“Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies”:http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552 by Jared M. Diamond.
For me, the book provides the basic to refute racism. It explains why certain societies became more advanced than others. The author did not stop at proximity causes but went further to examine what necessary conditions for advanced societies emerge are. One of the conclusions is that a civilization was achieved not because of the intrinsic superiority of the race. It was shown in the history that people in different parts of the world in similar environments came up with equally advanced societies. Note that the book discussed the human development in a macro level.
Cultures, religions, and politics are important human aspects which are not discussed in the book. I hope someone can write a similar book on those subjects.
The latest theory says that around 7 millions BC _homo sapiens_ started spreading to the rest of the world from Africa. If we subscribe to this theory, people around the world were equally smart, as in they had the same DNAs hence have similar “thinking capability”. In some parts of the world, due to the environments, the people there had a much earlier head start to build civilizations. Since evolution is a continuing progress, people in different places have been continuing evolved to adapt to the environments. Therefore, those live in a civilized society will evolve to have better skills in mathematics, abstract thinking, philosophy, literatures, etc. Through the natural selection, those capacity will become innate, built into genes, DNAs. As the consequence, one can draw a conclusion that Europeans are innately better than Native Americans, for instance, in the skills required by modern societies. I just wonder what might be the flaw of this argument.