Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

Bob Whitaker (
Tue, 29 Oct 1996 13:36:04 -0500

Ron Kephart wrote:
> () wrote:
> > Now if you'll just tell me what you mean by "meaningful," you'll have
> > answered the original question, "What are the race deniers denying?"
> By "biologically meaningful" I meant genetically determined traits
> which cluster together within a given population and which do not
> occur in other populations. Let's say that all humans with very light-brown
> skin, blue eyes, and straight blonde hair also had type O blood, and
> they all happened to live on Iceland. Let's say further that they
> had lived there for maybe 10,000 years with no gene flow between them
> and any other human population. Maybe you could make a good case for
> this being a "race"; what do the real biologists think?

Good God, man, don't be such an intellectual slave!
Under French and other European law, if a person merely says races
are really different, they face five years in prison and a sixty
thousand dollar fine. This is enforced.
The president of the American physical anthropologists'
association, Carleton S. Coon, was forced to resign way back in 1962 for
denying your racial orthodoxy.
You and I both know that anyone who denies your politically correct
orthodoxy on campus loses his job. I've watched it happen. Your
so-called real bilogists toe the line or are fired, and you damned well
know it.
So like a good little authoritarian, you quote those who are under
your intellectual tyranny as authority.
Every recognized Soviet university expert on Marxism in 1980 was a
Marxist. Every prfessor who keeps his job agrees with you. That doen't
make you right, it just makes you the establishment's good boy.
And a bully.

> This situation simply does not describe any human population that I
> am aware of. All the traits used above occur separately in combination
> with still other traits, and all human populations have been for our
> entire history in long-distance genetic contact with all others via
> gene flow.
> The original classification of biological organisms into species and
> subspecies or "races" had as one of its underpinnings the creationist
> assumption that the characteristics used in doing the classifications
> were permanent features of the organisms in question. I'm no biologist
> but what I learnd in my physical anthropology courses was that most
> biologists, in the light of evolutionary theory and the realization
> that most if not all the traits used in classifications are more-or-
> less plastic, had pretty abandoned the notion of "race"/subspecies in
> favor of looking at the distribution and possible adaptive advantage
> of the aforementioned traits.
> Translated to anthropology, what this means is that rather than trying
> to use, say, skin color as a diagnostic for placing people into
> taxonomic groupings (which in the light of other biological evidence
> simply does not work) we now want to know what the selective advantages
> of darker or lighter skin color might be in particular kinds of local
> environments. And what other factors, such as sexual selection, etc.
> might be involved?
> Another point that comes to mind is that one of the traits that makes
> us unique, language, is distributed evenly over the whole species.
> What if people from, say, Europe could only acquire languages that
> OVERmark plural in noun phrases (e.g., the NP THOSE THREE cowS,
> contains three overt plural markers). Now that would be a real good
> "racial" classification, wouldn't it? But it won't work, because any
> human from anywhere can acquire any human language. Language clearly
> has a biological basis far more "meaningful" than most of the traits
> traditionally used in "racial" classifications, and it has to be
> universal or else Europeans would not be able to learn languages like
> Aymara, which do not over-mark plural.
> I take language to be a truly meaningful trait, in the sense that
> if it "fails" for some reason the life of the person affected is
> severely changed. A trait like skin color, on the other hand, is
> relatively less meaningful; dark-skinned people transplanted to
> Norway can get their calcium in other ways, while light-skinned
> people in the tropics can cover up and drink extra fluids. It might
> be "meaningful" to group people into races by blood type, but then
> you have to ask "Why?".
> I don't know if this takes us anywhere or not, but it's what was
> on my mind.
> Ron Kephart
> University of North Florida