Racism

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Re: Racism

Postby Matthew Ellard » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:58 pm

maunas wrote:"Since Darwin's Origin of Species, evolutionary biologists have long debated whether two species can evolve from a common ancestor without being geographically isolated from each other," said Ted Schultz, curator of ants at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and co-author of the study.


I feel that he should have said "environmentally isolated" rather than "geographically isolated". You can have two very different environments in very close locations.

From memory, both vegetarian and omnivorous hominids evolved in the same location. The environment changed in that the vegetarian hominids ate less protein but "all the greens "and thus the species's existence, in itself, changes the environment.

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Re: Racism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:25 am

But the environments are actually "the same" location? How about: "environmentally selective?"
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:37 pm

Well, Poodle. I said a queen incapable of reproducing in ceremonial flight. May be, it was a case of being less capable of reproducing in ceremonial flight, to begin with. The M. castrator males born through such a queen, too may have suffered such decreasing ability to mate during a ceremonial flight and after a sufficient number of genrations, the males which mated with the queen on the ground got positively selected to produce more number of similar progeny.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:10 am

The Right Stuff
Quote:
Human Races Exist: *Refuting 11 Common Arguments Against the Existence of Race*
by Sean Last
2015-09-30
I am a race realist, meaning that I think human races are real and important. Many people, especially in the social sciences, are race deniers, meaning that they deny either that race is real or that it is important. The vast majority of the time, race deniers will use the same handful of arguments to make their case. So in this post I am going to respond to, and hopefully refute, the eleven arguments I hear most often from race deniers. The responses that I give won’t be the only responses to these arguments that are possible, but they will be the ones that I think refute race denialism in the simplest, and quickest, way possible.

Before going into said arguments, I want to briefly state what race is and why it is a valid biological concept. A race is just a subspecies, meaning a set of populations that have evolved somewhat separately from other populations within the same species and, as a result, exhibits some interesting genetic and physical differences. These populations are defined geographically, because geography was the main limiting factor to human mating for most of prehistory. (It’s hard to mate with people who live on the other side of seas, oceans, mountains, and deserts.)

Categorizing people this way is useful because groups that evolve together end up resembling each other in countless ways. The fact that the races differ, on average, in terms of behavior, appearance, and genetics, has applications in medicine (races differ in disease rates and how they will respond to drugs for genetic reasons) (Riegos et al. 2015) (Ojodu et al. 2014), forensics (determining the race of an offender or victim via a biological criterion can be useful in identifying them) (Wade 2004), and the social sciences (the study of racial differences in crime, intelligence, personality, etc., is a major area of interest to many in these fields) (Rushton and Jensen 2005) (Lynn 2002) (Piffer 2015). Thus race is a concept rooted in biology and which is useful in science. To my mind, that makes it a valid scientific concept. With that said, let’s look at some of the most common arguments to the contrary:

No Credible Scientists Believe in Race

This is false and usually stated with no proper citation. As reviewed in (Liebermann et al. 2004), surveys show that many researchers around the world believe in the existence of human races





As can be seen, belief in race among researchers varies depending on where in the world you look. But the only place where there is anything like a consensus is China, and the consensus there is that race exists. The claim that no credible scientists believe in race is thus clearly false.

There Hasn't Been Enough Time for Races to Evolve

If evolution is occurring at a fast enough pace, very little time is needed for subspecies to evolve. In the case of humans, the races have been evolving separately for somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 years. This is more than enough time for subspecies to evolve. For example, the Moose has evolved several subspecies in the last 100,000 years (Mikko and Andersson 1995), 2 subspecies of waterfowl evolved in less than 100,000 years (Wilson et al. 2011), 8 subspecies of tiger evolved in roughly 72,000 years (Lou et al. 2004), the Lizard Laudakia stellio evolved 2 subspecies in 12,000 years (Brammah et al. 2010) and, finally, the polar bear has only been evolving separately from the brown bear for 70,000-100,000 years (Lindqvist et al. 2010). Moreover, it only took 200,000 years for Neanderthals and modern humans to evolve into separate species (or perhaps subspecies). Thus 100,000 years is clearly enough time for the races to have evolved significant differences.
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Re: Racism

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:23 am

maunas wrote:A race is just a subspecies, meaning a set of populations that have evolved somewhat separately from other populations within the same species and, as a result, exhibits some interesting genetic and physical differences. These populations are defined geographically, because geography was the main limiting factor to human mating for most of prehistory. (It’s hard to mate with people who live on the other side of seas, oceans, mountains, and deserts.)


May I stop you right there.
If this is your criterion, it is invalid today since there are no physical separations between populations any more. If there is such a thing as race, it is being kept alive by consciously picking mates with similar phenotype traits.

My big argument against race as a meaningful concept is this: we more than 7 billion people. We can see different races of animals with much smaller populations , but not with humans.
With such a huge gene pool at our disposal it should be easy to tell groups apart if they could be sorted into categories.

The only meaningful question about race at all, the only reason why they are being studied as such by biologists is this: "Do we expect, given time, that this sub-group we've identified will sufficiently diverge from its original specie that it won't be able to produce fertile offspring any more? Or simpler: it is a race if it can become a different specie.

As you correctly said, some humans have genetically diverged for hundreds of thousands of years (taking the tree of life down and up), and yet they can successfully mate.
We have no reason whatsoever to assume that this will change in another 100k years.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
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Re: Racism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:22 am

EM--I was going to give you a Kudo for the useful meaning of race, but then I thought about medical treatment conditions/education based on racial distinctions. As you might say: not determinative... but still relevant I think as we evolve our way towards a more homogenous species?
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Re: Racism

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:51 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:EM--I was going to give you a Kudo for the useful meaning of race, but then I thought about medical treatment conditions/education based on racial distinctions. As you might say: not determinative... but still relevant I think as we evolve our way towards a more homogenous species?


Race is a really useless category when it comes to medicine: yes, your family history can be important, but that is true for everyone.
I don't think humanity is becoming more homogeneous, quite the contrary: we are recombining genes through mixed marriages that have diverged by 200k years! This actually leads to new levels of diversity.
What this is above all is a treasure trove of mutations that confer all kinds of immunities on the carriers. Using Mass sequencing, we will be able to understand so much better why some people get sick and others not under almost identical conditions.
This will be the best weapon against anti-biotic resistant superbugs and epidemics.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Racism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:25 pm

I'll quibble. When you don't know or have access to family history...then race could provide "some" information. I think there are a few issues that are more than just a curiosity?.... some kind of "highly likely" birth defect if ...something or other. Like dogs and Tylenol.... or whatever. Hah, hah.

As to homogeneity: as a gene sequence is more distributed, there is more geneity, not more variety. I can see its tricky depending on how you squint your eyeballs.

I just read a big dna break through on disease control: by knowing the genes of the VIRUS. Some chemical just dissolves their cell wall.
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Re: Racism

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:37 pm

Sure, things like alcohol and lactose intolerance are highly correlated with your ethnicity.

Gene recombination by mixed marriages can and does produce genuine new phenotypes - we are not talking about mixing paint here.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Racism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:00 pm

What is alcohol intolerance?
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Re: Racism

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:09 pm

I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Racism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:41 pm

Never heard of it before..... glad I'm not Asian (for that reason). Does remind me of that Irish Joke: I have no problem with drink. I drink. I fall down. No Problem. ............. and that about sums up my experience as well. "Other people" had problems...which did eventually become the problem I had to deal with. ..... Still healthy too. Doc is mystified.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:51 pm

Quoting further:

There Are No Race Genes

A “race gene” is a gene that is present in every member of one race and only members of that race. Such genes do not exist. Some people think that the non-existence of race genes shows that races don't exist either. But this does not follow, because no great racial theorist has ever utilized a notion of race that was contingent upon the existence of “race genes”. Prior to the 20th century, races were almost always defined by where your ancestors came from and what your hair, face, skull, skin color, and general anatomy looked like (Hamilton 2008). In the 20th century race continued to be tied to ancestry, but the traits scientists used to infer ancestry changed from observable physical traits to gene frequencies (Ayala 1985) (Reardon 2005 Chapter 2).

When race realists of the past talked about racial differences in gene frequencies they meant that certain genes were more common among some races than others. It never meant that every member of one race had a given gene that no member of any other race had. Because of this, the non-existence of race genes cannot be taken to demonstrate the non-existence of races.

You Can't Tell Someone’s Race by Their Genes

This is another claim which simply is not true. (Tang et al. 2004) were able to predict the self-identified race of Americans 99.8% of the time based on a moderate sampling of their genomes alone. Moreover, commercial services such as 23AndMe regularly analyze people's genomes to produce highly reliable estimates of their ancestry. Thus, contrary to what is often said, you can in fact tell someone’s race by looking at their genes.

Races Cannot Be Important Because We All Share 99% of Our DNA

We also share 95-98% of our DNA with chimps and, yet, there are some pretty big differences between us and chimps (Varki and Altheide 2009). Geneticists estimate that an average pair of humans will differ at 3 million base pairs in their DNA (Bamshad 2004). To put that in perspective, the genetic disease sickle cell anemia is caused by a mutation of 1 base pair. Clearly then, there is enough genetic diversity within the human species to cause some pretty significant differences.

In fact, according to a meta-analysis of every twin study done since 1950, which adds up to a sample size of 14,000,000, roughly half of the differences between people of the same race, whether you look at simple physical differences or psychological ones, are caused by genetics (Polderman et al. 2015). Given that the genetic distance between members of the same race is smaller than the genetic distance between members of different races, this data clearly shows that there are enough genetic differences between the races to cause important physical and psychological differences.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:31 pm

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Re: Racism

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Re: Racism

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Re: Racism

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Re: Racism

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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:28 pm

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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:33 pm

Human Races Are Not Genetically Distinct Enough To Be Valid Biological Categories

The most commonly used measure of the genetic distance between populations is called an Fst value. Humans have a higher Fst value than many other species which have recognized subspecies, meaning that human races are more genetically distinct than the subspecies in these other species. Thus, the genetic distance between races is sufficient for them to be considered subspecies.

Sources: Elhaik 2012, Jackson et al. 2014, Lorenzen et al. 2008, Jordana 2003, Hofft et al. 2000, and Schwartz et al 2002.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:35 pm

There is More Genetic Variation Within Races than Between Them

This is related to those Fst values I just mentioned. An Fst value is the proportion of genetic variation within a species that is contained between populations rather than within them. It is true that the human Fst value is less than 0.5, meaning that less than 50% of our genetic variation is between populations. But this is normal in the animal kingdom and it is normal among species that have recognized subspecies. The above chart clearly shows that there are several species which have less variation between populations than humans do which also have recognized subspecies. Moreover, the genetic differences between races are more than enough to ensure that members of the same race are virtually always more genetically similar to one another than members of different races (Witherspoon et al. 2007).

Further still, as was reviewed above, the genetic distance between races is greater than the genetic distance between members of the same race, and genetic differences within race are enough to cause important differences in physical and mental traits. Because of this, the proportion of genetic variation contained between human races, rather than within them, cannot legitimately be used to discard the existence, or significance, of race.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:46 pm

Hi Electric monk,
I will reply you soon. Let me finish with some ponderable opinions first. Not necessarily i may agree with every statement made in these articles. I am just giving food for thought.

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Re: Racism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:59 pm

My computers half frozen right now..... but ..... didn't I already post that "race" is a social construct meaning that genetics has little to nothing to do with it? Why harp on a invalid issue? Its called straw man.... or "looking where it ain't."

As to genetics, Dawkins and Wilson both say that race is identifiable as a sub grouping of human beings......trying to become a sub species...but not there....and enver will be with the interbreeding going on.

Try to keep the sociology separate from the biology.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:06 am

[24/01 1:11 pm] Unparticle: Human Variation is Clinal, Not Racial

“Clinal” just means that human traits, and genetic differences, tend to change slowly and as a function of geography. For instance, as you move further from the Equator, skin color tends to become lighter. The point that race deniers are making is that this gradual change in variation doesn’t have any “hard lines” that demarcate one race from another. Instead, races blend into one another.

This is true but irrelevant. Scientists often impose discrete categories on continuous variation. For instance, color categories like “blue” and “green” are discrete categories imposed on the perfectly continuous variation that is the color spectrum. In fact, zoologists even have a word for situations in which subspecies are connected by intermediate populations that change in a clinal fashion: intergradation.

Besides, human genetic variation is not, in fact, just like the color spectrum. Same-race populations are more genetically similar than different-race populations even when all three populations are separated by the same geographic distance (Rosenberg 2005).

In summary, human genetic variation is not perfectly clinal and, even if it was, that would not preclude the imposition of discrete categories on human variation, nor would it be abnormal within the context of subspecies taxonomy. For these reasons, the cline argument fails to discredit race.

The Traits That Races Are Based On Are Arbitrary

This argument postulates that you could come up with mutually exclusive groupings of people based on different traits and that, because there is no objective method of choosing which traits to use, which grouping you decide to go with is arbitrary. For instance, you could group people based on skin color and, as a result, Africans and certain groups of Indians might be grouped together. Or you could group people based on height, in which case Indians and Africans would most certainly not be grouped together.
[24/01 1:12 pm] Unparticle: Of course, populations are normally grouped based on sets of several characteristics. But the point remains: you can come up with different, mutually exclusive, ways of grouping people, and there is no obvious way of choosing which is correct. And, so the argument goes, if the basis for race is arbitrary then race itself must be arbitrary as well.

The problem with this argument is simple: races are defined by ancestry, not observable physical traits. As a consequence of being descended from different ancestral populations, the races differ in many characteristics. Such differences are correlated with race, but they do not define race. An albino African is still racially black. Thus, the argument that the characteristics that define race are arbitrary is based on a straw-man argument; again, observable traits do not define race, they just correlate with race.

A common line of response to this argument will be to say that the areas of ancestry that define race are also arbitrary. For instance, one might say that grouping together people that descend from Europe, as opposed to, say, southern Europeans and northern Africans, is an arbitrary decision.

This is wrong because the edges of the continents have historically restricted gene flow. In other words, people had a strong tendency to mate with people on the same continent as them and, as a result, they evolved together within a common gene pool. This is why, even when you take widely dispersed populations from throughout the world, when researchers have programs group people’s genetic data into 4-6 “clusters” which maximize the extent to which members of the same cluster are more genetically similar than members of other clusters, said clusters nearly perfectly align with traditional notions of race (Rosenberg et al. 2002). (Tang et al. 2005) (Rosenberg et al. 2005).

Now, it is true that the exact lines of these clusters are somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes gene frequencies change very slowly across regions and so the exact line one chooses doesn’t have an obvious justification beyond it being a line on a map. But, in spite of these fuzzy boundaries, race is still a useful scientific concept. And, besides, at this point we’ve really just returned to the cline argument addressed above. Thus, the “arbitrary traits” argument does not in any way show that race is not a valid and useful scientific concept.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:08 am

[24/01 1:12 pm] Unparticle: Racial Categories Change Across Time and Place

Race deniers sometimes argue that people in different places, or even Westerners just a few centuries ago, had radically different ideas about who was a member of which race and that, because of this, race is invalid. But if we look back to the 18th century, we can see that when Linnaeus came up with the first major racial system he posited three races: Asians, Whites, and Blacks. A few decades later, history’s most influential racial system would be devised by Johan Blumenbach who separated humanity into five races: East Asians, South Asians, Native Americans, Whites, and Blacks (Hamilton 2008). Clearly, these systems of racial classification are highly similar to those used by most Westerners today.

Now it is true that, as exemplified by Linnaeus and Blumenbach, some authors posited the existence of more races than another. But these differences are not as serious as they might at first seem. Typically, such disagreements were the result of one author wanting to group humans into larger racial categories than the other. By the 20th century, this difference came to be seen as largely unimportant, because these racial schemes are not mutually exclusive (Boyd 1950). We can easily utilize racial schemes which differ in their level of aggregation, saying, at different times, Caucasian, White, and German, for instance, without contradicting ourselves or causing confusion. Thus, the seeming contradictions of traditional racial theories, upon closer analysis, fade away. Scientists have basically agreed on human races for a very long time.

A favorite talking point of race deniers is that the Irish weren’t considered white in early American history. This is false. If this were true, the Irish could not have immigrated here en masse, since the Naturalization Acts of the 1700s limited citizenship to free whites. And yet, millions of Irish were allowed to immigrate. Why? Because everyone has always known that the Irish are white.

It is true that the Irish were sometimes compared to blacks, but no one seriously thought that they were literally, racially, black. Any honest person who looks at 19th-century anti-Irish propaganda immediately realizes that the complaint was that the Irish were thought to be as bad as blacks in spite of them being white, not that they literally were black.
[24/01 1:14 pm] Unparticle: Still, it is true that some people around the world have come up with some pretty weird ideas about race. So what? What does that have to do with whether or not traditional European racial theories are useful in modern science? Nothing. And so it is irrelevant to the validity of race as a scientific concept.

Race is a Social Construct

Any time we categorize objects we decide to group things one way as opposed to another. In this sense, all categories are social constructs. If we wanted to, we could get rid of the category “table” and, in its place, invent two new categories: one for all “tables” that are brown and another for all “tables” that are not brown. Of course, it is more useful to have one single category which denotes all tables and so that is what we go with. But the point is that we choose to “go with” one category scheme and not the other. Thus, there is something “social” or “artificial” about all categories.

But this isn’t specific to race. All categories are tools and their validity must be determined by whether or not they are useful. And I have already shown that race is useful.

It is worth noting that most biologists have always known this about race. Some of the first biologists to talk about race, such as the previously referenced Linnaeus and Blumenbach, commented on the fact that racial categories were invented by culture and, to some extent, arbitrary (Stuessy 2009) (Blumenbach 1775). And yet both men knew that human races had real and significant biological differences.

Clearly then, race realists have long known that race is a “social construct” and pointing this out does nothing to refute the race realist position.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:09 am

[24/01 1:14 pm] Unparticle: Conclusion

In summary, the races evolved separately for a long enough period of time to become subspecies. Moreover, their genetic differences are larger than those seen among subspecies in other species. It is true that there are no race genes, and that we share 99% of our genomes with each other, but neither of these facts excludes the possibility of important racial differences. Contrary to popular opinion, scientists can tell what your race is by looking at your DNA, and ideas about race have not changed as much as is commonly thought. It is true that, to some extent, human variation is “clinal”, but that has nothing to do with whether or not we should categorize people racially. And when we do group people racially, it is based on ancestry, not arbitrarily chosen traits.

These reasons, and others like them, are why many researchers around the world agree with the obvious truth that race exists and, in some contexts, such as medicine, social science, and forensics, is important.

References

Ayala, F. (1985). Theodosius Dobzhansky 1900-1975. National Academy of Sciences, 163-213.

Bamshad, M., Wooding, S., Salisbury, B., & Stephens, J. (2004). Deconstructing the relationship between genetics and race. Nat Rev Genet Nature Reviews Genetics, 598-609.

Blumenbach, J. (1775). On the Natural Variety of Mankind.

Boyd, W. (1950). Genetics and the races of man, an introduction to modern physical anthropology. Ox-ford: Blackwell.

Brammah, M., Hoffman, J., & Amos, W. (2010). Genetic divergence between and within two subspecies of Laudakia stellio on islands in the Greek Cyclades. Herpetological Journal, 91-98.

Elhaik, E. (2012). Empirical Distributions of FST from Large-Scale Human Polymorphism Data. PLoS ONE.

Hamilton, A. (2008). Taxonomic Approaches to Race. The Occidental Quaterly.

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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:13 am

[24/01 1:35 pm] Unparticle: *What Science Says About Race and Genetics*
Nicholas Wade
May 9, 2014 SHARE

The New York Times' former science editor on research showing that evolution didn't stop when human history began.

A longstanding orthodoxy among social scientists holds that human races are a social construct and have no biological basis. A related assumption is that human evolution halted in the distant past, so long ago that evolutionary explanations need never be considered by historians or economists.

New analyses of the human genome have established that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional.In the decade since the decoding of the human genome, a growing wealth of data has made clear that these two positions, never at all likely to begin with, are simply incorrect. There is indeed a biological basis for race. And it is now beyond doubt that human evolution is a continuous process that has proceeded vigorously within the last 30,000 years and almost certainly — though very recent evolution is hard to measure — throughout the historical period and up until the present day.
New analyses of the human genome have established that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional. Biologists scanning the genome for evidence of natural selection have detected signals of many genes that have been favored by natural selection in the recent evolutionary past. No less than 14% of the human genome, according to one estimate, has changed under this recent evolutionary pressure.

Analysis of genomes from around the world establishes that there is a biological basis for race, despite the official statements to the contrary of leading social science organizations. An illustration of the point is the fact that with mixed race populations, such as African Americans, geneticists can now track along an individual’s genome, and assign each segment to an African or European ancestor, an exercise that would be impossible if race did not have some basis in biological reality.

Racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle, not of science. That said, it is hard to see anything in the new understanding of race that gives ammunition to racists. The reverse is the case. Exploration of the genome has shown that all humans, whatever their race, share the same set of genes. Each gene exists in a variety of alternative forms known as alleles, so one might suppose that races have distinguishing alleles, but even this is not the case. A few alleles have highly skewed distributions but these do not suffice to explain the difference between races. The difference between races seems to rest on the subtle matter of relative allele frequencies. The overwhelming verdict of the genome is to declare the basic unity of humankind.
[24/01 1:38 pm] Unparticle: *Genetics and Social Behavior*

Human evolution has not only been recent and extensive, it has also been regional. The period of 30,000 to 5,000 years ago, from which signals of recent natural selection can be detected, occurred after the splitting of the three major races, so represents selection that has occurred largely independently within each race. The three principal races are Africans (those who live south of the Sahara), East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans), and Caucasians (Europeans and the peoples of the Near East and the Indian subcontinent). In each of these races, a different set of genes has been changed by natural selection. This is just what would be expected for populations that had to adapt to different challenges on each continent. The genes specially affected by natural selection control not only expected traits like skin color and nutritional metabolism, but also some aspects of brain function. Though the role of these selected brain genes is not yet understood, the obvious truth is that genes affecting the brain are just as much subject to natural selection as any other category of gene.

Human social structures change so slowly and with such difficulty as to suggest an evolutionary influence at work.What might be the role of these brain genes favored by natural selection? Edward O. Wilson was pilloried for saying in his 1975 book Sociobiology that humans have many social instincts. But subsequent research has confirmed the idea that we are inherently sociable. From our earliest years we want to belong to a group, conform to its rules and punish those who violate them. Later, our instincts prompt us to make moral judgments and to defend our group, even at the sacrifice of one’s own life.


Anything that has a genetic basis, such as these social instincts, can be varied by natural selection. The power of modifying social instincts is most visible in the case of ants, the organisms that, along with humans, occupy the two pinnacles of social behavior. Sociality is rare in nature because to make a society work individuals must moderate their powerful selfish instincts and become at least partly altruistic. But once a social species has come into being, it can rapidly exploit and occupy new niches just by making minor adjustments in social behavior. Thus both ants and humans have conquered the world, though fortunately at different scales.

Conventionally, these social differences are attributed solely to culture. But if that’s so, why is it apparently so hard for tribal societies like Iraq or Afghanistan to change their culture and operate like modern states? The explanation could be that tribal behavior has a genetic basis. It’s already known that a genetic system, based on the hormone oxytocin, seems to modulate the degree of in-group trust, and this is one way that natural selection could ratchet the degree of tribal behavior up or down.

Human social structures change so slowly and with such difficulty as to suggest an evolutionary influence at work. Modern humans lived for 185,000 years as hunters and gatherers before settling down in fixed communities. Putting a roof over one’s head and being able to own more than one could carry might seem an obvious move. The fact that it took so long suggests that a genetic change in human social behavior was required and took many generations to evolve.

Tribalism seems to be the default mode of human political organization. It can be highly effective: The world’s largest land empire, that of the Mongols, was a tribal organization. But tribalism is hard to abandon, again suggesting that an evolutionary change may be required.
[24/01 2:17 pm] Unparticle: The various races have evolved along substantially parallel paths, but because they have done so independently, it’s not surprising that they have made these two pivotal transitions in social structure at somewhat different times. Caucasians were the first to establish settled communities, some 15,000 years ago, followed by East Asians and Africans. China, which developed the first modern state, shed tribalism two millennia ago, Europe did so only a thousand years ago, and populations in the Middle East and Africa are in the throes of the process.

Two case studies, one from the Industrial Revolution and the other from the cognitive achievements of Jews, provide further evidence of evolution’s hand in shaping human social behavior within the recent past.

The Behavioral Makeover Behind the Industrial Revolution

The essence of the Industrial Revolution was a quantum leap in society’s productivity. Until then, almost everyone but the nobility lived a notch or two above starvation. This subsistence-level existence was a characteristic of agrarian economies, probably from the time that agriculture was first invented.

Perhaps productivity increased because the nature of the people had changed.The reason for the economic stagnation was not lack of inventiveness: England of 1700 possessed sailing ships, firearms, printing presses, and whole suites of technologies undreamed of by hunter gatherers. But these technologies did not translate into better living standards for the average person. The reason was a Catch-22 of agrarian economies, called the Malthusian trap, after the Rev. Thomas Malthus. In his 1798 Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus observed that each time productivity improved and food became more plentiful, more infants survived to maturity, and the extra mouths ate up the surplus. Within a generation, everyone was back to living just above starvation level.

Malthus, strangely enough, wrote his essay at the very moment when England, shortly followed by other European countries, was about to escape from the Malthusian trap. The escape consisted of such a substantial increase in production efficiency that extra workers enhanced incomes instead of constraining them.

This development, known as the Industrial Revolution, is the salient event in economic history, yet economic historians say they have reached no agreement on how to account for it. “Much of modern social science originated in efforts by late nineteenth and twentieth century Europeans to understand what made the economic development path of western Europe unique; yet these efforts have yielded no consensus,” writes the historian Kenneth Pomeranz. Some experts argue that demography was the real driver: Europeans escaped the Malthusian trap by restraining fertility through methods such as late marriage. Others cite institutional changes, such as the beginnings of modern English democracy, secure property rights, the development of competitive markets, or patents that stimulated invention. Yet others point to the growth of knowledge starting from the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th century or the easy availability of capital.

This plethora of explanations and the fact that none of them is satisfying to all experts point strongly to the need for an entirely new category of explanation. The economic historian Gregory Clark has provided one by daring to look at a plausible yet unexamined possibility: that productivity increased because the nature of the people had changed.

Clark’s proposal is a challenge to conventional thinking because economists tend to treat people everywhere as identical, interchangeable units.
[24/01 2:19 pm] Unparticle: A few economists have recognized the implausibility of this position and have begun to ask if the nature of the humble human units that produce and consume all of an economy’s goods and services might possibly have some bearing on its performance. They have discussed human quality, but by this they usually mean just education and training. Others have suggested that culture might explain why some economies perform very differently from others, but without specifying what aspects of culture they have in mind. None has dared say that culture might include an evolutionary change in behavior — but neither do they explicitly exclude this possibility.

To appreciate the background of Clark’s idea, one has to return to Malthus. Malthus’s essay had a profound effect on Charles Darwin. It was from Malthus that Darwin derived the principle of natural selection, the central mechanism in his theory of evolution. If people were struggling on the edge of starvation, competing to survive, then the slightest advantage would be decisive, Darwin realized, and the owner would bequeath that advantage to his children. These children and their offspring would thrive while others perished.
[24/01 2:19 pm] Unparticle: “In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry,” Darwin wrote in his autobiography, “I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The results of this would be the formation of a new species. Here then I had at last got a theory by which to work.”

Given the correctness of Darwin’s theory, there is no reason to doubt that natural selection was working on the very English population that provided the evidence for it. The question is that of just what traits were being selected for.

The Four Key Traits

Clark has documented four behaviors that steadily changed in the English population between 1200 and 1800, as well as a highly plausible mechanism of change. The four behaviors are those of interpersonal violence, literacy, the propensity to save, and the propensity to work.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:28 am

[24/01 2:20 pm] Unparticle: *Profound events are likely to have profound causes.*Homicide rates for males, for instance, declined from 0.3 per thousand in 1200 to 0.1 in 1600 and to about a tenth of this in 1800. Even from the beginning of this period, the level of personal violence was well below that of modern hunter-gatherer societies. Rates of 15 murders per thousand men have been recorded for the Aché people of Paraguay.

Work hours steadily increased throughout the period, and interest rates fell. When inflation and risk are subtracted, an interest rate reflects the compensation that a person will demand to postpone immediate gratification by postponing consumption of a good from now until a future date. Economists call this attitude time preference, and psychologists call it delayed gratification. Children, who are generally not so good at delaying gratification, are said to have a high time preference. In his celebrated marshmallow test, the psychologist Walter Mischel tested young children as to their preference for receiving one marshmallow now or two in fifteen minutes. This simple decision turned out to have far-reaching consequences: Those able to hold out for the larger reward had higher SAT scores and social competence in later life. Children have a very high time preference, which falls as they grow older and develop more self-control. American six-year-olds, for instance, have a time preference of about 3% per day, or 150% per month; this is the extra reward they must be offered to delay instant gratification. Time preferences are also high among hunter-gatherers.

Interest rates, which reflect a society’s time preferences, have been very high — about 10% — from the earliest historical times and for all societies before 1400 AD for which there is data. Interest rates then entered a period of steady decline, reaching about 3% by 1850. Because inflation and other pressures on interest rates were largely absent, Clark argues, the falling interest rates indicate that people were becoming less impulsive, more patient, and more willing to save.

These behavioral changes in the English population between 1200 and 1800 were of pivotal economic importance. They gradually transformed a violent and undisciplined peasant population into an efficient and productive workforce. Turning up punctually for work every day and enduring eight eight hours or more of repetitive labor is far from being a natural human behavior. Hunter-gatherers do not willingly embrace such occupations, but agrarian societies from their beginning demanded the discipline to labor in the fields and to plant and harvest at the correct times. Disciplined behaviors were probably evolving gradually within the agrarian English population for many centuries before 1200, the point at which they can be documented.

Clark has uncovered a genetic mechanism through which the Malthusian economy may have wrought these changes on the English population: The rich had more surviving children than did the poor. From a study of wills made between 1585 and 1638, he finds that will makers with £9 or less to leave their heirs had, on average, just under two children. The number of heirs rose steadily with assets, such that men with more than £1,000 in their gift, who formed the wealthiest asset class, left just over four children.

The English population was fairly stable in size from 1200 to 1760, meaning that if the rich were having more children than the poor, most children of the rich had to sink in the social scale, given that there were too many of them to remain in the upper class.
[24/01 2:21 pm] Unparticle: Their social descent had the far-reaching genetic consequence that they carried with them inheritance for the same behaviors that had made their parents rich. The values of the upper middle class — nonviolence, literacy, thrift, and patience — were thus infused into lower economic classes and throughout society. Generation after generation, they gradually became the values of the society as a whole. This explains the steady decrease in violence and increase in literacy that Clark has documented for the English population. Moreover, the behaviors emerged gradually over several centuries, a time course more typical of an evolutionary change than a cultural change.

In a broader sense, these changes in behavior were just some of many that occurred as the English population adapted to a market economy. Markets required prices and symbols and rewarded literacy, numeracy, and those who could think in symbolic ways. “The characteristics of the population were changing through Darwinian selection,” Clark writes. “England found itself in the vanguard because of its long, peaceful history stretching back to at least 1200 and probably long before. Middle-class culture spread throughout the society through biological mechanisms.”

Economic historians tend to see the Industrial Revolution as a relatively sudden event and their task as being to uncover the historical conditions that precipitated this immense transformation of economic life. But profound events are likely to have profound causes. The Industrial Revolution was caused not by events of the previous century but by changes in human economic behavior that had been slowly evolving in agrarian societies for the previous 10,000 years.

This of course explains why the practices of the Industrial Revolution were adopted so easily by other European countries, the United States, and East Asia, all of whose populations had been living in agrarian economies and evolving for thousands of years under the same harsh constraints of the Malthusian regime. No single resource or institutional change — the usual suspects in most theories of the Industrial Revolution — is likely to have become effective in all these countries around 1760, and indeed none did.

That leaves the questions of why the Industrial Revolution was perceived as sudden and why it emerged first in England instead of in any of the many other countries where conditions were ripe. Clark’s answer to both these questions lies in the sudden growth spurt in the English population, which tripled between 1770 and 1860. It was this alarming expansion that led Malthus to write his foreboding essay on population.

But contrary to Malthus’s gloomy prediction of a population crash induced by vice and famine, which would have been true at any earlier stage of history, incomes on this occasion rose, heralding the first escape of an economy from the Malthusian trap. English workmen contributed to this spurt, Clark dryly notes, as much by their labors in the bedroom as on the factory floor.
[24/01 2:22 pm] Unparticle: Clark’s data provide substantial evidence that the English population responded genetically to the harsh stresses of a Malthusian regime and that the shifts in its social behavior from 1200 to 1800 were shaped by natural selection. The burden of proof is surely shifted to those who might wish to assert that the English population was miraculously exempt from the very forces of natural selection whose existence it had suggested to Darwin.
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Re: Racism

Postby maunas » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:39 am

[24/01 2:22 pm] Unparticle: Explaining Ashkenazi IQ

A second instance of very recent human evolution may well be in evidence in European Jews, particularly the Ashkenazim of northern and central Europe. In proportion to their population, Jews have made outsize contributions to Western civilization. A simple metric is that of Nobel prizes: Though Jews constitute only 0.2% of the world’s population, they won 14% of Nobel prizes in the first half of the 20th century, 29% in the second and so far 32% in the present century. There is something here that requires explanation. If Jewish success were purely cultural, such as hectoring mothers or a zeal for education, others should have been able to do as well by copying such cultural practices. It’s therefore reasonable to ask if genetic pressures in Jews’ special history may have enhanced their cognitive skills.

It’s reasonable to ask if genetic pressures in Jews’ special history may have enhanced their cognitive skills.Just such a pressure is described by two economic historians, Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein, in their book “The Chosen Few.” In 63 or 65 AD, the high priest Joshua ben Gamla decreed that every Jewish father should send his sons to school so that they could read and understand Jewish law. Jews at that time earned their living mostly by farming, as did everyone else, and education was both expensive and of little practical use. Many Jews abandoned Judaism for the new and less rigorous Jewish sect now known as Christianity.


Botticini and Eckstein say nothing about genetics but evidently, if generation after generation the Jews less able to acquire literacy became Christians, literacy and related abilities would on average be enhanced among those who remained Jews.

As commerce started to pick up in medieval Europe, Jews as a community turned out to be ideally suited for the role of becoming Europe’s traders and money-lenders. In a world where most people were illiterate, Jews could read contracts, keep accounts, appraise collateral, and do business arithmetic. They formed a natural trading network through their co-religionists in other cities, and they had rabbinical courts to settle disputes. Jews moved into money-lending not because they were forced to do so, as some accounts suggest, but because they chose the profession, Botticini and Eckstein say. It was risky but highly profitable. The more able Jews thrived and, just as in the rest of the pre-19th century world, the richer were able to support more surviving children.

As Jews adapted to a cognitively demanding niche, their abilities increased to the point that the average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is, at 110 to 115, the highest of any known ethnic group. The population geneticists Henry Harpending and Gregory Cochran have calculated that, assuming a high heritability of intelligence, Ashkenazi IQ could have risen by 15 points in just 500 years. Ashkenazi Jews first appear in Europe around 900 AD, and Jewish cognitive skills may have been increasing well before then.


The emergence of high cognitive ability among the Ashkenazim, if genetically based, is of interest both in itself and as an instance of natural selection shaping a population within the very recent past.

The Adaptive Response to Different Societies

The hand of evolution seems visible in the major transitions in human social structure and in the two case studies described above. This is of course a hypothesis; proof awaits detection of the genes in question. If significant evolutionary changes can occur so recently in history, other major historical events may have evolutionary components. One candidate is the rise of the West, which was prompted by a remarkable expansion of European societies, both in knowledge and geographical sway, while the two other major powers of the medieval world, China and the house of Islam, ascendant until around 1500 AD, were rapidly overtaken.
[24/01 2:23 pm] Unparticle: Civilizations may rise and fall but evolution never ceases.In his book The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, the economic historian David Landes examines every possible factor for explaining the rise of the West and the stagnation of China and concludes, in essence, that the answer lies in the nature of the people. Landes attributes the decisive factor to culture, but describes culture in such a way as to imply race.

“If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference,” he writes. “Witness the enterprise of expatriate minorities — the Chinese in East and Southeast Asia, Indians in East Africa, Lebanese in West Africa, Jews and Calvinists throughout much of Europe, and on and on. Yet culture, in the sense of the inner values and attitudes that guide a population, frightens scholars. It has a sulfuric odor of race and inheritance, an air of immutability.”

Sulfuric odor or not, the culture of each race is what Landes suggests has made the difference in economic development. The data gathered by Clark on declining rates of violence and increasing rates of literacy from 1200 to 1800 provide some evidence for a genetic component to culture and social institutions.

Though equivalent data does not exist for the Chinese population, China’s society has been distinctive for at least 2,000 years and intense pressures on survival would have adapted the Chinese to their society just as Europeans became adapted to theirs.

Do Chinese carry genes for conformism and authoritarian rule? May Europeans have alleles that favor open societies and the rule of law? Obviously this is unlikely to be the case. But there is almost certainly a genetic component to the propensity for following society’s rules and punishing those who violate them. If Europeans were slightly less inclined to punish violators and Chinese slightly more so, that could explain why European societies are more tolerant of dissenters and innovators, and Chinese societies less so. Because the genes that govern rule following and punishment of violators have not yet been identified, it is not yet known if these do in fact vary in European and Chinese populations in the way suggested. Nature has many dials to twist in setting the intensities of the various human social behaviors and many different ways of arriving at the same solution.

For most of recorded history, Chinese civilization has been pre-eminent and it’s reasonable to assume that the excellence of Chinese institutions rests on a mix of culture and inherited social behavior.

The rise of the West, too, is unlikely to have been just some cultural accident. As European populations became adapted to the geographic and military conditions of their particular ecological habitat, they produced societies that have turned out to be more innovative and productive than others, at least under present circumstances.

That does not of course mean that Europeans are superior to others — a meaningless term in any case from the evolutionary perspective – any more than Chinese were superior to others during their heyday. China’s more authoritarian society may once again prove more successful, particularly in the wake of some severe environmental stress.

Civilizations may rise and fall but evolution never ceases, which is why genetics may play some role alongside the mighty force of culture in shaping the nature of human societies. History and evolution are not separate processes, with human evolution grinding to a halt some decent interval before history begins. The more that we are able to peer into the human genome, the more it seems that the two processes are delicately intertwined.

Nicholas Wade is a former science editor at The New York Times.

This piece is adapted from the new book, A Troublesome Inheritance, published by the Penguin Press.
[24/01 9:33 pm] Unparticle: [b]Everyone is important according to his/her unique purpose,Never look down on anyone unless you are admiring their shoes
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Re: Racism

Postby ElectricMonk » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:47 am

a bit of advice:

posting a Wall of Text, especially if it is not yours, is not a good way to make an argument: it rather seems like you are trying to bury people with other opinions under data instead of engaging with them in debate.

These arguments are best presented one at a time, as the discussion commences. If you expect people to read pages after pages, most will rightfully not bother.
I didn't.

So why don't you make your point in your own words, with reference to your quotations, if you like.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
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Re: Racism

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:48 am

EM--I agree wholly. Although the little bits I did read were "interesting." but was it by accident, or planned??
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