In 1533, Atahuallpa, emperor of the Incas was presented to Conquistador Francisco Pizarro on a golden throne accented with the feathers of exotic birds. Upon meeting, Atahuallpa was asked cast away his religion for Christianity and accept the King of Spain as his ruler. When he refused, he was taken prisoner and eventually killed. His gold was sent back to Spain, and his people were enslaved. Why is it that the Spanish conquered the Incas and not the other way around? UCLA geology professor and Pulitzer prize winner Jared Diamond delves into this issue in his 1997 talk, “Why Did Human History Unfold Differently On Different Continents For The Last 13,000 Years?” He argues: over the last 13,000 years, biological and evolutionary patterns have had a dramatic effect on human population numbers, technology development, disease proliferation, and the determination of conquest and land domination. Diamond supports his claims by raising questions about human history that he goes on to answer and then recap later in his talk. . His purpose is to question why certain races advanced faster than others, in order to rebuke the former theory that stated that “world populations” (Diamond 7) advanced at different rates due to the average IQ of their people. Diamond presents a provocative tone throughout his speech, urging the audience of scholars and technologists to think about and consequently agree with his point of view on human history over the last 13,000 years. In my analysis of Diamond’s talk I will examine four of his main claims, the evidence he uses to support them, and the rhetorical strategies he employs to increase the appeal of his argument.
Diamond spends several minutes in the beginning of his talk familiarizing the audience with the issue at hand, and establishing his credibility. The introduction of Diamond’s talk contains several rhetorical strategies as well to grab the reader’s attention, and then funnel them to agree with his point of view. He promptly...
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