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[OBG] Nature of Race (merged)

#26
(2015-Jan-12, 06:47:22)Peter Frost Wrote: I see a recurring tendency in your text. You tend to "project" on to the past. You make past ideas seem more familiar, more sensible, and more modern than they really are.


This strikes me as being a serious charge. Let's distinguish between four possibilities:

(a) I am making factually incorrect statements and thus directly misleading.
(b) I am not acknowledging historic incoherencies regarding the race concept; I am simply eliding over issues.
© While noting incoherence, I am doing so too passingly.
(d) I am noting incoherence but focusing on the coherence.

In typical discussions of race (a-c) are common; I cited copious examples of this. The historiography is generally awful. I acknowledge engaging in (d); this makes sense because the point of my paper is to tease out the meaning of race and show the concept's coherence, past and present. Regarding (a), so far we have discovered only one minor case, concerning the Roman view. You have since raised another issue:

Quote:but I have serious problems with the following statement:

[quote]"In short, the existence of different peoples with different sets of inter-generationally transmitted traits has long been recognized and discussed.

In antiquity, scholars and common folk alike were aware of two things:

1. nations are groups of closely related people, i.e., extended families writ large
2. different nations tend to look different from each other, often very different.

But they didn't make a link between the two. As they saw it, it wasn't because of different ancestry that the Ethiopians looked more different than, say, the Greeks or the Gauls. The Ethiopians looked so different because they had been burned by the sun or because they had committed a terrible sin (the Curse of Ham).

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

That said, I maintain that there was (some) recognition of the inter-generational (and heritable) transference of ethnic character in Greco Roman times -- though not enough to make the race concept uninteresting/redundant. Before I proceed, let me distinguish between four possibilities:

1. Ethnic character differences were solely directly due to local environment, thus Africans born in Europe would not be black.
2. Ethnic character differences were directly due to local environment and cultural practices, thus Africans born in Europe could be black by retaining their cultural e.g., dietary habits.
3. Ethnic character differences were directly due to epigenetic-like inheritance, resulting from the historic effects of local environment and cultural practices.
4. Ethnic character differences were directly due to genetic-like inheritance, resulting from differential selection.

By possibilities 2 to 4, characters are "inter-generationally" transferred. By possibilities 3 and 4 they are heritable in the non anachronistic sense, where this just means genealogically passed on. By my reading, in Ancient Greece and Rome and Medieval Europe the view was a mix of 1 to 3, often with an emphasis on 1/2. You can see 3 (or maybe even 4 given Henry's (2011) interpretation), at times, for example in Aristotle. Thus, Henry (2006) notes:

"Second, formal pangenesis (like material pangenesis) will not be able to account for the phenomenon of atavism, which Aristotle thinks any adequate theory of inheritance must explain. This is the most significant for my purposes here. Take the case of the woman from Elis, which Aristotle uses in Book 1 to undermine pangenesis. The woman from Elis, who was pale skinned, had a daughter with a man from Ethiopia, who was dark skinned. Their daughter (call her Hypatia) was pale skinned, but her son was dark skinned. (The assumption here is that Hypatia’s husband was also pale skinned.) Aristotle’s theory explains this by pointing to a in Hypatia’s seed derived from a corresponding in herself (in accordance with 767b35–768a2). Obviously the which is the source of the dark-skinned does not refer to an actual characteristic of Hypatia’s body, since Hypatia does not have dark skin. (Aristotle on the Mechanism of Inheritance)

And as you noted, Greco-Roman views were often, to use your term, Lamarckian (or epigenetic):

"Many authors combine environmental determinism with a belief in the inheritance of acquired characteristics. When applied to human groups, this leads somewhat paradoxically to an assumption that characteristics acquired through outside influences then somehow are passed on to the next generation and become uniform and constant. One example must suffice, taken from Livy's account of a speech made by the commander Cn. Manlius before his troops in 189 BC. The troops were about to give battle to mixed forces of a people descended from Celts who had moved from Europe to Asia Minor. The commander tells his troops (Livy 38.17.9-10): 'These [Celtic units] are now degenerate, of mixed stock and really Gallogrecians, as they are called; just as in the case of crops and animals, the seeds are not as good in preserving their natural quality as the character of the soil and the climate in which they grow have the power to change it' (Florus 1.27.3-4.). Climate and geography have definite effects on all people being born in a given region. These effects then become permanent traits because they become hereditary in one or two generations. (Proto-racism in Graeco-Roman antiquity)"

If in fact so, I don't see how I am going astray in saying: "existence of different peoples with different sets of inter-generationally transmitted traits has long been recognized". Or are you arguing that (1) was the dominant view?

You say: "But they didn't make a link between the two. As they saw it, it wasn't because of different ancestry that the Ethiopians looked more different than, say, the Greeks or the Gauls."

But then how are they, as you have said, "Lamarckian" and what explains why Aristotle and others discussed the inheritance (in some sense) of ethnic traits? I suspect that you are tacitly defining "because of different ancestry" to mean (4). and then implying that I am being anachronistic for using "genealogical"/inter-generational in a non-anachronistic inclusive sense of "passed on along genealogical lines". Or maybe you think that I am just not being clear enough. Or maybe you think that the transition from epigenetic to genetic inheritance is so significant that I should emphasize the disconnect, instead of merely noting it in passing? I don't because my focus is on race as lineage not on the etiology of racial/group/ethnic character differences. Of course, since races were delineated by character differences, for a proper racial or lineage based division these differences need to somehow track lineage -- but for this an epigenetic account works sufficiently.

Let me summarize: (a) I don't think that I said anything factually incorrect, except perhaps what I have since corrected. Regarding (b), I passingly mentioned the issue of inconsistency and epigenetics at least with regards to some concepts. And I juxtaposed the race concept with a concept in which character differences were environmental/cultural, so it can't be said that I didn't mention that issue. But maybe I didn't © emphasize enough the genetic/epigenetic difference -- or the ancient race unlike (in the sense of non-inherited characters) positions?

You continue:

Quote:The same ignorance existed in Christian tradition. Yes, Noah had three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth, whose descendants became all of humanity, but early Christians did not use this genealogy to explain physical differences, and when confronted with human differences they preferred to fall back on the direct action of climate or divine intervention (the Curse of Ham). One reason was that the creation of the world was believed to have been relatively recent, so small generational differences could not have possibly produced the large differences seen between many human peoples. This was not simply a problem with the ancients.

By "did not use this genealogy to explain physical differences" do you mean that they did not hold epigenetic views (3 above)? Could you provide a source? How would the curse of Ham worked if traits were not genealogically passed on? Or did each generation get cursed anew?

Since I am arguing that the "race concept" was incorporated into natural history to explain the apparent "genealogical related transference of physical differences", I would hope that some thought otherwise, that is that some adopted position 1 or 2.
Otherwise I am left in need of explaining why the race concept was needed. As it is, I don't understand where the variety as purely environmental (non-epigenetic) deviations came from, since in Aristotle (the father of biology) and other Grecian thinkers, one finds an understanding of inheritance of ethnic characters. I had myself presumed that there was Medieval+ christian influence (and that the inheritance idea must not have been very popular among the ancients ) -- but I was unable to find a source, so I elided over the issue. Thus, if you have one that would be great.

Quote:I don't want to pester you with endless criticism

If you had time I wouldn't mind. It would help if you could note what specific content would be helpful and in which section. I am 90% sure that we don't [edit] disagree on anything substantive and that the problem (for you) is my emphasis and incomplete presentation.
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Messages In This Thread
[OBG] Nature of Race part 1 - by Chuck - 2014-Dec-25, 21:33:36
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race (merged) - by Emil - 2015-Mar-29, 00:01:36
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race (merged) - by Meng Hu - 2015-Apr-03, 02:51:52
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race (merged) - by Emil - 2015-Apr-03, 21:50:35
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race (merged) - by Chuck - 2015-Apr-08, 13:23:31
[OBG] Nature of Race part 2 - by Chuck - 2014-Dec-27, 02:48:10
[OBG] Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2014-Dec-30, 23:58:10
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Peter Frost - 2014-Dec-31, 18:11:25
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-01, 00:20:51
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-01, 15:37:35
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-01, 23:36:17
RE: Nature of Race part 2 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-04, 07:01:40
RE: Nature of Race part 1 - by Emil - 2015-Jan-04, 07:27:12
RE: Nature of Race part 1 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Jan-05, 18:57:40
RE: Nature of Race part 1 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-08, 00:15:45
RE: Nature of Race part 1 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Jan-09, 01:16:53
[OBG] Nature of Race, part 3 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-09, 23:33:46
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-11, 04:16:31
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-11, 05:19:49
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-11, 05:51:03
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-11, 18:15:29
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-11, 18:39:54
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-11, 21:13:22
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-11, 23:47:15
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-12, 00:17:13
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Emil - 2015-Jan-12, 03:56:59
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-12, 06:47:22
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Emil - 2015-Jan-12, 18:31:23
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Duxide - 2015-Jan-12, 18:44:54
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-12, 21:51:03
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-12, 22:08:59
[OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-14, 04:25:25
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Duxide - 2015-Jan-14, 10:35:21
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-16, 21:34:48
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-17, 21:50:13
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-18, 02:46:31
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Jan-18, 04:59:02
RE: Nature of Race part 2 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Jan-18, 06:00:51
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-19, 03:19:58
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-19, 21:02:17
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-20, 18:45:25
RE: Nature of Race part 2 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-21, 02:21:31
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-21, 02:59:27
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-21, 03:00:44
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Duxide - 2015-Jan-21, 11:00:51
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-22, 00:06:32
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Jan-22, 03:26:56
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-22, 06:12:47
Some comments - by Emil - 2015-Jan-23, 21:01:32
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Jan-24, 02:03:48
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-24, 06:57:50
Comments on version 3 - by Emil - 2015-Jan-24, 07:34:24
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Jan-25, 05:19:51
RE: Nature of Race part 1 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-25, 07:14:06
RE: Nature of Race part 2 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-26, 02:29:36
RE: Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-26, 06:12:38
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Jan-28, 04:42:41
RE: Nature of Race, part 3 - by Chuck - 2015-Jan-30, 04:47:18
RE: Nature of Race part 1 - by Dalliard - 2015-Feb-04, 16:44:13
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 1 - by Chuck - 2015-Feb-12, 01:16:14
[OBG] Nature of Race part 6 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-05, 22:39:52
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 6 - by Emil - 2015-Mar-06, 01:33:45
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 6 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-06, 01:36:16
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 6 - by Emil - 2015-Mar-06, 04:23:24
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 6 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-06, 22:05:46
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 6 - by Emil - 2015-Mar-06, 23:43:06
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 6 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-06, 23:59:47
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 4 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Mar-07, 00:16:16
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 6 - by Emil - 2015-Mar-07, 03:00:17
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-07, 22:28:41
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 4 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Mar-08, 03:25:20
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 4 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-08, 05:51:23
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Emil - 2015-Mar-09, 03:27:19
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-09, 05:09:23
Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-13, 23:03:56
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 1 - by Peter Frost - 2015-Mar-13, 23:06:45
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 1 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-13, 23:12:43
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Mar-16, 04:19:57
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-17, 00:07:49
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-17, 02:01:50
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by B.B. - 2015-Mar-19, 14:00:41
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-19, 17:21:11
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Emil - 2015-Mar-19, 19:19:17
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-19, 19:27:20
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Peter Frost - 2015-Mar-20, 05:18:27
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by B.B. - 2015-Mar-20, 13:13:56
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Mar-20, 14:31:07
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Meng Hu - 2015-Mar-20, 15:45:47
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Mar-20, 19:21:44
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Emil - 2015-Mar-20, 20:49:14
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Emil - 2015-Mar-20, 21:26:44
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-21, 17:51:14
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Peter Frost - 2015-Mar-21, 20:50:39
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-21, 21:49:27
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Peter Frost - 2015-Mar-21, 22:32:28
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-23, 02:14:31
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-24, 00:11:29
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Peter Frost - 2015-Mar-24, 22:31:05
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-25, 01:03:09
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Peter Frost - 2015-Mar-25, 03:05:50
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-25, 03:20:05
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Emil - 2015-Mar-25, 16:20:10
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-27, 22:49:39
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Chuck - 2015-Mar-27, 22:55:52
RE: [OBG] Nature of Race part 5 - by Meng Hu - 2015-Mar-28, 20:28:56
RE: Nature of Race Full Version - by Meng Hu - 2015-Mar-28, 21:00:38
 
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