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[OBG] Nature of Race Full

You only reference Hochman (2013) in your bibliography. Yet, he published another paper "Unnaturalised Racial Naturalism" in 2014, which covers most your arguments, easily debunking them.

"The problem with weak versions of racial naturalism is that they do not contrast with anti-realism about biological race." (Hochman, 2014)

This is really the main problem with "Nature of Race", you are offering a re-definition or new theory of race which is weak compared to the traditional concept and as Hochman goes on to note the result is that:

"When race naturalists weaken their position they end up agreeing with their opponents about human biology, and defending a trivialised definition of race." (Hochman, 2014)

Also Marks (2010) -

"...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."
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(2015-Apr-16, 19:52:02)Krom Wrote: You only reference Hochman (2013) in your bibliography. Yet, he published another paper "Unnaturalised Racial Naturalism" in 2014, which covers most your arguments, easily debunking them.

"The problem with weak versions of racial naturalism is that they do not contrast with anti-realism about biological race." (Hochman, 2014)


Thanks for the comments. I read the paper, it was a reply to Spencer (2014). (I attached it for readers who lack access.) In email, I commented to Spencer about it; specifically the nonsense about subspecies. I did not discuss the paper because it seemed to provide no new arguments and it touched upon nothing which I did not already address. (I also, for example, didn't discuss Ron Mallon's arguments, since a rebuttal of them was contained in my various discussions.) Hochman (2014) did motivate me to extensively discuss and to clarify the semantics of "subspecies" and to discuss what in post-Darwinian biology "natural" and "real" groups are conceived of as.

Quote:This is really the main problem with "Nature of Race", you are offering a re-definition or new theory of race which is weak compared to the traditional concept and as Hochman goes on to note the result is that:

"When race naturalists weaken their position they end up agreeing with their opponents about human biology, and defending a trivialised definition of race." (Hochman, 2014).

It sounds like you did not bother to read through the paper. Try sections II-A/B/C and sections III-B/C. I discussed historic race concepts and showed the similarity between them and contemporaneous ones. I also showed that the idea that race was historically thought of in a "strong" realist (e.g., intrinsic essentialist or species realist-like) manner is a myth.

If you want to call (intraspecific) races as natural divisions weak, you can. But they were never thought of more strongly.


Attached Files
.pdf   Unnaturalised racial naturalismHochman.pdf (Size: 244.6 KB / Downloads: 747)
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Yes, II-A/B/C: Linnaeus, Buffon, Kant, Blumenbach etc., all actually support Hochman's 'strong' criteria for race, which you oddly have a problem with. Here's for example Buffon quoted on page 29 in II/A:

"[T]hese varieties became afterwards specific, because they were rendered more general, more strongly marked,"

In footnotes:

"Buffon tells us that they “come from the same stem and preserve until today the characteristics of their race without great variation"

Back to Marks (2010):

"...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."

Unless you can show this, you are not discussing race but something else. Hochman (2014) simply points out this is why he is not a "race realist" i.e. since biological differences between human populations are minor/negligible race "does not capture very much biological difference, and... it does not capture that difference very well." Table 2.1 of "Nature of Race" on page 34 quotes many re-definitions of "race" when this was realized by the 1950-1960s. In other words, humans races were shown not to exist, but instead of coming to terms with this reality, some scientists came up with new race concepts like Dobzhansky:

"Livingstone [1962] pointed out Dobzhansky's proposed definition of race actually constituted a major redefinition of the term." - Baum, Bruce. (2006). The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race: A Political History of Racial Identity. New York University. pp. 206-207

Dobzhansky's redefinition though is a 'weak' form of "race realism" to the extent it does not contrast with anti-realism about biological race; this is the same problem with "Nature of Race".
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(2015-Apr-16, 23:16:17)Krom Wrote: Yes, II-A/B/C: Linnaeus, Buffon, Kant, Blumenbach etc., all actually support Hochman's 'strong' criteria for race, which you oddly have a problem with. Here's for example Buffon quoted on page 29 in II/A:

"[T]hese varieties became afterwards specific, because they were rendered more general, more strongly marked,"

In footnotes:

"Buffon tells us that they “come from the same stem and preserve until today the characteristics of their race without great variation"


edited.

If you read my article in full, you must not have thought it over well.

First, as I noted numerous times, Linnaeus did not think in terms of race. He thought in terms of varieties. I said, for example:

Quote:Under this framework, individuals of a species were essentially the same; if reared in the same environment, they would have the same form. Since intraspecific variation was the product of the environment, there was no distinction between the many sorts of variation. The differences between Ethiopian Albinos and Black Ethiopians, between White Europeans and Black Ethiopians, between sun-tanned Europeans and untanned ones were of the same kind: variety.

Buffon, Kant, and the later Blumenbach did think in terms of race, where races were "constant varieties" or groups defined by constantly transmitted hereditary particularities (or patterns of them), and were defined, on the one hand, in contrast to species (which would have been homogeneous by nature) and, on the other hand, inconstant varieties, which represented individual variations (e.g., blonds and brunettes, albinos versus non-albinos), and which we would now call polymorphs or intrapopulation variants. Thus early race concepts necessarily entailed intrapopulation heterogeneity.

If you want, I could cite relevant passages (from Buffon, Kant, and Blumenbach). I did indirectly discuss this topic, though, for example:

"As another example, Dobzhansky (1970), after approvingly quoting Immanuel Kant on the matter, states: “A race is a Mendelian population, not a single genotype; it consists of individuals who differ genetically among themselves”.

"This pattern repeats itself with other racial theorists. For example, in "On the Use of Teleological Principles in Philosophy (1788)", Kant, a monogenist like other well-known racial theorists, distinguished between "races" and "varieties" as he defined them. By his understanding, varieties characterized groups of individuals whose trait differences were failingly hereditary; Kant gave the example of blonds and brunettes. Races, on the other hand, characterized intraspecific groups whose trait differences were unfailingly hereditary. Regarding the latter, Kant gave the example of skin color in context to gypsies and old Europeans. He notes: "Now we possess a decisive example of the latter in the Indian skin color of a small people that has been propagating itself from some centuries in our Northern countries, namely the gypsies... For they beget unfailingly half-breed children with our old natives, to which law the race of the whites is not subject with regards to any characteristic varieties." He went onto distinguish thusly between races and species."

"As such, in, "On the Natural Varieties of Mankind”, he tells us that “one or two [characters] alone are not sufficient” to delineate varieties and that we “must take several joined together”. Blumenbach’s position did not change in this regards when he adopted Kant’s race concept, a concept which Blumenbach cited in the fifth – or 1797 – edition of his “Handbook of Natural History”. As such, in “Contributions to Natural History (1806)”, in the subsection “Division of Man into Five Principle Races”, he tells us that there is “not a single one of the bodily differences in any one variety of man, which does not run into some of the others”. Speaking of Africans, he states that he is “acquainted with no single distinctive bodily character which is at once peculiar to the Negro, and which cannot be found to exist in many other distant nations”. Giving examples to make his point, he writes that the color of Africans can be found in New Guineans and that “curly hair is well known not to be common to all Negros”. Blumenbach’s groups, whether characterizes as varieties or as races, were quite unlike the entities discussed by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy."

Since I spent so much time explaining the inconstant variety, race, species distinction, I didn't think it was necessary to spell out that race contra inconstant varieties entailed that races were not homogeneous. [To be clearer: If races were homogeneous there could be no inconstant varieties -- i.e., intrapopulation variants -- which they were defined in contrast to.]
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(2015-Apr-17, 01:21:26)Chuck Wrote: Since I spent so much time explaining the inconstant variety, race, species distinction, I didn't think it was necessary to spell out that race contra inconstant varieties entailed that races were not homogeneous. [To be clearer: If races were homogeneous there could be no inconstant varieties -- i.e., intrapopulation variants -- which they were defined in contrast to.]


Meng Hu,

In light of Krom's comments, I (probably unnecessarily) added to section V-G:

"V-G. No-True-Race Arguments

...

3. Races were classically understood to be homogeneous groupings.

A number of critics of the race concept have implied that races were historically conceptualized as homogeneous groups. Thus, many members of the AAA reject the race concept - but oddly not the species concept - on the grounds that there are no genetically homogeneous populations. As discussed in section II, in the Linnaean paradigm, species were thought to be homogeneous in nature. Races were contrasted with these, on the one hand, and with inconstant varieties, on the other. Races could not have been thought to be homogeneous in characters, since if they were, inconstant varieties and individual variations, which races were understood in contrast to, could not exist."
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If you don't set a threshold of genetic/phenotypic differentiation, then race is meaningless. This was Dobzhansky's problem when he re-defined race as: "populations of a species which differ in the frequencies of one or more genetic variants, gene alleles, or chromosomal structures." (Genetics and the origin of species, 1951 [3rd ed.])

"Dobzhansky's redefinition of race would obscure more than it clarifies, because he provided no cogent rationale for regarding the differing gene frequencies that distinguish populations from each other as racially significant." (Baum, 2006)

You appear to be saying this threshold has to be low (which at least is better than Dobzhansky who set virtually none), while Hochman is saying it has to be high. Clearly Hochman is right because we already have clines and populations/gamodemes (as units or tools of study) that capture low, to moderate levels of biological variation in humans.

Quote:To be clearer: If races were homogeneous there could be no inconstant varieties -- i.e., intrapopulation variants

Those "intrapopulation variants" were added in the early 20th century. The two previous centuries had no "Alpines", "Mediterraneans" and "Nordics" for example in the "Caucasian" (where for example are those in Blumenbach?). Over time it was realized there is great physical variation within the continents. Anthropologists then kept multiplying "racial types" or "subraces" until the modern evolutionary synthesis discredited typology. Later it was established there is far more variation within the continents than between them, which is why the race concept was abandoned. Race doesn't capture enough variation, nor accurately to be considered useful to describe human biological diversity.
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(2015-Apr-17, 05:33:25)Krom Wrote: If you don't set a threshold of genetic/phenotypic differentiation, then race is meaningless. This was Dobzhansky's problem when he re-defined race as: "populations of a species which differ in the frequencies of one or more genetic variants, gene alleles, or chromosomal structures...You appear to be saying this threshold has to be low (which at least is better than Dobzhansky who set virtually none), while Hochman is saying it has to be high.


Of course, I explained this. Race is situated between individual variations and species. It describes a level of genealogical entwinement. For example, all descendants of Confucius/Charlemagne and blonds/brunets do not constitute races. But if the groups linebred enough -- but no so much to speciate -- they would. This is how the concept was understood. As I spelled out, race describes genealogical or genomic divisions. This was implied by Dobzhansky (1970). As noted:

"As another example, Dobzhansky (1970), after approvingly quoting Immanuel Kant on the matter, states: “A race is a Mendelian population, not a single genotype; it consists of individuals who differ genetically among themselves”. Later, after citing Boyd (1950) , he notes that this “is not to deny that a racial classification should ideally take cognizance of all genetically variable traits, oligogenic as well as polygenic”. He does not, along with many other population geneticists, explicitly state that races are natural divisions, but if races are populations – not forms or morphs – which differ genetically, and if classifications are based on all genetically variable traits, then races must be natural divisions."

Quote:Clearly Hochman is right because we already have clines and populations/gamodemes (as units or tools of study) that capture low, to moderate levels of biological variation in humans.

But I discussed this all in section II.

populations: II-D. What the Core Biological Race Concept Does Not represent
clines: II-E. Races, Clines, Clusters?
demes: (end of) II-C. Biological Race

None of these describe natural or genealogical divisions. What term do you offer to describe intraspecific divisions where individuals are arranged by overall genealogical or genomic similarity?

Quote:Those "intrapopulation variants" were added in the early 20th century. The two previous centuries had no "Alpines", "Mediterraneans" and "Nordics" for example in the "Caucasian" (where for example are those in Blumenbach?).

You conflate issues.

(1) Were races thought to be homogeneous groups? I discussed Blumenbach's, Kant's, and Buffon's understanding in detail. They clearly did not understand intraspecific race this way. If you think that others did, provide some examples. If you can't find ones regarding humans, you can cite, for example, the opinions of of botanists.

(2) Were different levels of races recognized. I discussed this e.g.,

"Much earlier, Buffon, for example, wrote of the “White race”, of the “European race” nested within this, and of groups as small as the “Tartar race”. Kant (1777) distinguished his base races from derivative ones: "I believe <we> can derive all of the remaining, heritable characters of peoples from these four races either as mixed or incipient or degenerating races… The way in which the remaining, imperfect races can be derived from these also helps explain why the <previously> named <races> are to be regarded as base races.""

(3) Did racial classifications go all the way down? I discussed this also:

"Buffon categorized groups similarly; groups are “races” only when character differences are constant enough (Doron, 2011). Thus, groups which Dobzhansky (1946) would have called “races”, Buffon would have called “nations”. Some of this difference of opinion may be preferential. As we noted in section II-G, some employ definitions which are narrow relative to our general biological race concept e.g., Vogel and Motulsky (1986); Sarich and Miele (2004); Pearson (2002). This is why we distinguish between a general concept and narrow concepts a la De Queiroz (1998) and Wilkins (2010) with regards to species. We suspect that there is also an epistemic issue – that Buffon and others did not recognize that one could (e.g., using molecular character) group much further down. His nations, we suspect, were seen as something between varieties (which did not allow for a genealogical classification) and races (which did). Whether or not this was true for Buffon, it definitely was for Kant, as he was quite explicit on the issue.

It became clear in the 20th century that one could differentiate populations all the way down to the local level. Given this situation, one could define “the” race concept such to include all intraspecific natural divisions (for example: Hartl and Clark, 1997) or to include only those that differ “enough” (where “enough” denotes some arbitrarily chosen level of differentiation). Or one could, as we sensibly do, simply distinguish between the general concept and narrow ones – and recognize the narrowness of concepts of race which exclude less differentiated divisions. Our argument for why the “general concept” should be more inclusive would run along the lines of Hochman’s (2013) argument that there is no reason that “race” should describe a specific level of genetic analysis. We just draw a very different conclusion: it is (general) races all the way down – not no races at all."

To answer your question, though, for "nation" Blumenbach often used the term "gens", which translates to "race". Thus when he says:

"Each of these five principal races contain besides one or more nations which are distinguished by more or less striking structures from the rest of those of the same division. Thus Hindoos might be separated from the Caucasian; the Chinese and Japanese from the Mongolian…"

"principal" means "major" in contrast to minor races or nations or gens. Blumenbach is complex though, since early on his "varieties" are of the Linnaean sort; only after he comes under the influence of Kant do they become genealogical entities or races.

Quote:Over time it was realized there is great physical variation within the continents. Anthropologists then kept multiplying "racial types" or "subraces" until the modern evolutionary synthesis discredited typology...]Later it was established there is far more variation within the continents than between them, which is why the race concept was abandoned. Race doesn't capture enough variation, nor accurately to be considered useful to describe human biological diversity.

First, race is not a human specific concept; it never was. So showing that no human classifications cut out "good" biological races would not somehow undermine the concept. Second, regarding humans, the concept is frequently employed (IV-B. Human Biological Races and Scientific Consensus). Third, "race" was never required to "capture enough variation" -- how much variation do you think that Duchesne's races of strawberries were thought to explain? Rather, race was used to explain, as said, constant varieties, which could be characterized by minor, but constantly transmitted, differences.


Attached Files
.pdf   Of the different human races lecture.pdf (Size: 3.09 MB / Downloads: 753)
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Let me summarize the discussion:

You argue that races does not exist because historically race was thought to refer to homogeneous groups and because it is now recognized that such groups are no where to be found. I classify this type of argument as a No-True-Race argument. See my section V-G. My problem with it is three-fold. Firstly, it presumes that we should be faithful to historic understandings. Secondly, it is being selectively applied. Since species were actually once thought of as being homogeneous in nature and diversified by environment, your argument would refute the existence of species. But you are, for some reason, not making this case. Thirdly, as explained, intraspecific race was not originally thought of this way. Did some come to think of it as referring to groups which were largely homogenous in heritable characters? I would like to see references pertaining to the intraspecifc race concept (and not just specific classifications). I would also like to see some references pertaining to human classifications (understood as intraspecific races). Whatever the case, there was no such general understanding.

Next, you cite Hochman and imply that he makes the above argument. I don't see that he does, but I can't be sure. I did ask him to review the paper; he didn't reply Hochman, instead, seems to argue something akin to: "Duh, of course you can group individuals by pedigree and of course such genealogical relationship explains some heritable phenotypic differences. So what? There is nothing special about this?" Yes -- duh. But this "duh" was called race. And the race concept was developed in context to the Linnaean framework in which common genealogy was not seen as explaining phenotypic similarities -- rather common culture and environment was. Race then, as I repeated throughout the paper, picks out a type of biological reality.

" If we start out this way – not expecting nature to determine something she never can, but asking if our understanding reflects how she is – by inspecting nature, we can determine if our concept references something out there. We can ask, for example, if species realist species exist. In the case of race, the question would be something like: do intraspecific natural divisions describe a kind of biological variation? Were the Linnaean perspective – as characterized by, for example, Müller-Wille (2007) and Ratcliff (2007) – correct, the answer would be “No”. But an examination of nature shows that this perspective, which made no room for race as an entity in natural history, is untenable. Understood this way, the existence of biological race – that is, the fact that the concept of race picks out some type of thing in nature – is biologically determined."

" If our analysis is correct, there are no sound logical or scientific reasons for rejecting the biological concept of race here characterized. There is something in nature to be described; other biological concepts do not well describe it; the concept of intraspecific natural division does; given historic usage, this concept can reasonably be called “race”; thus race is ‘real’ in the ordinary sense. Theoretically, reality need not have been this way. Race need not have been; and it was not always thought to have. The Linnaean perspective could have been correct; all members of a species could have been identical by descent in nature and varied due to the direct effects of the environment. In this case, there would be no races. However, it was recognized that this perspective was incorrect. The reality of intraspecific hereditary variation and, more specifically, race was realized. "

I don't understand why you feel that the race concept needs to explain something more than this. If you feel that it was always historically thought of otherwise, show this. If you think that another term better describes what I deem to be the race concept, let me know what it is.

Every time a euphemism is created, such as "biogeographic group", some race deconstructionists come along and complain that it is just a euphemism for a concept which they do not like.

Silverstein: " Another reason for the persistence of race and genetics in biomedical research is much more subtle. Certain diseases cluster in populations, such as Tay-Sachs, which is most common in people with an Ashkenazi Jewish background. In such cases, some researchers say we should turn our attention away from race and toward ancestry. If it is true that there are differences in disease risk between human groups, then what we need is a more clever way to dice up humanity. “It has nothing to do with race, it has more to do with ancestry,” explained Rick Kittles, the director of the Center for Population Genetics at the University of Arizona and co-founder of African Ancestry, Inc. “We talk about ancestry, we talk about shared genetic backgrounds. That is a better proxy for biology than race. If someone says they’re of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, and they have a family history of Tay-Sachs, that’s not because of a race. That’s because of shared ancestry...But this only takes us in a circle. Even when researchers study ancestry, it is often just race in a phony moustache and glasses....Duana Fullwiley, an anthropologist at Stanford, took an even closer look at how AIMs were dreamed up and used in the laboratories of some prominent researchers—Mark Shriver at Penn State and Esteban González Burchard atUCSF. What she found is that this new system is no better than a find-and-replace of “race” with “ancestry.” In one striking example, she unearthed a patent application that straight-up defines biogeographical ancestry as simply “the heritable component of race.” In her 2008 article, “The Biologistical Construction of Race,” Fullwiley concludes that “the very continents and peoples chosen for this product were selected due to their perceived proximity to what we in North America imagine race to be.”

See also Condit (2007).

At least they understand the concept.
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What Dobzhansky (1970) is describing is not a race, but a population (gamodeme): a summation of all the individuals within a species, which live in a particular geographical area, whose individuals have a higher tendency of in-group mating compared with other populations; in-group mating is greater than the probability of breeding with individuals from other areas because of geographical distance:

"The population in this context is usually defined as the local unit within which most mating takes place. For many organisms including humans, distinct geographic units are often used to delineate population - for example different towns or villages.... as is the case of many bisexual species, much of human mating is constrained by geography, you are more likely to choose a mate from nearby than one from farther away." - Relethford J. H. (2010). "The study of human population genetics". In: Larsen CS, editor. A Companion to Biological Anthropology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell; pp. 74-75

The proportion of mating within a gamodeme which defines a breeding population is quite subjective, all that has to exist is a higher tendency (compared to other populations, and so above 50%); in his textbook on biology, Relethford describes a population as a "group of organisms that tend to choose mates from within the group". The proportion of mating within a population is very rarely 99%, since few gamodemes are isolated, and so Relethford seems to think it is usually (with few exceptions) between 50% and 70%.

So between breeding populations there is low-moderate levels of differentiation, e.g. compare English, to Sicilians, to Kurds, to Somalis, to Nigerians. Races instead are intergenerational populations (gamodemes) that have been isolated for a considerable length of time, so the levels of differentiation are high. This makes them synonymous with "subspecies" and "lineages" (Templeton, 1998).

There are clearly several problems with claiming race simply meant population from the beginning. Firstly, it is historically inaccurate.

Sure, we can go through Buffon, Blumenbach or Kant. It is clear they all thought populations were homogenous, with high (not low or moderate) physical differentiation between them. When discussing physical traits like cephalic index and so on, none of these early anthropologists were discussing in terms of averages, but near-absolutes. Despite you quoting Blumenbach, he wrote plenty of statements like: "There seems to be so great a difference between the Ethiopian, the white, and the red American". Highlighting a small number of passages where he acknowledges some intraregional variation existing in hair texture or skin hue, doesn't change this.

Secondly, those anthropologists, or geneticists that attempted to re-define race as a breeding population from the 1960s acknowledged this re-definition in their own work (e.g. Garn, 1961). The race as a population was known as a re-definition, hence Montagu (1962):

"It seems to me an unrealistic procedure to maintain that this late in the day we can readapt the term “race” to mean something utterly different from what it has always most obfuscatingly and ambiguously meant." - Montagu, A. (1962). "The concept of race". American Anthropologist. 64(5:1):919-928
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We already have "population" as a unit/tool of study which captures low-moderate levels of biological variation - there is no need to re-define race, or invent a new race concept.

Hochman (2014) has no problem with recognising the existence of local populations within the human species. Nor does Marks, Lewontin, and so on. If your trivialised re-definition of race is correct, then that makes even Lewontin (who is often regarded the strongest academic opponent against race) a "race realist"... seems ridiculous.

One straw man I have encountered is that anti-realists about human races deny either populations or biological variation exists (!). This is a fallacy used by Sesardic, Hochman shows this is both his papers.

When some anti-realists write race is "meaningless" they don't deny there is a systematic structure within the human species. No one denies there is a geographical patterning to biological variation (although it is weak).

I don't get your species argument. Species are not defined by being homogenous, the criterion is ability to reproduce (fertile) offspring. Of course one could then infer species are genetically differentiated, but this is not in the definition or required.
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