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[OBG] Nature of Race Full

(2015-Aug-31, 13:47:19)Krom Wrote: The vast majority of scientists (who as I noted were all proponents of race at the time, this is why your position is almost comical) rejected this view. It was seen as a re-definition of race, and as being absurd.


I said: Before I deconstruct your other points, answer this question: Do you agree that when an author claims that there are "large" differences between such and such races this does not entail that her concept of race necessitates such differences? Yes or no?

Instead of answering this simple question, you changed the focus -- no longer are we discussing 18th and 19th century views but now mid 20th century ones.

Look we have:

How were races viewed:
from 1751-1800 by natural historians/botanists?
from 1801-1850 by natural historians/botanists?
from 1851-1900? by anthropologists/biologists/botanists?
from 1901-1950? by anthropologists/population geneticists/zoologists/ conservation biologists/botanists?
from 1951-2000? by physical anthropologists/population geneticists/zoologists/ conservation biologists/ botanists?
by pre-evolutionists?
by Darwinists?
by Mendelian-Mutationalists?
by Modern Synthesists?

As I pointed out (in my paper) a number of people do require non-trivial differences for races. But others do not. Following Kevin de Queiroz I try to construct a general concept. de Queiroz does this for species, which has the same sort of problem, some defining them as e.g., intrinsically isolated groups, some not.

Now, for a general concept which includes local divisions, I only have to show that a non-trivial number of people accepted the existence of micro(geographical) or local races, which is easy to do, especially since my concept is not human specific. I can show that this is the case now (google search '"local race" genetic' ~ 1000 hits; Ngram search "microgeographic races") and that it was often the case in the pre-1900s (Ngram search "local race" or "minor races"). Now personally, the issue is not important to me, for my own research purposes, since I am interested in major races such as East Asians and Europeans. Despite this, there is a logical and a historical point, which I can not ignore.

Now, what is ridiculous is your argument, which is: (1) Hey everyone pre-Dobzhansky used the term "race" to refer to groups which "significantly" differed. (2) But now we know that no human groups "significantly" differ, so there are no human races. Where not only is premise (1) obviously false, but the argument is invalid as you equivocate in regards to the meaning of "significant". At very best your argument could establish that e.g., Hartl and Clark's (1997) Yanomami tribes would not constitute races in the pre-Dobzhansky sense. But this is of no loss for me -- except in terms of conceptual simplicity.

Now, answer my question above and then I will address the specific claims.

But let me set up and ask another while I am at it. My position, which distinguishes between general and narrow concepts, is consistent with the view that some to many defined races as groups which "significantly" differed. I simply call that a narrow definition a la de Queriroz. As such, you can not falsify my claim by pointing to people who understood races to only be significantly different groups -- you can only by showing that few to none recognized as races groups which differed in "minor" ways. Right? Your position, on the other hand, which makes no general/narrow distinction is inconsistent with the view that some to many understood races such to include groups which differed in "minor" ways. To falsify that, I only need to point to people who understood races such to include these groups. Right? Now, of course, when I point to anyone post Dobzhansky you claim that I am dealing with a revised concept. But surely you can't use this revisionist counter for people between 1750 and the early 1900s. So would you agree that I can rendered untenable your position simply by marshalling a list of pre Dobzhansky people who recognized as races groups which differed in a minor ways?
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Why your re-definition of race is also puzzling, is because human population structure during the Pleistocene was actually racial:

"Human geographic variation obviously exists, but it is not racial. Modern paleoanthropology and genetics are among the disciplines that have shown that there is no taxonomy in the human species below the species level. They also show that the present poorly reflects the past. Neandertal morphology and genetics, and genetic evidence of other distinct groups, suggest far more population structure in the past. It is likely that for much of the Pleistocene the human species had races. But, whether or not races appeared in the past, they did not persist." (Wolpoff, 2013)

So what instead do you propose? You are forced to elevate Neanderthals etc, to species? And Wolpoff shows very well why these races did not persist into the Holocene with morphological data. Most Pleistocene Neanderthals possessed a unique combination of skeletal traits that were not found in other regions outside of Europe. In fact some singular traits even show a remarkable disparate frequency by region. The H-O mandibular foramen appears in 53% of Neanderthal skulls and 18% of early "anatomically modern" European Upper Palaeolithic crania, but only in a single Pleistocene African skull.

"The horizontal-oval mandibular foramen is virtually unique to European fossils. It is found in almost no other remains... the horizontal-oval foramen has a significant frequency in the subsequent post-Neandertal populations of Europe and only decreases to rarity in recent Europeans." (Wolpoff & Caspari, 1997)

If you could show this for living humans, race classification would be supported. However it cannot obviously be shown.
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Please reply to my questions first. As I noted, I like to deal with one critique at a time.
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As for Wolpoff (2013), you have to consider what he means by "racial" (one of my points was that there are many narrow concepts):

Milford Wolpoff (2009):

Quote:In the earlier literature race was used synonymously with subspecies, and this is still largely the case in the biological literature. A taxonomic division [of variation] equates race with the concept of a subspecies, a division of a species into distinct and distinguishable types... The dismissal of human races as an organizing structure for human biology was for many reasons, including political reasons, but there is a firm biological basis for it in the distribution of genetic variation (Templeton, 1998), that to some extent is reflected in the distribution of anatomical variation... Extant human anatomical variation does not attain the subspecies level; populations are neither different enough, nor separated enough, for a subspecies interpretation of their variation to be valid. The ratio of within group to between group variance is very high in humans. There is no treeness for human groups

Would you honestly argue that this wasn't revisionist? (Please answer.) That early race concepts proposed treeness in Templeton's sense of having little admixture, great isolation, and significant discontinuities (Didn't we discuss this?) or that early concepts required high between group genetic variation -- when the concept of "gene" was not developed until the late 19th to early 20th century. Or that race was always identified with subspecies, when the race concept preceded that latter and given that authors often drew the distinction between subspecies in the taxonomic sense and race. Or that early subspecies concepts required the types of differences now seen as sufficiently taxonomically significant -- actually there are no formal criteria; and the only generally accepted rule of thumb is the 75% one, by which major human races qualify as taxa subspecies --for BSC subspecies recognition.

It's funny that you accuse me of using a revised concept and cite as evidence one that clearly is on numerous easily demonstrable grounds.
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(2015-Aug-31, 19:15:58)Krom Wrote: So what instead do you propose? You are forced to elevate Neanderthals etc, to species?


Depends on the species concept. For the BSC, the species criteria is intrinsic reproductive isolation. Neanderthals showed a high degree of this, so they would constitute either BSC semispecies or species (depending on how strictly one understood "intrinsic reproductive isolation". If not, then obviously a race. For the PSC-D, they would clearly constitute separate species.

Notice how I am able to and how I do answer all of your questions, but you none of mine.
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(2015-Aug-31, 13:47:19)Krom Wrote: Let's go back to 1951, to UNESCO's (revised) Statement on Race. The 1950 statement was criticized because it consulted very few geneticists and physical anthropologists (it was drafted by sociologists and cultural anthropologists). The revised statement however was approved by Gunnar Dahlberg, J. B. S. Haldane, A. E. Mourant, Henri V. Vallois, S. Zuckerman and Julian Huxley, among many others.

Note the following line in the opening paragraph:

"In its anthropological sense, the word 'race' should be reserved for groups of mankind possessing well-developed and primarily heritable physical differences from other groups."

The Statement also clarifies that Icelanders, English etc., are not races, but local (breeding) populations. Why this is significant is that this Statement was drafted and approved by all leading scientists a decade before denial of race had appeared (Livingstone, 1962; Brace, 1964). Both the 1950 and rev. 1951 Statements do not deny human races exist, or dispute "Negroid"/"Mongoloid"/"Caucasoid" (what are described as major stocks) are useful classificatory tools.


Ah, but we can just go back further. After reviewing early 20th century anthropology articles, Caspari (2009) concluded that race was used “to refer to geographic divisions of the human species, but also to smaller categories that could correspond to nationality and even smaller social groups.” Now, if you want, we can wade through the lit and verify. And once you concede this point, you will have to concede that the statement "the word 'race' should be reserved for" was an explicit attempt to revise the concept.
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(2015-Aug-31, 20:53:48)Chuck Wrote: Now, if you want, we can wade through the lit and verify. And once you concede this point, you will have to concede that the statement "the word 'race' should be reserved for" was an explicit attempt to revise the concept.


This might not be the case as it appears that Krom simply misunderstood the 1951 statement and that the statement doesn't support his position. The discussion of Frota-Pessoa's position reads:

"Frota-Pessoa considers that this is not altogether true at the present stage of scientific research: 'It should be interesting to add that, form the genetical point of view, even not 'well-developed' differences suffice for distinguishing races (cf. Dobzhansky)...This addition is good for the sake of emphasizing that major and minor racial groups differ only in degree, but not qualitatively, and also to destroy the apparent contradiction that this sentence presents with the following statement quoted from the second paragraph of item 4: "...but individual members, or small groups, belonging to different races within the same major group are usually not so distinguishable." If only "well-developed" differences were able for distinguishing races, even "small groups belonging to different races" should be distinguishable."

The point made was acute. There is an apparent contradiction, since we are told:

"Broadly speaking, individual belonging to different major groups of mankind are distinguishable by virtue of their physical characters, but individual members, or smaller groups, belonging to different races within the same major groups are usually not so distinguishable."

Either "well-developed" does not mean (very?) "distinguishable", which defeats Krom's main point, or there is a contradiction in the statement, which renders it ambiguous and thus unsupportive of Krom's argument.

Regarding nation, the statement says:

"National, religious, geographical, linguistic and cultural groups do not necessarily coincide with racial groups...Americans are not a race, nor are Frenchman, nor German: nor ipso facto [i.e., by the very fact] is any other national group."

I would, of course, agree. Dobzhansky and Alice Brues made the same point. For example, Afro-Germans are not of the same race as ethnic Germans. More generally, nations, in the political sense, do not necessarily coincide with races (or, for that matter, nations) in the biological sense; modern nation-states, as the statement says, are not ipso facto races; this is because they are too heterogeneous; they contain peoples of numerous races. There were Africans in Britain in the 17th century, Africans in Germany in the early 20th century, Chinese in India in the 19th century, and so on. There is simply no contradiction between the claim that nations in the political sense are not races and the claim that the concept of race applies to difficult to distinguish nation size divisions.
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Quote:Before I deconstruct your other points, answer this question: Do you agree that when an author claims that there are "large" differences between such and such races this does not entail that her concept of race necessitates such differences? Yes or no?

I am saying your question is misinformed: race classification requires significant differences (otherwise there would be no point in classifying). Trivial differences are not useful, e.g. Dobzhansky's (1946) adjacent villages where population x differs by frequency in a gene by <0.1% to population y. Can you explain how this is useful? Note also how you, Dobzhansky (1951) and Sesardic, (2013) contradict yourselves on this: If race classification includes trivial genetic differences between villages, this means there are hundreds of thousands to millions of races. Yet in your book you state that it is not useful to count so many (I agree, and so does Dobzhansky and Sesardic). The difference is i'm not contradicting myself since i'm not saying local populations as small as villages or tribes are races:

"In principle we might introduce names for hundreds or even
thousands of human groups that we could call races on the
grounds of their genetic differentiation . Why do we not do this?
Dobzhansky again explains: ‘'Obviously it would not be convenient
to give racial names to inhabitants of the different counties of Eng-
land or of the different departments of France. But everyone will
agree that the Negroes, the Europeans, and the American Indians
are clearly distinct' (Dobzhansky, 1951)." (Sesardic, 2013)

Note Dobzhansky's own words: "it would not be convenient
to give racial names" to such local populations, but then he argues these populations are races and should be recognised by the classifier.
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In another work, Dobzhansky (1968?) wrote this: "It would nevertheless not occur to anyone to give race names to the populations of every mountain village." Yet in that quote from 1946 he states the opposite.
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(2015-Aug-31, 19:04:52)Chuck Wrote: So would you agree that I can rendered untenable your position simply by marshalling a list of pre Dobzhansky people who recognized as races groups which differed in a minor ways?


Yes, also if you could show them as local breeding populations (demes) or just spatial populations covering small regions. By "local" or "small" I don't mean Buffon's (or whoever it was) "Tatar race".

Good luck finding a scientist of any period who labels the Amish a race, and as you yourself know no one has ever drawn up a human racial classification like this. To do so would require hundreds of thousands races at the very least.
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