Re: Identifying Race

Gary Goodman (sap@TANK.RGS.UKY.EDU)
Wed, 21 Aug 1996 17:37:52 EDT

Jesse, take a long warm bath, drink some hot chocolate and what a nice
Capra movie and CALM DOWN!

Snip reply on a question Holloway raised about what species I was
referring to. And which Holloway seemed to grok after I explained...

>>I specified what species -- Homo sapiens. Or so I thought -- didn't I? I
>>should point out this was pulled rapidly together from several different
>>chapters of an incomplete text, so maybe that got lost.

JC>Gary: Are you so ignorant of the debate in human evolution that you don't
JC>get what Ralph was getting at? One refers to our species as *Homo sapiens*
JC>unless one believes that we are actually a subspecies of that species, in
JC>which case we are referred to as *Homo sapiens sapiens*. One would believe
JC>we are a subspecies only if one also believed that the neandertals also were
JC>a subspecies, in which case they would be referred to as *Homo sapiens

Whoa Jesse. What we had here was a typo due to combining two paragraphs
into one resulting is a "sapiens" getting misplaced somewhere! Yes --
okay -- quite correct: H. sapiens neanderthalensis (whereas as a separate
species it would be Homo neanderthalis).

In the original text it said:

"So, by the general standards of evolutionary, biological, and
genetic taxonomy: On the Planet Earth, circa the year 2000 Common
Period, in the genus of Homo, there is but ONE species; that of
Homo sapiens; in which there have been three generally accepted
subspecies or varieties ("races") -- at least two extinct or
absorbed: archaic Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens archaic), the
Neanderthal (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis), and the successor
modern man -- Homo sapiens sapiens -- us."

Gremlins however were at work and SOMETHING happened in adding some
stuff from another paragraph in another chapter and rewriting.

I KNEW I HAD had it right. So I missed the error. Is that enough
(especially since in the part I had gotten it correct or the spelling
should have tipped you off what happened) to accuse me of ignorance in
such a boorish manner?


Anyway even ignoring the Neanderthal question, unless you want to deny
archaic Homo sapiens as a subspecies, then of course modern humans are a
subspecies of Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens sapiens has been used in this
list REPEATEDLY to distinguish ourselves from Neanderthal and archaic.

Did you miss that Jesse? Do a search.

And did you also miss the Leakey quote where it was used?

I have also argued before here on the list, and not long ago, that the
effort to make Neanderthal a separate species seems somewhat racial --
although as has been pointed out some believe that the gestation period
for Neanderthal might have been different than for Cro-Magnon. Though
this one I find hard to justify based upon the available
evidence.However I haven't seen the actual article that argued this -- I
have NOT ready access to a good research library and, since I have moved
into the rural back-roads of the Information Superhighway, haven't good
WWW access yet (but a fiber optic hookup is promised before Xmas -- what
a NICE gift from Santa!).

The paleontologists seem rather divided on this matter. Nils Elderidge
and Ian Tattershal, and the American Museum of Nat. Hist. gang, plus
many in France and England as firmly convinced Neanderthals were a separate
species; just as I and quite a few other interested parties are
unconvinced of this!

The main points (correct me the real experts please) of argument being
largely the apparent lack of evidence of interbreeding between
co-existing (maybe) populations of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon at sites
in France and especially one cave in Israel. Though here too we might
actually be seeing the first physical evidence of racism. Or it might be
that Cro-Magnon alleges might be completely dominant in those physical
skeletal characteristics so "halfbreds" resemble more Cro-Magnon than
Neanderthal and any remains are thus classified.

Or a dozen other possibilities that haven't really been excluded (and
may never be).

The other major argument is that some experts (but only some) feel the
physical differences are enough to justify a separate species status for
Neanderthal. However, having just looked through a book of recognized
dog breeds, this argument by itself seems a bit thin IMHO. Plus the more
recent reconstructions of Neanderthal seem to bear up the old comment
about giving a Neanderthal male a good shave, a Brooks Brothers suit,
and a brief case (or fannypack nowadays) and he could walk down Times
Square, or Rodeo Drive, unnoticed.

That about sum up the contention folks? Please correct me.

My point to Ralph, besides, was I thought I had been quite clear I was
talking about Homo sapiens sapiens as subspecies of H. sapiens. Since
subspecies = race in general usage. He had not made clear where the
confusion was. Thanks for clarifying that.

JC>>"...since when did phenotypic traits include religious, social, ethnic
JC>>distinctions"? Good question. Same question I've asked those who claim
JC>>this -- remember the "supposedly"?

JC>Who are "those who claim this" that you have asked?

I discussed this -- come on!

JC>>To racialists these are somehow genetic! Of course they are not.

JC>That's not a good enough answer.

Sez who? Fact is that for a century and a half (at least) these various
attributes were actually accepted IN THE SCIENTIFIC WORLD, as well as
among the general public, as being inherited! Anthropologists especially
seemed to swallow a lot of this guff whole. Was there a single one in
the 19th century NOT a racist? Or very many before the 1960s? Let us be
honest with ourselves here...

Was not Franz Boas vilified for his efforts to fight this in the early
part of this century? Had to fight the racism of his boss Henry
Fairfield Osborn? What about the Eugenics movement, who attributed all
of the above to the genes?! How about that screwy Army report on the
genetic "character" of the Negro written during WW2?

Or the IQ gap nonsense recently?

And on and on and on...

You REALLY think all that has vanished? Even from the halls of science?

Better look around a LOT closer. Cruise the Usenets and chat rooms. Or
listen to the jokes told in the labs when "none of THEM" are around.

Who exactly is the ignorant one here Jesse?

Or at least naive...

JC>>But try to explain that to WhiteAryanResistence members, David Duke
JC>>followers, Aryan Church and Odin and Wotan (and Hitler) worshippers! The
JC>>John Birchers and too many in the faux militia movement. Or, alas, too
JC>>many of the rest of the people of this planet; who DO believe that these
JC>>alleged "racial" aspects ARE "biological" somehow

JC>I would even try to explain anything to the likes of these; have you?

For YEARS and by the megabyte! (Wore out THREE keyboards doing so!) Ask
around. Some of the other members in the list, also battling the racist
upsurge on the Internet, will bear it out that I have indeed been on the
cybernetic frontlines on this. And I guarantee I am one former
subscriber old Steve Case of AOL remembers -- or ask around in the AOL
ACLU or politics areas about RealHick and TrueHick and Orbi...

The article I pulled that first post from in an earlier form has made
the rounds several times of the Internet and Usenet as "races, lies, and
pseudoscience," and is archived several places I've been told

Err... I don't remember seeing you around fighting the good fight though

In addition I am part of three radical and racist watchgroups, and a
consultant to others and the authorities on this. And on several enemies
lists and suffered death threats (I carry a .45 legally as a result).

Want some testimonials? A megabyte or two of past messages? Some of the
nasty-mail I've gotten?

Or are finally you being to suspect you really put your cyber-foot in
your big mouth on this?


JC>>or means -- innate
JC>>characteristics refected in skin color and hair type. (Right Arthur?)

JC>Who's Arthur?

See how much attention Jesse pays?


JC>>Touchy touchy Ralph. Don't jump to conclusions on me.
JC>>Who indeed *are* to judge?

JC>Shouldn't that be *is*?

Not particularly. Informal use. Besides, this is the NOMINATIVE as "who"
is the subject of the verb "are." Sheesh -- do I have to teach English
grammar too?

JC>>Physical anthropologists only? Those declining numbers of physical
JC>>anthropologists still clinging desperately to what is known as
JC>>"scientific racism"?

JC>Do any exist to your certain knowledge or are you just being rhetorical?

There are several whoM do indeed support still the use of races in the
old sense. I could dig up some name but would not embarrass them in
public anyway. And Coon still has his supporters. Ask around -- you may
be quite surprised. Especially check out Harvard and Princeton -- for
some peculiar reason seem to have the extremes there.

>>Or the new Social Darwinians? The Hereditarians?
>>The Eugenists? The demagogues and racist rabble-rousers and nationalists
>>and nativists? The Census Bureau?

JC>The Census Bureau?

BOY! You really are dense sometimes -- or just trying to be cute?
(Please don't -- you have NO talent at it!) Is that not EXACTLY what
this thread was started about? Filling out government forms about what
"race" one was? Did not someone mention what happened when that put down
"human" for race in their Census questionnaire?


You got problems with short-term memory or just comprehension Jesse?

J>Whom indeed...
>>And who the hell said human biology is in any way "trivial" Dr.
>>Holloway, in the ANTHROL-L list? Damn silly thing to say for sure! Not I
>>certainly, nor anyone here that I am aware of (though I have been
>>skimming posts to try to catch up).

>Maybe you should get completely caught up before jumping to the conclusion
>that Ralph is being silly.

In other words you cannot name anyone either (in fact I HAD read *all*
the "biological = trivial" posts and as far as I could tell no one
REALLY meant to say any such thing). But largely there was some sarcasm
there that you missed...

Like a lot else...

But then I have noticed that many people (especially in America) seem
totally blind to sarcasm unless it is LABELED such! Just as their humor
must have a laugh track.

I had already commented on the "biological = trivial" thread. I thought
that Ron Kephart had taken a *bit* too much umbrage about Adrian
Tanner's offhand remark. And I thought Adrian's reply:

>I was fully aware that my expressed lack of interest in universal
cultural practices runs entirely against the prevailing wisdom. Why
it is shameful to express this view, however, particularly as a
matter of personal taste, is not yet clear to me. My assertion of
'triviality' is basically a reference to the Durkheimian kind of
warning against explaining culture through reduction to a
non-cultural source. I am certainly not asserting the study of the
genetic component of behaviour is trivial, just that this kind of
reductionism is a form of trivialization.

I think I am able to present a good defence as to why widespread,
but less that fully universal, cultural phenomena are of very
great significance, and that, moreover, this significance has not,
to my knowledge, been adequately acknowledged within our
discipline. As for universal cultural phenomena, I suspect that
once the widepread-but-less-than-fully-universal components have
been subtracted from the roster of cultural phenomena, it will have
to be acknowledged that cultures are actually much less
characterized by universal features than they are often assumed to

But what of those truely universal features that remain? I am
simply saying that my expectation would be that these are most
likely going to be found to be the features most closely tied to
the universal genetic characteristics of homo sapiens. I support
the idea that anthropologists should all be required, as I was, to
study all of the 4 sections of our particular tribe, including the
physical anthropology and the linguistics components, even though
they usually declare their membership in only one of them, so this
is not a narrow-minded attack on those specialties. I read with
great interest the work of others in these areas of research. But
I am saying those who only study the universal in culture, even
given all its glorious surface-level cultural variety, are missing
out on one of the particularly significant aspects of culture,
which is its freedom (indeterminancy sounds more intellectual, and
may cover what I am alluding to), including the freedom to *not*
have this or that type of cultural practice.<

...SHOULD have made it clear it was NOT the Great Decline of Biological
Awareness in Anthropology certain persons seemed hell-bent on making it
out to be! I honestly found this particular thread to be a lot of blood
-and-thunder and venting of spleens, but mostly revealing certain posters'
emotional and professional uncertainties and narrow-mindedness.

Like I said, I am aware of no one here who REALLY said the biological
aspects are "trivial" in meaning of little consequence to behavior. That
wasn't what Adrian was (at least) trying to say. But maybe I missed
something somewhere. However, I made my position on the importance of
the biological pretty clear I though -- did I not?