Re: a new topic

Sat, 7 Oct 1995 23:48:00 PDT

Carson comments:

" In my opinion (humble or not), race does not exist except in the
minds of people. In other words, it is an ideational construct ...
Rather, the observed differences between people can be placed on a
continuous spectrum."

Certainly "race" is a concept, hence ideational. There are two issues (as
was discussed at some length about a year ago): (1) can the concept of
"race," is it is used in a social context be mapped meaningfully onto a
biological foundation--the answer seems quite clearly to be No and (2) are
there biological discontinuities among sets of breeding populations where we
might want to use the term "race" to refer to these discontinuities (and only
refer to the discontinuities). Here the answer is probably yes. For
example, frequency distributions across space of alleles responsible for
pigmentation exhibit discontinuities (or at least a good approximation to
discontinuities). Such "races" would be specific to whatever set of alleles
are chosen for the purpose of considering how allele frequencies vary on a
world wide bases and are not "races" as is the term is generally understood.

D. Read