Re: What are race promoters promoting?

Gerold Firl (
27 Nov 1996 20:33:52 GMT

In article <>, writes:

|> In article <> you wrote:
|> : Susan S. Chin wrote:

(A bunch of stuff which I'll trim way back - for example:)

|> >If you're familiar with Bergman's Rule and Allen's Rule, I don't see how
|> >adaptations to the environment (which encompasses more than just climate)
|> >can be viewed as a chance factor.

|> I am familiar with them. What I'm saying here is that much adaptation to
|> climate is really acclimation or developmental, but not biological
|> adaptation. Neither acclimation not adaptation are chance factors. The
|> chance factors are things like drift and the founder's affect. Much human
|> variation has little to do with any sort of adaptation.

Maybe so, but much human variation is also clearly adaptive; in any
case, if a subpopulation has distinctive physical characteristics, it
doesn't much matter whether they arose by adaptation *or* chance. It
serves to distinguish them as a separate subspecies no matter how the
evolutionary chances came about.

Susan is mistaken about the 3-race model of humanity; such a model is
not at all useful for understanding human variation and evolution. The
rest of what she says is quite correct. The races of man developed by
the same processes of breeding isolation, adaptation, and chance which
formed the races of any species.

|> : "Human racial classification is of no social value and is positively
|> : destructive of social and human relations. Since such racial
|> : classification
|> : is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance
|> : either,
|> : no justification can be offered for its continuance (R. Lewontin in
|> : EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 1972, volume 6 pg 397)"

This is a perfect example of the political basis of the "one-species
no-races" position. Lewontin believes that racial classification is
"positively destructive" of *social* relations - that is the basis for
his crusade. I have some sympathy for his goals - the creation of a
non-racist society - but I believe the dishonesty of his tactics are
counterproductive. Stating that racial classification has no taxonomic
significance is simply false, and will not stand the test of critical
scrutiny. Such a tack should be abandoned if the goal is the creation
of a free society.

|> (Susan 3)
|> >This is unfortunate. I personally feel studying human "racial" variations
|> >could lead to understandings of human adaptations and the source of this
|> >variation. By denying that there is a pattern to it, implies that this
|> >variation is somewhat meaningless.

Exactly. How can you trust people who fear the truth?

|> Physical anthropologists today certainly think variation is patterned.
|> This dilemma you offer race=pattern, any other approach=chaos, is a false
|> one.

Race/subspecies is the way biology describes the pattern of genetic
variation within a species. If you create some other way of describing
genetic variation, say using mathematical descriptions of
gene-gradients between populations, you will find that it amounts to
the same thing. The borders between races are due to sudden changes
in those genetic gradients.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf