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 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 55
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Socially Constructed Idea of RacePage 4 of 5    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

This debate makes me wonder, if we can all collectively agree that race is a socially constructed thing, and does not exist, what implications would this have for programs like Affirmative Action, NAACP, ACLU and other programs that deal with promoting diversity?

That they are social programs set up to deal with social inequalities.

Which is the same reasoning behind programs designed to promote gender equality and/or representation, or promote the social inclusion of people with disabilities, or assist those for whom English is a second language - social programs to combat social disadvantage.
Seems pretty obvious to me...
 Inicia
Joined: 12/21/2007
Msg: 56
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 6/5/2012 8:38:11 AM
indeed these organizations do not change the stigma attached to being a minority. The stigma could be more salient as a social construct than a biological one. If we socially construct race when there isn't a real biological foundation for such a category we impose upon the citizens an externally attributed quality. This arbitrary and man made construct supports the separation of "races" through labeling and externally assessing people to fit in the categories. We place people in said categories which enables us to maintain the segregation and socially imposed boundaries. We rarely place limits and boundaries on qualities we feel are biological.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 57
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Posted: 6/5/2012 6:25:38 PM

If there is no such thing as racial variations why few White running backs in the NFL?

Participation, or excellence, in this or that regional sport isn't recognised as a meaningful taxonomic criteria.
If it was we'd have homo cinotabletennis, homo dutchcyclist,and homo eegymnast along with your special pet project - homo runningbackus.

Let me guess... you know almost nothing about biology?


And why doesn't my pooch trail rabbits like a beagle?
Large draft horses can move massive loads. Race horses are fast.

The thread is about the social construction of divisions in humans, so false (and facile) analogies regarding other species have no meaning. Note though that all domestic dogs belong to the same species - canis lupus familiaris, likewise domesticated horses are all of the species equidae equus caballus.


Is the denial of biological reality the extreme of human thought?

Apparently yes. Your posts are an example.


"Social Construct", a jaded term in this context relegated to the academic trash bin at least forty years ago. .

Do you have a citation for that? [/lyingcheat falls over laughing]


Suggest that "Social Constructionists" organize to remove certain anthropology courses from major universities.

Suggest educating yourself. Anthropology is the study of 'humanity'. You might wish it was the narrow study of your favourite fantasies but it isn't, so there's no reason to remove the discipline from universities.
 london150
Joined: 6/23/2008
Msg: 58
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Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 6/12/2012 9:16:15 PM
Ballard3240 you sound Schizophrenic.
 london150
Joined: 6/23/2008
Msg: 59
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Posted: 6/13/2012 6:21:14 AM
I am negro or black or descendent of africa. So whats your point ballard3240? You have none. You are so ignorant and racist. You keep arguing with a guy who is running circles around you. You dont have the brain power to argue with him. You should stop trying to debate the people on here who have actually done the research and read something. Its clear everything you say is backed by only your opinion, no fact at all just your racist opinion. I was hoping you racist would have died out by now, but judging from you and others on this site I see there is no end to the madness.
 Kohmelo
Joined: 9/20/2011
Msg: 60
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Posted: 6/13/2012 6:43:57 PM
Does anyone else hear dueling banjos when they read Ballards posts? or is that just me?
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
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Posted: 6/13/2012 11:58:54 PM

You should lobby the federal government re: their continued use of racial designations on various forms.

Are the incidental bureaucratic 'forms' your particular government uses recognised as taxonomically significant biological references?

Also look at the activities of the American Kennel Club. They recognize all sorts of varieties of the canine. Educate them.

Why? Are they interested in socially constructed ideas of 'race' in homo sapiens?

It's amusing, though it's clearly not your intent, that all of your posts actually support the idea that 'race' is indeed a social construct.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 62
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 6/17/2012 10:44:03 PM
In the time since I posted on this thread, I am glad to see that POFers came to a consensus and the matter is now settled.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
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Posted: 6/24/2012 11:56:14 AM

Meaningless drivel.

Mighty helpful of you to provide the context of your subsequent remarks.


Join those who will march on Yale and Harvard to protest their still identifying the various varieties of homo sapiens.

Who? When? And what exactly are 'they' protesting about?


For social impacts suggest googling:
Color of Crime
IQ of nations
The Last Taboo

Social impacts of what?
If you are referring to something to do with 'race', you should remember that you haven't yet provided any evidence that any such thing even exists. So 'social impacts' is a non-sequitur.

But perhaps you are referring to the 'social impacts' that poorly researched books packed with erroneous conclusions have on the undiscerning folk who read them? In that case, there's no need to Google. The negative 'social impact' effects are displayed right here in this thread, in your unreasoned opinionated posts.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 64
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 6/24/2012 4:00:06 PM

Science now finds biological evidence that in the near future, 1000-2000 years, Homosapiens will diverge into two separate species.


I would like to know more about this--source, please? Name of study?
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 65
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Posted: 6/28/2012 5:56:22 AM

For those commentators that believe there is a scientific consensus that human races do not exist, you are simply mistaken, and have probably been mislead by some prominent public voices, ones that were likely allowing politics to misrepresent the views widely held within the relevant scientific fields.

In your unsupported opinion.

To take just one example counter to the notion that race is merely a nominal category, consider just one of a handful of discoveries over the last few years: a large number of alleles across multiple loci in the genome, when taken in aggregate, can be used to very reliably predict the self-reported racial membership of individuals. The predictive accuracy of this method increases proportional to the number of such markers that one avails themselves to.

Proof that things are inherited isn't proof that 'races' exist.

To paraphrase one geneticist commenting recently on this issue, if one cannot impute a biological reality to racial categorization, one could not at the same time likewise impute reality to sexes. To do otherwise -- to grant reality to sexes but not races -- would be logically inconsistent.

A paraphrase of a false analogy (the two sexes have differing organ sets) that someone unknown allegedly said isn't supporting evidence that 'races' exist.

Elsewhere, in forensic anthropology, one finds the perplexing state of affairs whereby it is all but taken for granted that racial groups can be reliably identified.

Undefined terms used for convenience in forensic anthropology have no meaning in terms of taxonomic classification.

Yet publicly, outside of the peer-reviewed academic journals, such scientists present duplicitous views that do not reflect the actual ones that they both hold and employ in their 'day jobs', as it were.

Who are these alleged scientists that hold these allegedly duplicitous views?

This latter set of lies purveyed to an unsuspecting public holds sway also among introductory text books to the field, where the consensus view that races can be robustly identified goes unmentioned, and in virtually all such books.

What "lies"? Where is this alleged "consensus view" being reported?

Worse, the view that races exist is oftentimes flatly denied in those books. As such, it is ostensible in these instances that entire fields have had as spokespersons -- as textbook editors and public intellectuals -- mendacious individuals who have presented politically correct yet quite radically false depictions of the actual findings within their respective disciplines.

What "findings"?

It is one example (alas, not the only one) of politics intervening so as to refract and distort the message that gets disseminated from the sciences to the public at large.

It's a conspiracy involving all the textbooks, duplicitous scientists, intellectuals, and even politicians?
If it wasn't for those well known habitual fact obstacles we'd know 'the truth' about all sorts of things it seems.
 pappy009
Joined: 2/3/2008
Msg: 66
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Posted: 6/28/2012 6:19:07 PM
A Socially Constructed Idea of Race...I hope your question is about Socially Created idea of Race...a good example is the Constitution of the US and the Bill of Rights....thats one we all know...Canada's Constitution and Charter of Rights...these are social constructs. Race would have to fit in as the acceptance of creed, sex..etc...compounding different groups into a super group...sub groups under social conditions and acceptance of those conditions to form the mass. If at any time that portions of the mass were to be eliminated such as a deluge, then the races would mix, and form a new race, eventually under the same constructs. This has been going on for thousands of yrs. Its not new...ask a Mongrel...all of us. At one time or another they were mixing up the genes. The social constructs turned into religions.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
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Posted: 6/29/2012 10:51:51 PM

In one relevant study -- which, mind you, appeared in the highly prestigious scientific journal 'Science' -- researchers were able to infer five genetic clusters derived from an array of alleles across many loci within the genotypes of over 1000 people from 52 populations. Moreover, the researchers found that these 5 clusters mapped very distinctly onto major geographic regions.

That is, by simply sifting through and compiling the sets of allelic variants on an individual's genotype, and without knowing anything else about the individual to whom it belongs, one can make highly reliable inferences about the geographic location of one's ancestors.

Without a citation it's impossible to respond to the article directly. However, many such studies have been done, and while they illuminate the genetic history of homo sapiens - which is presumably their intention - they don't necessarily support any 'racial' concepts.
People tend to mate with whoever is nearby and, or obvious reasons, favour those of similar cultural background, so it's not particularly remarkable that people who share the same geographic locations tend to also share genetic material.

Human genetic history is a mosaic, within which many patterns can be discerned, but the fact is we actually coalesce at some point on our genome with everyone else on the planet.

Genetics of Humanness: The Neandertal and Denisovan Genomes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP2_fGKHExk


In another important study lead by geneticist Neil Risch and colleagues in 2005, which analyzed genetic data for 326 microsatellite markers drawn from 3 636 subjects from the US and Taiwan, attempts were made to address whether genetic data can be used to map reliably onto social categories of race.

In that study, the researchers were able to successfully infer the self-reported racial identity of four racial groups from merely the four genetic clusters that emerged from their data analysis. Importantly, concordance between genetic cluster, on the one hand, and the self-identified race of subjects, on the other, was true in 99.9% of the cases.

This is just 'begging the question' on an enormous scale.
If the study, by Risch, you refer to was "important", then surely a study that shows why, and how, his analysis was flawed and his conclusions rash is even more so.

Genetic Similarities Within and Between Human Populations
Abstract
The proportion of human genetic variation due to differences between populations is modest, and individuals from different populations can be genetically more similar than individuals from the same population. Yet sufficient genetic data can permit accurate classification of individuals into populations. Both findings can be obtained from the same data set, using the same number of polymorphic loci. This article explains why. Our analysis focuses on the frequency, , with which a pair of random individuals from two different populations is genetically more similar than a pair of individuals randomly selected from any single population. We compare  to the error rates of several classification methods, using data sets that vary in number of loci, average allele frequency, populations sampled, and polymorphism ascertainment strategy. We demonstrate that classification methods achieve higher discriminatory power than  because of their use of aggregate properties of populations. The number of loci analyzed is the most critical variable: with 100 polymorphisms, accurate classification is possible, but  remains sizable, even when using populations as distinct as sub-Saharan Africans and Europeans. Phenotypes controlled by a dozen or fewer loci can therefore be expected to show substantial overlap between human populations. This provides empirical justification for caution when using population labels in biomedical settings, with broad implications for personalized medicine, pharmacogenetics, and the meaning of race.
/snip/
It has long been appreciated that differences between human populations account for only a small fraction of the total variance in allele frequencies (typically presented as FST values of 10–15%; Lewontin 1972; Nei and Roychoudhury 1972; Latter 1980; Barbujani et al. 1997; Jorde et al. 2000; Watkins et al. 2003; International HapMap Consortium 2005; Rosenberg et al. 2005). Such observations triggered controversy from the outset. Some geneticists concluded the differences were negligible (Lewontin 1972); others disagreed (Mitton 1978). Despite the limited data, it soon became apparent that even a modest number of loci should allow accurate assignment of individuals to populations (Mitton 1978; Smouse et al. 1982).

More recently, the Human Genome Project (2001) (HGP) highlighted the basic genetic similarity of all humans, yet subsequent analyses demonstrated that genetic data can be used to accurately classify humans into populations (Rosenberg et al. 2002, 2005; Bamshad et al. 2003; Turakulov and Easteal 2003; Tang et al. 2005; Lao et al. 2006). Risch et al. (2002) and Edwards (2003) used theoretical illustrations to show why accurate classification is possible despite the slight differences in allele frequencies between populations. These illustrations suggest that, if enough loci are considered, two individuals from the same population may be genetically more similar (i.e., more closely related) to each other than to any individual from another population (as foreshadowed by Powell and Taylor 1978). Accordingly, Risch et al. (2002, p. 2007.5) state that “two Caucasians are more similar to each other genetically than a Caucasian and an Asian.” However, in a reanalysis of data from 377 microsatellite loci typed in 1056 individuals, Europeans proved to be more similar to Asians than to other Europeans 38% of the time (Bamshad et al. 2004; population definitions and data from Rosenberg et al. 2002).

With the large and diverse data sets now available, we have been able to evaluate these contrasts quantitatively.
/snip/
The fact that, given enough genetic data, individuals can be correctly assigned to their populations of origin is compatible with the observation that most human genetic variation is found within populations, not between them. It is also compatible with our finding that, even when the most distinct populations are considered and hundreds of loci are used, individuals are frequently more similar to members of other populations than to members of their own population. Thus, caution should be used when using geographic or genetic ancestry to make inferences about individual phenotypes.

http://www.genetics.org/content/176/1/351.full

Though they ^^^ didn't set out to do so, they seem to be confirming what many have said in the past, ie; that the alleged 'Lewontin fallacy' is not actually a fallacy at all.
One hopes, in the interests of 'scientific impartiality', that whenever you quote the various Risch studies in future, you'll also refer to this ^^^ one.



To paraphrase one geneticist commenting recently on this issue, if one cannot impute a biological reality to racial categorization, one could not at the same time likewise impute reality to sexes. To do otherwise -- to grant reality to sexes but not races -- would be logically inconsistent.

A paraphrase of a false analogy (the two sexes have differing organ sets) that someone unknown allegedly said isn't supporting evidence that 'races' exist.


Sexes are no less a statistical concept, predicated on a composite of traits that can be arrayed multi-dimensionally, such that clusters can be inferred.

Obfuscatorily repeating a false analogy doesn't give it validity.
Despite that 'sex (or gender)' may in some sense be a "statistical concept", there is no doubt that sex differences exist (hint - females have babies) and usually a simple examination, or scan, is sufficient to determine to which category any individual homo sapien incontrovertibly belongs.


Elsewhere, in forensic anthropology, one finds the perplexing state of affairs whereby it is all but taken for granted that racial groups can be reliably identified.

Undefined terms used for convenience in forensic anthropology have no meaning in terms of taxonomic classification


Your appeal to criteria of "taxonomic classification" only begs the question of what grounds taxonomic classification in the first place. It is not exactly a theory-free matter (as if anything in science were!).

On the contrary, it is you who is begging the question by appealing to the authority of an alleged consensus that exists amongst unspecified 'forensic anthropologists' and their alleged ability to discern an undefined thing called "racial groups" by looking at bones.


This topic in itself has seen much internal controversy over the decades in systematics and the philosophy of biology (i.e., stark differences between pheneticists and cladists). An overview of this issue can be found here, in chapter 6 on systematics: http://stephan.walter.name/files/sober-philosophy-of-biology.pdf

To make the point that there have been disagreements, and differences in classification outcome, between the phenetic and cladistic systems, while referencing a book on the philosophy of biology (particularly focusing on a chapter that details the difficulty in defining exactly what a 'species' is) is skirting very close to a 'gaps' argument.

Because no one can say with clarity what a species is - therefore 'races' probably exist? Must exist? Do exist?
On the other hand, perhaps they don't.
Without proof of the concept, which uncertainly vague hints about the general naming difficulties of systematics and definitions of species don't amount to, it's rash to insert undefined sub-species into the gap.


I would highly recommend to anyone interested in this topic a recent peer-reviewed paper by Neven Sesardic that deals lucidly with this issue and its politicized nature, and which also has citations to the papers outlined above and more.
A link to the pdf download prompt: http://www.ln.edu.hk/philoso/staff/sesardic/getfile.php?file=Race.pdf

It's interesting that the only other link you supplied is to a book on the philosophy of biology, and that Sesardic too is a philosopher (who has written on heritability).

The paper you refer to above reads like advocacy, not enquiry, so one can only suppose the journal published it to give its more discerning readers something to play with. Sesardics views are not uncontroversial and reading this paper one can see several reasons why that might be so. For instance, the fact that he cites the well known proponent of scientific racism Phillipe Rushton is particularly alarming.

For balance I "would highly recommend to anyone interested in this topic" a paper written by individuals with expertise in the subject, and no agenda.


Conceptualizing Human Variation
S O Y Keita 1,2,
R A Kittles 1,3,
(et.al)
1 National Human Genome Center, College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC 20060, USA.
2 Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.
3 Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


What is the relationship between the patterns of biological and sociocultural variation in extant humans? Is this relationship accurately described, or best explained, by the term 'race' and the schema of 'racial' classification? What is the relationship between 'race', genetics and the demographic groups of society? Can extant humans be categorized into units that can scientifically be called 'races'? These questions underlie the discussions that address the explanations for the observed differences in many domains between named demographic groups across societies. These domains include disease incidence and prevalence and other variables studied by biologists and social scientists. Here, we offer a perspective on understanding human variation by exploring the meaning and use of the term 'race' and its relationship to a range of data. The quest is for a more useful approach with which to understand human biological variation, one that may provide better research designs and inform public policy.
/snip/
Modern human genetic variation does not structure into phylogenetic subspecies (geographical 'races'), nor do the taxa from the most common racial classifications of classical anthropology qualify as 'races'. The social or ethnoancestral groups of the US and Latin America are not 'races', and it has not been demonstrated that any human breeding population is sufficiently divergent to be taxonomically recognized by the standards of modern molecular systematics. These observations are not to be taken as statements against doing research on demographic groups or populations. They only support a brief for linguistic precision and careful descriptions of groups under study. Terms and labels have qualitative implications.

http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v36/n11s/full/ng1455.html


For an overview of the debate, see also -
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
http://stanford.library.usyd.edu.au/entries/race/
 pappy009
Joined: 2/3/2008
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Posted: 6/30/2012 6:43:02 PM
Socially Constructed Idea of Race---this is a legal concept not a genetic one. If it was "Genetic Constructed Idea of Race"...then yea.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
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Posted: 7/1/2012 7:25:21 PM

If the study, by Risch, you refer to was "important", then surely a study that shows why, and how, his analysis was flawed and his conclusions rash is even more so.


Unfortunately the Witherspoon et al. paper does not support the point you are making. That is, it doesn't make the point that you apparently think they're making.

For one thing, Witherspoon et al.'s caution is directed to biomedical settings. More specifically, because genetic overlap can be sizeable between two individuals culled from disparate populations, it is not necessarily wise to presume that personalized medical approaches predicated on racial categorization would work optimally when dealing with phenotypic traits subserved by a dozen or fewer loci.

Witherspoon (et.al.) goes much further than that. The study investigated various types of 'population' (related, ad-mixed, separated, isolated), looked at the outcomes dependent on a few loci to thousands, and then analysed the effect of differing methods of correlation between the two (variable) data sets.

The study makes very few references to the direct applicability of the findings, this being the only explicit one -

"This provides empirical justification for caution when using population labels in biomedical settings, with broad implications for personalized medicine, pharmacogenetics, and the meaning of race." (my emphasis)

It's also illustrative, with regard to the intentions of Witherspoon (et.al.) being strictly 'biomedical' or otherwise, to look at the references appended to the study.
Here is a partial list of titles (23 of the 40), stripped of numbering and authors for brevity.


AAA, 1997: race and ethnic standards for federal statistics and administrative reporting.
Deconstructing the relationship between genetics and race.
Human population genetic structure and inference of group membership.
An apportionment of human DNA diversity.
Polymorphic admixture typing in human ethnic populations.
Human genetic diversity: Lewontin's fallacy.
Human Genome Project, 2001 The human genome.
International HapMap Consortium, 2005 A haplotype map of the human genome.
Genetic differences within and between populations of the major human subgroups.
Genetic differentiation of races of man as judged by single-locus and multilocus analyses.
Multilocus genotypes, a tree of individuals, and human evolutionary history.
Impact of human population history on distributions of individual-level genetic distance.
Analysis of gene diversity in subdivided populations.
Gene differences between Caucasian, Negro, and Japanese populations.
Are human races “substantially” different genetically?
Categorization of humans in biomedical research: genes, race and disease.
Patterns of human diversity, within and among continents, inferred from biallelic DNA polymorphisms.
Genetic structure of human populations.
Clines, clusters, and the effect of study design on the inference of human population structure.
Evidence for gradients of human genetic diversity within and among continents.
Large-scale SNP analysis reveals clustered and continuous patterns of human genetic variation.
Genetic structure, self-identified race/ethnicity, and confounding in case-control association studies.
Genetic variation among world populations: inferences from 100 Alu insertion polymorphisms.
Diversity and divergence among the tribal populations of India.


It looks ^^^ to me as if Witherspoon and his colleagues were not simply focused on 'biomedical' cautions, as you contend, but rather were concerned with the methodology and unsupported conclusions being drawn from studies mapping genetic information onto geographically related, (or unrelated) populations. Only 2 of the 40 references attached to this paper refer to 'biomedical' issues.

The uses, or incorrect uses, of the derived data appears to have been either of secondary concern, or they chose not to explicitly state it, perhaps supposing that most reasonable people could be left to draw their own non-narrowly restrictive inference.


Aside from this eminently reasonable biomedical point, the same paper (Witherspoon et al.'s) illustrates why what has become known as "Lewontin's Fallacy" is indeed a fallacy.

I've already exploded your, rather odd, assertion that Witherspoon (et.al.) was solely making a "biomedical point" so it only remains to perform the same trick on your similarly obtuse observation that Witherspoon (et al.) was really confirming "Lewontin's Fallacy".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lewontin
http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Lewontin's_Fallacy

Though the paper, once again, isn't explicit on the matter, it says -

"DISCUSSIONS of genetic differences between major human populations have long been dominated by two facts: (a) Such differences account for only a small fraction of variance in allele frequencies, but nonetheless (b) multilocus statistics assign most individuals to the correct population. This is widely understood to reflect the increased discriminatory power of multilocus statistics. Yet Bamshad et al. (2004) showed, using multilocus statistics and nearly 400 polymorphic loci, that (c) pairs of individuals from different populations are often more similar than pairs from the same population. If multilocus statistics are so powerful, then how are we to understand this finding?
All three of the claims listed above appear in disputes over the significance of human population variation and “race.” In particular, the American Anthropological Association (1997, p. 1) stated that “data also show that any two individuals within a particular population are as different genetically as any two people selected from any two populations in the world” (subsequently amended to “about as different”). Similarly, educational material distributed by the Human Genome Project (2001, p. 812) states that “two random individuals from any one group are almost as different [genetically] as any two random individuals from the entire world.” Previously, one might have judged these statements to be essentially correct for single-locus characters, but not for multilocus ones. However, the finding of Bamshad et al. (2004) suggests that an empirical investigation of these claims is warranted."

and -

"More recently, the Human Genome Project (2001) (HGP) highlighted the basic genetic similarity of all humans, yet subsequent analyses demonstrated that genetic data can be used to accurately classify humans into populations (Rosenberg et al. 2002, 2005; Bamshad et al. 2003; Turakulov and Easteal 2003; Tang et al. 2005; Lao et al. 2006). Risch et al. (2002) and Edwards (2003) used theoretical illustrations to show why accurate classification is possible despite the slight differences in allele frequencies between populations. These illustrations suggest that, if enough loci are considered, two individuals from the same population may be genetically more similar (i.e., more closely related) to each other than to any individual from another population (as foreshadowed by Powell and Taylor 1978). Accordingly, Risch et al. (2002, p. 2007.5) state that “two Caucasians are more similar to each other genetically than a Caucasian and an Asian.” However, in a reanalysis of data from 377 microsatellite loci typed in 1056 individuals, Europeans proved to be more similar to Asians than to other Europeans 38% of the time (Bamshad et al. 2004; population definitions and data from Rosenberg et al. 2002)."

and -

"With the large and diverse data sets now available, we have been able to evaluate these contrasts quantitatively.
Thus the answer to the question “How often is a pair of individuals from one population genetically more dissimilar than two individuals chosen from two different populations?” depends on the number of polymorphisms used to define that dissimilarity and the populations being compared.
/snip
How can the observations of accurate classifiability be reconciled with high between-population similarities among individuals? Classification methods typically make use of aggregate properties of populations, not just properties of individuals or even of pairs of individuals. For instance, the centroid classification method computes the distances between individuals and population centroids and then clusters individuals around the nearest centroid. The population trait method relies on information about the frequencies of each allele in each population to compute individual trait values and on the means and variances of the trait distributions to classify individuals.
/snip/
The population groups in this example are quite distinct from one another: Europeans, sub-Saharan Africans, and East Asians. Many factors will further weaken the correlation between an individual's phenotype and their geographic ancestry. These include considering more closely related or admixed populations, studying phenotypes influenced by fewer loci, unevenly distributed effects across loci, nonadditive effects, developmental and environmental effects, and uncertainties about individuals' ancestry and actual populations of origin.
...
A final complication arises when racial classifications are used as proxies for geographic ancestry. Although many concepts of race are correlated with geographic ancestry, the two are not interchangeable, and relying on racial classifications will reduce predictive power still further.

The fact that, given enough genetic data, individuals can be correctly assigned to their populations of origin is compatible with the observation that most human genetic variation is found within populations, not between them. It is also compatible with our finding that, even when the most distinct populations are considered and hundreds of loci are used, individuals are frequently more similar to members of other populations than to members of their own population. Thus, caution should be used when using geographic or genetic ancestry to make inferences about individual phenotypes."
http://www.genetics.org/content/176/1/351.full

It was A F Edwards (cited above) who coined the 'Lewontin's fallacy' phrase, the wiki article about the paper he did it in has this to say -

Biological anthropologists such as Jonathan Marks and philosopher Jonathan Kaplan have argued that while Edwards argument is correct it does not invalidate Lewontin's original argument, because the fact that racial groups can be seen to be genetically distinct on average does not mean that racial groups are the most basic biological divisions of the world's population. Nor does it mean that races are not social constructs as is the prevailing view among anthropologists and social scientists, because the particular genetic differences that correspond to races only become salient when racial categories take on social importance. According to this view Edwards and Lewontin are therefore both correct.

Similarly, Marks agree with Edwards that correlations between geographical areas and genetics obviously exists in human populations, but goes on to note that "What is unclear is what this has to do with "race" as that term has been though much in the twentieth century - the mere fact that we can find groups to be different and can reliably allot people to them is trivial. Again, the point of the theory of race was to discover large clusters of people that are principally homogeneous within and heterogeneous between, contrasting groups. Lewontin's analysis shows that such groups do not exist in the human species, and Edwards' critique does not contradict that interpretation."


This ^^^ wiki article, interestingly, goes on to quote the Witherspoon (et.al.) paper much referred to above. It appears the author is of the opinion, not shared by you, that it tends to confirm what Lewontin was saying.


Witherspoon et al. (2007) have argued that even when individuals can be reliably assigned to specific population groups, it may still be possible for two randomly chosen individuals from different populations/clusters to be more similar to each other than to a randomly chosen member of their own cluster.
They found that many thousands of genetic markers had to be used in order for the answer to the question "How often is a pair of individuals from one population genetically more dissimilar than two individuals chosen from two different populations?" to be "never". This assumed three population groups separated by large geographic ranges (European, African and East Asian). The entire world population is much more complex and studying an increasing number of groups would require an increasing number of markers for the same answer.
Witherspoon et al. conclude that "caution should be used when using geographic or genetic ancestry to make inferences about individual phenotypes." Witherspoon et al. concluded that, "The fact that, given enough genetic data, individuals can be correctly assigned to their populations of origin is compatible with the observation that most human genetic variation is found within populations, not between them. It is also compatible with our finding that, even when the most distinct populations are considered and hundreds of loci are used, individuals are frequently more similar to members of other populations than to members of their own population."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/"Human_genetic_diversity:_Lewontin's_fallacy"_(scientific_paper)

So, from all of the above. it's quite difficult to see how you could draw the conclusion that Witherspoon (et.al.) were helping Sesardic make his point rather than, in fact, pointing to the errors in methodology that distort his conclusions and advising caution and unwarranted extrapolation by pointing out that Lewontin was right.



To make the point that there have been disagreements, and differences in classification outcome, between the phenetic and cladistic systems, while referencing a book on the philosophy of biology (particularly focusing on a chapter that details the difficulty in defining exactly what a 'species' is) is skirting very close to a 'gaps' argument.

Because no one can say with clarity what a species is - therefore 'races' probably exist? Must exist? Do exist?


Whether the book title contains the word "philosophy" in it, or whether the official professional designation of an academic is "philosopher" is irrelevant. It's the logical and empirical merit of the ideas that matter. I'm sure you would agree.

That there have been, for instance, long-standing debates in systematics between pheneticists and cladists does nothing to change the fact that such debates are jointly empirical- and philosophically-tinged, and intrinsically so.

Sober's book -- which is widely regarded -- could just as well have been titled "Metatheoretical Foundations of Modern Biology". Semantics can mislead people by way of connotation, rather than denotation.
/snip/
Ontology is a very complicated arena. Things get very dicey very fast once one ascends up the scale of ontology past chemistry and into the living world, encompassing as it does even the human sphere. Even the social sciences would be a non-starter if we antecedently assumed as an axiomatic principle that all ontic categories must fit into essentialistic strictures.
/snip/
A key point to take away from consideration of species ontology is that the ontological status of race is a close cousin to the species problem. Since these are both alleged biological issues, and since the species problem admits of no essentialistic solution (after all, biology is not an essentialistic enterprise), it follows that the question of race is closely tethered to, and informed by, the sort of answers emanating from the species problem.

I wasn't attacking Sobers book, or particularly disagreeing with your point. I merely pointed out that using confusion, doubt, or uncertainty about what actually constitutes a 'species' to insert one or more even less understood and so far completely undefined 'sub-species' into the information vacuum is very similar to the 'god-of-the-gaps' argument used by creationists.
ie; No one can define existence prior to the big bang - therefore there's probably a god.
No one can define species - therefore there's probably sub-species/races?

Well, no. Because an information gap isn't supporting evidence, of anything.


Despite that 'sex (or gender)' may in some sense be a "statistical concept", there is no doubt that sex differences exist (hint - females have babies) and usually a simple examination, or scan, is sufficient to determine to which category any individual homo sapien incontrovertibly belongs.


As has been shown empirically in the molecular-genetic studies I have outlined, self-report of racial identity by individuals has been demonstrated to be robustly correlated with genetic clusters that researchers have derived from the data.

In your terms, this is analagous to the correlation that obtains between baby-birthing and being biologically female.

No it isn't, since "self-report of racial identity" that may or may not "correlate with genetic clusters" is a non-sequitur.

All that is confirmed by the not entirely reliable mapping of selected genetic signatures on to geographical regions is that (many) people are aware of their descent, their ancestors, and where they came from - up to a point.

Self-identification of sex, or gender, is another matter entirely.


Can you provide an all-inclusive definition of female?

It isn't the thread topic, and whether I can or not has no real bearing on the question of whether biological 'races' exist. But nonetheless, it's a worthwhile exercise because as you said, in your earlier attempt to draw a parallel between 'sex' and 'race', to some extent concepts of gender are statistical.

Without googling -
One might start any definition of 'sex/gender' (of homo sapiens) with a reference to chromosomes since that will immediately capture an overwhelming majority of the global population into one or the other of the (nominally) two possible categories. If it was thought necessary, a reference to the presence, or absence, of the typically expected reproductive organs might be made - ie; gonads or ovaries.
It's likely that this initial categorisation will overwhelmingly agree with self-reported assignment, but there will be exceptions - statistically insignificant most likely but nonetheless significant to the individuals so reporting.

Therefore one might examine the exceptions to see if they invalidate the concept. One will discover such things as androgen insensitivity syndrome, gender identity issues (both psychological and physically derived) and some confusion. However, the numbers of such exceptions are insignificant (only statistically speaking of course) considering the size of the pool and the success of the initial two category division.

One might profitably, and compassionately, investigate further to discover the meaning of the exceptions.

So, how does comparing my non-expert attempt to define 'sex' with the various expert attempts to define 'race' illuminate the issue?
It's immediately obvious that my simple definition will produce an overwhelmingly statistically significant division into two neat groups. The composition of which will be overwhelmingly confirmed (personally reported) by the individuals placed in them, and by unambiguous direct correlations between physical, psychological, historical (upbringing), social, cultural, and medical (etc etc) factors easily discovered relating to each of the individuals therein.

In short, though there may be linguistic, semantic, and systematic obstacles in saying exactly what a 'male' or a 'female' is, they are as nothing compared to meaningfully defining a 'white' or an 'Asian'.

Or any other alleged 'race' for that matter.
So, since you appear to be suggesting something called 'races' exist, can you define what constitutes a 'race' in relation to homo sapiens?



For instance, the fact that he (Sesardic) cites the well known proponent of scientific racism Phillipe Rushton is particularly alarming.


I find nothing alarming about it. I've cited Rushton before in a peer-reviewed academic paper, and so have many others. Are you claiming that that fact necessarily entails that we are therefore scientific racists? Curious as to whether you have actually ever read any of his work, or perhaps just imbibing hearsay about him? Most people that don't like Rushton haven't actually read his work, or at least not with an impartial spirit.

Rushton is a flake. He has been rebuked several times by his university for his illegitimate research methods, which are used to relentlessly push his racist theories from every possible angle (see below).
Forced to self-publish his books because no legitimate publisher will touch them he has recently stooped to making personal appearances at 'Majority Pride' type meetings so he can avoid having things thrown at him while hinting at the benefits of forced eugenics to the dim-witted oafs who comprise his support base.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Philippe_Rushton

Here's his latest offering -

Rushton’s r–K lifehistory theory of race differences in penis length and circumference examined in 113 populations
Abstract;
Rushton’s (1985, 2000) r-K life history theory that Mongoloids are the most K evolved, Caucasoids somewhat less K evolved, and Negroids the least K evolved is examined and extended in an analysis of data for erect penis length and circumference in three new data sets. These new data extend Rushton’s theory by presenting disaggregated data for penis size for European and North African/South Asian Caucasoids; for East Asian and Southeast Asian Mongoloids; for Inuit and Amerindians and Mestizos, and for thirteen mixed race samples. The results generally confirm and extend Rushton’s r-K life history theory.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886912000852



An Examination of Rushton’s Theory of Differences in Penis Length and Circumference and r-K Life History Theory in 113 Populations.

J. Philippe Rushton (1985, 2000) has advanced a theory of race differences in r-K life history. The theory is drawn from biology, in which species are categorized on a continuum running from r strategists to K strategists; r strategists have large numbers of offspring and invest relatively little in them, while K strategists have fewer offspring and invest heavily in them by feeding and protecting them during infancy and until they are old enough to look after themselves (Wilson, 1975). Fish, amphibians and reptiles are r strategists (large numbers of offspring and minimum investment) while mammals are K strategists (fewer offspring and greater investment). The K strategy is particularly strongly evolved in monkeys, apes and humans. Species that are K strategists have a syndrome of characteristics of which the most important are larger brain size, higher intelligence, longer gestation, and a slower rate of maturation in infancy and childhood.

Rushton (2000, pp. 167–169) has applied r-K life history theory to the three major races of Homo sapiens: Mongoloids (East Asians), Caucasoids (Europeans, South Asians and North Africans), and Negroids (sub-Saharan Africans). His theory is that East Asians are the most K evolved and Negroids the least K evolved, while Caucasoids fall intermediate between the two although closer to East Asians.

Rushton has supported his theory by documenting that the three races differ in brain size, intelligence, length of gestation, rate of maturation in infancy and childhood, and a number of other variables including penis length and diameter.

https://lesacreduprintemps19.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/an-examination-of-rushton_s-theory-of-differences-in-penis-length-and-circumference-and-r-k-life-history-theory-in-113-populations.pdf


Penis length?
Let me predict the titles of his next few papers...
'Penis attractiveness as a predictor of intelligence - Whites found to have the nicest ones'
'Testicle weight correlated to love and care shown in infancy - Heavy white balls create enormous bulge in statistics'
'Anus diameter a reliable indicator of violent criminality, drug use, and tendency to abuse women? Africans reveal gaping sphincters.'

etc etc
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 70
view profile
History
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/2/2012 12:28:32 AM
For those who would rather watch than read, here's an interesting video that (somehow) covers almost the whole topic in 17 minutes in a non-technical way, despite that it refers to technical issues.

The Science of Human Races, Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teyvcs2S4mI&feature
 Inicia
Joined: 12/21/2007
Msg: 71
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/2/2012 9:08:39 AM
nominal means a name given by society.. It is not supported by science. The category race-- is a name used to categorize people we created the name and then found support in alleles. However I have different alleles then my sister and genetically I am a red head and she is a brunette. One sister has blue eyes one has brown eyes and one has hazel eyes. Now I suppose if we gave the name race to people with different alleles for hair color and eye color we could support the theory that race does exist due to these alleles. We can create any name we want and classify in away that supports our theories about the name. I mean their are all kinds of names we give to people then create supportive ideology to perpetuate the belief in those categories. Many people believe many things about others then categorize them with a name and try to support that name with facts. It doesn't change the meaning of the name. Scientifically names "nominal categories" are arbitrarily assigned only for purposes of classifying and identifying the data sets. I can call people data set x and data set y. But this does not change them into x-es and ys, the name x and y is only a name so I can separate my data sets based on some arbitrary differences.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 72
view profile
History
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/3/2012 1:35:28 AM

Now I suppose if we gave the name race to people with different alleles for hair color and eye color we could support the theory that race does exist due to these alleles.


Unfortunately you're oversimplifying. The point that I and other academics are making is that when very many loci are used, robust genetic clusters emerge which map onto racial categories.

You are missing the point, which is surprising since it's (one of) the same ones made by the much referred to Witherspoon et.al. paper.
How many factors are considered combined with the way these are mapped on to any particular population will reveal different connections and correlations. Not to mention that arbitrary delineation of 'clusters' will reveal anything from one 'race' to thousands, up to the ultimate point where individual families are identified. Or indeed, prior to that ''red-headed' or 'green-eyed' 'races'. It depends, as the Witherspoon et.al. paper makes clear, on the way the variously sampled genetic information is applied to the population groups being studied.

It follows that it's distinctly un-'academic', and indeed unscientific to start from the end conclusion ('races' exist) and then simply use the data sets and methods that confirm that prejudice while ignoring other interpretations and disregarding factors that tend to weaken the initial bias.

The video I referred to in post#95 makes the above points in a very simple way.
The Science of Human Races, Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teyvcs2S4mI&feature
 london150
Joined: 6/23/2008
Msg: 73
view profile
History
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/8/2012 2:05:38 AM
I love how lyingcheat always blows people out of the water with true unbiased facts.
 flyguy51
Joined: 8/11/2005
Msg: 74
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/8/2012 9:49:28 AM
Kardial-

I have followed many of your posts in the past with admiration and respect, but in this exchange, I am siding more with lyingcheat's argument, especially with your defense of Rushton, which is surprising and disappointing.

Anyway, if the the term "race" might still have scientific validity, who has agreed upon what exactly constitutes race as it applies to humans? Is there agreement in the first place? Otherwise, the scientific argument in favor of racial classifications seems like a fool's errand.
 etcyl
Joined: 6/13/2012
Msg: 75
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/8/2012 1:52:46 PM

You would be aware, no doubt, of the American Anthropological Association Statement on 'Race' issued in 1998 to the effect that 'race', as applied to homo sapiens, is a purely social construct and is scientifically meaningless, which point has been reiterated by various related bodies at various times over the period since? Yet many people still reject it despite that there's no evidence to support a biological concept of 'race'.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Here is your answer, whoever asked the original question. Read this and go to the website for the American Anthropological Association if you have further issues. This is the most sound statement any expert will offer you on this subject. Case closed.

lyingcheat awarded 9,001 points.
 etcyl
Joined: 6/13/2012
Msg: 76
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/8/2012 2:12:40 PM

True, there may be no clear borderline between different races, but there is no clear borderline between the color blue and the color purple and we still go around saying blue and purple all the time.


What?

I didn't see anyone say that there was no clear borderline between different races. It's pretty distinct in the animal kingdom.
The borderline between different races is called infertility. With humans, the need to sub-categorize fails. This is solely because it was a social effort to confirm to the ideas of race.

Similarly, there is a borderline between the colors BLUE and PURPLE. It's called, NANOMETERS. We don't call PURPLE blue if it's not PURPLE. That defies the electromagnetic radiation scale. The nanometers it takes to get blue light is different from the nanometers it takes to get purple light.
 statemachine500
Joined: 8/25/2011
Msg: 77
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/8/2012 2:58:20 PM
I believe it was Harvard Uni that published a giant tome of approx 1300 pages on human anthropology.Yes,there are many,many ways to classify a person's race based on skull measurements.The skull doesn't lie.That said if somebody speaks the same lingo and shares the same values as me I don't make too much of it.
 statemachine500
Joined: 8/25/2011
Msg: 78
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 7/16/2012 3:22:53 PM
That was quite long winded.Some people could put it much more simply,without any NWO agenda tainting things.
 spf76
Joined: 9/28/2011
Msg: 79
Socially Constructed Idea of Race
Posted: 9/23/2012 8:05:53 PM
I think race is useful only as a means to identify groups of people from a general aesthetic standpoint. There is too much variation within each race to declare supremacy of one over another, only individuals. For example, Usain Bolt, a Black Jamaican man, is the world's fastest man, but we do not have an average 100m dash time for each race of people in the world. In fact it would be absurd to calculate such a thing.

That being said, the concept of race, or a person's appearance only tells you one thing about that person as an individual, and that's what they look like.

Things won't get better in this country until we call each other Americans and lose the hyphens. Our political system will continue to divide us as it is a scheme to divide and conquer the working class and protect the rich. An independent voter, who will not support a system that panders and makes allies and enemies of people based on race, gender and sexual orientation does not have the right to vote in a primary election. What does that tell you when people don't have the right to vote? It tells you that we don't live in a democracy.
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