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[OBG] Nature of Race Full

#1
[OBG] Nature of Race (Full]

Author: John Fuerst

Abstract: Racial constructionists, anti-naturalists, and anti-realists have challenged users of the biological race concept to provide and defend, from the perspective of biology, biological philosophy, and ethics, a biologically informed concept of race. In this paper, an onto-epistemology of biology is developed. What it is, by this, to be "biological real" and "biologically meaningful" and to represent a "biological natural division" is explained. Historic and modern biological race concepts are then discussed in detail. A general concept in which races are said to be intraspecific biological natural divisions is developed. It is explained what this concept does and does not entail and how this general concept of race unifies the plethora of specific ones. This concept of race is compared and contrasted with other ones presented in the philosophical literature. The concept is then situated in the developed biological onto-epistemology, and it is explained why this concept is not radically different from those race concepts first developed in the 18th century. Next, the concept is discussed in relation to anthropological discourse. Traditional human racial classifications are discussed in detail and are defended from common criticisms. Whether or not these traditional human races could qualify as taxonomic category subspecies is considered. Behavioral genetic differences associated with human races are discussed in general and in specific. Finally, the race concept is defended from various criticisms. First, logical and empirical critiques are dissected. Second, moral-based criticisms are investigated and counter-critiqued. None of these are found to hold much water. An area of future investigation, to shed light on the nature of the continuing debate about race, is pointed to.

Keywords: natural division, race, biology

The article can be found here: https://osf.io/2wsuh/
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#2
[OBG] Nature of Race, part 1: Biology -- Philosophical Clarification

Author: John Fuerst

Abstract: Racial constructionists, anti-naturalists, and anti-realists have challenged users of the biological race concept to provide and defend, from the perspective of biology, biological philosophy, sociology, and ethics, a biologically informed concept of race. We do this in a six part analysis. Part 1 carves out an epistemic space for a biological concept of race.

Keywords: natural division, race, biology

The article can be found here: https://osf.io/y2q3u/ (Edit: The previous link did not work.)

(There are 6 parts; each will be submitted to OBG as a separate chapter.)

[Edit (1/21/2015): Please download the latest version of the document and read it; the OSF browser version does not include the many footnotes.]

[OBG] Nature of Race, part 2: The Ordinary Biological Race Concept

Author: John Fuerst

Abstract: Racial constructionists, anti-naturalists, and anti-realists have challenged users of the biological race concept to provide and defend, from the perspective of biology, biological philosophy, sociology, and ethics, a biologically informed concept of race. We do this in a six part analysis. Part 2 explicates an ordinary biological concept of race.

Keywords: natural division, race, biology

The article can be found here: https://osf.io/6mtbc/ (this is the updated version)

[Edit (1/20/2015): Please download the latest version of the document and read it; the OSF browser version does not include the many footnotes.]
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#3
[OBG] Nature of Race, part 4: The Races of Man

Author: John Fuerst

Abstract: Racial constructionists, anti-naturalists, and anti-realists have challenged users of the biological race concept to provide and defend, from the perspective of biology, biological philosophy, sociology, and ethics, a biologically informed concept of race. We do this in a six part analysis. Part 4 discusses the races of man.

Keywords: natural division, race, biology

The article can be found here: https://osf.io/6bznx/?mode=download&view...3eeaf7ff5f

[Edit (1/21/2015): Please download the latest version of the document and read it; the OSF browser version does not include the many footnotes.]
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#4
"In Greece and Rome, northern Europeans, unlike sub-Saharan Africans, were not classified as a separate color group"

There were Greek and Roman authors who saw Mediterranean people as forming a happy medium between pale northern Europeans and black Africans.

http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&i...te&f=false

see pp. 47, 95, 111

"Of these [samples], six were based on anthropologists, two on biologists, and one on anatomists."

Why not say "composed of" instead of "based on"? (or the samples were based on surveys of anthropologists, etc.)

"Human Holocene Races"

The Holocene refers to the last 10,000 years (11,700 to be exact), and not the last 10 to 50 thousand. I'm also skeptical about the diagram. Current thinking is that the native peoples of Australia and New Guinea are the product of a somewhat earlier expansion out of Africa through south Asia.

"HHR and Migration and Miscegenation"

The term "miscegenation" carries a lot of semantic baggage. Find another term. Please.

"The modern human geographic evolutionary races circa 10,000 BC to 1,500 AD differ from the geographic human races circa 200,000 to 100,000 BC and before."

It's stretching things to apply the term "race" to archaic hominins (Neanderthals, Denisovans, "Hobbits" in southeast Asia). This is a subject of debate, but the dominant view is that these other groups were not modern humans in any meaningful sense. In fact, they are usually not even referred to as "humans" in the literature. Moreover, they existed as distinct groups for hundreds of thousands of years, not tens of thousands.

I understand the argument you're trying to make: differentiation below the species level changes over time, with populations appearing and disappearing or intermixing. But the kind of differentiation that existed prior to the Out of Africa event was different in many ways from what we see later on. For one thing, the time scales are different. For another, gene-culture co-evolution was not a factor in differentiation.

You discuss Fst at great length. In my opinion, it's a very poor measure of functional genetic diversity, especially for species like humans that have differentiated over a relatively short span of evolutionary time. Genetic variation between populations differs qualitatively from genetic variation within populations. A population boundary typically coincides with a geographic or ecological barrier, such as a change from one vegetation zone to another or, as with humans, a change from one way of life to another. It thus separates not only different populations but also differing sets of selection pressures. This is why genetic variation within a population differs qualitatively from genetic variation between populations. The first kind cannot be ironed out by similar selection pressures and thus tends to involve genes of little or no selective value. The second kind occurs across population boundaries, which tend to separate different ecosystems, different vegetation zones, different ways of life ... and different selection pressures. So the genes matter a lot more.

This isn’t just theory. We see the same genetic overlap between species that are nonetheless distinct anatomically and behaviorally, generally sibling species that have diverged from each other over a short span of evolutionary time. In that kind of context, genetic differences tend to result from differing selection pressures, and thus are more likely to have adaptive, functional consequences … as opposed to “junk variability” that slowly accumulates over long spans of time.
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#5
Thanks for commenting, Peter. Might you clarify a few points:

Quote:There were Greek and Roman authors who saw Mediterranean people as forming a happy medium between pale northern Europeans and black Africans.
http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&i...te&f=false
see pp. 47, 95, 111

Did these authors see northern Europeans as belonging to a separate morphological group? If so, I will make a note of this.

Quote:"Of these [samples], six were based on anthropologists, two on biologists, and one on anatomists."

Why not say "composed of" instead of "based on"? (or the samples were based on surveys of anthropologists, etc.)

I meant: "Of these surveys, six were based on". I will clarify.

Quote:"Human Holocene Races"

The Holocene refers to the last 10,000 years (11,700 to be exact), and not the last 10 to 50 thousand. I'm also skeptical about the diagram. Current thinking is that the native peoples of Australia and New Guinea are the product of a somewhat earlier expansion out of Africa through south Asia.

Others have referred to them as the Holocene races. Since I am including Amerindians as one of five, wouldn't this be more accurate? I am referring to the major races that existed as of 10,000 BC on. What would you advise calling them?

Quote:The term "miscegenation" carries a lot of semantic baggage. Find another term. Please.

Yes, i'll change it; from what I have read, in Latin America and other regions the term, which literally means mixing of different kinds, is more or less neutral. For reference, I'm an inter-mixer too and I'm not approaching this from either an anti or pro-métissage perspective.

Quote:It's stretching things to apply the term "race" to archaic hominins (Neanderthals, Denisovans, "Hobbits" in southeast Asia). This is a subject of debate, but the dominant view is that these other groups were not modern humans in any meaningful sense. In fact, they are usually not even referred to as "humans" in the literature. Moreover, they existed as distinct groups for hundreds of thousands of years, not tens of thousands.

In a footnote, I commented that there is debate about whether archaic groupings constitute different races, semispecies, or species. [Edit: the foot notes don't show up on the OSF online version; you have to download the .doc file and open it.] I noted they should probably be thought more of as the latter. Regarding the discussion, I actually had in mind modern human African lineages circa 100,000 BC. I was thinking of this figure. I used "Holocene races" to differentiate from such races. I originally had that pick and some discussion but deleted it because I was unable to get permission of use. I will clarify though. What, in you opinion, should I call the more modern races I am referring to?

Quote:But the kind of differentiation that existed prior to the Out of Africa event was different in many ways from what we see later on. For one thing, the time scales are different. For another, gene-culture co-evolution was not a factor in differentiation.

Ok, but if we went back to 100,000 BC the natural sub-specific divisions that we could cut out would be different. This is basically all that I meant. I'm not sure that gene-culture co-evolution is relevant since I am not here concerned with race differences but with races. What would you have me add though?

Quote:You discuss Fst at great length. In my opinion, it's a very poor measure of functional genetic diversity, especially for species like humans that have differentiated over a relatively short span of evolutionary time.

I sort of mentioned your criticism, but maybe I didn't well or clearly state the matter. For example, I said:

"Genetic variation at a typical locus will have no functional consequence since a typical locus is selectively neutral. As such, average genetic variation tends to measure neutral mutations and so index the time of divergence between populations (Sarich and Miele, 2002). As a result, the average genetic variation across loci does not allow one to well predict the amount of differentiation in loci that were not selectively neutral -- the very ones that are relevant when it comes to discussions of socially significant genetically mediated differences. "

I thought that this made the same point, basically. Average Fst values measure time of divergence, not degree of selection on traits x to z.

I will present the point you made more clearly, though. I think, though, that it is worthwhile presenting the other criticism, since the "too little genetic diversity" argument is still taken seriously in many quarters. One of my points was that even if you grant the logic (and that within and between variation is comparable), the conclusion doesn't follow, since the between group genetic diversity is not trivial by many metrics. Maybe, you think that only one good counter-argument is needed, though. I think that it's worthwhile to point out the numerous flaws with, and thus complete vacuity of, the argument.

From an anthropological perspective, did the discussion of race in section 2, make sense?
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#6
Ok, I reread what I wrote.

Quote:"Of these [samples], six were based on anthropologists, two on biologists, and one on anatomists."

Why not say "composed of" instead of "based on"? (or the samples were based on surveys of anthropologists, etc.)

You are correct. I will make the changes. FYI I originally discussed surveys but then redid the section and discussed samples.

Quote:The Holocene refers to the last 10,000 years (11,700 to be exact), and not the last 10 to 50 thousand. I'm also skeptical about the diagram. Current thinking is that the native peoples of Australia and New Guinea are the product of a somewhat earlier expansion out of Africa through south Asia.

Yes, I wrote 10-50 kya. This is another rewritten section where I didn't make all of the proper changes. If I change it to 10 kya to present can I use Holocene? Should I use "present" of 1500 AD?

Quote:Peter: It's stretching things to apply the term "race" to archaic hominins (Neanderthals, Denisovans, "Hobbits" in southeast Asia). This is a subject of debate, but the dominant view is that these other groups were not modern humans in any meaningful sense. In fact, they are usually not even referred to as "humans" in the literature. Moreover, they existed as distinct groups for hundreds of thousands of years, not tens of thousands.

Chuck: In a footnote, I commented that there is debate about whether archaic groupings constitute different races, semispecies, or species. [Edit: the foot notes don't show up on the OSF online version; you have to download the .doc file and open it.] I noted they should probably be thought more of as the latter. Regarding the discussion, I actually had in mind modern human African lineages circa 100,000 BC.

I see that in another section I used archaic hominins in discussion of racial admixture. I will make the appropriate changes.
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#7
1. The Romans were Lamarckians, i.e., they believed that behavioral and anatomical differences are due to the direct action of climate and other environmental factors. All humans can thus become Roman citizens, since the blessings of a common climate and civilization will, in time, erase such differences. That was official Roman ideology, and it persisted right until the very end.

By late antiquity, there was increasing recognition that Ethiopians (black Africans) were a special case, but this specialness was attributed to a sinful act committed by their initial ancestor. If Ham had not seen the naked body of his father, Noah, black people would be just like everyone else. In fact, they wouldn't be black!

I could dig up references "proving" that northern Europeans were perceived as forming a separate morphological group, but it would be dishonest of me. The Romans did not understand population genetics as we do today.

2. The term "Holocene races" was coined by Vincent Sarich (if I'm not mistaken). Sarich believed that the northward and southward movements of vegetation zones during the last ice age caused human populations to be completely mixed up. So present-day human races began to form with the end of the last ice age and the beginning of the Holocene.

This view was a reaction to Coon's view that human races go back hundreds of thousands of years. Both views are incorrect, in my opinion. Human races are a product of many different circumstances. Yes, the last ice age was a key factor, but there were many others.

So drop the term "Holocene races," unless you're willing to defend the ideological baggage that goes with it.

3. You write cogently, Chuck, and each writer must be allowed to find his own voice. I tend to focus on a few key arguments because most people have a short attention span.
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#8
I made substantive changes to part 2. Hopefully, the argument is clearer. The new paper can be found here: https://osf.io/6mtbc/ Changes are in red and can be seen (in color) in the .doc file. Note: footnotes only show up in the .doc file.
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#9
Just to not keep you in the dark. I did read this paper and intend to comment on it. I have just not had the time.
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#10
I think you have a good description here.

Sometimes, I have the feeling that for the non-initiated reader, the terms "phylogenetics" "genealogy" "phenetics" etc. may be difficult to grasp and need to be introduced. It's optional but maybe I can suggest to add a glossary, either at the beginning or the end of the manuscript (I'm not talking about Part1, but the entire manuscript).

Quote:In taxonomy, some (cladists), following Willi Hennig feel that natural classifications should be made only on the basis of genealogy in the sense of phylogeny

My impression is that it is simpler to just write "classifications should be made only on the basis of genealogy". What do you think ?

Quote:Currently, there is a consensus in biology (and the philosophy of biology) against the first two schools

I would like to have a cited reference (if possible).

Finally, there is a text that I find illuminating, here. I don't know if you will find the use of it in your text, but I just wanted to say it.

Quote:The sharing between species of a character or a number of characters throws on these species some suspicion of a common origin dating back to the existence of a common ancestor, the first to have acquired that character or set of characters. The existence of the ancestor can be discovered through the cladistic method, but not his identity, which remains hidden. For example, birds share a common ancestor, but the discovery in 1861 of a fossil like Archaeopteryx, which is the oldest known bird, does not prove that this fossil in particular is the ancestor of all birds. Actual future discovery could uncover an oldest fossil bird Archaeopteryx, but again the certainty of being in front of an "ancestor" is nonexistent. The relations of ancestor to descendants (genealogy) can be identified as such only if the identity of the ancestor and descendants is previously known. In other words, to trace the genealogy, the science of classification should be sure to know all the existing species and having existed. Since this is not the case, because science is far from knowing all the living and fossil species, genealogy, even if it actually happened in the past, can not be traced. What the science of classification can trace with these partial elements that are the few fossil and current species actually known, it is the kinship between species. That is the difference between a genealogy ("who is the ancestor of whom") and a phylogeny ("who is the nearest relative of whom"). Phylogenetic relationships between known species thus constitute the only possible objective criterion of classification.

It wasn't in english, so I use google translate, and corrected the little mistakes that google usually makes. I believe the entire paragraph makes sense.
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