Hello There, Guest!  

[OBG] Nature of Race (merged)

#32
(2015-Jan-17, 21:50:13)Peter Frost Wrote: I'm sorry but I profoundly disagree.

As late as the early 19th century, there was a strong belief in catastrophism and saltationism. (a) Species came into being through divine intervention, and this thinking persisted even among those who had abandoned the idea that the world had been created in six days. (b) A major stumbling block was the belief that the earth is very young, only a few thousand years old. Small incremental changes from one generation to the next could not possibly explain the diversity among living things. Small incremental changes could explain only divergence from an ideal type. Since we are all descended from Noah (all other humans having perished during the Flood), the human ideal is that of people close to Mount Ararat. © For various reasons, people farther away have diverged from that ideal type. Some of this divergence may have happened incrementally, but much of it happened through saltationism, through the direct action of the environment or through sinful acts. You don't seem to appreciate the extent to which scholars were constrained by Christian doctrine. "Constraint" isn't necessarily the right word, since they saw Natural History as a vindication of the biblical account.


There seems to be some confusion here, owing to my phrasing and lack of elaboration. Two separate issues are being discussed: (1) How people generally thought about population differences; (2) how race was conceptualized by Buffon, Kant, and Blumenbach. I rewrote the section as:

Quote:"Prior to the development of the concept or race -- in the sense of lineages of a species which had acquired, over the course of generations, patterns of character differences such to allow for a genealogical based division – there had long been three strands of related thinking, involving: the recognition of regional phenotypic differences, the recognition of the inheritance of character differences, and a genealogical understanding of nations. First, regional morphological differences were recognized and used, at times, to classify populations. As noted by Sarich and Miele (2004), crude race-like classifications were depicted in Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Chinese, and Islamic art and literature. Egyptians, for example, divided humans into four color groups: Egyptian, Negro, White Libyan, and Asiatic (Middle Easterners). Chinese historians differentiated between barbarians of the Caucasian and Mongoloid type. Islamic writers distinguished between black sub-Saharan Africans and white North Africans and medieval Islamic scholars distinguished white slaves from black slaves. In Moretum, the Roman poet Virgil characterized the sub-Saharan African phenotype (dark skin, tightly curled hair, puffy lips, broad shoulders) little different from how modern anthropologists have. Generally, regional phenotypic differences had long been noticed. Second, a number of classical Greco-Roman writers deduced that regional characters where inherited. Thus, for example, Aristotle used the case of an Ethiopian’s color to illustrate a principle related to biological inheritance (see the relevant discussion in: Henry (2006)). While differences were often attributed to the direct effects of the environment or to cultural practices, not a few classical writers held, basically, epigenetic views, according to which environmental factors left imprints on genealogical lines (Issac, 2006) [note1] or other views according to which character differences, once acquired by a people, were inherited. Third, nations of people were often understood genealogically. For example, in the Christian literature, national peoples were categorized genealogically in terms of descendants of Noah’s sons, who were referred to as the races of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

During the Age of Discovery, when exploring distant lands, Europeans encountered various peoples who exhibited conspicuous phenotypic differences. The dogma at the time was that all of these many peoples along with Europeans descended from the biblical Adam and Eve several thousand years prior. Some prominent thinkers conjectured that these different peoples represented different species of man, where species were understood to be distinct creations. This position was condemned by the spiritual authorities as heretical, but, it did not disappear, as it had a face plausibility: inconstancy evidenced differences between varieties, constancy between species – differences between human groups were more or less constant; species did not share a common phylogenetic origin; as humans were created a mere few thousand years prior, it was implausible that all of the many groups, in that time, spread, from one common source, across the globe and acquired their many conspicuous differences – humans, then, seemingly did not share a common phylogenetic origin. Either way, regional populations seemingly were different species of mankind.

Some opponents of this polygenist view (e.g., Buffon, Blumenbach, and Kant) counter-argued that these different peoples, instead, represented different lineages of the same species which, sometime over the last several thousand years developed or acquired differences that became, somehow, more or less, rooted in their lineages: races, in the sense of subspecies . As these early race thinkers were species realists, they saw their races as intraspecifc lineages which had acquired or developed, over time, degenerations or deviations from a primitive species type; these deviations were conceptualized as either being adaptive (Kant) or as being a sort of pathology which had become second nature (Blumenbach) (Doron, 2011). Was this concept new and invented? The prerequisite ideas had been thought of prior and could be found in the common literature. But before the mid to late 1700s, no concept which unified them occupied a space in Natural History. Thus to the extent something like race (e.g., breed in context to farming) was thought, it was not so as a modern scientific idea, one which purported to describe an aspect of the natural world. [Edit -- Added 9:20 1/172015:] Moreover, prior to the introduction and later popularization of this concept, in the field of natural history intraspecific variation was understood in non-genealogical terms and was primarily attributed to the direct effects of the environment.

This concept, as thought by Buffon, Blumenbach, Kant and others, still had to evolve some before it became akin to what we now think of. This was only possible after Darwin inaugurated an intellectual revolution which led to a re-understanding of the nature of species, which races as subspecies, were, in part, conceptualized in contrast to. Following this paradigm shift, individual species were no longer understood as being Creator made entities; rather they were seen as the product of descent with adaptive modification from a common stock. In turn, races, or constant varieties, were understood as being incipient species, the lineages that could evolve into species ones. These constant varieties were no longer the degenerations and deviations from an essential species type; rather they were modifications of one species potentially on the way to becoming another. Both species and races were, then, understood as being a part of the same network of filiation.

And with the discovery of DNA, the molecular form of genes, genealogy was re-understood genotypically. Races and species have begun to be understood likewise.

Notes:

1. Isaac (2006) notes: “In summary, the heredity of acquired characters is a concept generally accepted in Greece and Rome and explicitly formulated by several authors. It is found in several Hippocratic treatises, Aristotle, Strabo, Pliny, and others and implicitly in many more authors.”
2. As noted in the sections above, Buffon, Kant, and Blumenbach primarily developed the concept of intraspecific lineage based divisions (basically, subspecies -- though not in the contemporary taxonomic category sense, which refers to formally recognized groups) and used the term “race” to reference this. But the term had been used in a more generalized manner, and increasingly was so after it was popularized, such that it referenced lineages of both the specific and/or intraspecific kind. Thus, polygenists used the term interchangeably with that of “species”. In the 20th century, race gained a commonly accepted exclusively intraspecific denotation, bringing the present meaning in line with that of Buffon, Kant, and Blumenbach."

As for your comments, again I don't see the substantive disagreement. Buffon and other monogenists were fairly clear as to how they pictured the accumulation of the deviant characters:

Quote:Varieties in the species because they became more general, more sensible and more constant through the continued action of the same causes; because they have been transmitted and are still transmitted through generations and generations as deformities and mothers and fathers’ illnesses which are passed to their children; and because, giving the fact they must have been produced originally by the concourse of external and accidental causes, they must have been reinforced and have gained constancy through the action of time and the continual influence of the same causes.

This is the only thing that they could argue, given the intellectual framework, and so this is what they did. People who did not agree maintained either that regional populations were different species or that they were different inconstant varieties -- cultural/environmental induced variations of a species that when relocated to a different environment would fairly quickly revert to the species norm. The problem for the latter idea was that differences seemed to be constant e.g., Black Africans bore black children outside of Africa. I am not aware of any 18th to 19th century natural history writer who chalked up differences to "divine intervention"; if you think that some did, perhaps you could provide some references. Also, I did not come across saltationist race (qua subspecies) concepts. Perhaps you could refer me to some -- keep in mind that I am interested in scientific/natural history conceptions, not popular notions. You note:

Quote:Let me give one example: Fleming Jenkin's criticism of Darwin's work, which even Darwin had trouble refuting:

"Suppose a white man to have been wrecked on an island inhabited by negroes.... Our shipwrecked hero would probably become king; he would kill a great many blacks in the struggle for existence; he would have a great many wives and children, while many of his subjects would live and die as bachelors.... Our white's qualities would certainly tend very much to preserve him to good old age, and yet he would not suffice in any number of generations to turn his subjects' descendants white.... In the first generation there will be some dozens of intelligent young mulattoes, much superior in average intelligence to the negroes. We might expect the throne for some generations to be occupied by a more or less yellow king; but can any one believe that the whole island will gradually acquire a white, or even a yellow population ...?

Here is a case in which a variety was introduced, with far greater advantages than any sport every heard of, advantages tending to its preservation, and yet powerless to perpetuate the new variety."

Jenkin's objection is perfectly reasonable. It seems that Darwin agreed. Jenkin's use of the term "variety" along with "sport", though, suggests that he was thinking in Linnaean variety terms, not in Buffonian constant variety = race terms.

But you say: "Before the rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's work, people had no way of conceiving the preservation of small incremental genetic changes. Any such changes would be blended away into nothingness. Change had to be substantial and repeated, apparently by divine intervention."

No, this is incorrect. The concept of race (as subspecies) was developed in hand with the concept of hereditary degeneration. In the 1700s, Races were understood, by the thinkers said to be the "inventors" of the concept, as intraspeciifc lineages along which deviations from the species type were passed. Try: Claude-Olivier Doron. Races et degenerescence. L'emergence des savoirs sur l'homme anormal. History, Philosophy and Sociology of Sciences.
 Reply
 
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
 
Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)