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Mikemikev

Is race a valid concept?

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You are either lying or fail to understand what I wrote. We can count races. There are 5 at one level, 30 at another.

 

 

As I think some have said, at some level (if we go back far enough) there is only 1. Where does the 5 come from? How does ancestry define 5 groups of humans? (Ditto for 30.)

 

SIRE seems to correspond well to genetic clusters, which match ancestry.

 

What is "SIRE"? (I did try googling quickly, but didn't see anything immediately relevant.)

 

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As I think some have said, at some level (if we go back far enough) there is only 1. Where does the 5 come from? How does ancestry define 5 groups of humans? (Ditto for 30.)

 

What is "SIRE"? (I did try googling quickly, but didn't see anything immediately relevant.)

 

Well why do vertebrates subdivide into 5? It minimizes between group variation at that point. It's because of the Sahara and the Himalayas. Then you can subdivide. The divisions minimize variation between groups. This is basic taxonomy. You can't cut a division including South Asians and South East Asians. South Asians are more similar to Europeans.

 

Self informed race and ethnicity.

Edited by Mikemikev

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Well why do vertebrates subdivide into 5? It minimizes between group variation at that point. It's because of the Sahara and the Himalayas. Then you can subdivide. The divisions minimize variation between groups. This is basic taxonomy. You can't cut a division including South Asians and South East Asians. South Asians are more similar to Europeans.

 

 

So what are these 5? (And do you have some sort of reference tot he definition?)

 

 

 

Self informed race and ethnicity.

 

Does that mean "what people declare themselves to be"?

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So what are these 5? (And do you have some sort of reference tot he definition?)

 

Does that mean "what people declare themselves to be"?

I'm going to take a break. I'll answer your trivial questions later. Meantime you could look it up. It's very basic stuff.

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I'm going to take a break. I'll answer your trivial questions later. Meantime you could look it up. It's very basic stuff.

 

 

This is discussion forum. You raised the topic, I assumed you were happy to discuss it. I don't know anything about it so I apologise if my questions seem trivial to you.

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This is discussion forum. You raised the topic, I assumed you were happy to discuss it. I don't know anything about it so I apologise if my questions seem trivial to you.

No worries. I just get bored stating what seems obvious to me. I'll be back later.

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a) definitions on species and race have moved on considerably in the last 100 years, so have to look into newer research. However, it has long been known that taxonomy below species level is at best problematic. Even at the species level it is non-trivial.

 

b) you confuse clustering approaches in which you pre-select groups, and then select features that allow the distinction between them. This is not the same as having biologically separate (taxonomic) entities.

 

c) as such, defining races can be useful in certain contexts, but remains problematic as most people, including OP have rather unspecific notions about how to delineate populations. Just to given an example, many African Americans as well as e.g. South Africans are likely to share ancestry with Europeans than certain, more isolated African populations (notably areas with little colonization). Yet in many cases all people with dark skin would be grouped into a singular race, which would not make a lot of sense. Especially as the African population as a whole displays a huge genetic variance, compared to other populations. If one wants to categorize the human population, a finer grained model would in many cases be necessary. However, especially in the context of traits that are immensely dependent on environmental factors, and are subject to wide variance in literally any group, it is typically not very useful at all.

 

Edit:

As race has become an incredibly loaded term, often weighed down history, stereotypes and also simple nonsense, many scientists have tried to utilize more precise terms when it comes to describing difference and similarity. The important bit here is that while certain classifications (say, haplogroups) can have the highest frequencies in groups, similar to the traditional races, yet may also contain significant number of members from a different race, which clearly demonstrates the large extent of genetic exchange between populations. It is usually only highly stringent in highly isolated and/or incestuous populations.

Edited by CharonY

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Race is loosley defined as 'homogeneous populations of people', that is people who share common physiological traits and a common culture. But as CharonY states, this is not a good scientific definition and needs to be handeled with care.

 

The more we learn about DNA, the human Gnome, and so the harder it becomes to really define race in a scientific way. However, it can still be a useful concept for social science. Saying there is no such thing as race does not remove racism. Nor does it remove differences across populations. So the concept, in my opinion is valid, but not for science.

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ajb, on 29 May 2016 - 11:57 PM, said:

Race is loosley defined as 'homogeneous populations of people', that is people who share common physiological traits and a common culture.

 

I'd be very careful in introducing culture to the whole mix. It is even more flexible and fluid concept than race, yet often is used in similar contexts. And that is despite the fact that cultural norms can change massively in short time scales, and transcending population boundaries.

Edited by CharonY

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What about "mixed race" people? I'm sure that eventually all of our distant descendants will be mixed race to some degree. What then?

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Why in the future? If you look at the US, many African Americans have a proportion of European ancestors, Hispanic Americans especially have very mixed ancestries and so on.

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Of course, but there are people around today who are obsessive about "racial purity" and such nonsense. One such case that springs to mind is a white supremacist who found out he was 14% sub-Saharan African. That was great.

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Yes, and there are not that many groups around that are "pure", which is generally good news as high levels of inbreeding usually increases risks of genetic defects. A small thing that they often forget. Also, partner selection to some degree also appears to favour different immunogroups in humans.

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What about "mixed race" people?

Or, as they are more widely known, "people".

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I'd be very careful in introducing culture to the whole mix.

Indeed, the whole thing is complicated enough. I agree.

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Here is a link that I provided in that other (locked) thread that gives quite an informative overview of the subject under discussion: Do Races Exist? Contemporary Philosophical Debates. Although it refers to philosophical debates, it deals with most of the established criteria that could possible be used for defining "races".

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As with most broad scientific questions, the answer is yes, and no.



1) Yes, distinct human populations exist, and in some cases are useful e.g. Scandinavian populations are ~90% lactose tolerant, East Asian populations ~10%


2) However differences in human populations are generally clinal, and gradients of genetic diversity exist between each genetic cluster of human populations, making the separation into discrete "races" problematic in many instances.


3) Significant, long term gene flow between populations is evident in genome comparisons of human populations. There is no such thing as "racial purity" in a genetic sense.


4) Genetic clusters of humans do not correspond well to ethnically defined "races". E.g. Most human genetic diversity is within African populations ethnically defined as "black", Mediterranean Arabic communities are genetically closer to Europeans than Middle Eastern Arabic populations, etc.


Edited by Arete

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Wouldn't a reasonable dividing line be the ability to procreate?


I realise that line would be nebulous.


I've no idea what point you are trying to make.

 

 

 

Understanding is a valuable tool... ;)

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I wonder if anyone has an opinion on this question:

"Does race matter?".

 

If there are no circumstances where it matters what race someone is, then it's difficult to see the term as having any practical meaning.

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If there are no circumstances where it matters what race someone is, then it's difficult to see the term as having any practical meaning.

 

 

There are some ethnically associated genetic disorders (e.g. sickle cell anemia, Tay Sachs disease, etc.) and some ethnically specific drug metabolic responses that can be quite dramatic, even fatal.

 

So there is a case for determining a patient's genetic population history in a medical context.

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To be fair though, in the long run it would make more sense to directly test for genetic markers, rather than using ethnicity as a proxy (assuming they are known, of course).

Edited by CharonY

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a) definitions on species and race have moved on considerably in the last 100 years, so have to look into newer research. However, it has long been known that taxonomy below species level is at best problematic. Even at the species level it is non-trivial.

I posted Darwin's and Mayr's definitions. They are both quite simple. Which definitions are you thinking of?

 

b) you confuse clustering approaches in which you pre-select groups, and then select features that allow the distinction between them. This is not the same as having biologically separate (taxonomic) entities.

No, I don't. How does assigning race by shared ancestry or genomic similarity pre select groups? The groups fall out due to natural similarities. Nothing socially constructed about it.

 

c) as such, defining races can be useful in certain contexts, but remains problematic as most people, including OP have rather unspecific notions about how to delineate populations.

Unspecific? My definition is absolutely specific. It appears you make these accusations based on nothing.

 

Just to given an example, many African Americans as well as e.g. South Africans are likely to share ancestry with Europeans than certain, more isolated African populations (notably areas with little colonization). Yet in many cases all people with dark skin would be grouped into a singular race, which would not make a lot of sense. Especially as the African population as a whole displays a huge genetic variance, compared to other populations. If one wants to categorize the human population, a finer grained model would in many cases be necessary. However, especially in the context of traits that are immensely dependent on environmental factors, and are subject to wide variance in literally any group, it is typically not very useful at all.

Yes, I know there are hybrid races. How does this make my definition unspecific? Mixed individuals will cluster with major races or separately depending on the level of analysis. Eg Ethiopians, Hazara or Uyghurs. Race can be as fine grained as you want. African diversity is a myth and after Africans , Caucasoids split next when clustering. None of my definitions reference "skin color". I agree though, that genetic similarity taxonomies are not informative for non genetic traits. Is that meant to be surprising to someone?

 

Edit:

As race has become an incredibly loaded term, often weighed down history, stereotypes and also simple nonsense, many scientists have tried to utilize more precise terms when it comes to describing difference and similarity. The important bit here is that while certain classifications (say, haplogroups) can have the highest frequencies in groups, similar to the traditional races, yet may also contain significant number of members from a different race, which clearly demonstrates the large extent of genetic exchange between populations. It is usually only highly stringent in highly isolated and/or incestuous populations.

What more precise terms? Haplotypes aren't more precise. They are just something else. Contrast the predictivity of race with haplotype. Race is more predictive. You mean easier to measure.

 

You want to throw out a concept because of negative associations? Hey, let's pretend uranium doesn't exist.

 

 

 

 

So what are these 5? (And do you have some sort of reference tot he definition?)

 

 

Does that mean "what people declare themselves to be"?

Africans and non-Africans split first, followed by Caucasoids, then I'm not sure whether Australoids or Native Americans split from East Asians first. So threre isn't a fixed number. It depends on the grain of analysis. You can split off the Japanese or whatever. So long as your groups are more similar to each other versus other groups. Even siblings can be a race.

 

And, yes.

Edited by Mikemikev

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Africans and non-Africans split first, followed by Caucasoids, then I'm not sure whether Australoids or Native Americans split from East Asians first. So threre isn't a fixed number. It depends on the grain of analysis. You can split off the Japanese or whatever. So long as your groups are more similar to each other versus other groups. Even siblings can be a race.

Sounds a little ... unspecific. How would you quantify these things for the purpose of a scientific analysis?

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Race is loosley defined as 'homogeneous populations of people', that is people who share common physiological traits and a common culture.

 

No it isn't.

 

 

But as CharonY states, this is not a good scientific definition and needs to be handeled with care.

The more we learn about DNA, the human Gnome, and so the harder it becomes to really define race in a scientific way.

 

Actually the definition is the same and the assignment becomes easier.

 

 

However, it can still be a useful concept for social science. Saying there is no such thing as race does not remove racism. Nor does it remove differences across populations. So the concept, in my opinion is valid, but not for science.

 

Because, why?

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There are some ethnically associated genetic disorders (e.g. sickle cell anemia, Tay Sachs disease, etc.) and some ethnically specific drug metabolic responses that can be quite dramatic, even fatal.

 

So there is a case for determining a patient's genetic population history in a medical context.

Yes, but you don't do it like this

post-2869-0-06983600-1464641335.jpg

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