Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

Gerold Firl (
23 Oct 1996 19:37:10 GMT

In article <>, (Toby Cockcroft) writes:

|> In article <54h6ls$>, () wrote:

|> >Remember now, that I'd like a definition of race that is not effectively
|> >equivalent to species,

There seems to be some confusion here. Race is equivalent to
*subspecies*. Different species don't interbreed, whereas subspecies

|> By putting restrictions like this on the argument you have already
|> predetermined the outcome in your favour, this is rather poor science you
|> must allow for responses and definitions that do not fall within your
|> ideology.

"Science"? Is that really the concept you had in mind?

|> >and I'd also like to have some examples of species that can be clearly
|> demarcated into races

|> To my knowledge there aren't any.

Oh dear. Any species which occupies a range which is large compared to
the average genetic mixing distance (the average distance between the
birthplaces of breeding pairs) will have subspecies, particularly if
the range encompasses a variety of environments. An extreme example is
the western pocket gopher, which lives throughout most of western
north america, and has dozens of subspecies. The subterranean
lifestyle means that gopher-boy marries the girl next door, even if
she has bad teeth; the mean genetic mixing distance is on the order of
100 meters. In addition, the range of the gopher includes all sorts of
different environments, leading to local adaptations which further
accelerate racial differentiation.

|> >other examples of species that clearly cannot

|> Homo sapiens sapiens

A better example would be the cheetah. The cheetah has very little
genetic diversity, thought to result from a genetic bottleneck at the
end of the ice age. The theory which I've seen speculated that al the
worlds cheetahs are descended from a small founder-population around
10,000 years ago. They haven't had time to diverge into races yet. (Of
course, over-hunting in the last few centuries may have played a role

Man does not fit into this mold. What about the pygmies? They are the
clearest example of a distinct human subspecies, adapted to the rain
forest environment over many generations. Our recent global mixing has
blurred the outlines of the different branches on the family tree, but
not so much that the overall structure is lost. By the normal
standards of biological taxonomy, our species does have geographical
subspecies. You may not like the fact, yet fact it remains.

Facts are funny that way.

|> >and then where man is situated along the continuum.

|> I would say that Humans are rather typical in this respect to other species.

Other geographically dispersed, environmentally diverse species, that

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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf