the earlier inhabitants? (See chapter 26.) c) The Western Hemisphere was not settled until long after sub-Saharan Africa, and prior to 1492 it had no contact with the civilizations of Eurasia. Why is it that, in pre-modern times, more advanced civilizations developed in Mesoamerica than in sub- Saharan Africa? (See chapter 41.) d) The remarkable intellectual and cultural attainments of the ancient Greeks have long been noted. Why is it that the Greeks achieved so much more than the ancient Egyptians or Babylonians, or the Celtic and Germanic tribes? (See section 29-6 (i.e., section 6 of chapter 29).) e) The Berber tribes that inhabited northwest Africa at the dawn of history — prior to the entrance of the Romans, Greeks, or Phoenicians — spoke a set of related languages. Why is it that those Berber languages are all related to ancient Arabic and ancient Hebrew, even though the ancient Arabs and Hebrews lived thousands of miles away from northwest Africa, and none had ever settled there? (See section 22-3.) f) Why is it that China has usually been so much more politically unified and ethnically homogeneous than Europe? (See section 35-2.) g) Why is it that in almost every European country today the dominant language is descended from a now-extinct language (Proto-Indo-European) that was spoken six thousand years ago by a relatively small number of people inhabiting a region much smaller than Europe? And why — even before the European expansion and conquests of modern times — were Indo-European speakers so widely distributed, and so much more numerous than the speakers of any other language group? (See chapter 26.) h) Why is it that China has been repeatedly attacked (and on two occasions completely conquered) from the sparsely populated regions to its north, but has never been seriously attacked by the peoples living to its south? (See section 39-10.) The realization that group differences in average intelligence have often affected human developments enables us to better understand each of those historical questions, and many others as well. This book does not contain any suggestions as to what policies should be adopted — with the sole exception that we should attempt to ascertain the facts before deciding on questions of policy. Obviously, this book is not “politically correct.” I hope that the reader will nevertheless be open-minded enough to consider the evidence that it presents in favor of its thesis. If the quantity of data presented at times seems overwhelming, it is only because I fear that a lesser amount might not convince those who are skeptical of the thesis. It is my hope that those readers who do approach this book with an open mind will gain valuable insights into human history and the factors that have affected it. ...

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