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[OBG] Nature of Race Full


Sorry for the delay. I'm held up by other work but I should finish my review shortly.
(2015-Mar-19, 17:21:11)Chuck Wrote:
(2015-Mar-19, 14:00:41)B.B. Wrote: Content-wise, I am very impressed. As far as presentation goes, formatting needs work. A lot of paragraphs aren't properly separated and quoted paragraphs aren't indented.

The downloaded version should be better than the browser one. If you could point out errors that would be very helpful.

Currently, I am waiting for Peter Frost's and Michael Levin's reviews.

(2015-Mar-19, 19:19:17)Emil Wrote: Can you post a PDF version too? DOCX is a proprietary format (owned by Microsoft) that isn't perfectly understood by LibreOffice. I don't have MS Word.

If I review the DOCX version, I may be commenting on formatting issues resulting from the the format alone.

It appears a number of the formatting issues I noted were the byproduct of LibreOffice's idiosyncratic reading of the document and are not present in the PDF version.
(2015-Mar-17, 00:07:49)Chuck Wrote: Part of the problem is that ""folk race" is used ambiguously. At times it is used to mean both sociological classifications like US "Asians" (which often don't cut out natural divisions) and at other times it is used to mean traditional race classifications like Mongoloid, Caucasoid, etc. (which do cut out natural divisions). Pigliucci & Kaplan (2003); Pigliucci (2013) seem to use it in the latter sense. Consider the following passage from Pigliucci (2013):

I said that when they refer to folk races, they are talking about the sociological classifications. This was true in the Kaplan's paper I have cited. If they did mean something else, you will have to show me this. And you did. By quoting Pigliucci (2013) which was referring to Pigliucci & Kaplan (2003), which was in fact the article I had in mind. And in that article, they said (p. 1170) :

Quote:This does not, of course, imply that our folk conception of race is not significant—while it does not pick out populations of biological interest, it does pick out populations of deep social and political interest. These populations do not, in fact, have many of the features they were historically supposed to have, but that does not prevent the application of the folk concept of race. Nor, we believe, should it. As long as the folk racial category to which one happens to belong is systematically related to other important aspects of one’s life, there is obviously still a need to pay attention to race in formulating, for example, social policy. And, it need hardly be said, it is. In the U.S., and in at the very least many other contemporary societies, one’s (folk) race is systematically related to one’s chances of acquiring most (if not all) important goods—everything from education to money to self-respect.

That definition is similar to the one from Kaplan (2010) that I have cited in the above comment. So, who is wrong here ? I hope you can sort that out. Because I don't know where to begin. I will email Pigliucci & Kaplan. I want to be sure we are talking about the same thing.

I agree with your changes, otherwise. I particularly appreciate this one :

(2015-Mar-17, 00:07:49)Chuck Wrote: "To render this position otherwise: biological races are not real because “races” refer to entities which we now know can not possibly exist."

Because by impossible biological entities, I wasn't certain whether you were referring to the biological essentialism discussed in section 3.

(2015-Mar-17, 00:07:49)Chuck Wrote: What do you suggest I do? If I list it, I will list it as: Kaplan, J. (n.d.). (How Much) Do the Semantics of “Race” Matter? A Note From a Parochial Perspective.

Fine by me. I would like, however, to have a link to the article, because the one you gave me isn't probably the correct one.
I'm extremely bothered, annoyed. Again, what's the use of this thread ? Think about how the journal will refer to the review thread. Usually, it's something like :

Download Paper.
Download supplementary material.
Forum thread with peer-review.

With your 6 separate thread, that should be, for you :

Download Paper.
Download supplementary material.
Forum thread with peer-review. Section 1.
Forum thread with peer-review. Section 2.
Forum thread with peer-review. Section 3.
Forum thread with peer-review. Section 4.
Forum thread with peer-review. Section 5.
Forum thread with peer-review. Section 6.

Now, what's the use of Full version thread, given the above ? If it's about the presentation, typos, and some other stuff like this, why not. But if it's for reviews, that's not OK for me. And I'm not ready to comment in this thread about the content of the article. I will use the previous thread 1 to 6. There is no use anymore for this thread, since the others already serve their own purposes. And some people have already commented on these threads. This starts to become messy.

Of course, you can answer that you can put a link toward thread 1 to 6 in this thread, but putting a link which refers to still another link, hm... that's not very practical.
I got an answer from Kaplan :

Quote:Your question below reveals the kind of selective quoting and biological ignorance Fuerst thrives on; also, it would appear, from the passages you are quoting, that Fuerst is attempting to conflate our use of 'folk-racial category' with our use of 'ecotype,' for reasons that escape me. But they are conceptually distinct (and, empirically, are, as we argued, very unlikely to align).

But, to answer your question: By folk racial category, we meant just that. Folk racial categories are the sort of racial categories used by people in the U.S. in thinking about race in everyday life. We included things like the sorts of categories used on the U.S. Census, OBM, etc. surveys and reporting, but recognize that in fact there is no one set of "folk racial categories" in the U.S. -- different survey instruments recognize different races, and the same instrument will recognize different races at different times, and individual people differ in what races they recognize in their everyday lives, etc. Nevertheless, there is a kind a broad overlapping sense of what races get picked out in everyday life, and how those races are identified, in the U.S. context, and it is that we motion towards with "folk racial category."

Note well that folk racial categories do not always align well with e.g. genomic clusters; "non-Hispanic Whites" is not a genomic cluster, but it is *precisely* what the racists who profess to be worried about "Whites" soon being a "minority" in the U.S. are worried about.

"Eco-types" are generally defined as local populations genetically adapted to specific local environmental conditions; this definition is pretty standard, pace Fuerst's selective reading (and mis-readings) of the literature.

So: First, conceptually, a population can clearly be a folk race without being an ecotype, and an ecotypic population of humans need not be a folk race. That should be obvious to anyone who actually read the definitions.

Second, empirically, the populations identified as folk racial categories come from regions too large and diverse to count as ecotypes in the usual sense defined above (a sense, again, that is the standard one to take in the literature). That, again, should be obvious to anyone who actually studies the way that "ecotype" is used in the biological literature (as opposed to, say, spending their time searching for rare uses to fit their preconceived ideas for racist ends).

So: In humans, ecotypes need not be identified with folk races, conceptually, and empirically, they are not so-identified.

There is one word that I have modified from the original message because this is, hm... how can I put it... more "suitable". That word is highlighted.
Aside from all the psychologizing ("racists" "fit their preconceived ideas for racist ends"), I'm curious about the claim that non-Hispanic Whites does fit fit the genomic cluster. It seems to me that this is exactly what it does. Non-Hispanic White is identical with European as far as I know, which of course emerges as a cluster.
A solution could be that I merged all the threads. This will solve the mess. The posts will be in chronological order (I think).
(2015-Mar-20, 15:45:47)Meng Hu Wrote: I'm extremely bothered, annoyed. Again, what's the use of this thread ? Think about how the journal will refer to the review thread. Usually, it's something like :

You asked me to post the full paper. I did.

The following is a list of my impressions after reading your manuscript. I'll read it over again and come back to you if I have any more comments.


The tone of this book is often legalistic, sometimes making the writing style needlessly heavy and sometimes exaggerating contradictions and inconsistencies in criticisms of the race concept. For instance, you describe one antiracist argument as follows:

“while there do exist biological races in other animal species, there are none in ours” (p.3)

Stephen J. Gould argued that the race concept was often just as inapplicable in other species as it was (so he felt) in humans. The general antiracist argument is that most intra-specific variation starts off being clinal and then only gradually coalesces and becomes racial. Humans would fall between the two.

In general, a legalistic style of argument is poorly suited to a situation where different people are trying to define “fuzzy sets,” which by their nature have fuzzy semiotic boundaries.

- What sort of audience are you aiming for? You might want to summarize your argument in boxes, perhaps as highlights.
- Are you using the royal “we” in this text?
- You make a good point that most biological concepts are vulnerable to the same criticisms made against the race concept. The same could be said for almost any concept. What is a battleship? What is a planet?
- You make a good point that all concepts have a social utility. All concepts – by their very nature – are human constructs, since they are literally constructed in the minds of one or more persons.

“we imagine that the dominant classification system of the future will be one based on genotypic, that is overall DNA, similarity” (p. 10)

The problem with that system is that it ignores the effects of natural selection, and these effects are only weakly related to overall DNA similarity. Most DNA is of little or no selective value, so it is possible for two populations to be very different in terms of overall DNA, while looking and behaving very similarly. The reverse is also true. If we take humans, the physical differences between East Asians and Europeans are greater than the physical differences between Andaman Islanders and Africans, yet genetically we see the reverse pattern. In short, if two populations are subjected to very divergent selection pressures, they will come to look and behave very differently, even though the overall genome shows an overall degree of similarity. Conversely, if those two populations live under similar selection pressures, they will diverge from each other sluggishly in terms of appearance and behavior.

“But we grant that such critics would have a point were “race” to not denote a particular type of biological division” (p. 10)

This kind of writing is legitimate but awkward. I would write: “Such critics would have a point if “race” did not mean a particular type of biological division”

“phenotypic characters are seen, in turn, as a product of, and means of inferring, overall genetic relatedness” (p. 13)

No. To infer genetic relatedness, we use special genetic markers (mtDNA, certain enzymes, blood groups, etc. that have low selective value; otherwise, they would produce false phylogenies)

“Another problem, from the perspective of the monophyletic requirement, is that subspecific taxa – along with species19 -- can be and often are hybrids” (p. 16)

Genetic introgression from other species can also introduce useful alleles that enable some subgroups to diverge more quickly from other subgroups. (see Greg Cochran's writings on genetic "cherry picking")

“What it means to be ‘biologically meaningless’ is never explained, presumably because it means nothing at all: the statement is vacuous” (p. 18)

Not exactly. The “race does not exist” position has become so monolithic that people no longer feel obliged to justify it. But there are arguments for that position (as you note in your text on p. 20)

“Underlying the word usage was a notion of race which involved the idea of genealogy and of the inheritance of traits” (p. 22)

Also, the direct action of climate.

p. 24 – excessively long paragraph

p. 30 – excessively long paragraph (in the box)

“If we take “cline” to mean population continuum, then we might rephrase the American Anthropological Association’s question as: “Races or population continuums?" (p. 40)

Yes, but that isn’t how clines are usually imagined. The general view is that different genetic traits display different patterns of clinal variation because each genetic trait is responding to its own set of selection pressures. That’s the theory. You might want to refer to Cavalli-Sforza, who showed that when we superimpose patterns of geographic variation at many different gene loci, we end up with a single map of human genetic variation.

“Insofar as Hispanics are descended from mixed-race populations, they could be treated, consistently with evolutionary classifications, as their own biological race,” (p. 52)

Not sure I agree. For one thing, the mixture varies from one country to another. Dominicans tend to be a European-African mixture, whereas Mexicans tend to be European-Amerindian. Even within Mexico, there are interesting differences because the degree of European admixture varies and because the Amerindian nations are themselves different.

“Sailer (1998) put forth a concept of race as a linebred extended family; by this, races represent different genealogically delineated groups.” (p. 53)

Shouldn’t that be “inbred”? I suspect Steve put forth that definition because the term “family” resonates well with social conservatives. As Greg Cochran noted, this definition is deficient because it makes no reference to natural selection as a reason why races become different from each other. Unfortunately, “natural selection” does not resonate well with part of Steve's target audience.

“For example, an ethnic Hui individual might have a ratio of one South Asian to 511 Han ancestors. In pedigree, as in genotype, this Hui individual would be more related to Han than to South Asians.” (p. 54)

Again, you see genealogy as the only source of similarity or difference. The Hui may also have become different through a different set of selection pressures (because of their social position and submission to Islamic law.

"The authors concluded that the rejection of the concept (as understood by the experts in question) “varies from high to low with highest rejection of race occurring amongst physical anthropologists in the United States, other English speaking nations (mostly Canada), and Poland; moderate rejection of race in Europe; and sizeable, though quite low, rejection of race evidenced in Poland and Cuba.” (p.73)

Why does Poland appear twice in this list? In general, the race concept is more widely accepted in the former Eastern bloc because the Iron Curtain restricted the penetration of Western media (books, films. programs) and thus hindered dissemination of the anti-racist world view.

pp. 73-77 – excellent!

The term gene-culture co-evolution appears twice in the document. You should provide a brief definition and some illustrations, perhaps in a box.

“Shades of de Gobineau” (p. 105). This title is unfortunate. Please find another one. (It’s also incorrect to refer to someone as “de … whatever.” It’s like writing “of Man” instead of “the Isle of Man”. Either write “Gobineau” or “the Comte de Gobineau”).

“[A]lthough differences of racial mental qualities are relatively small, so small as to be indistinguishable with certainty in individuals, they are yet of great importance for the life of nations, because they exert throughout many generations a constant bias upon the development of their culture and their institutions” (Mathews, 1925). (p. 105)

The above was not written by Franz Boas. It was written by Basil Mathews, a Christian missionary writer. The young Franz Boas wrote many texts similar to the above, like the following:

"We have shown that the anatomical evidence is such, that we may expect to find the races not equally gifted. While we have no right to consider one more ape-like than the other, the differences are such that some have probably greater mental vigor than others. The variations are, however, such that we may expect many individuals of all races to be equally gifted, while the number of men and women of higher ability will differ." (Boas, 1974, p. 242)

This is from a speech he gave in 1894 under the title "Human Faculty as Determined by Race."

Boas, F. (1974). A Franz Boas Reader. The Shaping of American Anthropology, 1883-1911, G.W. Stocking Jr. (ed.), Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

For more Boas quotes, go to:

“It might seem as if we are setting up extra-high standards to dismiss moral arguments, but moral arguments against race often purport to show the above. For example, Ashley Montagu argued that “race” was man’s most dangerous myth – not that it was “one of many potentially dangerous concepts”. (p. 136)

It reflects the thinking of the postwar era. There was a real fear, especially among Jewish scholars, that the Holocaust of WWII would be followed by a second one, which would be committed by the usual suspects. Marine Le Pen described this kind of thinking in a recent interview:

“The reality is that there exist in France associations that are supposedly representative of French Jews, which have stuck with a software that came out of the Second World War,” she said, meaning that members of the Jewish leadership are still preoccupied with the threat of Nazi-like fascism. “For decades they have continued to fight against an anti-Semitism that no longer exists in France, for reasons of—how should I say this?—intellectual laziness. And by a form of submission to the politically correct. And while they were doing this, while they were fighting against an enemy that no longer existed, an anti-Semitism was gaining force in France stemming notably from the development of fundamentalist Islamist thought.”


I will reply later. Thank you for taking the time to read the work over and to comment. I really appreciate that. I will take under consideration everything you said. That noted, it would be helpful if you also explicated your conditions for approval i.e., what you require either that I amend or convince you that I don't need to.
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