Re: Are There Races?

28 Nov 1996 15:47:59 GMT

In article <577eu2$>, Terry Hallinan <> wrote:
>Stig O'Tracy <> writes:
>>Philip Kasiecki wrote:
>>And whatever do you mean by this? Even to the eye, it's plainly obvious that races
>>exist in a biological sense, unless you deny that people indigineous to certain
>>areas often have different physical appearences and different physiologies (eg.
>>Arabs and blacks react badly to certain medications, Orientals cannot process
>>alcohol well).
>It used to be Indians that could not handle that old firewater. :-}
>You have to define precisely what you are talking about. If you use
>color as the criteria for distinguishing people as is often done it
>makes as much sense as distinguishing two animals of a different color
>and calling them a subspecies. The usual criteria of caucasian which
>is demonstrably obsolete included people from South Asia who had skin
>at least as black as any in Africa.

Some of the old classifications turned out not to correspond very closely
with evolutionary descent; therefore none can. Is this your argument?

>It is hardly an accident that populations near the equator have darker
>skin, which helps ameliorate the harmful effects of sunlight, while
>peoples to the north have lighter skin to aid in the absorption of
>vitamin D. But to use such things to define subspecies or "races" is
>laughable. The dispersion and intermixture of genes is far too

Some of the old classifications employed too few characteristics;
therefore no classification, no matter how many characteristics can
succeed. Is *this* your argument.

>The primary proof lies in the ABO blood types. While there are
>differences there is a similarity in the relative frequency of blood
>types showing a common heritage. It would be the height of stupidity
>to continue to classify blood by imaginary races. It was once done.
>I have only a vague recollection of the details but the man who first
>defined blood types died needing a blood transfusion because of the
>need to get him to a hospital for blacks. He was a black man. Such
>obscenities are the result of people claiming there are racial
>differences other than the most shallow surface appearances.

Not every characteristic can be used in making classifications; therefore
classifications are impossible. Is THIS your argument.

>I would prefer to deal in truth.
>There are no races. It is all myth.
>There are arguments today over the jury in the OJ civil suit over how
>many blacks are on the jury. There were a number of "others" in the
>original pool. It's hard to draw those imaginary lines between
>imaginary races. Maybe Mr. O'Tracy can enlighten us all on how the
>issue of a "black" and "white" marriage is always "black." Such
>alchemy is not within the realm of science but fantasy.

Alleged races overlap and are not separate species; therefore races do
not exist. Is *THIS* your argument.

>My favorite races are the hispanic race which seems to get its genes
>from its language and the Jewish race which apparently gets its genes
>from its religion.

Language and religion are not absolutely reliable criteria for demarcating
races; therefore there are no races. Is **THIS** your argument?

Maybe they are all very good arguments, but the details need filling in.

Frank Forman
"It is a far, far better thing to be firmly
anchored in nonsense than to put out on the
troubled seas of thought" - John Kenneth Galbraith