Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

Philip Deitiker (
Tue, 01 Oct 1996 00:44:56 GMT () wrote:

>I've been hearing long enough statements denying the existence of race in
>humans, but I've never been clear just what it is that is being denied.
>Would someone please define the word and show examples of species in which
>a) there are clearly demarcated races, b) other species where there is
>only blurring, and c) where humans fall along the continuum? I've asked
>this question before and got no satisfactory answer. But these Newsgroups
>have a high turnover, so some race denier may be here that can answer my
>question. I am NOT interested in learning that race is a sociological
>concept, one that has no *necessary* connection to the biological concept.
>I am quite well aware of this. What I want to know about is the biology,
>since I don't think any race deniers deny that races exists in the
>sociological sense.

Sorry, but I generally don't respond to talk.fanatic.whatever so if
you find your way back over here.........

Race was essentially defined by euopeans/mediteranians in their
travels around the world. However, there are a number of intermediate
groups. Consider western china, mongolia, and the turkic republics of
asia. Also consider east and southern india, mongolia. In africa
consider ethiopia, somalia, the middle-east, northwestern africa and
spain (not as complete examples but a good examples). Consider the
following, in asia there is a large disperse group of people who
speak ural-altaic, and a couple of groups believes to be related to
them. All people who speak these languages are believed to have
descended from an ancestral population living somewhere in east
central asia at the end of the last ice age. Lets look at the current
population and how they are distributed

Baltic = Caucasian
Magyars = Caucasian
Turkic = Caucasian/Mongolian
Mongolian = Mongolian
Korean = Mongolian
Japanese = Mongolian

Consider a second language grouping the hamito/semitic and other
ancient mediteranian cultures

If your from
Arabia = generally casucasian
North Africa = mixed
east africa = Negro

spain =caucasian, olive skinned
cicily =caucasian, olive skinned
(even though there is evidence of transcontintal geneflow)

Then begins the real problem. Consider the basque, or the dravidians,
or australo aborigines or native americans. The issue is could the
tripartied race separation be useful in defining inheretance
(genetics) in these groups. To answer the question the relative
relationships of many groups of people had to be defined. This has
been done in three studies so far (the mt, ZFY, and CD4 studies), as
well as HLA-DRB1. the consensus is that there are two major groupings
of people in the world......

1. Those descended very genetically diverse sub-saharan africans.
2. Those descended from populations rest of the world.

This is a psuedo grouping because group 1 can be further divided into
many more groups without neccesitating the subdivision of 'the rest of
the world'. So the answer to the inheritance question is that
arbitratily deciding that there only be 3 groupings genetics says


or more probably


but genetics wouldn't say this at all if it has the choice it _might_
stipulate the following

All folks
-Group a in sub saharan africa
-subtypes 1
-subtypes 2
-subtypes N
-Group b in sub saharan africa
-Group c, etc.
-Group Global
- subtypes still in africa
-east africans of several types
- subtype in northern africa/eurasia
-north east and north west africans, some iberians, etc.
- subtypes spread not in regions listed above
- caucasoid, central and east asians
-central asian
-northeastern asian
-amerind of eastern US, mexico and southamerica
-certian amerind tribes of western north america
-eskimo/inuit/siberian eskimo
-sinitic asians, many southeast asians, polynesians
-asians of himalyian plateu and upper burma
-(s) diverse scattered groups in micronesia
- southeast asians (solomon islanders and australoabor.)
-solomon islanders
-(s) many historically isolated islander groups
-austral aborigines

This basically illuistrates a major problem in human population
classification. For example the group currently known as caucasian
refers to a core people of indoeuropean heritage who are believed to
have been living in the Ukraine at the end of the last ice age. Within
the current interglacial period this group spread northward, eastward,
southward and westward. In some places, such as india its almost
certain that this population intermingled with the preexisitng
population. In europe, particular the mediteranian this clearly
happened, in north europe the process appears to be one of
displacement, although this isn't clear. This group even reached into
africa, but a indoeuropean population of north africa is not
genetically definable as such. During the formative (expansive period)
of indoeuropeans another expansive group representing the ural/altaic
peoples expanded westward/eastward and eventually southward. The
uralic subgroup was at one time located at the convergence of the
volga and kama rivers in asia putting it very close to regions
occupied by indoeuropeans (explaining their classification as
caucasian). The eastern subgroup moved into regions proximal to
sinetic asia and northeastern asians (including transcontinental
asians) and this no doubt affected the genetic makup of the western
population. The southern arm moved into asia, middle east and many
merged into those populations. If we consider a group whose language
is believed to have been derived from proto ural/altaic, the japanese,
we can clearly illustrate the kind of interplay of genetics,
linguistics and beliefs.
Archeological finds in japan dating back to the last ice age
indicate extensive communication with the asian mainland particularly
china, these finds have been discovered not in a southern region but
on a northern plain, indicating not only that the island has been
historically settled but may have had historically strong gene flow
from prehistoric china. The linguistic studies of japanese language
indicate a connection with a mainland protoural/altaic language, it is
unclear that this introduction occured as a result of a korean
immigration or whether this had developed earlier and korean structure
reinforced this structure as apposed to the stucture introduced by
recent (<2000 Years) chinese influences. In the north part of japan
one sees the presence of a group related to transcontinental eskimo.
Thus it appears that several groups have interacted to form what
japanese would almost consider a race to itself. I have traveled from
the northern parts to the southern most part of japan and its pretty
aparent that the face of japanese change. In the north there are alot
of japanese which appear as northwest asians and eskimo type faces. In
the central regions (tokyo south past osaka) many people are almost
indistuiguihable from their counterparts in korea. On the
southwestern island one sees alot of folks who could easily pass off
as mexican or other native north american. From an inhertance point
of view this begs the question even in a rather tightly constrained
situation can inheritance be judged by current genetic makeup, and can
this then be related to some type of stem/branch type structure. How
about my visual observations, are they of any relevance?

The visual observations must be weighed for the following reason.
Suppose one crosses X with Y. the reality is that you are crossing
AbCDEfG with abCDefG.... (upper Case = dominant and lower case =
recessive genes). where the resulting population appearance is not
only the result of hybridization but of the relative dominance of
several crossed genes. In addtion given a relatively small number of
generations and selective pressures and drift will work to establish a
new equilibria population with a scale of variation. The similarites
of some american amerinds with Indians of east india are purely
conincidental as with the australo aborigines and africans. OTOH,
sometimes the visual similarites are indicative of a past
relationship. I would say that because of drift that appearance
similarities are probably indicative, but that .......

Genetic tests are very useful in resolving these issues,
unfortunately resolving a inhertiance stream is not (right now) easy.

Let me give an example suppose one creates a zone of hybridization
where by ABCDE crosses with abcde and later becomes a population
isolated into itself (theoretically) In generation 2N where 2N is the
average number of inds in that population is the formation of
homogeneous ABcdE (or one of the other cross probabilities). Now
suppose after this has become fairly uniform in the population I test
at two of the 5 loci and compare with the parental populations (ABCDE
and abcde)

here's my exemplary findings (HP = hybrid population, P1 = ABCDE, P2=

25% chance I'll find HP=P1
25% chance I'll find HP=P2
50% chance I'll find HP=new population of unknown origin

thus in studiying two loci I find HP was a subset of one or the other
P1, and 50% chance of detecting its possible hybrid status. But in
that 50% chance I might also conclude that this was a third lineage
unrelated to either parental population. In order to define better I
need more varaint loci which are difficult to get as two groups are of
closer relationship. So seeing a hybrid structure is difficult even
when the starting mix ratio is 50:50, which is seldomly the case.

What about stem/branches? Well the problem with the genetics is that
as two groups become closer the number of identical loci increase, but
as relationship decreases the number of clearly variant genes
increases as well as the number of (neutral mutations). Thus
geneticists have to study more loci between similar groups than
between dissimilar groups to answer such a question. These studies do
not yet indicate _clearly_ between indoeuropeans that any stong
foundation for divided/hierarchal classification is strongly founded
but does indicate clear differences between subsaharans and eurasians.
It works more definitely on populations which have been clearly
separated (such as endemic tribes of southeast asia vs all other
eurasians) than on groups which have had extensive contact with other
cultures. Well, then you might argue that we can have two races
(african and eurasian). Problem is this as mentioned above according
to genetics there _could be_ several _clearly_ gentically defined
population in africa or because of mixing a sort of amalgam of
silightly different regional populations each as dissemilar as
caucasian and east asains but also too mixed to delineate out

thus I send you back to my very simple bipartite classification with a
little modification.

Those descended very genetically diverse sub-saharan africans.
- With alot of mixture of genetically diverse groups and some
radiation, produced at least one single bud from an ancient
regional population, then mixed some more (negro, asian,
-Those descended from populations rest of the world.
Fairly homogeneous, with extensive branching and some
regional intermixing, many historically isolated groups.
(mostly asian and caucasian, possibly some SSA)
-Unknown numbers of groups in SSA (negro)

Now finally reconcile this with race. As mentioned above appearance
can help to support a given theory of classification. but race
classification says that groups are classified solely because of
appearance (or concurance of an appeanrce with endemic geographical
location) and how does this concur with the genetics.
The answer is that the racial subtype 'negro' or 'black' is a
useless terminolgy since it does not reconcile the genetics of
subsahran african diversity, or the fact that all are descended from
this population. IOW one could argue that a european (caucasian) is
'genetically' of negro race and in genetic form be correct. Thus the
word 'negro' is genetically ambiguos. Not to mention that there are
black (negro = spanish for black) peoples in tropical climates all
around the world which indirectly as related to SSA as europeans.
What about 'mongoloid' (east asian). Since the relationship of
caucasion and euarasion is not _clearly_ resolved one does not know
whether the caucasions branched simulataneously with mongoloid or one
branched from the other. If I had to guess I would say that the
holo-asian population is older and caucasian began to solidify from
this population several tens of thousand years back. If this is true
then there are several asain populations at the same systematic
heirarchal level as caucasian (which is probably true anyway). Thus
the term mongolian is ambiguos.
Alas what about 'caucasion', well actually from the way i
understand this terminology it is somewhat synomous with indoeuropean.
I could expand it and say that it includes many protoindoeuropean
groups and allows some amount of intermixing but basically it
describes and expanded indoeuropean grouping. So why not just say
principally indoeuropean, just as some could be of principally east
asian, or principally southern amerind or principally papau-new
guineian. I might also add that the teminology 'white' is also bad
since a great number of asian/siberians have identical pigmentation
phenotypes as northern indoeuropeans, yet tend to share most other
facial features with europeans. In addition there is a report that a
9500 year old 'caucasian' skeleton was found along the western pacific
coast of the US indicating that caucasions may have, at one time,
frequented the nortwestern orient. Thus these group as well as several
native americn groups may represent the asia-caucasian mix.

Thus to answer your question, racial classification being used as
genetic classification is simply an obsolete classification
methodology. Each class type probably represents different
heirarchical levels and thus types are not comparable. since one is a
subset of another which is still a subset of the thrid.