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Is subspecies a vaild concept?


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The crux with subspecies (which also applies to a certain degree to much of the species concept) is whether a given classification is useful. Due to the continuous nature of genetic variation these classifications are artificial to various degrees. However, they afford us with a tool to perform certain analyses, e.g. testing whether certain geographic features may lead to formation of specialized or isolated sub-groups.

And of course it can be done with human populations as well. The important thing to remember is that the groups that form will depend on the features you select. Or, in case of whole-genome data you will usually see groups following geographic patterns. However the concept has been abused for so much that one has to carefully frame the research as folks will inevitably put stuff in there that is not in the data. 

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Nope. The difference is between scientific communications. which acknowledges the contexts and definitions and how it is presented to the broader public, who lack that context. And of course there are also certain scientists that oversell aspects for various reasons. 

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42 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Nope. The difference is between scientific communications. which acknowledges the contexts and definitions and how it is presented to the broader public, who lack that context. And of course there are also certain scientists that oversell aspects for various reasons. 

Isn't your subjective social "context" the whole problem here? You're worried that describing reality (science) will make people be mean to blacks (politics). That's exactly a moralistic fallacy. And that's without even going into whether your preferred "equality" position screws whites.

Edited by The Operator
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18 minutes ago, The Operator said:

Isn't your subjective social "context" the whole problem here? You're worried that describing reality (science) will make people be mean to blacks (politics). That's exactly a moralistic fallacy. And that's without even going into whether your preferred "equality" position screws whites.

No, quite the contrary. The larger issue is that strong, large narratives have been around for a long time which have been based on feeble facts or selective reading of data and literature. As scientists, we strive to follow data and not put our larger social interpretation on it. The latter does not always work and there is quit a re-thinking on how we use group identity in building cohorts, for example. In medical sciences, for example often black, Asian and Caucasian are used as distinct groups. However, while this is a social grouping, it does not necessarily follow genetics. African Americans, for example often have admixture with European groups whereas recent immigrants from certain parts of Africa have much less. Likewise South-East Asians or even Asians from different immigration waves face quite different socioeconomic histories which do (perhaps surprisingly) impact health studies. The human desire to form convenient groups is working against us in these cases. For example, averaging income and health in these groups, Asians often come up on top. However, this ignores subgroups within the Asian communities that are almost as bad off as indigeneous populations (which usually, again for historic reasons) have specific health challenges. Even folks who try to make evidence-policies are often unaware of these issues and thereby enacting strategies leading to adverse outcomes.

And this is why as scientist we need to be aware why we create certain groups, on what measures they are based and to what extent we can learn from this particular type of grouping and associated studies. The reason is that as scientist we do not want our own perceptions make us blind to facts, but we are only human after all. Also, when communicating to a broader audience, we have to be cognizant to the fact that certain unsavory types will pick and choose from what we say in order to further their own agenda.

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1 hour ago, CharonY said:

No, quite the contrary. The larger issue is that strong, large narratives have been around for a long time which have been based on feeble facts or selective reading of data and literature. As scientists, we strive to follow data and not put our larger social interpretation on it. The latter does not always work and there is quit a re-thinking on how we use group identity in building cohorts, for example. In medical sciences, for example often black, Asian and Caucasian are used as distinct groups. However, while this is a social grouping, it does not necessarily follow genetics. African Americans, for example often have admixture with European groups whereas recent immigrants from certain parts of Africa have much less. Likewise South-East Asians or even Asians from different immigration waves face quite different socioeconomic histories which do (perhaps surprisingly) impact health studies. The human desire to form convenient groups is working against us in these cases. For example, averaging income and health in these groups, Asians often come up on top. However, this ignores subgroups within the Asian communities that are almost as bad off as indigeneous populations (which usually, again for historic reasons) have specific health challenges. Even folks who try to make evidence-policies are often unaware of these issues and thereby enacting strategies leading to adverse outcomes.

And this is why as scientist we need to be aware why we create certain groups, on what measures they are based and to what extent we can learn from this particular type of grouping and associated studies. The reason is that as scientist we do not want our own perceptions make us blind to facts, but we are only human after all. Also, when communicating to a broader audience, we have to be cognizant to the fact that certain unsavory types will pick and choose from what we say in order to further their own agenda.

Nobody thinks race groups are homogeneous. This is just a strawman argument. Members of races overlap on traits, everybody knows that. You have to resort to this ridiculous strawman? And look how I compare salamander DNA with human DNA, irrefutable right? But you're concerned about Asian income levels. Ridiculous. You're just a fake science goon. I'll see myself out.

Edited by The Operator
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16 hours ago, The Operator said:

Isn't your subjective social "context" the whole problem here? You're worried that describing reality (science) will make people be mean to blacks (politics). That's exactly a moralistic fallacy. And that's without even going into whether your preferred "equality" position screws whites.

!

Moderator Note

This would be off-topic in any science discussion. Don't go off on any similar tangents in any other discussions on similar topics. 

 
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