Re: What are race promoters promoting?
28 Nov 1996 05:27:49 GMT (Gerold Firl) wrote:

.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
|> >adaptations to the environment (which encompasses more than just
|> >can be viewed as a chance factor.

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

.Maybe so, but much human variation is also clearly adaptive;

Yes. Part of what you snipped was me saying so. Why repeat it?

. in any
.case, if a subpopulation has distinctive physical characteristics, it
.doesn't much matter whether they arose by adaptation *or* chance.

I agree.

.serves to distinguish them as a separate subspecies no matter how the
.evolutionary chances came about.

What are these sub-species? Name them.

.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.

Including her "geographic" over genetic relatedness argument?

.The races of man developed by
.the same processes of breeding isolation, adaptation, and chance which
.formed the races of any species.

This eludes certain truths. What other species could change their
adaptation from arctic to tropical in less than a generation? What other
species facilitates gene flow by rapid migration and overcoming various
sorts of geographic barriers? The processes are not the "same". If you
wish to overlook culture as an important factor shaping human genotypes
that is your choice, but it is a silly one.

|> : "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.

What is the politcal purpose of doggedly persisting in the use of a term
(race) which even in your view describes an entirely different set of
propositions than its original usage?

|> (Susan 3)
|> >This is unfortunate. I personally feel studying human "racial"
|> >could lead to understandings of human adaptations and the source of
|> >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?

Sigh. The Truth. Is the truth that different human populations vary in
their genetic makeup? I don't fear that at all. Do you really think we
have the data to understand the 'truth'? What you have is a hypothesis,
not so free of political rational as you might think.

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

.Race/subspecies is the way biology describes the pattern of genetic
.variation within a species.

Really? I know quite a few population ecologists who have moved away from
this view, and biologists too.

. 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.

Whoa. If you aren't describing races in terms of gene-gradients, then on
what basis are you describing them?

And by "you", I assume you mean YOU, since attempts to do this with single
and even multiple attributes has resulted in vastly differing
classificatory schemes that often bear little resemblence to one another.

With any multivariate analysis you very rarely get that sudden change you
speak of along more than a single gradient.

What were those races again, and where are they?

--Greg Keyes