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[OBG] Nature of Race Full

#31
"I agree that a clear connection between extended genealogy and morphological differences was often not made. This is why the 17th-19th century concept of "race" is interesting; it makes this connection clearly and it adds the idea of an accumulation of small differences through endogamy (i.e., varieties becoming more constant with the incrossing of lines of descent)."

I'm sorry but I profoundly disagree.

As late as the early 19th century, there was a strong belief in catastrophism and saltationism. Species came into being through divine intervention, and this thinking persisted even among those who had abandoned the idea that the world had been created in six days. A major stumbling block was the belief that the earth is very young, only a few thousand years old. Small incremental changes from one generation to the next could not possibly explain the diversity of living things. At most, such changes could explain divergence from an ideal type. Since we are all descended from Noah (all other humans having perished during the Flood), the human ideal is that of people close to Mount Ararat. For various reasons, people farther away have diverged from that ideal type. Some of this divergence may have happened incrementally, but much of it happened through saltationism, i.e., through divine intervention, direct environmental action, or sinful acts.

You don't seem to appreciate the extent to which scholars were constrained by Christian doctrine. "Constraint" isn't necessarily the right word, since they saw Natural History as a vindication of the biblical account.


Let me return to the original statement that bothered me:
"In short, the existence of different peoples with different sets of inter-generationally transmitted traits has long been recognized and discussed.

Strictly speaking, there's nothing false with this statement, but it creates the impression that the Ancients believed that major physical differences resulted from an accumulation of small intergenerational changes. Actually, the ancients mainly believed in large intragenerational changes, which could be then passed on, i.e., saltationism. This kind of thinking was still dominant as late as the 19th century. If you read The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America, the author, Eric P. Kaufmann, notes that "a good case can be made that ethnic (“race”) thinking in the nineteenth century was largely a muddled, incoherent enterprise” (p. 54).

Let me give one example: Fleming Jenkin's criticism of Darwin's work, which even Darwin had trouble refuting:

"Suppose a white man to have been wrecked on an island inhabited by negroes.... Our shipwrecked hero would probably become king; he would kill a great many blacks in the struggle for existence; he would have a great many wives and children, while many of his subjects would live and die as bachelors.... Our white's qualities would certainly tend very much to preserve him to good old age, and yet he would not suffice in any number of generations to turn his subjects' descendants white.... In the first generation there will be some dozens of intelligent young mulattoes, much superior in average intelligence to the negroes. We might expect the throne for some generations to be occupied by a more or less yellow king; but can any one believe that the whole island will gradually acquire a white, or even a yellow population ...?

Here is a case in which a variety was introduced, with far greater advantages than any sport every heard of, advantages tending to its preservation, and yet powerless to perpetuate the new variety."

North British Review, June 1867, 46:277-318

Before the rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's work, people had no way of conceiving the preservation of small incremental genetic changes. Any such changes would be blended away into nothingness. Change had to be substantial and repeated, apparently by divine intervention.
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#32
(2015-Jan-17, 21:50:13)Peter Frost Wrote: I'm sorry but I profoundly disagree.

As late as the early 19th century, there was a strong belief in catastrophism and saltationism. (a) Species came into being through divine intervention, and this thinking persisted even among those who had abandoned the idea that the world had been created in six days. (b) A major stumbling block was the belief that the earth is very young, only a few thousand years old. Small incremental changes from one generation to the next could not possibly explain the diversity among living things. Small incremental changes could explain only divergence from an ideal type. Since we are all descended from Noah (all other humans having perished during the Flood), the human ideal is that of people close to Mount Ararat. © For various reasons, people farther away have diverged from that ideal type. Some of this divergence may have happened incrementally, but much of it happened through saltationism, through the direct action of the environment or through sinful acts. You don't seem to appreciate the extent to which scholars were constrained by Christian doctrine. "Constraint" isn't necessarily the right word, since they saw Natural History as a vindication of the biblical account.


There seems to be some confusion here, owing to my phrasing and lack of elaboration. Two separate issues are being discussed: (1) How people generally thought about population differences; (2) how race was conceptualized by Buffon, Kant, and Blumenbach. I rewrote the section as:

Quote:"Prior to the development of the concept or race -- in the sense of lineages of a species which had acquired, over the course of generations, patterns of character differences such to allow for a genealogical based division – there had long been three strands of related thinking, involving: the recognition of regional phenotypic differences, the recognition of the inheritance of character differences, and a genealogical understanding of nations. First, regional morphological differences were recognized and used, at times, to classify populations. As noted by Sarich and Miele (2004), crude race-like classifications were depicted in Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Chinese, and Islamic art and literature. Egyptians, for example, divided humans into four color groups: Egyptian, Negro, White Libyan, and Asiatic (Middle Easterners). Chinese historians differentiated between barbarians of the Caucasian and Mongoloid type. Islamic writers distinguished between black sub-Saharan Africans and white North Africans and medieval Islamic scholars distinguished white slaves from black slaves. In Moretum, the Roman poet Virgil characterized the sub-Saharan African phenotype (dark skin, tightly curled hair, puffy lips, broad shoulders) little different from how modern anthropologists have. Generally, regional phenotypic differences had long been noticed. Second, a number of classical Greco-Roman writers deduced that regional characters where inherited. Thus, for example, Aristotle used the case of an Ethiopian’s color to illustrate a principle related to biological inheritance (see the relevant discussion in: Henry (2006)). While differences were often attributed to the direct effects of the environment or to cultural practices, not a few classical writers held, basically, epigenetic views, according to which environmental factors left imprints on genealogical lines (Issac, 2006) [note1] or other views according to which character differences, once acquired by a people, were inherited. Third, nations of people were often understood genealogically. For example, in the Christian literature, national peoples were categorized genealogically in terms of descendants of Noah’s sons, who were referred to as the races of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

During the Age of Discovery, when exploring distant lands, Europeans encountered various peoples who exhibited conspicuous phenotypic differences. The dogma at the time was that all of these many peoples along with Europeans descended from the biblical Adam and Eve several thousand years prior. Some prominent thinkers conjectured that these different peoples represented different species of man, where species were understood to be distinct creations. This position was condemned by the spiritual authorities as heretical, but, it did not disappear, as it had a face plausibility: inconstancy evidenced differences between varieties, constancy between species – differences between human groups were more or less constant; species did not share a common phylogenetic origin; as humans were created a mere few thousand years prior, it was implausible that all of the many groups, in that time, spread, from one common source, across the globe and acquired their many conspicuous differences – humans, then, seemingly did not share a common phylogenetic origin. Either way, regional populations seemingly were different species of mankind.

Some opponents of this polygenist view (e.g., Buffon, Blumenbach, and Kant) counter-argued that these different peoples, instead, represented different lineages of the same species which, sometime over the last several thousand years developed or acquired differences that became, somehow, more or less, rooted in their lineages: races, in the sense of subspecies . As these early race thinkers were species realists, they saw their races as intraspecifc lineages which had acquired or developed, over time, degenerations or deviations from a primitive species type; these deviations were conceptualized as either being adaptive (Kant) or as being a sort of pathology which had become second nature (Blumenbach) (Doron, 2011). Was this concept new and invented? The prerequisite ideas had been thought of prior and could be found in the common literature. But before the mid to late 1700s, no concept which unified them occupied a space in Natural History. Thus to the extent something like race (e.g., breed in context to farming) was thought, it was not so as a modern scientific idea, one which purported to describe an aspect of the natural world. [Edit -- Added 9:20 1/172015:] Moreover, prior to the introduction and later popularization of this concept, in the field of natural history intraspecific variation was understood in non-genealogical terms and was primarily attributed to the direct effects of the environment.

This concept, as thought by Buffon, Blumenbach, Kant and others, still had to evolve some before it became akin to what we now think of. This was only possible after Darwin inaugurated an intellectual revolution which led to a re-understanding of the nature of species, which races as subspecies, were, in part, conceptualized in contrast to. Following this paradigm shift, individual species were no longer understood as being Creator made entities; rather they were seen as the product of descent with adaptive modification from a common stock. In turn, races, or constant varieties, were understood as being incipient species, the lineages that could evolve into species ones. These constant varieties were no longer the degenerations and deviations from an essential species type; rather they were modifications of one species potentially on the way to becoming another. Both species and races were, then, understood as being a part of the same network of filiation.

And with the discovery of DNA, the molecular form of genes, genealogy was re-understood genotypically. Races and species have begun to be understood likewise.

Notes:

1. Isaac (2006) notes: “In summary, the heredity of acquired characters is a concept generally accepted in Greece and Rome and explicitly formulated by several authors. It is found in several Hippocratic treatises, Aristotle, Strabo, Pliny, and others and implicitly in many more authors.”
2. As noted in the sections above, Buffon, Kant, and Blumenbach primarily developed the concept of intraspecific lineage based divisions (basically, subspecies -- though not in the contemporary taxonomic category sense, which refers to formally recognized groups) and used the term “race” to reference this. But the term had been used in a more generalized manner, and increasingly was so after it was popularized, such that it referenced lineages of both the specific and/or intraspecific kind. Thus, polygenists used the term interchangeably with that of “species”. In the 20th century, race gained a commonly accepted exclusively intraspecific denotation, bringing the present meaning in line with that of Buffon, Kant, and Blumenbach."

As for your comments, again I don't see the substantive disagreement. Buffon and other monogenists were fairly clear as to how they pictured the accumulation of the deviant characters:

Quote:Varieties in the species because they became more general, more sensible and more constant through the continued action of the same causes; because they have been transmitted and are still transmitted through generations and generations as deformities and mothers and fathers’ illnesses which are passed to their children; and because, giving the fact they must have been produced originally by the concourse of external and accidental causes, they must have been reinforced and have gained constancy through the action of time and the continual influence of the same causes.

This is the only thing that they could argue, given the intellectual framework, and so this is what they did. People who did not agree maintained either that regional populations were different species or that they were different inconstant varieties -- cultural/environmental induced variations of a species that when relocated to a different environment would fairly quickly revert to the species norm. The problem for the latter idea was that differences seemed to be constant e.g., Black Africans bore black children outside of Africa. I am not aware of any 18th to 19th century natural history writer who chalked up differences to "divine intervention"; if you think that some did, perhaps you could provide some references. Also, I did not come across saltationist race (qua subspecies) concepts. Perhaps you could refer me to some -- keep in mind that I am interested in scientific/natural history conceptions, not popular notions. You note:

Quote:Let me give one example: Fleming Jenkin's criticism of Darwin's work, which even Darwin had trouble refuting:

"Suppose a white man to have been wrecked on an island inhabited by negroes.... Our shipwrecked hero would probably become king; he would kill a great many blacks in the struggle for existence; he would have a great many wives and children, while many of his subjects would live and die as bachelors.... Our white's qualities would certainly tend very much to preserve him to good old age, and yet he would not suffice in any number of generations to turn his subjects' descendants white.... In the first generation there will be some dozens of intelligent young mulattoes, much superior in average intelligence to the negroes. We might expect the throne for some generations to be occupied by a more or less yellow king; but can any one believe that the whole island will gradually acquire a white, or even a yellow population ...?

Here is a case in which a variety was introduced, with far greater advantages than any sport every heard of, advantages tending to its preservation, and yet powerless to perpetuate the new variety."

Jenkin's objection is perfectly reasonable. It seems that Darwin agreed. Jenkin's use of the term "variety" along with "sport", though, suggests that he was thinking in Linnaean variety terms, not in Buffonian constant variety = race terms.

But you say: "Before the rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's work, people had no way of conceiving the preservation of small incremental genetic changes. Any such changes would be blended away into nothingness. Change had to be substantial and repeated, apparently by divine intervention."

No, this is incorrect. The concept of race (as subspecies) was developed in hand with the concept of hereditary degeneration. In the 1700s, Races were understood, by the thinkers said to be the "inventors" of the concept, as intraspeciifc lineages along which deviations from the species type were passed. Try: Claude-Olivier Doron. Races et degenerescence. L'emergence des savoirs sur l'homme anormal. History, Philosophy and Sociology of Sciences.
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#33
I will leave another comment later, as there are several things to say. It's usually difficult to read, comment, and review, because there are many and many things...

But, for the moment, I have read from sections 1 to 3. I notice that you agree with the common, heterodox view of species, given by Dobzhansky (and described notably here) and that, one the other hand, you didn't question the species-vs-race problem, as revealed by Baker (1974, pp. 76-78) :

Quote:It is commonly supposed that the species in the genetical sense is distinguished from the race by the fact that the former is cut off from reproduction with other species (in the ordinary circumstances of wild life), while the subspecies or race is not, because interbreeding is known to occur where races of the same species come into contact at the margins of their territories, or the forms pass over into one another by such slight or insensible gradations in the intermediate region that hybridization must be assumed. Yet this distinction between the species and the race is by no means so rigid as these words would imply. The very complicated case of the herring gull illustrates this fact particularly well. It has been thoroughly investigated by independent authors, especially Stegman, [1005] Mayaud, [716] and Stresemann and Timofeeff-Ressovsky; [1020] and it deserves rather detailed study, because it gives further warning that we should not lay too much stress on the question whether any particular group of related organisms is to be considered as a single species or not.

The Danish writer Pontoppidan was the first to give a specific name to herring gulls. He gave the name of Lams argentatus to Scandinavian specimens. When it was discovered that there were many races of the species Larus argentatus Pontopp., the Scandinavian race took the name of Larus argentatus argentatus, in accordance with the rules of nomenclature, or simply argentatus for short in studies of races. The British race of this species, argenteus, is very similar to argentatus. A member of it is shown in Fig. 9a. The back and wings (apart from their black-and-white tips) are silvery or very pale blue-grey; the feet have a somewhat rosy tint, and are usually described as flesh-coloured. Gulls of the same general type may be followed across the Atlantic past Iceland to Canada, and thence across the Behring Straits to Asia and all the way along the northern part of that continent until the circle round the pole is completed by overlap with the habitat of argentatus in the White Sea, east of the Scandinavian peninsula. Any zoologist who has followed this route westwards from Scandinavia will have passed through the territories of seven races when he has completed his journey, and will have left on his right-hand side another race in Greenland and yet another in the Hudson's Bay district. During the course of his journey the traveller will have noticed a progressive change in the characters of the seven races. The backs and wings of the gulls will have become pale slate-grey, darker slate-grey, and finally almost blackish; their feet will have passed through intermediate shades to yellow, their wings will have become relatively longer and their whole bodies larger. The gradual transition is attributed to interbreeding at the racial boundaries. A chain of related forms, replacing one another progressively, was given the name of 'cline' by Professor J. S. Huxley. [533] Many examples of clines could be quoted, but a complete circle round the world is exceptional.

On the evidence so far given, no one would doubt that all these races were members of a single species. But argentatus and another form L. argentatus antelius themselves flatly contradict this supposition; for on meeting in the White Sea they do not breed together (though sexual attraction between som individuals of the two forms has been reported). Thus the zoologist who travelled westward round the world from Norway until he first reached the territory of antelius would be inclined to put all the herring gulls he had seen in the same species; but if he had started in the opposite direction he would almost certainly have put argentatus and antelius in different species as soon as he had reached the White Sea and had observed that the two forms did not merge into one another in their physical characters and did not interbreed.

At pages 5-6 (although you should not forget to activate the option "page numbers") you describe how Kant makes the distinction between races and species (with races described as being interfertile), but no mention of Baker's counter-example (the one cited above). I do not know if you want to cover this topic, but Baker, for what I know was the only one who has questioned the definition of species given by Dobzhansky and that is widely used, even today. I would like you to incorporate it in your text if you can.

Now that is said, can you modify your original post and recommend explicitly to the reviewers to download the documents instead of reading them as html ? Otherwise, they will miss all your footnotes.
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#34
First, about the punctuation and some other things like this :

Quote:Kant first described these two methods in his essay “Of the different races o f human beings”

Quote:between those with "with white, pink, brown, black face; with erect, short, curved, snub, aquiline nose" and

Quote:will "Finally revert to the original forms" (Ramsbottom 1938, 200n)"

Quote:if Black Africans were transplanted to the north after eight to twelve generations, their skin would lighten .

Quote:Buffon-like races and other types of intraspecific variation (e..g, albinos)

Quote:Wilkins (2010) does the former with regards to species concepts, we the latter with regards to race ones.

Quote:Hooton (1926): "Great divisions of mankind which vary as a group in morphological and metrical features derived from common descent ."

Quote:Similarly, there is a diversity of species (Wilkins, 2010).and of populations (Waples and Gaggiotti, 2006) definitions.

Quote:Having clarified this point, we can now address a common critique concerning racial admixture such as that made Jorde et at. (2004).

Some comments :

Quote:II-B. What the OBRC Does Not represent?

I prefer "II-B. What the Ordinary Biological Race Concept (OBRC) Does Not represent?" because it's not obvious at first sight.

Quote:The term "cline" was introduced by Huxely (1939). Huxely introduced

Huxley, not Huxely.

Quote:Naturally, when it can be shown that such characters are non-genetic in origin, they will be valueless for taxonomic purposes.) Prefixes can be used to denote clines of different types, for example, ecocline, genocline (gradient in genes), geocline (geographical cline), chronocline. paleontological trend), etc.

This one has many problems with parentheses.

Quote:In an early draft, we suggested “natural population” to get around this issue,

Quote:Not to be confused with some narrow cladistic ones. We admit that we confused the matter in a draft of this paper, associating genealogical concepts with cladistic ones.

Early draft ?

Quote:Here, we suggest "natural divisions" as a neutral term, since races have been characterized as these, but we have to append "intraspecific" for clarity's sake, making a mouthful.

I know I need to improve my english, but what do you mean by making a mouthful ?

Quote:who understood races as way stations to species

Same thing here.

Quote:where all applicable past usages of the term race (in context to biology and biological anthropology) translated as "intraspecific natural divisions" and where the public educated about the semiotic shift, we would seriously consider dropping the term "race"

I do not understand what you mean by semiotic shift.

Quote:Polymorphisms and character clines of course are DNA based, and thus genotypic in a broad sense, but unlike genotype in the sense of whole genotype

I'm not sure to understand this either.

Quote:Some argue that biological races should be called something other than “races”, because the term race is “loaded”7.

7 For example, philosopher Jonathan Kaplan made this argument in a conversation.

You should probably cite a reference of his paper (or is it in an email ?).

Quote:character # (4): the having of at least two of the following.... These types of essential sets could be, and sometimes are, called relational essential sets.

I do not understand the logical chain here => "two of the following.... These types".

Quote:Sarich and Miele (2002): Reasonably discrete groups delineated based on phylogenically related characteristics

It's Sarich and Miele (2004, p. 25), and the original quote was "Ordinary people can and do divide Homo sapiens into a number of reasonably discrete groups on the basis of reasonably objective criteria.". But there is another, similar one at page 162.

Quote:Evolutionary histories (genetic nondivergence, divergence) come into play at the level of the population or lineage segment.

Do you mean genetic nondivergence AND divergence ?

Quote:Thus, they could be dichotomously classified as Modern Humans contra Neanderthals. Nonetheless, some Modern Humans, that is, members of our Modern Human discrete set are more Neanderthalsish.

That reminds me of the "Azzo Bassou". If you haven't heard of him, it has been mentioned by Fuerle (2008, p. 35), along with a possible explanation and these two links. I couldn't find a lot of things about him in google (and nearly all links were in italian in various forums), perhaps because no scientific research has been done on what remains of him. It's a historical curiosity. Don't know if you think it's worth mentioning.

Quote:In a subsequent paper, Kant argued that only skin color seemed to be transmitted in a sufficiently constant manner to be the basis of a intraspecific natural division; though, in a third, in response to a clever argument by Georg Forester, he seem to take a step back, hypothesizing other possible characters, such as bone structure.

It's worth noting that Baker (1974, p. 160) has mentioned this point : "The relative unimportance of colour in comparison with morphological features is witnessed by the fact that there is no race of man, in the sense of the word adopted in this book (pp. 99 ff.), that is characterized by the possession of a pale skin. Most of the subraces of the Europid race have pale skins, but the Nordindids (Indo-Afghans) and Aethiopids have not. The Sikhs and other Nordindids become pale brown in the exposed parts of the body, and members of the Aethiopid subrace are very dark—darker, in fact, than certain Negrid tribes. If a Nordindid were slightly paler, it would not be easy to distinguish him from a Mediterranid. Indeed, some authorities regard the Nordindids as constituting a local form of the Mediterranid subrace. [1085]".

Quote:and so as representing part of either a zone of secondary intergradation or a zone of primary intergradation, respectively.

You should give a short description of what is intergradation. There are lot of words that could be hard to understand for the non-initiated readers.

Such as :

Quote:In evolutionary biology, individual organisms are grouped into natural divisions according to pedigree

Quote:could be said to represent two overlapping biological races, with membership assigned on a hypo-descent basis.

In general, I appreciate the document. Notably the way you are dealing with clines-vs-races and population-vs-race. Most people prefer the use of population rather than race (or if they use race but dismiss it, they will write race with marked quotations), perhaps because they believe it's neutral, or at least not offensive. The way you reject the use of this term is nicely put.

I also appreciate this passage :

Quote:But in absence, the lineages and branches still existent, just submerged in a continuum, like a statue yet chiseled out of a block of stone.

Drawing analogies generally helps to better understand your ideas. I am always convinced of this.

You have quoted Mayr & Ashlock (1991) and Albrecht et al. (2003) regarding the idea that population continuum does not validate the claim that biological races are meaningless. Personally, my favorite rebuttal reads like this (Baker, 1974, p. 100) :

Quote:It is sometimes claimed that the existence of intermediates makes races unreal. It scarcely needs to be pointed out, however, that in other matters no one questions the reality of categories between which intermediates exist. There is every gradation, for instance, between green and blue, but no one denies that these words should be used. In the same way the existence of youths and human hermaphrodites does not cause anyone to disallow the use of the words 'boy', 'man', and 'woman'. It is particularly unjustifiable to cite intermediates as contradicting the reality of races, for the existence of intermediates is one of the distinguishing characters of the race: if there are no intermediates, there are no races. As Kant insisted, those who wish to get right away from the purely academic outlook on animal classification—the Schulsystem, as he called it—should use two taxa only in their descriptions of the animal world: the Realgattung and its component Racen (see pp. 80-81).

If you have the time, I recommend you to read the book at pages 116-117, about the laboratory mices and worker bees. You may find them useful for your text. Even if not, it cannot hurt to understand how genetics work. And page 100 has another useful talk : about how environments can shape the differences among the monkeys living at Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

One interrogation however concerns the section "II-A. Biological Race" and its subsection "A selection of Definitions of race from the 20th and 21st century" and specifically "2. Biological Anthropological". The four references you have cited seem not to describe the same idea. Or is it just me ? By the way, regarding "1. Genetic Population Based", it's funny how the old references (e.g., Boyd (1950), Hulse (1962), Dobzhansky (1970), Garn (1971)) were giving vague descriptions, compared to the more recent references.

I may have more to say later. There are several paragraphs I probably don't understand and I need to reread them.
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#35
"Jenkin's objection is perfectly reasonable. It seems that Darwin agreed"


No it isn't. Darwin agreed because he was unaware of Mendel's discovery of particulate inheritance. This was one reason why he started to revert to Lamarckian thinking in his later editions.

Genetic variants may be dispersed through a gene pool, but they are not blended away into nothingness. They continue to be raw material for natural selection to act upon.

If pre-Darwinian thinkers had a clear notion of heritable traits and biological change, Darwin's theory of evolution would have been developed much earlier. It didn't because scholastic thinking on the subject was severely constrained by several factors:

1. Christian dogma - Before Darwin, most scholars saw their work as one of proving revealed truth, as incarnated in the Bible and in the writings of the Church fathers.

2. Young earth creationism - This was part of Christian dogma but it was also a factor in the thinking of pre-Christian scholars. People were convinced that the world had been created not long before the time of humans, and the time of humans was imagined to be only several thousand years. Slow incremental change, from one generation to the next, simply couldn't explain all of the many different forms of living things. Only divine intervention could.

3. The absence of a theory of genetics, i.e., particulate inheritance - This was one of the main criticisms of Darwin's theory of natural selection. Any heritable trait, no matter how adaptive, would eventually be blended away into nothingness.

4. Belief in the action of the environment or degeneration from an ideal type - Since these agents of change applied to all members of a population, only they could apply population change.

It took a lot to break through this logjam. One was the declining power of the Church to enforce its dogmas. Another was the growing interest in fossil collecting, especially with railway construction in the mid-19th century and the many cuts made through the fossil strata of hills and mountains. People could see with their own eyes that life forms had changed over long periods of time. A related trend was the growing interest in natural history, as seen in botanical gardens, museums, exhibitions, and the like.
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#36
Edit in progress

(2015-Jan-19, 03:19:58)Peter Frost Wrote: If pre-Darwinian thinkers had a clear notion of heritable traits and biological change, Darwin's theory of evolution would have been developed much earlier. It didn't because scholastic thinking on the subject was severely constrained by several factors:

1. Christian dogma - Before Darwin, most scholars saw their work as one of proving revealed truth, as incarnated in the Bible and in the writings of the Church fathers.

2. Young earth creationism - This was part of Christian dogma but it was also a factor in the thinking of pre-Christian scholars. People were convinced that the world had been created not long before the time of humans, and the time of humans was imagined to be only several thousand years. Slow incremental change, from one generation to the next, simply couldn't explain all of the many different forms of living things. Only divine intervention could.

3. The absence of a theory of genetics, i.e., particulate inheritance - This was one of the main criticisms of Darwin's theory of natural selection. Any heritable trait, no matter how adaptive, would eventually be blended away into nothingness.

4. Belief in the action of the environment or degeneration from an ideal type - Since these agents of change applied to all members of a population, only they could apply population change.

It took a lot to break through this logjam. One was the declining power of the Church to enforce its dogmas. Another was the growing interest in fossil collecting, especially with railway construction in the mid-19th century and the many cuts made through the fossil strata of hills and mountains. People could see with their own eyes that life forms had changed over long periods of time. A related trend was the growing interest in natural history, as seen in botanical gardens, museums, exhibitions, and the like.


If you mean that these were common views in general, I do not disagree; nonetheless, proponents of the concept which I am discussing, conceptualized their races as: (a) intraspecifc genealogical based groups or lineages (b) whose differences were not immediately environmental and were potentially permanent © and for which the differences accumulated over time. This, after all, was a breeding concept; and it was known that breeders could gradually produced characteristic strain by guiding reproductive behaviors. To deal with the problem of young earth creationism and to also explain why these races were not separate species the early race theorists emphasized the superficiality of differences; Prichard, for example, argued that human races were no more varied that domestic breeds. To deal with the problem of inheritance, they developed theories of inheritable deviation/degeneration. True, they did not have a mechanism to explain the perpetuation of deviant forms; but they had analogies: breeds of livestock or races of horses. None of this contradicts anything you said, of course -- since you are discussing the reigning intellectual paradigm.

Look, what would you like me to add or to emphasize?
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#37
Chuck,

Other authors have covered the ground you've covered, although their approach has been very different. They typically ask: "Why did thinkers before Darwin fail to come up with his theory of evolution? Why did it take so long for it to come together?" The short answer is that a few did, notably Patrick Matthew and Georges Buffon, but they were prophets crying in the wilderness, and it would have taken a more energetic, explicit, and sustained effort to bring this idea into the mainstream. First, the Church made life difficult for anyone who strayed too far from Christian doctrine (this was why Buffon talked about evolution in very roundabout ways. He couldn't be too explicit). Second, even without pressure from the Church, most scholars preferred to think in terms of revealed truth. The scientific method was still a minority method, even in Darwin's time. Finally, there were a number of valid objections to Darwin's theory, particularly the prevailing belief in blended inheritance. If new genetic traits disappear through blending, there is a very narrow time window for natural selection. Gertrude Himmelfarb makes this point in her book on Darwin:

"The main difficulty was the enormous quantity of variations that would be required in order to counteract the effect of blending and provide natural selection with the materials upon which it might operate. And not only must the stock of variations be far greater than anything observed in nature; it must also be constantly renewed, the variations available for natural selection at any one time having to be of fairly recent origin."

Himmelfarb, G. (1962). Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, New York, W.W. Norton, p. 324

This same objection applies to Lamarckian evolution. Acquired traits might be passed on, but they will ultimately be blended away into nothingness.

Yes, livestock breeders were gaining a sensible, empirical understanding of biological evolution, but their influence on elite thinking was limited. And they, too, were not immune to a lot of strange thinking.

I appreciate you're trying to take a new approach. You seem to be saying: "Look, even before Darwin, scholars understood many of the mechanisms of biological diversity, particularly the evolution of major differences in anatomy through incremental heritable change from one generation to the next." I'm intrigued by your approach, but I'm not convinced. You tend to make inferences that seem logical from a 21st century perspective but are not really justified.
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#38
I made substantial edits, which are in red in the latest version of file here: https://osf.io/6mtbc/

I also corrected all of the problems noted by MH, except:

Quote:In evolutionary biology, individual organisms are grouped into natural divisions according to pedigree

Quote:could be said to represent two overlapping biological races, with membership assigned on a hypo-descent basis.

MH asked that I define these terms but English readers should be familiar with them.

MH also asked:

Quote:I know I need to improve my english, but what do you mean by "making a mouthful" [and "as way stations to Species"]?

"Making a mouthful" is an idiom that means "requiring a lot of words". "As a way station" is an idiom that means "an intermediate place".
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#39
Sorry, duplicate.
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#40
(2015-Jan-20, 18:45:25)Peter Frost Wrote: I appreciate you're trying to take a new approach. You seem to be saying: "Look, even before Darwin, scholars understood many of the mechanisms of biological diversity, particularly the evolution of major differences in anatomy through incremental heritable change from one generation to the next." I'm intrigued by your approach, but I'm not convinced. You tend to make inferences that seem logical from a 21st century perspective but are not really justified.


Peter,

I rewrote the first half of section II to provide a more detailed and nuanced view:
http://openpsych.net/forum/showthread.ph...34#pid2734 (You have to download the paper to see the footnotes.) The intro to section IV is just a brief twist on that.

Generally, you seem to misunderstand the point of the project; it is an articulation of the contemporaneous "race" concept, that is, a philosophical defense.

One critique commonly raised in the philosophy of biology is that what we now mean by race is fundamentally different from what was meant by old school "racialists" such as Buffon, Kant, and Blumenbach. To give an example:

Quote:Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The concept of race has historically signified the division of humanity into a small number of groups based upon five criteria: (1) Races reflect some type of biological foundation, be it Aristotelian essences or modern genes; (2) This biological foundation generates discrete racial groupings, such that all and only all members of one race share a set of biological characteristics that are not shared by members of other races....

This historical concept of race has faced substantial scientific and philosophical challenge, with some important thinkers denying both the logical coherence of the concept and the very existence of races. Others defend the concept of race, albeit with substantial changes to the foundations of racial identity, which they depict as either socially constructed or, if biologically grounded, neither discrete nor essentialist, as the historical concept would have it. (James, 2012;emphasis added)


Insofar as we are dealing with "race" in the intraspecifc sense (i.e., not as species) this is largely nonsense. I try to show why and show why the concept had at least as much historical consistency as did the "species" concept. More generally, I try to give my defense (of the contemporary concept) some historic dimension.

It would be as if creationism dominated the intellectual discourse and creationists made numerous arguments against evolutionary theory, one of which was that "evolution" (qua natural selection acting on mutations) means something totally different from what it once did (i.e.,, the homunculus theory of embryological development) and if in a conceptual defense of the concept I discussed its genealogy -- it would be except that "race" is arguably a lot more cross temporally similar than is species or evolution or atoms.

Now, like you and unlike most philosophers of biology, sociologists, and anthropologists I really don't care about the genealogy of a concept, let alone a term. Thus, I don't want to give more space to the matter than I have.

If what I have is, when read together with other parts of the paper, misleading I will cut it. The section IV intro is pretty irreverent to the aim of that section.

Let me know what you would like me to do (for section IV).
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