Re: What are race promoters promoting?

Gerold Firl (
26 Nov 1996 20:43:47 GMT

In article <>, (Phil Nicholls) writes:

|> wrote:

|> >Finally, after all the toing and froing we have the answer. There is no such
|> >thing as "race"; there are only "sub-species". Gosh, what a wonderful
|> >difference that makes.

There is no difference, if you want to use the term "race" in a
meaningful and consistant way.

Of course, the term is also employed by various folk taxonomies, which
are not subject to requirements of consistancy or logical rigor. This
newsgroup has been the scene of vigorous denunciation of such usage.
Such errors should be pointed out, but it's important to keep in mind
that the idea of race/subspecies does have a biological basis, and the
human species does show just such variation.

|> I see that you have a reading comprehension problem. What I actually
|> said was that neither term provides a useful way understanding
|> biological variation.

Why do you say that? A sub-population of a species which has one or
more distinct characteristics which can be used to distinguish them
from other members of the species, and which is based on genetic
differences evolving over time, is called a "subspecies", or "race".
That is precisely the means by which biologists designate variation
within a species. What would be a more useful way of describing
biological variation?

|> Among other things, "species" is part of a system of nested
|> hierarchical catagories and the least inclusive of the lot.

Except for subspecies, of course.

|> others you may have learned in biology class (assuming to attended
|> high school). They include kingdom, phylum, class, order, family,
|> genus and species.
|> Each major taxon has subdivisions: subphylums, superfamilies,
|> infraorders, subclass, etc. A group of related subspecies form a
|> species.
|> The term "subspecies" was introduced by population biologists in the
|> 1930's, well before the political right found it useful to invoke the
|> term "politically correct" to excuse racism and sexism.

Maybe I misunderstood what you were saying above; perhaps you meant to
say that subspecies do not well describe *human* biological variation.
Population biologists find the term very useful.

Why would you say that human genetic variation should not be described
in terms of subspecies? In what way is human genetics and evolution
different from other animals?

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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf