Re: Are There Races? (Was: Re: Bob Whitaker: causing strife through the racist agenda)

28 Nov 1996 15:19:27 GMT

In article <573p7s$>, Terry Hallinan <> wrote:
>+@+.+ (G*rd*n) wrote:

>>Whether race has biological meaning or not is not a result
>>of race being a social construction. There's no doubt that
>>it's a social construction; this doesn't prevent it from
>>being biological, but doesn't require it either.
>But, of course, this is pure gobbledegook. Race is a biological
>concept. The "social construct" is baseless prejudice. When you
>remove the scientific underpinnings there is nothing left but
>superstition and lies.

But, of course, this is pure gobbledegook, meaning just your opinion.
Unless of course, your opinion can be backed up with solid arguments. By
the way, is "prejudice" something that just happens out of the blue?

>>| And I have tried
>>| to find out what the race deniers would count as a meaningfully biological
>>| race. That thread has degenerated into attacks on Bob Whitaker.
>>...By the way, some anthropologists have used the
>>term "race" to denote various biologically-based groupings.
>You should be a little careful. The "biological groupings" are based
>on physical characteristics that do attempt to trace migration and

Yes, yes, of course. That is certainly my understanding, and
classification by descent has been the objective of taxonomy ever since
Darwin. We rarely have the entire evolutionary history to work
with--indeed, we usually only have scanty evidence--so we have to rely on
what we have. This consists of physical characterists (bones and fossils
in many cases), DNA evidence, and the like. There are several schools of
thought on what is "the" best way to use scanty evidence to construct the
evolutionary tree, but in truth (and this is not very surprising, really)
that sometimes one method works best, sometimes another. Go read Robert R.
Sokal, "The Continuing Search for Order," _American Naturalist_ (1985),
pp. 729-749. It has been reprinted in Elliott Sober, _Conceptual Issues in
Evolutionary Biology_.

The longheads vs. broadheads is a notable example. But it
>is only poorly related to genetic heritage which is the basis of the
>race fallacy.

Please elaborate.

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