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[OBG] Nature of Race Full

Also Sesardic who you quote is wrong when he claims multiplying the number of skeletal traits in forensics increases the accuracy of "race" identification. I can show this later in more detail, but just look up statistical noise. This is a known problem with FORDISC and why fewer measurements of the skull (about 10) are more reliable than 50+ Howells often used.
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(2015-Jul-04, 06:18:04)Krom Wrote: Yes, but this was not available in 1994. In the last 21 years it has been made possible e.g. the Human Genome Project. What I bolded was Diamond's concern in 1994 and the reason he wrote "different procedures yield very different classifications"

.

And yet I said:

Quote:NofR: One variant of the bio-statistical argument runs: since the level of genetic differentiation between populations is low, individuals can not accurately be assigned to natural divisions... This argument has been shown to be unsound. For the explanation why, readers are referred to the discussions of Mitton (1977; 1978), Risch et al. (2002), Edwards (2003), Witherspoon et al. (2007), Gao and Martin (2009), and Tal (2012). What is odd is that the idea of taking into account multiple indexes when making a racial classification is hardly new. Blumenbach in 1806 passingly noted that human racial classifications, being classifications in a natural system, should be based on “all bodily indications alike." Darwin noted that human racial classifications should be based on a full pedigree; moreover, he discussed the importance of correlated variation when it came to classification in general. In 1950, William Boyd showed how one could use multiple genetic loci to make such a classification and noted that one should use all possible genetic loci when doing so. And Lewontin (1978), in reply to Mitton (1977), agreed that it was obvious that one could divide humankind into biological races using multiple loci.

If such was not possible prior to 1994, why did Lewontin concede to Mitton that this could be done in 1978 and how was Dobzhansky (1970) able to discuss Boyd's (1950) multi-locus analysis? The deeper point is that Buffon, Blumenbach, Darwin and others argued that one should use correlated variation -- or an ensemble of characters -- when it came to picking out natural divisions and races as these.

Quote:My point though above was that Diamond's "different procedures yield very different classifications" extends to non-genetics and this is why human races cannot be shown to be "real" because why should we choose genetics over non-genetic criteria? Why not define race by something else? You do no cover this in the paper.

But I do! I say:

Quote:NofR: Next, we must clarify what it would mean for a biological concept to be a biological race concept. Such a biological concept need not always be called “race,” nor does the term “race” need always refer to the said concept, but any biological race concept must have a reasonable claim to the term. Obviously, there is a subjective element involved when it comes to assessing what constitutes a “reasonable claim.” Nevertheless, examples of biological concepts which qualify (microgeographic race, etc.) and do not qualify (sexual morph, life form, etc.) come readily to mind. Biologists and others who discuss race in relation to biology have frequently referred to the former, but not the latter, as “race.”...

Quote:NofR: Prior to being incorporated into natural history in the 18th century, the term "race" referred to breeds and lineages. “Race” was employed, in a related fashion, in several different discourses. In context to animal husbandry, it was used to describe strains of animals produced through linebreeding...This notion was integrated into natural history largely by Comte de Buffon, Immanuel Kant, and Johann Blumenbach to make sense of a particular sort of intraspecific variation, which was sometimes called the “constant variety.”

Quote:NofR: Generally, granting that races are intraspecific groups that differ genetically/genealogically on average, which is what they are now invariably said to be, they could be: (1) artificial divisions such as morphs or forms, (2) natural divisions, (3) spatiotemporally defined populations, like Iowans and North Carolinians, which, while differing genetically on average, do not cut out genealogical/genomic divisions, or (4) genealogy-defined divisions which are not so linebred that members are more overall genetically similar to other members of the same division than to members of other divisions. This is the manifold of possibilities. Proponents of the race concept...

Must I spoon feed you the argument!

There is this concept:

"organismic groups which differentiated from one another as a result of historic patterns of filiation; they are groups, which due to histories of sufficient linebreeding, form intraspecific natural divisions, ones which can be identified based on the correlations between the organisms' inherited characters"

You agree that these types of groups or divisions exist, no?
You agree that these types of groups or divisions were often called races, no?
You agree that the groups or divisions traditionally called "major (biological) human races" correspond with these types of groups or divisions, no?

[Please answer the above.]

So what possibly is the dispute?

The argument is:

(a) there is some valid, meaningful, and utile natural historian concept, which describes a type of biological variation not well described by other concepts
© which, based on historic term usage, has a reasonable claim to the name race
(d) by which there are human races
(e) which roughly correspond to the divisions historically called races

Sure you could call another concept "race". I note that. The reason you would call this concept race, though, is because this what it was often called. But you ask:

Quote:Why should we choose genetics over non-genetic criteria? Why not define race by something else?

And the answer is: Because "race", the term, originally meant -- at the time of introduction -- lineage/genealogical division/strain/breed. It was always tied to the idea of genes in the sense of genealogy. So if you were to use the term in a historically consistent manner, you would identify races with lineages in some sense. That leaves but two options, which I discussed:

Quote:NofR: We imagine that few to no researchers have conceptualized biological races so loosely as to include mtDNA lineages or all descendants of Genghis Khan, even though doing so would be consistent with the historic extra-scientific usage of the term, as expressed by the phrase “the race of Caesar.”... Regardless, we are confident that few would consider extended families which are so little linebred that many members could not be, based on propinquity of descent, assigned exclusively to this or that division to make for good biological races...As suggested above, we might further conceptualize biological races as representing overlapping ancestrally defined groups. For example, in the case of humans, the set of individuals descended from Charlemagne and that descended from Confucius could be said to represent two overlapping biological races, with membership assigned on a hypodescent basis. These divisions would overlap because while many individuals share only one or the other lineage many share both... such undoubtedly constitute meaningful biological divisions of a sort, they do not constitute, as we are characterizing them, natural divisions, since they are not being defined in terms of overall genetic similarity. Such divisions could be said to represent artificial biological races proper...With artificial biological race concepts, members are arranged by ancestry, but not overall ancestry. Hypodescent defined races would be an example of such. They can, insofar as the defining genealogies are accurate, be said to be no less biological than morphs or forms; yet the groups described would frequently not be natural in the sense of describing overall genetic relatedness. When lines of descent are sufficiently endogenous, that is, when our extended families are sufficiently linebred, natural division races emerge from artificial.

You either have races as artificial genealogical divisions or races as natural (genealogical) divisions.

I am not opposed to the idea of the "race" of Confucius. This, though, would not correspond wit the natural historian concept discussed in the 1700-1800s or the biological concept discussed after.
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(2015-Jul-04, 06:28:04)Krom Wrote: Also Sesardic who you quote is wrong when he claims multiplying the number of skeletal traits in forensics increases the accuracy of "race" identification. I can show this later in more detail, but just look up statistical noise. This is a known problem with FORDISC and why fewer measurements of the skull (about 10) are more reliable than 50+ Howells often used.


So... unlike with neutral genetic loci, with craniometric traits, some of which are under neutral selection, some of which are not, there is a nonlinear positive relation between number of characters and accurate classification into divisions defined by propinquity of descent ~ genomic similarity? Were did Sesardic as quoted claim otherwise?
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(2015-Jul-04, 05:07:16)Krom Wrote: And as far as I am aware we cannot demonstrate anything is "real"/"natural", this includes categories of being. Anyone claiming something is "real"/"natural" I think is mistaken because there is no way to show this.


If you wish to say that nothing can be known to be Krom-real, that is fine with me as long as you are consistent and clear about your meaning.

I would go a step further and say that we cannot demonstrate that any concept of "real" is the real one or that any concept of "natural" is the natural one. Thus we can not say for sure that anything is not really real or naturally nature. Thus races/species/populations/morphs/ecotypes/etc. may or may not be really real and naturally natural. Since we can not know, we can only speak about "real" and "natural" in this or that lower case sense -- which is what I set out to do:

Quote:NofR: If our philosophers can not decide what it really means to be "biologically real,‟ nor determine the nature of a „natural kind,‟ we can not hope to do so, and therefore can not even begin to try to defend the real biological reality or true 'natural kindhood' of race – so we will not...Instead, we will simply sketch out a biological concept of race, defend its biological validity, explain how this concept applies to human beings, make clear the sense in which race is natural and real, and criticize the usual arguments presented by opponents of biological conceptions of race.

If you wish to argue against a "race capital-R Realist", you are going to have to find someone else. Now, you say:

Quote:You mention Phillip Kitcher in the paper, now he adopts philosophical pragmatism for this reason: species and races are to him not "real" or "natural kinds" but he defends them on the grounds they are useful biological categories.

Kitcher seems to vacillate with his usages, but he often refers to his pragmatic kinds as natural kinds[/i]. Consider some passages from the 2007 paper I cite:

Quote:PK(2007): So, for brevity, I shall call the position I have sketched a pragmatists account of natural kinds...This version of pragmatism about kinds can be defended by focusing on the pluralistic character of taxonomic practices in the sciences, especially within biology...My aim is to explore the consequences of this pragmatic approach to kinds for the naturalistic proposal about races outlines above...(Does ‘race’have a future?)

In this paper at least he is not contrasting "natural kinds" with "pragmatic kinds" but understanding the former as the later. Don't you agree? You continue:

Quote:So yes, this is mostly a semantics issue since you are defining "real" or "natural" as something that is biologically meaningful, when this does not make it "natural" or "real", over conceptual and artificial.

Let's just agree that Chuck-real/natural is not equivalent to Krom-real/natural. And that when Chuck establishes that races are Chuck-real/natural this doesn't establish them as Krom-real/natural. And vice versa. You continue:

Quote:If we all just adopted pragmatism, the race debate would be a lot easier to follow: it would just come down to the question of how useful is race (as a category) in capturing human biological variation..But my point was to highlight the concept of race is not one of "reality" but it being a useful research tool (which i dispute).

If you carefully read through my section I-K, you will see that I do not argue that the concept of race is real. Following Levin (2002), I noted that the "ontological status of concepts is another matter". I argue, rather, that races -- the referents (understood in line with the concept) -- can be real. In a parallel manner, I wouldn't argue that the concept of dinosaurs is unreal/real, just that dinosaurs -- the referents -- are.

In short, I can not concur with you. I believe that there is a commonsense sense of "real races" that is worth discussing. Specifically, it's worth discussing whether my concept references anything in existence. I noted that in the Linnaean frame race so understood referenced nothing -- thus it is not a truism to say that "races are real" (in this commonsense sense). Now, you apparently don't like my commonsense sense of real. Well, how should I describe what I mean? I say, for example that hydra, the animal marked by radial symmetry, is real but hydra, the many-headed monster, is not. Most people, I think would understand my meaning. But how would you, who wants to say that the reality of both types of hydra is indeterminable, phrase things (to communicate the point)?

Thanks for the Baker reference, though. Now, you conclude:

Quote:"Most anthropologists have abandoned the concept of race as a research tool and as a valid representation of human biological diversity." (Sauer, 1992)

Granting your epistemology, I don't get how this would work. In section V-B ("Human Biological Races and Scientific Consensus"), I discussed regional variation in the acceptance of concepts of race. In some countries it's high; in some, it's low. Would race concepts (?) -- or races the referents -- then be real in countries where there was sizable acceptance, but not in others? That sounds like an unwieldy epistemology of science, no?

I don't imagine that acceptance would be a problem, though, since I am concerned with a generic biological or natural historian concept of race, not an e.g., cultural anthropological one or one specific to humans. And there is zero chance that biologists would reject my concept as inutile -- at best they might deem it worthwhile to call it something else. Now, Kitcher seems to think that biologists could reject the concept for humans but not for non-humans. But that doesn't make any sense to me, at least when we understand the concept to be inherently generic (across species, as it was originally conceptualized). Do you disagree?
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It sounds as if we are retreading old ground. Perhaps it would be easier to approach the matter in the form of a Socratic dialogue. You could ask questions and see if you could trap me in contradictions. If not, we could switch roles.
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This is why I stopped doing philosophy. What a waste of time.
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(2015-Jul-04, 07:43:21)Chuck Wrote: And yet I said:

"Blumenbach in 1806 passingly noted that human racial classifications, being classifications in a natural system, should be based on “all bodily indications alike." Darwin noted that human racial classifications should be based on a full pedigree; moreover, he discussed the importance of correlated variation when it came to classification in general. In 1950, William Boyd showed how one could use multiple genetic loci to make such a classification and noted that one should use all possible genetic loci when doing so. And Lewontin (1978), in reply to Mitton (1977), agreed that it was obvious that one could divide humankind into biological races using multiple loci."

If such was not possible prior to 1994, why did Lewontin concede to Mitton that this could be done in 1978 and how was Dobzhansky (1970) able to discuss Boyd's (1950) multi-locus analysis?


Like they said all they could do is "use all possible genetic loci when doing so", because they didn't have a measure of the complete genome. It was only in the last two decades this became available.

Unless you can quantify/specify the whole genome, you have an arbitrary classification because you're left with an indefinite measurement (and the genetic variation not measured could produce a different number of "races"). There has to be a constraint on how similarity is measured for an objective classification in regards to x, in this case genetics. Clearly not knowing the total amount of genetic loci is not a constraint. And if we look at the bigger picture, it is impossible to measure or determine the scope of overall similarity (meaning all properties, outside any imposed constraint) because they are infinite, or the total amount cannot be ascertained/measured:

"Suppose that one is to list the attributes that plums and lawnmowers have in common in order to judge their similarity. It is easy to see that the list could be infinite: Both weigh less than 10,000 kg (and less than 10,001 kg), both did not exist 10,000,000 years ago (and 10,000,001 years ago), both cannot hear well, both can be dropped, both take up space, and so on. Likewise, the list of differences could be infinite… any two entities can be arbitrarily similar or dissimilar by changing the criterion of what counts as a relevant attribute." (Murphy and Medin, 1985)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugly_duckling_theorem

And this is why "race" isn't real, like the putative categories lawnmowers and plums. We can only objectively measure similarity when a constraint or 'fix' in regards to
x, is introduced. So we can classify via overall genetic similarity, but this overall genetic similarity (outside the constraint) is not overall similarity. Read the Wikipedia link which explains this in more detail.

Quote:There is this concept:

"organismic groups which differentiated from one another as a result of historic patterns of filiation; they are groups, which due to histories of sufficient linebreeding, form intraspecific natural divisions, ones which can be identified based on the correlations between the organisms' inherited characters"

You agree that these types of groups or divisions exist, no?
You agree that these types of groups or divisions were often called races, no?
You agree that the groups or divisions traditionally called "major (biological) human races" correspond with these types of groups or divisions, no?

[Please answer the above.]

So what possibly is the dispute?

See what I wrote above. Even if you could show all that in regards to genetics, the classification (outside the constraint) would still be arbitrary. Look at the plum and lawnmower example. Can we show a putative plum is overall more similar to another plum, than a lawnmower? The answer is no we cannot for the reasons I outlined.
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Quote:In short, I can not concur with you. I believe that there is a commonsense sense of "real races" that is worth discussing. Specifically, it's worth discussing whether my concept references anything in existence. I noted that in the Linnaean frame race so understood referenced nothing -- thus it is not a truism to say that "races are real" (in this commonsense sense). Now, you apparently don't like my commonsense sense of real. Well, how should I describe what I mean? I say, for example that hydra, the animal marked by radial symmetry, is real but hydra, the many-headed monster, is not. Most people, I think would understand my meaning. But how would you, who wants to say that the reality of both types of hydra is indeterminable, phrase things (to communicate the point)?

I don't have a problem with that, what i'm though saying is "commonsense sense of real" or rather how someone perceives reality is not "real", or cannot be shown to mirror reality. For example that would assume there is a systematic relation between "reality" and our senses (so what we see, smell, touch etc., is "real" and not an illusion, or something else).

Quote:Granting your epistemology, I don't get how this would work. In section V-B ("Human Biological Races and Scientific Consensus"), I discussed regional variation in the acceptance of concepts of race. In some countries it's high; in some, it's low. Would race concepts (?) -- or races the referents -- then be real in countries where there was sizable acceptance, but not in others? That sounds like an unwieldy epistemology of science, no?

Its all low. If you look when you find it high, it is a semantics issue: you will find "race" being redefined as a local population such as a village, tribe, ethnic group such as the "Dutch people" etc. That is particularly common in Eastern Europe and Asia. Once you remove this redefinition and use the traditional definition of race (Mongoloids, Caucasoid etc) you find the support is low everywhere. Very few modern biologist take these traditional race classifications serious.
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As a follow up, here is what I meant above.

In the race survey given to Polish anthropologists in 2003:

[Image: Typepolandstudy.jpg]

25%: "no races".

So this study is cited by 'race realists' as evidence 75% of Polish anthropologists adopt a human racial classification in their work.

However if you look, 35% of this 75% are proponents of defining a race via "populationism" which is a local breeding population (deme).

So you have to subtract that 35% from the 75%, since "populationism" is not the traditional race concept.

What this study actually shows is the majority of Polish anthropologists (60%) don't defend or use traditional races like "Caucasoid", "Mongoloid" etc.
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(2015-Jul-04, 17:48:48)Krom Wrote: Unless you can quantify/specify the whole genome, you have an arbitrary classification because you're left with an indefinite measurement (and the genetic variation not measured could produce a different number of "races")...


Let us first recognize that I am not advancing a novel position.

Quote:Darwin: Naturalists try to arrange the species, genera, and families in each class, on what is called the Natural System. But what is meant by this system? Some authors look at it merely as a scheme for arranging together those living...I believe that something more is included; and that propinquity of descent, the only known cause of the similarity of organic beings, is the bond, hidden as it is by various degrees of modification, which is partially revealed to us by our classifications...The importance, for classification, of trifling characters, mainly depends on their being correlated with several other characters of more or less importance. The value indeed of an aggregate of characters is very evident in natural history. Hence, as has often been remarked, a species may depart from its allies in several characters, both of high physiological importance and of almost universal prevalence, and yet leave us in no doubt where it should be ranked. Hence, also, it has been found, that a classification founded on any single character, however important that may be, has always failed; for no part of the organisation is universally constant. The importance of an aggregate of characters, even when none are important, alone explains, I think, that saying of Linnaeus, that the characters do not give the genus, but the genus gives the characters; for this saying seems founded on an appreciation of many trifling points of resemblance, too slight to be defined...I believe that the arrangement of the groups within each class, in due subordination and relation to the other groups, must be strictly genealogical in order to be natural.

To summarize: For Darwin, a natural classification is one where individuals are arranged into divisions by propinquity of descent. Since full pedigree tables are unavailable, heritable characters are used to index genealogical relationship; correlated characters -- of little importance -- are used because in aggregate they better index ancestry.

(Note, in section II-H and elsewhere, I do note a slight complication with this formulation in light of some contemporaneous re-understandings of what it means to be a biological natural division. But I wave it away by noting that genomic similarity ~corresponds with propinquity of descent on the individual level and that one can just stipulate IBD (genomic similarity) or subordinate propinquity of descent to IBT. For the sake of simplicity, I will adopt the pedigree understanding of natural divisions. But one could just as well used an IBT genomic one.)

Now, your initial point is that our correlated characters imperfectly index true pedigree, just as say color board-measured color imperfectly indexes true color. This is no doubt true, and I note this point in no less than 3 sections (e.g., p. 43, p. 95-97, p. 134). From here, from the point that our correlated character based classifications are not perfectly reliable with respect to true ancestry, you seem to deduce that they are artificial. If you do, you confuse conceptual dichotomies: measure versus latent variable and artificial versus natural classifications. An artificial classification purports to arrange individuals by specific character resemblances e.g., color, a natural one by (genealogical) affinity. Due to almost inevitable non-zero measurement error actual classifications imperfectly correspond with intended (latent) ones. This is a non-interesting point.

I say "you seem to" because I am not 100% sure about your argument. You continue for example:

" Likewise, the list of differences could be infinite… any two entities can be arbitrarily similar or dissimilar by changing the criterion of what counts as a relevant attribute." (Murphy and Medin, 1985)"

This statement seems to suggest a different argument. The problem here is not that our measure is imperfect, per se, but that a system based on "overall similarity in characters" can produce inherently discordant classifications, because, after all, you could weight or define characters differently. If this is the real critique you missed the point. The classification is not based on "overall similarity in characters" in a phenetic sense, but rather is based on propinquity of descent. To this end characters are weighted by -- biased by -- the genealogical information content of the characters. The issue then reduces back down to one of whether our selected characters (our measures) index descent (our latent variable) -- a measurement issue of little theoretical importance. To be absolutely clear, the fix -- the weighting value -- would be propinquity of descent, since this is what our classifications, insofar as they are drawn in line with our concept, purport to arrange individuals by.

Now, I guess you could point out that there is no reason to choose "propinquity of descent" as a weighting variable. Why not, after all, weight by "propinquity of color". But this returns us back to section "V-E Onto-epistemology Arguments".

But you continue:

Quote:Even if you could show all that in regards to genetics, the classification (outside the constraint) would still be arbitrary. Look at the plum and lawnmower example. Can we show a putative plum is overall more similar to another plum, than a lawnmower?

Here again you conflate issues. I can show that classifications highly reliably arrange individuals by propinquity of descent and thus are natural in the Darwinian sense. I can't show that this arranging is the only or "True" way of arranging things -- because it isn't and I nor anyone else is claiming that it is.

Before responding to your other post, I will give you a chance to clarify. To summarize my points here:

(a) We are not concerned with perfectly reliable classifications so perfectly reliable indexes are not needed.

(b) Indexes are weighted to produce classification which arranges individuals by propinquity of descent.

© The a priori reason to weigh indexes this way is so that out classifications stand in accords with our concept.

(d) There obviously is no a priori reason to think about this instead of that concept -- we do because there is something out there which we wish to think about.
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