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[OBG] Nature of Race (merged)

#91
Chuck,

The only thing I would insist on changing is that sub-title "Shades of de Gobineau." It sounds ... creepy. Find something more positive. There's also the Basil Mathews quote, which is mistakenly attributed to Franz Boas.
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#92
(2015-Mar-21, 22:32:28)Peter Frost Wrote: Chuck,The only thing I would insist on changing is that sub-title "Shades of de Gobineau." It sounds ... creepy. Find something more positive. There's also the Basil Mathews quote, which is mistakenly attributed to Franz Boas.


Chuck: I change the first to "Sociobiological Speculations". I change the second to:

"This point was made by the prominent early 20th century psychologist William McDougall. In 1920, he noted, “The principle is that, though differences of racial mental qualities are relatively small, so small as to be indistinguishable with certainty in individuals, they are yet of great importance for the life of nations, because they exert throughout many generations a constant bias upon the development of their culture and their institutions” (Lamb, 1999). Ninety-four years later, after reviewing a number of societal and civilizational differences in light of human biodiversity, Wade (2014) concluded much the same,“[T]hese minor differences, for the most part invisible in an individual, have major consequences at the level of a society”.

The William McDougall reference is: Lamb, K. (1999). Individual & group character in the social psychology of William McDougall.

Now as for the other points:

1. Peter: ..."sometimes exaggerating contradictions and inconsistencies in criticisms of the race concept. For instance, you describe one antiracist argument as follows:

“while there do exist biological races in other animal species, there are none in ours” (p.3)"

Chuck: Many arguments have been made. As I discussed in section V-B, the above is a currently prominent one. It was recently restated by Sussman (2014):
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?i...0674417311
And by Agustin Fuentes: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bus...d-genetics Quote:

"In fact if you use the common level of genetic differentiation between populations used by zoologists to classify biological races (which they called subspecies) in other mammals, all humans consistently show up as just one biological race."

If you can find strawman argument, please point it out to me.

2. Peter: "In general, a legalistic style of argument is poorly suited to a situation where different people are trying to define “fuzzy sets,” which by their nature have fuzzy semiotic boundaries."

Chuck: I agree that fuzzy set concepts of race tend to be conceptually fuzzy. It set out demystify things by:
(a) uncovering a historically consistent core concept (intraspecific nature divisions)
(b) explaining its relation to other local concepts
© providing a precise definition of the concept

In section II-A, I reconcile different biological-anthropological concepts across time. In section III-A, I reconcile different philosophical concepts. In section II-J I reconcile different statistical concepts (descrete versus fuzzy sets).

The point was to draw out a general concept. You can compare this aspect of the project to something like:

De Queiroz, K. (1998). The general lineage concept of species, species criteria, and the process of speciation: a conceptual unification and terminological recommendations.
Or:
Wilkins, J. (2010). How many species concepts are there?

3. Peter: "What sort of audience are you aiming for? You might want to summarize your argument in boxes, perhaps as highlights."

Chuck: Biological Philosophy -- Should I elaborate in the conclusion?

4. Peter: “The problem with that system is that it ignores the effects of natural selection, and these effects are only weakly related to overall DNA similarity. Most DNA is of little or no selective value, so it is possible for two populations to be very different in terms of overall DNA, while looking and behaving very similarly."

Chuck: Some clarification is in order. Modification on the higher category levels is strongly related to overall DNA similarity. For example birds versus reptiles. Whole genomic similarity then corresponds nicely with Darwin's descent plus modification. Thus it is the basis of evolutionary taxonomic systematics (Mayr and Ashlock, 1991). What you are thinking of, I think, are relatively superficial local environmental modifications common on the intraspeciifc and maybe specific level. Darwin pondered over this problem:

[Then], a genealogical one, even if it did occasionally put one race not quite so near to another, as it would have stood, if allocated by structure alone. Generally, we may safely presume, that the resemblance of races & their pedigrees would go together.
http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/entry-2150

How does one classify in the event of discordance between appearance and overall genotype? We can just look at wildlife which you are familiar with for specific examples:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boreal_woodland_caribou

"Mallory and Hillis[19] argued that, "Although the taxonomic designations reflect evolutionary events, they do not appear to reflect current ecological conditions. In numerous instances, populations of the same subspecies have evolved different demographic and behavioural adaptations, while populations from separate subspecies have evolved similar demographic and behavioural patterns... "[U]nderstanding ecotype in relation to existing ecological constraints and releases may be more important than the taxonomic relationships between populations"

So we do have these divergences. And we see them with human races, too. For example, the light color of Europeans versus the dark hue of many South Asians. It seems to me though that other concepts -- such as morph, form, or ecotype -- should be used to describe such differences. And that "race" such be understood, as it traditionally was, as a genealogical/genomic concept. Now for hierarchical taxonomy, I think that these situations pose a problem, since hierarchical taxonomy presupposes a privileged way of classifying -- and I imagine that this problem will become amplified with the event of increased genetic engineering, which will weaken the connection between overall genetic relatedness and resemblance e.g., glow in the dark plants. OK, but I don't see this as a problem for "race", as such, which is a lineage concept.

5. Peter: " This kind of writing is legitimate but awkward. I would write: “Such critics would have a point if “race” did not mean a particular type of biological division”"

Chuck: Agreed. I will look through the paper again.

6. Peter: "“phenotypic characters are seen, in turn, as a product of, and means of inferring, overall genetic relatedness” (p. 13)"...No. To infer genetic relatedness, we use special genetic markers (mtDNA, certain enzymes, blood groups, etc. that have low selective value; otherwise, they would produce false phylogenies)"

Chuck: A commenter asked how evo. taxonomic classifications, which purport to be based on "genetic program" were made before genotyping became common. I added the sentence to explain. Mayr discussed this issue -- he noted that one weighs phenotype by presumed phylogenic importance. Darwin made the same point: " We have no written pedigrees; we have to make out community of descent by resemblances of any kind. Therefore we choose those characters which, as far as we can judge, are the least likely to have been modified in relation to the conditions of life to which each species has been recently exposed."

I changed this to: "Phenotypic characters are seen, in turn, as a product of overall genetic relatedness. Insofar as they are used when classifying, they are used as indexes of overall genetic similarity. Before the event of modern genetics, nothing else could be used. To avoid misclassifying with respect to ancestry, “correlated or aggregated characters” which were the “least likely to have been [recently] modified” were used (Darwin, 1961)."

7. Peter: “What it means to be ‘biologically meaningless’ is never explained, presumably because it means nothing at all: the statement is vacuous” (p. 18)

Not exactly. The “race does not exist” position has become so monolithic that people no longer feel obliged to justify it."

Chuck: I meant that the meaning of "biologically meaningless" is often not clarified. It can mean a lot of different things -- for example that races don't correspond with natural divisions, that there are no biological differences between them, that they don't correspond with any biological type of thing e.g., "population", etc.

I changed this to: " Rarely, in these contexts, is it explained what ‘biologically meaningless’ actually means; one wonders if the authors themselves know. "

8. Peter: "p. 24 – excessively long paragraph

p. 30 – excessively long paragraph (in the box)"

Chuck: Fixed.

9. Peter: "If we take “cline” to mean population continuum, then we might rephrase the American Anthropological Association’s question as: “Races or population continuums?" (p. 40)

Yes, but that isn’t how clines are usually imagined. The general view is that different genetic traits display different patterns of clinal variation because each genetic trait is responding to its own set of selection pressures. That’s the theory. You might want to refer to Cavalli-Sforza, who showed that when we superimpose patterns of geographic variation at many different gene loci, we end up with a single map of human genetic variation."

Chuck: Yes, of course. I explained that:

"More to the point, his cline concept describes a character gradient. As such, a "cline is an arrangement of characters, not of organisms or of populations" (Simpson, 1961). As a result, a race can belong to as many different clines as it has characters; if it belongs to more than one, it is no less a race... When the “clines, not races” argument is not altogether conceptually confused—when it is only semantically so —it raises an issue that we must address."

The argument only makes sense if we treat cline as population continuum, because there is no contradiction between race/natural division and character gradient.

10. Peter "“Sailer (1998) put forth a concept of race as a linebred extended family; by this, races represent different genealogically delineated groups.” (p. 53)

Shouldn’t that be “inbred”? I suspect Steve put forth that definition because the term “family” resonates well with social conservatives

Chuck: I thought "inbred" might be derogatory in the way that "miscegenation" is.

11. Peter: "As Greg Cochran noted, this definition is deficient because it makes no reference to natural selection as a reason why races become different from each other. Unfortunately, “natural selection” does not resonate well with part of Steve's target audience."

Chuck: This is a "problem" with all descent-only based definitions. Unlike the cladist concept, though, Sailer's doesn't necessarily exclude modification. Anyways, my solution was to conceptualize these as a subtypes of a more general concept. They are not "wrong" just "narrow".

12. Peter “Insofar as Hispanics are descended from mixed-race populations, they could be treated, consistently with evolutionary classifications, as their own biological race,” (p. 52)

Not sure I agree. For one thing, the mixture varies from one country to another. Dominicans tend to be a European-African mixture, whereas Mexicans tend to be European-Amerindian. Even within Mexico, there are interesting differences because the degree of European admixture varies and because the Amerindian nations are themselves different."

Chuck: Hispanics means US Latin Americans. What I meant is that insofar as they, despite being mixed, formed a genetic cluster -- due to being descended from sufficiently endogenous populations --they could be treated as a race.

I was thinking of Tang, H., Quertermous, T., Rodriguez, B., Kardia, S. L., Zhu, X., Brown, A., ... & Risch, N. J. (2005). Genetic structure, self-identified race/ethnicity, and confounding in case-control association studies. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 76(2), 268-275.

I rewrote this as: " In the United States, commonly defined sociological races, such as Asians, Caucasians, Blacks, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders, correspond somewhat with historic continental-level races – respectively, Mongoloids, Caucasoids, Negroids, Amerindians, and Australoids/Pacific Islanders. The correspondence is far from perfect. For example, the Asian classification includes both South Asian Caucasoids and Mongoloids, and the African-American population largely represents a hybrid Caucasoid-Negroid population, one with an admixture rate such that one might not consider this group to be Negroids. Nonetheless, the genomes of those who identify as East Asian, White, and Black tend to cluster with those of the continental-level natural divisions (Lao, et al., 2010, figure 3).

Correspondence with historic continental-level race is not, of course, a prerequisite for constituting different biological races. What is is that groups cut out different natural divisions with respect to each other. An analysis by Tang et al. (2005) suggested that “white, African American, East Asian, and Hispanic” ethno-racial groups in the U.S. more or less do – that is, they cut out distinct genomic divisions. As the authors noted, though, the Hispanic group in their sample was based on a Mexican-American one. When using a more diverse Hispanic sample, another research group (Lao, et al., 2010) found that the Hispanic groups did not form a discrete cluster but rather overlapped with the other groups (in this case, Europeans, East Asians, and Africans). This is not unexpected since, across Latin America, there is substantial heterogeneity in historic continental-level racial admixture. Given the genomic heterogeneity in the region of origin, it is probably better to understand U.S. Hispanics as representing a cultural group. If they are called a “race”, they would be a non-biological sociological one. More generally, it is probably best to understand U.S. sociological races (and ethnic groups) as overlapping with -- to some degree or another – not constituting biological races."

13. Peter: “For example, an ethnic Hui individual might have a ratio of one South Asian to 511 Han ancestors. In pedigree, as in genotype, this Hui individual would be more related to Han than to South Asians.” (p. 54)

Again, you see genealogy as the only source of similarity or difference. The Hui may also have become different through a different set of selection pressures (because of their social position and submission to Islamic law."

Chuck: Nope. I explained this. Individual are arrange into races by pedigree alone. They must be because they do not have natural histories. Races, though, as populations, are differentiated on the basis of descent with modification (natural selection). However, following Darwin, the modification taken into account is the substantative type -- it has to be, essentially, correlated with whole genomic changes. I am sorry if you don't like this -- but this is what has been said to be.

14. Peter: ""The authors concluded that the rejection of the concept (as understood by the experts in question) “varies from high to low with highest rejection of race occurring amongst physical anthropologists in the United States, other English speaking nations (mostly Canada), and Poland..."

Chuck: Polish physical anthropologists versus Polish all anthropologists.
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#93
(2015-Mar-21, 17:51:14)Chuck Wrote:
(2015-Mar-20, 15:45:47)Meng Hu Wrote: I'm extremely bothered, annoyed. Again, what's the use of this thread ? Think about how the journal will refer to the review thread. Usually, it's something like :


You asked me to post the full paper. I did.


I uploaded a new version (doc file and PDF.
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#94
Chuck,

Most of my criticisms are simply suggestions. Beyond a certain point, writers should be allowed to find their own voice and develop their own viewpoint. If I criticize you too much, and if you accept my criticisms, you will become an imitation of myself, and we will all be that much the poorer. So there will always be some disagreement between the two of us.

A. "Shades of Gobineau" - I don't like your correction to "Sociobiological Speculations." Very few of the people you mention (including myself) refer to themselves as sociobiologists. Sociobiology is one of four currents of thought where academics study human behavior from a Darwinian perspective:
- ethology (late 19th century to present)
- sociobiology (late 1970s to early 1990s)
- evolutionary psychology (early 1990s to present)
- human biodiversity (late 1990s to present, although one might include the short-lived interest in gene-culture co-evolution of the 1980s)

Human biodiversity is the only one of the four that accepts the existence of mental and behavioral differences among human populations (although most of these differences would be weakly statistical). The other three generally assume that human nature acquired its current characteristics during the Pleistocene on the African savannah. Since then, there has only been "fine-tuning" that may or may not be observable between human populations. There has been some disagreement with that position by some academics in the first three currents of thought, but those academics are outliers.

As for the second word, "Speculations", please be a bit more charitable . A speculation is not even a half-baked idea. It's just an idea and is often not meant to be taken seriously.

B. It would be nice to include a quote from the young Franz Boas, given his iconic status in anthropology.

C. There are plenty of nutty antiracists, but the average antiracist isn't nutty. Well, alright, the average antiracist is a dumb conformist. There are, however, thoughtful antiracists, and they are the ones who are most susceptible to being won over. Stephen J. Gould pointed out that racial variation is absent in many non-human species, and for the same presumed reason: there has not been enough time for significant intra-species variation to develop, especially in complex behavioral traits.

"I contend that the continued racial classification of Homo sapiens represents an outmoded approach to the general problem of differentiation within a species. In other words, I reject a racial classification of humans for the same reasons that I prefer not to divide into subspecies the prodigiously variable West Indian land snails that form the subject of my own research." "Why We Should Not Name Human Races—A Biological View", p. 231

D. I think you should write a preface where you explain why you are writing this book and to whom it is addressed.

E. "Modification on the higher category levels is strongly related to overall DNA similarity." No I can't agree. Look at a map of genome similarity for all forms of life, like this one:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co...ee.svg.png

You'll see that most of the genetic variation is among different forms of bacteria. The genetic differences among all animals, plants, and fungi are confined to the top right corner. Yet that is where we see the most diversity in functional characteristics.

F. "one wonders if the authors themselves know." - you're being catty.

G. The term "inbred" is derogatory? Perhaps in some contexts, but it's often used in biology and anthropology.

H. I'm aware of the Tang et al. study, but it refers only to Mexican Americans. The term "Hispanic" is used to cover any person of Latin American origin in the U.S., including Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, etc. It's really a politically motivated term and has little value in this kind of discussion.

I. "Individual are arrange into races by pedigree alone" - I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Overall similarity is a result of interaction between common descent and common selection pressures. Conversely, overall difference is a result of interaction between differences in descent and differences in selection pressure.

J. Are you saying that Polish physical anthropologists have become similar to American physical anthropologists in rejection of the race concept? Or are they poles apart? I'm not sure when I read that sentence.
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#95
Peter: "A. "Shades of Gobineau" - I don't like your correction to "Sociobiological Speculations."

Chuck: What would you suggest?

Peter: "It would be nice to include a quote from the young Franz Boas, given his iconic status in anthropology."

Chuck: I will try to fit something in. It would find a place in the section prior, since the early Boas's modus ponens was Lewontin's modus tollens:

Magnitude of overall phenotype/genetic differences ~ probability of behavioral differences.

Peter: "Stephen J. Gould pointed out that racial variation is absent in many non-human species, and for the same presumed reason: there has not been enough time for significant intra-species variation to develop, especially in complex behavioral traits."

Chuck: Could you point me to species without races? Recall that I distinguish between races and taxonomic category subspecies (i.e., formally recognized races). If's hard for me to believe that many species lack e.g., microgeographic races. In your quote, Gould said:

"I reject a racial classification of humans for the same reasons that I prefer not to divide into subspecies the prodigiously variable West Indian land snails that form the subject of my own research."

I call that an equivocation. For the explanation why, reread sections I-G, II-A, IV-B/H, and V-B.

Peter: "I think you should write a preface where you explain why you are writing this book and to whom it is addressed."

Chuck: If I go to publish it as a book I will.

Peter: "Modification on the higher category levels is strongly related to overall DNA similarity." No I can't agree. Look at a map of genome similarity for all forms of life, like this one:

Chuck: This is the only substantive disagreement. Unfortunately it's a big one. One could classify based on overall phenotype (Pheneticism) overall genotype (which is what Mayr seemed to imply Evolutionary taxonomy does) or descent alone (which is what cladists do). If you are right, these classification produce substantively discordant results. And one must choose between them or some mix of them. My solution for this paper was to define race as a "genetic" concept -- after all it was originally a genealogical concept which become genotypic in the mid 1900s -- and it was never principally a phenotypic concept -- to note the conflicting understandings of genetic (genealogy, genotype), and to not commit myself to one or the other interpretation. Thus I included an obscure section called:

II-G. Genotype-Genealogical Complications

"....Since we are advancing a general race concept, we will not decide which is the better method of delineating "overall" genetic similarity in the case of genotypic and genealogical discordance. We would suggest going with genotype. If two horses begat, in the natural way, a genotypic and phenotypic human, most people would probably classify the genealogical horse-genotypic human as a human. That is, we imagine that most people would classify by genotypic-phenotypic similarity, and not pedigree, in case of gross discordance. So, when it comes to racial groups, doing the same would not seem to us to be unreasonable."

I purposely omitted the issue of genotypic phenotypic discordance. But this is what you are trying to tease out. Ya, I get the problem. I just don't want to go there. Maybe you could write a critique or something and articulate the race concept differently.

Peter: "I'm aware of the Tang et al. study, but it refers only to Mexican Americans. The term "Hispanic" is used to cover any person of Latin American origin in the U.S., including Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, etc. It's really a politically motivated term and has little value in this kind of discussion."

In the rewrite I did say:

"As the authors noted, though, the Hispanic group in their sample was based on a Mexican-American one. When using a more diverse Hispanic sample, another research group (Lao et al., 2010) found that the Hispanic ethnic groups did not form a discrete cluster but rather overlapped with the other groups (in this case, Europeans, East Asians, and Africans). This is not unexpected since, across Latin America, there is substantial heterogeneity in historic continental-level racial admixture. Given the genomic heterogeneity in their region of origin, it is probably better to understand U.S. Hispanics as representing a cultural group. If they are called a “race”, they would be a non-biological, sociological one. More generally, it is probably best to understand U.S. sociological races (and ethnic groups) as overlapping with -- to some degree or another – not constituting biological races."

Peter: "Are you saying that Polish physical anthropologists have become similar to American physical anthropologists in rejection of the race concept? Or are they poles apart? I'm not sure when I read that sentence."

Paper -- just control F search for the passage. Page 917, discussion.

Anyways, thanks for the helpful comments.
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#96
Chuck,

1. I would suggest the title: "Small differences ... and large cumulative effects"

2. "I call that an equivocation." Chuck, what matters is whether any antiracists would call that an equivocation. (They're the people you're trying to convince). I doubt any would.

This is why I feel uncomfortable with your legalistic approach. Perhaps Gould was trying to leave open an escape hatch in the event he would be confronted on that point. But he never was. Today, most people see Gould as a reasonable scientist who drew on his expertise in comparative biology to show the absurdity of the race concept. They will say, a la Gould, that human races don't exist for the same reason that snail races don't exist.

I agree that many antiracists are incoherent twits, but there is a mainstream tradition of antiracism that is not so incoherent.
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#97
(2015-Mar-25, 03:05:50)Peter Frost Wrote: This is why I feel uncomfortable with your legalistic approach.


As for legalism, you can compare it to: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot...s-Mayr.pdf
I would call both "systematic", not "legalistic".

But I see what you are saying.
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#98
John,

Can you say whether you want me to merge all the threads into this one? The action cannot easily be undone.
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#99
Posted a new update.
 Reply
Thanks, Emil.

Yes, could you condense the threads?
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