Talk:Race (human categorization)/Archive 22

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The Egyptian picture

User:Tydaj added a picture to the article, which I have removed. The reason why I did this was the caption:

Four races according to the Book of Gates: a Syrian, a Nubian, a Libyan, and an Egyptian. An artistic rendering, based on a mural from the tomb of Seti I.

It's fine to draw attention to the fact that even in ancient cultures people were aware that humans came in many different shapes and colours, and that even ancient cultures were capable of stereotyping different nationalities. But it's wrong, and highly misleading, to call that "race", a concept which the ancient Egyptians would likely not have recognized. I have never seen any evidence that they conceptualized these differences as:

  • biologically determined;
  • inherited;
  • dividing mankind into discrete and largely separate groups

I will not object to putting the picture back in the article, with a different caption. FilipeS 13:35, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

I see no problem with the image. The caption used was simply copied directly from the image as used in the Book of Gates page. Furthermore, the image simply illustrated a statement in the article which has been there for for a long time without anyone finding it problematic. The term "the four races" is traditional in discussing this common Egyptian image (e.g. 'the famous typical groups known as "the four races" in the great rock-cut sepulchres of the kings of the Nineteenth and Twentieth dynasties' [1]). Race is not a term with a clear or precise meaning, as this section of the article tries to explain. Of course, it's difficult to speak meaningfully of what ancient Egyptians would have understood by concepts like "biologically determined", but I see no reason to doubt that they thought physical characteristics were "inherited". Obviously they seek to divide "mankind into discrete and largely separate groups". Akhenaten even states that such difference are divinely ordained:

The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,

Thou settest every man in his place,
Thou suppliest their necessities:
Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
Their tongues are separate in speech,
And their natures as well;

Their skins are distinguished
The image is a codification of humanity according to physical characteristic correlated to endogamy and world geography (i.e. the "world" known to Egyptians). In that respect it corresponds to the most common usage of "race". Paul B 15:11, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

I strongly disagree. The picture can just as well be interpreted as an Egyptian caricature of features which they regarded as typical of different ethnicities. An ethnicity is not the same as a race, and there is no proof that the Egyptians thought in terms of race. In fact, there is plenty of archeological evidence that the Egyptians themselves came in many different colours, from pale to very dark, which shows that the picture which represents "the [typical] Egyptian" is no more than an idealization. FilipeS 15:46, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

You are ignoring the fact that the concepts of "race" and "ethnicity" are not clearly separated, and that the evidence I have quoted unambiguously states that the skin pigmentation of the four groups have been sharply distinguished by God! Whether or not this represents the "reality" of the Egyptian population at the time or not is irrelevant. We are talking about the models of codification that existed at the time. Paul B 15:56, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

That may be so in popular language (hence terms like "the English race" or "the French race"), but I believe anthropologists have a set, stricter definition of "race", which does not coincide with the notion of ethnicity. I will look for a source. FilipeS 14:34, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

The reason that there is even an article on "race" is that it is a powerful social construct. Saying that person A has the same definition as person B is almost certain to be wrong, and that is just within the context of one culture. (One of the problems with this article may be that either "race" is a concept not shared by all groups in the world, or that the "race" concepts of some groups may be so different from the ones described so far that the article is seriously out of balance.) If one is trying to compare a concept from a another time and another culture expressed in another language with something that is not clear in one's own culture, you are automatically in trouble. In our culture we pay enough attention to hair color to have special terms for people with various colors of hair, but we do not conceptualize these groups as "races." The quotation gives the information that we actually have, and conclusions about "race" cannot be drawn from that quotation. P0M 17:08, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree that it's very difficult to compare ethnic notions from different time periods and cultures. That's why I objected to the caption in the epicure, which uses the modern English word "race", which did not exist in ancient Egyptian. I doubt the original picture even had any caption at all. Labelling that as "race" is arbitrary and anachronistic, as you have rightly noted. FilipeS 17:13, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Oh for heaven's sake, none of the words used in this article existed in ancient Egyptian, including the term "ancient Egyptian". They didn't even call their country "Egypt". They wouldn't recognise the term "ethnicity" either. Obviously the article is written in modern English! Yes, the picture had a "caption". Like all the others of this type it was captioned with the Egyptian names of the four peoples. It also accompanies a lengthy ritual text. The purpose of the image is to demonstrate the ordered nature of the universe, with Egypt at its centre. Egyptians are "central" in their skin-pigmentation just as in their central geographical position and their central role in the divine plan of the universe. The visible differences between the separate peoples are articulated according to a model in which ethnic differences are merged with biological ones in an ideologically charged typology. "Race" is the only word that has a semantic field which includes both the notion of ethnicity and of a typology of biological differences (especially physiognomy and skin pigmentation). It's just better than any other option. Paul B 02:31, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
  • The Egyptians had their own words for "Egypt", "Egyptian", "Syrian", "Nubian", and "Lybian". These are clearly ethnicities. They had no word for "race".
  • There is no reason to believe that they thought being an Egyptian, a Syrian, a Nubian, or a Lybian, was a matter of biology. As today, people could migrate and change nationality/culture/ethnicity then. Race, by contrast, is something you're not supposed to be able to change.
  • The colour of the Egyptian in the picture is merely an idealization, as I've said already. There were Egyptians of all colours.
  • In sum, "race" is not the only possible word for the caption. In fact, it's the worst possible word: inaccurate and misleading. FilipeS 13:43, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
The best option is to report what they said. People may come to this article with the question in mind, "Is there really anything that corresponds to our idea of race?" I've argued for years now that having an article on "race" begs the question (i.e., assumes what you want to prove in the way you ask a question about the issue). Now we're asked to push the "begging" back to the era of the ancient Egyptians. P0M 00:37, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
The problem here is that both P0M and FilipeS are fetishising the term "race", as though it has a true meaning that they determine. In reality what we have is a word with a semantic field, one which has evolved over time and which overlaps to varying degrees with ancient concepts. Since I strongly suspect that Filipe does not speak a word of ancient Egyptian I really don't see how he can assert that "They had no word for race". I don't speak the language either (apart from knowing a few words), but I am fairly familiar with the cultural/intellectual context of this image. We all know that the word race was used until very recently - in terms of human history - to mean any group with continuity of endogamy, who are therefore assumed to be genetically related to a significant degree and culturally related. The various interrelated meanings of the term are clearly covered by the OED. We should be honest about the complexity of the concept, not fetishise arbitrary and unsustainably rigid distinctions between "race" and "ethnicity". To do so is, I suggest, to repress the difficulties of such distinctions and the true history of these concepts. In reply to P0M, having an article on race does not beg the question, it discusses the question. That's the whole point. Ancient peoples had ideas that in some ways correspond to modern usages(s) of the term race, and in some ways do not. The article explores this very point, as does the brief discussion of the Egyptian image. I would suggest that there are three possible modern terms to describe this typology: "ethnicities", "peoples" and "races". I have already demonstrated that "races" is the established term. Its historical usage undoubtedly makes it the most accurate modern equivalent to ancient concepts, but is problematic because of assumptions concerning a particular sub-set of its meanings. In modern usage "peoples" and "ethnicities" are also problematic because they downplay the importance of innate differences, which clearly play a significant role in the Egyptian scheme. Paul B 13:17, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
If by "fetishize" you mean "use the word in its most common meaning, in practice", then that is exactly what I am doing. The word "race" is no older than the Renaissance (the OED should tell you this as well). Before that, you cannot speak of "race", whatever you mean by that term. Doing so is projecting modern values and notions onto societies that never had them. FilipeS 13:29, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
Your argument is nonsensical. The age of any English word is not related to the age of the concept(s) or facts to which it refers, nor is it relevant to its usefulness as the nearest modern equivalent to an ancient concept. To say "They had no word for race" is completely different from saying "The word race is relately modern". That's like equating "They had no word for cotton" with "the word cotton is relatively modern". The word "peoples" (in the sense of "clan", "tribe" etc) is dated by the OED to late medieval English. The word "ethnic" is dated to the fifteenth century (though of course it appropriates and transforms the Greek "ethnos"). The origin of razza is unknown, which means we have no idea how old it is: not that it matters, since we should be talking about meaning. The OED dates the first use of "chick-pea" to the 16th century. That does not alter the fact that it's the correct modern translation of "Cicero". Of course concepts like race are more problematic, but the central point is that the age of words as such is irrelevant. I answered your list of 3 points a while back, but you keep changing the goalposts. As far as I can tell, your idea of the "most common meaning" is, in reality "the most common typology". You originally denied the value of term in this context because you said that the Egyptians were in fact of mixed races - as though the only real model of "race" is the modern popular typology of blacks, whites, etc. Paul B 22:36, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

The naming of the "Race" article should not be assumed as the correct standard for naming things and articles. An article on "Unidentified flying objects" is acceptable since it does not assume the existence of extraterrestrial ships. Naming an article "Flying saucers," however, creates the impression that there are real things that match that name.

"Fetishising the term "race" would be to hold the term "race" in unreasoning devotion, but I have no feeling of devotion for the term at all.

FelipeS and I are accused of regarding the term "as though it has a true meaning that they determine<" which is pretty much the opposite of what I believe. I think I have said as clearly as I can that the trouble with "race" as a type of category is that there exist a huge number of definitions by which people are assigned to various racial categories. Another way to say that is to explain that "race" is a word that, instead of having "a true meaning," actually has a different meaning for more-or-less everybody who uses the word.

Paul Barlow brings in another kind of begging of the question, another logical error, by asserting without any evidence or analysis that there is indeed a single "semantic field" for the word "race" that "overlaps to varying degrees" some set of "ancient concepts." To do so is to multiply uncertainties. It maps an uncertain, fuzzy, and multitudinous group of present-day concepts all claiming the name "race" in "varying degrees" (of what, suitability?) to an indeterminate number of "ancient concepts." Doing so hypostatizes the murkily defined word "race" as referring to a real thing known by that name, and then it claims that the ancients were looking at this same supposedly empirical reality and giving it names in their own languages.

The responsible way to handle this potentially useful bit of information about ancient thought is to establish how the ancient Egyptians actually categorized human beings, and how they named those categories, and only after it has been made clear what they thought about things in their own terms of reference should we ask in what ways this conceptual scheme was different from and similar to various competing ideas of "race" in our own time. P0M 07:28, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Your first point is completely illogical. There is no reason why we should not have an article Fying Saucers (it's currently a redirect) if someone wanted to have a specific article on the reports of saucer-shaped objects. We have numerous articles on things that don't exist like Lemuria, Phlogiston and Dilithium crystals. Some believe God exists, and some believe he doesn't. The dispute has no relevance to whether or not we have an article on God (or on Krishna or Odin or Hermes). Are there there such things as Ch'i, or Psi? Maybe, maybe not, but there are certainly such things as Wikipedia articles on them. There is no begging the question or logical error of the type you claim; the point is precisely that this is the question. All terms have semantic fields. And many are "uncertain and fuzzy", that's the whole point. If you look at the history of concepts like "Nature" for example you see the same complexity and fuzziness. That is not an argument for not having an article on "Nature". The age of the actual word Nature in English is also irrelevant. There are problems of translation between languages - both ancient and modern. What does Aristotle mean by the term Physis, for example? How do ancient terms and concepts correspond to modern ones? These issues apply to many many terms and concepts for which we have articles - "democracy", "liberalism", "spirit", "tribe" - and many, many, many more. We should explore all of them and look at the difficulties of claiming sustained meanings, divergences and "family resemblances" in usage within discourse. In fact you last paragraph just repeats what I've been saying all along, except for the - in my view - "fetishistic" attitude that you have to the term race, in which you are investing far too much. And it is, I think, a kind of 'devotion' - a sort of mythic Evil God that you have created. The irony is that the period when "race" was discussed most extensively (c1880s-1940s) is also the period when the diverse use of the term was most accepted, and a much less "fetishistic" attitude to it prevailed. Paul B 10:15, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
The field we call logic deals with propositions (sentences) and the connections that are formed among them with terms like "and," "or," etc. So if I've said something "illogical" you ought to be able to show me with the tools of logic where I have gone wrong.
The field you appear to want to talk about deals with sets, with categories and the definitions of those categories. It turns out to be very difficult to discuss the appropriateness or usefulness of categories without using categories. There are problems of self-reference, and there are problems of fuzziness. We speak as though there are discrete groups in the fields of our experiences that we can find appropriate words to map onto them.
In a very well educated world, any readership would be aware that any concept is a fabrication, a "useful fiction," and we would not have to flag the particularly flaky concepts. So I take Paul's point. We should not accept "physics" as having clear boundaries or clear referent(s) any more than we should accept "leprechaun" as refering to a definite and discoverable group of living organisms.
Let's look at the problem from the other end of the telescope -- let's look at what Paul calls "semantic fields." I'm not sure in what field that term is in popular use, but the idea behind the term is useful and appropriate.
Aristotle looked out at the full domain of his experience and decided that certain phenomena should be grouped together. He was a very good biologist, and field of phenomena that he assembled under that rubric included anything he could investigate as being alive. The fuzziness was there in the beginning, and it is still there today as we puzzle over whether to call a virus a living thing. It's not important which side of the line you put a virus on because your main objective is likely to be understanding the virus and how it impacts us, but it is important to realize that humans are drawing the line.
Aristotle grouped certain phenomena into the field he called physics, and today we find the field of physics turning out to be useful in explaining biology. Some people may think of biology as the field that examines a certain group of the consequences of physics.
Let's accept that there are kinds of phenomena that many groups in the world would group together, investigate together, etc., and that many more groups of people in the world could easily be taught to consider these phenomena together because it is useful to do so. We can probably teach people from cultures that explain disease as a consequence of witchcraft to recognize microbes under a microscope, to recognize the consequences of rubbing the microbe-rich water into wounds on the skin of rats, and gradually get them to accept a biological explanation for disease. If we take seriously the idea that we can aggregate phenomena in useful ways, if we accept the idea that humans regularly see useful ways to group phenomena and investigate them, then what we end up with as the central plotline of our activity is the creation and subsequent operation upon groups of phenomena.
Paul wants to say that there via a group of phenomena in our corporate experience that people have always grouped together. It's clear that the phenomena have always been there, give or take a few peripheral components such as blue people. It's not clear that the phenomena have always been grouped according to the same rules. There is nothing that forces us to that conclusion, and in fact the simple example of Venn diagrams gives us a familiar handle on this issue. Venn diagrams use a closed curve to indicate things that are grouped together according to one definition. When two closed curves overlap, what do we know about the components that are included in the overlap?
What is most significant when we are looking at overlapped groups is not the fact that they are overlapped, but the definitions that produce the overlap.
How about witches? People have always identified them. Other people look at the members of this group and place them in certain psychiatric categories. If we are going to have an article on witchcraft, will it be helpful to conflate witchcraft with psychosis?
Similarly, the conservative interpretation of the picture is that the Egyptians were grouping human beings according to some rule, and to state the rule (the definition). The picture shows they dealt with phenomena, not how they dealt with what we deal with in terms of [race].
Somewhere in the discussion of [race] we probably need to cite Willard Van Orman Quine's works on logic and sets such as Methods of Logic. I wish I could write as clearly and cogently as he does. P0M 16:54, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

The difference between "race" and "ethnicity" (with a reference). FilipeS 23:43, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

A reference to what? P0M 04:12, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

To refute the claim that "race and ethnicity are not clearly distinguished":

“[Races] are populations that differ genetically and may be distinguished phenotypically (i.e. by appearance). Races are not species; they are able to interbreed, and are fertile when they do.” (Eysenck, 1971)

FilipeS 21:01, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

What context was Eysenck speaking in? If it is biology, he probably is using the term "race" as some biologists continue to do, as a synonym for subspecies. Biologists have long ago decided that the only subspecies to which Homo sapiens sapiens may be contrasted is Homo sapiens neanderthalis, which is generally believed to be extinct.
The confusing thing about [race] and ethnicity is that often when people confidently identify someone as a member of this or that [race] they are actually looking at learned behavioral clues.
By the standards mentioned above, my sister and I would be members of different races since we could be distinguished phenotypically. Even many identical twins can be distinguished by appearance. So to make the definition work people have to make some sort of a rule as to how different two populations have to be to be regarded as subspecies. Our resident spider expert seems to be of the opinion that talking about subspecies of spiders is a losing game because of all the gray areas.
Is your comment in regard to something I wrote? I don't find the claim that you put in quotation marks either on this page or in the article. The article does say:

In the face of this rejection of race by evolutionary scientists, many social scientists have replaced the word race with the word "ethnicity" to refer to self-identifying groups based on beliefs in shared religion, nationality, or race. Moreover, they understood these shared beliefs to mean that religion, nationality, and race itself are social constructs and have no objective basis in the supernatural or natural realm (Gordon 1964)

Offhand, it seems to me that an ethnicity is probably easier to give a rational definition for than is a [race]. "If X is a native speaker of Irish, knows how to dance Irish folk dances, has a fair complection if kept out of the sun for a few months... s/he will probably be identified as 'Irish' by people who self-identify as 'Irish.'"
I continue to agree with your point that the picture should not be labeled in terms of "race." It would be better to say nothing more than what the ancient Egyptians said themselves. P0M 02:38, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

The quote aimed to address Paul B's objections, not your comments. FilipeS 20:58, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Lukas's edits

Over the past several months many parts of this article were deleted, and there was some reorganization of the article. I then restored what had been deleted, as well as much of the earlier organization. I explained why. The material that had been cute was important and salient, and the organization was superior in that there was less redundency and repetition of similar arguments. I also deleted one section and I explained why. the section I deleted was called "biological view" but it was really not the biological view, it was the psychologist Arthur Jensen's interpretation of certain biological data. Jenson is not an evolutionary scientist or population geneticist and his interpretation of the work of evolutionary scientists is contentious. It is misleading to provide a whole section to his views, and disguise it by calling it "biological view." The restored version (the earlier version I restored) does not delete views. It provides the view of people studying race and intelligence (Jensen) in its own clearly identified section. It also provides much more information on the view of race as lineage (which is the term scientists more often use, not Lucas's prefered term, "ancestry"). Please do not accuse of me deleting without explanation. I have not removed any relevant content, and I have explained my changes. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:55, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I must admit the dizzying complexity of the differences combined with later editing(s) makes comparion very wearysome! What are the central points and passages at issue? Jenson and lineage? Paul B 13:14, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

This is a big part of it. But also organization. Lucas's organization is: 1 History

1.1 Popular concepts of "race"
1.2 Scientific concepts of "race"
1.2.1 17th and 18th century
1.2.2 19th century
1.2.3 20th century
1.2.4 Summary of different definitions of race

2 Human genetic variation

2.1 Physical variation in humans
2.2 Ancestry
2.3 Biological interpretations of race

3 Current views across disciplines


1 History

1.1 Popular concepts of "race"
1.2 Scientific concepts of "race"
1.2.1 17th and 18th century
1.2.2 19th century

2 20th- and 21st-Century debates over race

2.1 Scale of race research
2.2 Race as subspecies
2.3 The rejection of race and the rise of "population" and "cline"
2.4 Race and Models of human evolution
2.4.1 The multiregional model
2.4.2 The displacement from Africa model and the rise of cladistics
2.4.3 Arguments for races as lineages
2.4.4 Arguments against races as lineages
2.5 Summary of different definitions of race

3 Current views across disciplines

first let me note that the second - i.e. original - organization was worked on by many knowledgable people and was stable for at least a couple of years. I do not think the structure of articles is ever sacrosanct, but given these facts one should propose new organization cautiously.

Here is why I think the second organization is superior: First, the themes in Lucas's section two represent parts of approaches that were debated in the 20th century. To have two separate sections, one on 20th century debates and another on genetics, either means a lot of repetition, or utterly inadequate discussion (because, if you do not discuss genetics in 20th century debates, you cannot understand those debates; and if you do not explain the genetics in the context of those debates you will end up violating NPOV since it is those debates that explain what the different povs are and how they are related. Second, it makes sense to distinguish 20th and 21st century debates from earlier debates because it was only in the 20th century the modern natural and social scientific study of race emerged - early debates provide historical context, but 20th century debates are still contemporary. Third, the organization of Lucas's section 2 simply makes no sense to me. Why not call section 2 "Biological interpretations of race" and make "genetics" "physical variation" and "ancestry" subsections? Or why not make section 2 "Ancestry" and then have subsections on how ancestry manifests itself genetically (genotypically) and physically (phenotypicically)? The organization of section 2 bears no relationship to how scientists talk about race, the subsections are not clearly defined, it just doesn't make sense. Forth, the original organization did make more sense. first, it began with a note on scale (which Lucas deleted) which is useful for making sense of why scientists may employ different approaches to race - it need not be that one approach is right and another wrong, but one may be more appropriate at one scale and another, at a different scale. This is true of much science and he should not have cut it. This section 2 then breaks down to clearly distinguishable approaches to race: subspecies, populations instead of races, and the evolutionary approach. Note than genetics and physical variation are covered in all three - no important material was deleted 9only Jensen, who, as I said, is covered in a later section on race and intelligence which is what Jensen's research is actually on). The evolutionary approach covers what Lucas might mean by "ancestry" but far from deleting information it provide much more important information on cladistics and the arguments for and against the lineage view of race. 2.5, the summary, actually summarizes all this. In lucas's version, he keeps the summary but none of what the summary is actually summarizing, which could only confuse people. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:48, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

It is generally disruptive to introduce a major change in an article without at least giving people who have been working on the article a heads up. It may be "bold" to do so, but there are ways of being bold without being disruptive. So I support returning the article to its prior stable state. If changes are desirable, let them be justified first. The alternative, which I have seen a few times, is a very disruptive edit war which does a great disservice to the general reader. P0M 17:16, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
As I said in your talk page, I'm not against reorganisation. I'm against deletion of cited material.
Ex 1: Clines and races (clusters roughly) are contrasted throughout the article (1 ex: "The existence of allelic clines has been offered as evidence that individuals cannot be allocated into genetic clusters (Kittles & Weiss 2003)") In your massive 1 edit organization, you have deleted:
"Also, clines and clusters, seemingly discordant perspectives on human genetic diversity may be reconciled. A recent comprehensive study has stated:
At the same time, we find that human genetic diversity consists not only of clines, but also of clusters, which STRUCTURE observes to be repeatable and robust. [4]"
This was cited and important. Another ex: "A. W. F. Edwards claimed in 2003 that Lewontin's conclusion is unwarranted because the argument ignores the fact that most of the information that distinguishes populations is hidden in the correlation structure of the data and not simply in the variation of the individual factors. [1] Armand Marie Leroi, an evolutionary developmental biologist at Imperial College in London, is one of the scientists that agrees with Edwards. [2]"
Clearly, given the amount of counter arguments, this was necessary, adding more than just technical talk about low Fst.
I can find more. However, since you are the one reorganizing the article, it is your responsibility to make sure no text is deleted. Not mine to go over huge single edit change...Lukas19 00:11, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

First, you are a hypocrite because your version deleted even more information which you never incorporated into your version. Second, you are at least a little disingenuous: the version I restored indeed included Edwards' view, which you claim was deleted. What was deleted was simply your wording, not the content itself. However, I have added some of your wording. The current version was worked on by many people over a long period of time, and both Guettarda and POM have expressed their support for the established version. If you want to add important content, fine, but that does not justify a wholesale reorganization that makes absolutely no sense, along with your deleting whole sections. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:41, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

You were claiming reorganization, now you are claiming addition of new material? As I said, it's hard to keep track. Dont make such huge changes in one edit. Or if you do, the least you can do would be not to delete anything that is cited, since it is you who's doing the huge-1-edit-change.
And I'm not disingineous. I accepted that some of Edwards' views were there but said: "Clearly, given the amount of counter arguments, this was necessary, adding more than just technical talk about low Fst". Learn to read properly. I see that your inattention to detail not only is focused on the article but on reading editor comments as well as spelling their nicks...Lukas19 18:13, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Is Race a myth, a social construct, a reality?

Race is a myth. It has been proven again and again that race is a social construct, yet there is still a debate. There are only six or seven genes out of millions that determine skin, hair and eye color, hair texture, nose shape, etc. Race is a social thing. Muigwithania 01:39, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Congratulations! You have been so completely brainwashed that you can't be brainwashed more. I wonder why people like you will do, when all those "social constructs" from the Third World flooding into Western countries will start to cut your throats. Centrum99 13:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

You're right Centrum, Muigwithania has been completely brainwashed by the PC liberals. Just how you have been completely brainwashed by far right wing racists! 17 January 2007 (UTC).
Very objective, Centrum — and revealing. FilipeS 15:42, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I think that because of some naive and foolish people, we don't need to experience personally that a mutual coexistence of many "social constructs" is impossible due to their different physical and mental capabilities. Since some "social constructs" don't possess necessary capabilities to create a civilization and they even are not capable to live in it, ignoring racial differences will inevitably lead to very serious problems threatening the very fundamental bases of our civilization. Centrum99 21:07, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Centrum, I thought you were WAY too intelligent to make such a moronic comment! Guess I grossly overestimated YOUR mental capabilities! Different physical and mental capabilities? Maybe physical. After all, evolution provided humans with variable adaptation to climate, diseases, and nutrition. (Dark-skinned people are better protected against UV, light-skinned people are better protected against rickets and frost bite. Many Africans and Mediterraneans are resistant to malaria, but also at risk for anemias. Possibly (and contrversially) athletic differences.) But mental capacities? Show me evidence! And not some social darwinist (fascist) propagandha. After all, there were no African civilizations! (Except for the Egyptians (neonegrid), Cushites, Axumites, Moors, Timbuktu, Zimbabwe, Zulu, Nubians...) or Australoid (Except the Harrapans (Indus Valley civilization), and really, Mongolids are descended from Australoids). No Amerindian civilizations (except the Maya, Olmec, Quechua/Inca, Aztc, Mexica, Nazca, Mississipian, Natchez...). But there were plenty of white civilizations... oh wait most European civilizations copied off the Romans, Greeks, Semites, Sumerians, and Egyptians. There was always a disturbingly high percentage of Y-haplogroup E3b1 in Greeks, Italics, Semites, and the real Aryans (Iranians, Afghanis, Scythians, original Sanskrit-speakers) so much for white accomplishment. If not for them 'octaroon' Greeks, Latins, and Semites the Europe would probably still be in a pre-literate Iron Age. I do not deny that there are racial groups, but such differences are purely physical, essentially adaptations to the local climate. Let's see why do black Africans act so criminally on average in America? Maybe because I don't know, centuries of slavery, segregation, prejudice which continues today "voluntary appartheid" (living in 'the ghetto' or 'the hood'), poverty (which is a major factor in criminality), media stereotypes, including a culture which promotes such negative stereotypes. In short, enviro-cultural factors! Maybe try picking up a copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond to answer your question, but you might have to pry your head out of your ass first. As for your personal view that multiracial societies do not function well, look at what Apartheid did to South Africa. Is that system still around today? Guess what S. Africa is doing just fine without it! 16 January 2007 (UTC).
I am sorry that I won't reply to you. Your reply is full of such guffs that if I responded to each specially, the space of the Wikipedia server would be dangerously overloaded. Centrum99 06:16, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Why if there are physical differences (maybe? I would have thought it was obvious, skin colour being one!) should there not be mental differences? The brain is a physical object. Obviously we all like to think that there is some strict defining line. Maybe cos we like to think we have some soul or personal identity and the idea of a genetic contribution reduces our feelings of self? Or maybe because it suggests there could be racial differences, and thats not PC so it must be wrong. I don't see any science here, just a statament that it's obvious, from both sides of the argument. Even accounting for economic factors, whites do better than blacks in western countries, but if your told that by a white racist just point out how well jews and orientals do. It's too easy to dismiss any difference as "stupid blacks" or "evil racist whites", there are lots of factors. And I would also question the sentence that S. Africa is doing just fine! Massive crime, rising aids, not so perfect. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:54, 31 January 2007 (UTC).
To centrum and anonymous. Of course the brain is a physical thing! (Duuuuuuuuuh!) So it stands to reason that the brain is largely affected by genetics. The exact degrees of hereditary, environmental, and random processes is not known however. No, mr. anonymous, I do not have some ego hangup which prevents me from accepting that we are largely the product of genes. What I do disregard however, is the allegedly "racial" distribution of innate intelligence or behavior patterns. The burden of proof is on you, to explain why evolution would favor differential intelligences on different areas of the Earth, or how climate and habitat would select for behaviors. It is not up to me to prove that genetically our brains are more or less the same on a planetary scale (though differ greatly individually)! You are the one making a positive claim. My rejection of such racist nonsense is not PC, it is merely because no science has substantiated it. "Even accounting for economic factors..." like what? Do you have any citations, sources, studies, resources? Any published research? Oh, wait you don't! And centrum99, apology accepted! We know you won't respond, because any response you could provide would lack any critical thinking or genuine argument.
Hey it's me again! Just thought I'd reply to try and provide some critical thinking and genunine argument. Don't think your gonna win just by calling me a racist ;). For sources maybe you could consult Wiki's own article Race_and_IQ#Explanations , (which I didn't edit). I wasn't suggesting the effect was entirely genetic. But I think the dismissal of genetic influence on intelligence and putting it all on "enviro-cultural factors" is the unscientific statement. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:01, 2 February 2007 (UTC).
To Maybe YOU might be capable of providing an argumentative response. (It is clear, but my comment was not directed at you.) Either way, I appreciate you calling me unscientific while you do the same! Anyways, I never said that IQ is purely environmental or non-genetic. I would not be surprised if intelligence is largely (perhaps as high as 50%) genetic. I for one believe that one's heritage plays a major role in their intellect. What I deny is that innate or hereditary (genetic) differences in intellectual abilities follow a racial distribution. In short average differences between races are environmental. Differences between individuals may be purely genetic or purely environmental or anything between. Nobody really knows. Similarly, the question of what exactly intelligence is presents a philosophical conundrum. For one thing, there is the issue of multiple intelligence and finding general intelligence. As such, as long as experts are unsure of how to generalize intelligence, if general intelligence exists. (And there may very well be such a phenomenon.) The best we could do is provide about a dozen tests for subtypes of intelligence, and as such some individuals might score very differently on such sub-tests. Nevertheless, if you hold the belief that there are any innate between-race differences in intellect, character, behavior, personality, or level of humanity, then you are by definition a racist! You need not be discriminatory or malicious towards other races to be racist! Even so, I DID read the link you provided me on race and intelligence, particularly the section on explanations.
  • "Arguing that IQ tests are often wrongly described as measuring "innate" rather than developed ability, Jencks and Phillips 1998 conclude that this "labeling bias" causes people to inappropriately attribute the Black-White gap to "innate" differences.[81][dubious — see talk page] They assert that non-cultural environmental factors cause gaps measured by the tests, rather than any possible innate difference based on genetics, and to use these tests as a measure of innate difference is misleading and improper.[82][dubious — see talk page]
Regarding the IQ gaps in the U.S., there are numerous possible explanations beside genetics. One author lists more than a hundred.[83] It has been suggested that African-American culture disfavors academic achievement and fosters an environment that is damaging to IQ.[84] Likewise, it is argued that the persistence of negative racial stereotypes reinforces this effect. John Ogbu has developed a hypothesis that the condition of being a "caste-like minority" affects motivation and achievement, depressing IQ.[85] Similarly, it is suggested that reduced performance from "stereotype threat" could be a contributing factor.[86]"
Interestingly, how do we determine whether IQ tests measure innate intelligence or crystalized intelligence? Is there a way to measure genetic versus non-genetic contributions to intelligence? Regardless, there are cultural differences as well as individual emotional barriers. For instance, there are many intelligent people who test poorly and therefore appear much less intelligent than they are due to low self-esteem. I think it is clear that changing attitudes alone could have a significant impact!
  • "Estimates of the significance of genetics vs. environment are dependent on the strength of environmental factors. For example, schizophrenia, regarded as being highly heritable[citation needed], has seen increased rates in second and third generation immigrants to Western European countries which do not seem to be the result of increased genetic susceptibility, but another, as yet unidentified, environmental factor(s) that seems to have become more influential[citation needed]."
  • "Many anthropologists[attribution needed] have argued that intelligence is a cultural category; some cultures emphasize speed and competition more than others, for example. Speculations about innate differences in intelligence between ethnic groups have occurred throughout history. Aristotle in the 4th century B.C. and Cicero in the 1st. century B.C. disparaged the intelligence of the northern Europeans of the time, as did the Moors in Iberia in the 11th century. [87]"
Aside from cultural differences in what is PERCIEVED as intelligence, this provides a very interesting historical counterexample to racist claims. Note that the Moors, a black African people ('moor' is derived from the Greek word for black, 'mauro'), found the caucasian Southwest Europeans they encountered to be of inferior intelligence. Ironically the opposite of what would come roughly five to eight centuries later. This indicates an intelligence gap created not by genetics but by dominance of one culture by another.
  • "In the developing world there are are many factors can greatly decrease IQ scores. Examples include nutrition deficiencies in iodine and iron; certain diseases like malaria; unregulated toxic industrial substances like lead and mercury; and poor health care for pregnant women and infants. Also in the developed world there are many biological factors that can affect IQ. Increased rates of low birth weight babies and lower rates of breastfeeding in Blacks as compared to Whites are some factors of many that have been proposed to affect the IQ gap.[88]"
Note, these test differences between racial groups being explained with developmental factors such as nutrition are technically biological, but these biological differences are ultimately environmental, not inherited. That means such differences are not innate, and since race is defined as ancestry, being nonhereditary, they are NOT RACIAL! Thus biological factors are not always genetic, but may be environmental along with such nonbiological factors such as culture, socio-economic status, and emotional factors. Consider that a person of any race raised under certain conditions will likely be shaped similarly by such conditions.
  • Consider the Flynn effect: "The secular, international increase in test scores, commonly called the Flynn effect, is seen by Flynn and others as reason to expect the eventual convergence of average black and white IQ scores. Flynn argues that the average IQ scores in several countries have increased about 3 points per decade during the 20th century, which he and others attribute predominantly to environmental causes.[89] This means, given the same test, the mean black American performance today could be higher than the mean white American performance in 1920, though the gains causing this appear to have occurred predominantly in the lower half of the IQ distribution.[90] If changes in environment can cause changes in IQ over time, they argue, then contemporary differences between groups could also be due to an unknown environmental factor. On the supposition that the effect started earlier for whites, because their social and economical conditions began to improve earlier than did those of blacks, they anticipate that the IQ gap among races might change in the future or is even now changing. An added complication to this hypothesis is the question of whether the secular IQ gains can be predominantly a real change in cognitive ability. Flynn's face-value answer to this question is "No",[91] and other researchers have found reason to concur.[92] Responding to such concerns, Dickens and Flynn 2001 have proposed a solution which rests on genotype-environment correlation, hypothesizing that small initial differences in environment cause feedback effects which magnify into large IQ differences.[93] Such differences would need to develop before age 3, when the black-white IQ gap can be first detected.[94]"
In short, considering the Flynn effect, allegedly "racial" gaps appear to be shrinking, and the mean intelligence of various groups are converging. As for the "black-white" disparity, in America at least, there is no reason why blacks will not catch up or even surpass whites.
Finally, the nail in the coffin: "Many studies that attempt to test for heritability find results that do not support the partly-genetic hypothesis (20-80% genetic). They include studies on IQ and skin color,[95] self-reported European ancestry,[96] children in post WWII Germany born to black and white American soldiers,[97] blood groups,[98] and mixed-race children born to either a black or a white mother.[99] Many intervention and adoption studies also find results that do not support the genetic hypothesis.[100] Non-hereditarians have argued that these are direct tests of the genetic hypothesis and of more value than indirect variables, such as skull size and reaction time.[101] Hereditarians argue that these studies are flawed due to their age, lack of replication, problems with their sample population, or that they do in fact support the partly-genetic hypothesis.[102]"
In short, if there was an innate/hereditary/genetic/evolutionary racial difference in intellect, then such factors as racial mixing should show this. For instance, "mulattoes" would be expected to score higher than blacks but lower than whites, but this is clearly NOT the case. This subsection does not really delve into as much detail on experiments in the US which found for instance that light-skinned blacks (who often tend to have more European ancestry) scored NO higher than more African blacks, as well as adoption studies. Indeed some tests include self-reported ancestry and more recently genetic assessment of ancestry. Thus, this allegedly racial difference is more between socially defined categories than any meaningful biologically defined ancestry group. In brief, due to the infamous "one drop rule" in the United States, where "one drop of negro blood" would make somebody black, and "quadroons" (~1/4 African) and "octoroons" (~1/8 African) were considered "black" despite being mostly of white European ancestry. Thus African admixture in "white" Americans is extremely rare (though Amerindian admixture is fairly common) whereas European admixture is fairly high in "black" Americans. Many mostly-caucasian black people qualify as African-American even today, after the stigma of the one drop rule and Jim Crow South has largely faded and the horrors of slavery, segregation, lynchings have ended. So regardless of whether races are social constructions or biological realities, being Black or African-American in America is at least partially socially constructed. Allegedly racial differences in intelligence do not correspond with ancestry, but with socially define racial affiliation (regardless of one's "blackness" or "whiteness"). Thus as far as mulatto and 'quadroon' people are mistreated as other black people, they will follow similar patterns. Their white ancestral component DOES NOT HELP. Nor conversely does any African ancestry in whites adversely affect them. Mixed race people only show intermediate performance when treated as a sepparate racial groups (as in South Africa where Coloureds (mixed indigenous African and European colonist at a rougly 50-50 ratio) were not as adversely affected by poverty and crime as "Blacks" but much worse off than "Whites". Notice also, how shitty the counterarguments from the "hereditarian" group tend to be. They are "flawed due to their age" (as if such researchers as Rushton do not use phrenology and other 19th century pseudosciences, really an extension of such 19th century pseudoscience) or "they do in fact support the partly-genetic hypothesis" (Really? Just like the fossil record supports creationism!).
  • "Fryer and Levitt 2006, with data from "the first large, nationally representative sample" of its kind, report finding only a very small racial difference when measuring mental function for children aged eight to twelve months, and that even these differences disappear when including a "limited set of controls".[103] They argue that their report poses "a substantial challenge to the simplest, most direct, and most often articulated genetic stories regarding racial differences in mental function."[103] They conclude that "to the extent that there are any genetically-driven racial differences in intelligence, these gaps must either emerge after the age of one, or operate along dimensions not captured by this early test of mental cognition."[103]"
  • As for the hereditary explanation"C Critics of this view, such as Robert Sternberg, argue that these studies are either flawed and thus inconclusive, or else that they support a primarily environment (<20% genetic) hypothesis.[115] For example, Dolan and Hamaker 2001 argue that the statistical methods linking the Black-White gap to g are insufficient.[116]"
  • "Most intelligence researchers believe that IQ differences among individuals reflect the general intelligence factor, g.[75] The nature of g itself is still an active area of research, and the question of whether IQ differences among groups are substantially genetic is hotly contested.
According to the American Psychological Association, the difference between the average IQ scores of Blacks and Whites in the U.S. cannot be attributed to any obvious biases in test construction or cultural biases, as opposed to more occult environmental or genetic causes.[76] Evidence against test construction and cultural bias includes the internal consistency of item difficulty for all groups, the equivalent validity of tests in predicting academic and occupational outcomes for all groups, and the persistence of the IQ gap on relatively culture-free tests.[77]"
It is claimed that cultural bias in construction of the tests is not an issue. Still, I am curious how anybody figured out how to generate a "culture-free test." Also, note that one of the alleged arguments for equivalent validity of the test as an assessment of intelligence for all groups is the equivalent validity of tests in predicting academic and occupational outcomes for all groups. This is circular reasoning however, as external social factors (especially economic status) have a tremendous impact on academic and occupational incomes. Not to mention the problems in defining intelligence cross-culturally. For example, one variable that these "culturally unbiased" tests consistently neglect is time! Some cultures which emphasize time, even at the expense of quality will produce faster test takers, whereas those who prioritize quality over time will not. Not to mention that virtually every intelligence test is biased in favor of the literate! Even culturally unbiased tests often employ abstract symbols reminiscent to writing. (Perhaps the logographic nature of East Asian writing systems explains their success on such tests?) Finally, excuse my language, but does anybody even know what the fuck intelligence is, and how to define and categorize such a complex phenomenon?
Question to User I have addressed your claims and evaluated the explanation. You and others like you repeatedly accuse critics of "circular reasoning" or inverting causality. Perhaps those denying racial differences in intelligence are? How do we test this? Well the Flynn effect predicts a growth in IQ scores and also, a probable convergence between racial groups. The Flynn effect RESULTS FROM improved living conditions. This is contrary to the claim that those who deny hereditarian basis for racial differences in IQ are inverting causation. (I.e. the hereditarian counter-argument by social darwinists that adverse living conditions are a result of, not a cause of lower intellectual development). You have completely dodged my question. I asked for you to provide a hypothetical basis for believing that evolutionary processes would select for differential intelligence in different geographically isolated populations. You did not give me one solid, reasonable hypothetical explanation. FUCK! You did not even give me a flimsy hypothesis! And please, none of Rushton's R-selected/K-selected hypothesis, or the alleged magical effect of Ice Ages and Arctic climates favoring the development of genetically more advanced humans. Apparently, the tropically-adapted "Negroids" and "Australoids" did not face the selective pressures of the last Ice Age which so benefitted the "Mongoloids" and "Cromagnoids". One small problem though. The Inuits whose ancestors have lived more or less continuously in Arctic conditions for well over 20,000 years (since the last Ice Age at least), probably more, and continue to live in the Arctic and also, incidentally have the largest endocranial volume/brain size of any group, scored on average, a modest IQ of 91. See also, this chart: [Of course the labelling of this chart alone is an indication of the banality and poor quality of Lynn's research considering two enormous flaws: (1) it ommits a category for Europeans/Middle-Easterners ("Caucasians" or "Whites") and East ("yellow") Asians and (2) it considers Hispanics or Latinos a race, when clearly irregardless of whether races are biologically real or social products, a Hispanic or "Latin" race is purely a social construction, thus undermining Lynn's premise that racial differences are between genetic and not social groups.] This score is between the white and black mean, but somewhat closer to the black mean. The IQ distributions on the chart seem to correlate not with any sort of genetic superiority, but very roughly, with how oppressed some groups are, with those suffering the most dicrimination (and thus worse living condtions) including African-Americans and American Indians scored lower on average than Hispanics or Eskimos, who faced discrimination but not to the extent (genocide, slavery, apartheid) of the aforementioned groups. The point remains that if there were any merits to the climatic selection hypothesis, then Eskimos should score well above East Asians and especially Europeans. This is not the case however.
  • Postscript: Note that the research of Lynn calculates the average intelligence of sub-Saharan Africans and Australian Aborigines at 67 and 62 respectively. This research is obviously faulty however, because 70 is often held to be the threshold of mental retardation. Thus according to Lynn's racist drivel, the aforementioned groups are on average, mildly mentally retarded, but were this the case, they would not survive so well. Contrary to the belief that the tropics are some Edenic paradise, intelligence IS required to make a living in the tropics.
O.K. This explains, why blacks in Haiti, having lived without white oppression, supremacy, discrimination and racism for 200 years, have created such a great civilization... Oh, pardon, weren't they actually oppressed by white Cubans? You know, wherever there are white people, blacks must be alert. The oppression is omnipresent! Centrum99 22:18, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Never experienced white oppression? How do you think Haitian Blacks arrived in Haiti? Did they colonize the island from Africa? Historically speaking, Haitians are not in Haiti by choice. They were forcibly kidnapped from their native land durring the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and settled in certain parts of the Carribean, so to say that any people of Black African origins in the New World had a history free of white oppression since their arrival is extremely absurd, silly, and foolish, and completely wrong. Following, a tragic origin, even if they had no internal oppression (as African Americans in the US South or Bantus and Khoikhoi in South Africa experienced), they experienced external (usually economical) oppression. In the Middle Ages Islamic civilizations such as the Arabs, Persians, and even African cultures dominated and compared to Arabs, Northern Europeans appeared to be primitive barbarians. Now however, the situation is reversed with the USA and Western Europe repeatedly fucking the Middle East over with an economic motive. Is this shift due to a sudden genetic mutation altering the balance between modern Europeans and the Arab race, or is it due to a shift in political and economic dynamics? Likewise, in Haiti, just over half the adult population is literate (54.8% of males, 51.2% of females, 52.9% of the total), the average life expectancy is roughly 53 years, unemployment appears to affect the majority, 80% of the population are below the poverty threshold. (Source: I did not even bother with Wikipedia, seeing as it is beyond worthless as a legitimate information source, but if you consider the CIA Factbook to be "Marxist propagandha" then you are truly a lost cause!) My point is that you could compare any third world nation regardless of race and you will find that the underlying factors regarding the success of any nation invlove conditions such as eduaction, health, and economics, not innate inferiority of a people.
Tell me frankly: Aren't you yourself a black person? I can't imagine a deranged white man, who would with such a childish passion defend egalitarian dogmas whose falsehood one can recognize by common sense, without any scientific studies. Soon or later, you will have to face the truth. Irrespectively of what your mum or Mrs. teacher in school crammed into your head since your birth. Centrum99 14:22, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
What makes you think I am black? Can't a white man defend his fellow humans of color without being "deranged"? Your racism has penetrated to the core of your being, and you are so full of liquid hate crystalizing in every cell of your being that your entire perspective on reality is hopelessly, tragically inverted. You quote your crime statistics by Fascist J. Taylor and AmRen but fail to explain why every serial killer was white. (How many black serial killers were there?) You invert causality to fit your racialist agenda. Ever care to explain how great Black African civilizations like the Moors and Egypt flourished? (Herodotus described the Egyptians as dark brown and wooly haired. Yes the Egyptians showed "Caucasoid" skeletal traits, but so do Somalis and Ethiopians, but nobody calls them Caucasian, excluding Kkkarleton Kkkoon.) There was a time when whites were slaves (Refer to paintings on stone depicting mocha-skinned Egyptians and their fair-skinned servants.). After all, you claim that all attempts to develop a culturally unbiased IQ test where all groups average out equally fail. Really? I wonder what would have happened if African colonists captured Europeans and enslaved them in the Americas. Fast forward after centuries of slavery, followed by emancipation, the whites are living in poverty. Some parts of the country impose apartheid-like discrimination. How do you think the whites would do on IQ tests constructed by dominant blacks? You can rant and rave about the evils of multiracialism and multiculturalism and socialism all you want, but I appreciate the contributions of ALL races and cultures to human history. I am not an afrocentrisit. Let's see how long you can go without making reference to your conspiracy theory concerning multiculturalist/multiracialist/panhumanist/socialist secret societies possibly involving Communiststs, Freemasons, Jews, and Templars.
Your posts have already allowed me to place you among the worst kind of left-wing scum. So don't wanste your time by posting here and find a good psychiatrist. Centrum99 21:21, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
It could be worse! I actually refute the crap you propagate, but I could be like FilipeS and really babble PC liberal dogma and postmodernist philosophy, quoting Lewontin, rsorting to leftist historical revisionism and various "social construction" mantras. Instead I use science to counter your claims. But you do not bother with any of your other opponents, just me, because I actually confront your lies. But I guess I would rather be left-wing scum than a fascist like yourself, so Centrum, why don't you be a good little Nazi and follow your leader!
The U.S. seems to have managed well so far. Anyway, Wikipedia is about facts and verifiable sources. It is not a soapbox. Are you sure this is the right place for you? Because you will be hard pressed to find any of what you've just written stated by a reliable source. FilipeS 22:52, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I wonder why you actually visit and comment this page. What can you offer - except your noble ideals? I already debated here with similar people and one thing that they have in common is that they know no facts and only quote bluffs of the gurus of political correctness. After you learn something about this topic, we can start some discussion. You can begin with the word "haplogroup", for example. Centrum99 01:36, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

As someone who wandered around much of the third world with a backpack and thick soles, dependent on the goodness of strangers, and as a white guy living in a nice American city who has never had trouble from Afro-Americans, Mexicans, or anybody buy white people out to prove something to themselves, I am not worried that people from abroad who look different from us would threaten me. If I could walk around Islamic fishing communities where every man carried a kriss and I carried nothing but a billfold full of travelers checks and a passport and be safe, what would it tell us if members of my Islamic/Malay fishing community came to the United States and caused trouble? If my bees were gentle in Nebraska and they got testy when I moved them to Colorado, I would look to environmental factors such as the lack of sufficient floral nectar to keep them fed and undefensive.

Now as for your haplogroups, nobody is or should be surprised that people who are closely related to each other should resemble each others in traits that are not learned. If a tow headed, round eyed, big nosed baby were to be born in an isolated farming community of Taiwanese aborigines, people would talk. We don't need the technological trappings of genetics to understand the basic facts of life that have been clear to people since the dawn of history. We are now clearer how these similarities are transmitted from generation to generation, but that is like understanding why fire burns when you already knew better than to stick your hand in it. But we let apparent uniformity deceive us into thinking that there is no flame that is not hot, that there is no Chinese that is born with curly hair unless a visiting foreign devil has visited the mother.

The "reality" (as philosophers of science see it) is that all propositions, all alleged statements of matters of fact, are social constructs. But some social constructs rest on little or no data, and some social constructs rest on a very great deal of data. Leprechauns have defined characteristics. They are pictured in beer ads and other places around the middle of March. But people can draw them in different ways and nobody can resolve disputes that result because only very well lubricated bigger people have seen them, and by the time they sober up their reports are apt to be a trifle confused. Protons have never been seen, exactly, but they have been measured in terms of their mass, their electrical charge, etc., over and over again. Nobody who has the slightest talent as a gambler would gamble on the result of the next observation contradicting all the earlier observations.

A [race] is another kind of social construct, one that falls in the middle between leprechauns and protons. There is some similarity that gives people reason to group all the aboriginal people of Australia together. At the same time, there are many differences that distinguish sub groups of Australians, sub-sub groups.... and on down to all individuals except pairs of individual twins. So there is something there, but it is not what people make out of it. We construct a unity on the fact of similarity.

The identification of [races] has some utility, but only in statistical terms. If you are white you are more likely to get skin cancer than if you are black. The color of your skin is an inherited trait, but you can't just go out and treat every white person for skin cancer, and you cannot fail to look for the symptoms of skin cancer in black people. If you look at the group you can say, e.g., "There will be three times as many skin cancers in this group as there will be in that group." If you've done your statistical workup right, your results will be very close to your prediction. But you cannot tell anything about the health status of an individual without looking.

If you try to find a "pure race," you may go to some remote place, round up the people, and start examining them. Oh-oh, problem. Everybody else has shovel-shaped incisors except for this woman and her boy. She can't be a member of this race, so we'll remove her from consideration. Everybody has straight, black hair -- except for that man with wavy hair. Throw him and his kids out. What happens is that the purer you get your "pure race," the fewer people it has in it. Finally you are down to yourself and your good twin. Alas, all others have been found wanting in one of the sacred traits of your race.

Alas, poor superman, although Muigwithania said that skin, hair and eye color, hair texture, nose shape, etc. distinguish people, you will find atypical skin colors, atypical hair curl, atypical eye color, etc., in any group, in any "race." And the reasons have to do with the genetic factors that you want to build your defense of [race] on -- Somewhere in history somebody either mutated (creating a "bloodline" of mutants!) or carried his family genes into the local scene from farther away where the genes were common, and those stranger genes have been floating around from generation to generation just waiting for a chance to express themselves. (And of course there are lots of genetic differences that manifest on the inside, so two identical looking Amerinds might have a significant difference in something like alcohol metabolism.) The curly headed trait might have been introduced into remote corner of the world X one, ten, one hundred... generations ago. And that is just the nature of amorous and xenophilic human nature. The worst thing is that once an interloper gets his/her genes into the pool of the local group, the blasted things do not stick together. Some genes go to one grandchild who gets himself killed by kicking a sleeping Cape Buffalo. Some genes go to another grandchild who is the Don Juan of his area and has more children than have ever been credited to any man except Genghis Kahn. Some genes go with great-granddaughter Ann who moves to the mountains where the genes give all her kids great advantages, and with her brother Sven who moves to the sea shore where his children do not thrive. But some genes carried to the sea shore thrive there and flub up in the mountains. The end result is that two important traits from the same immigrant Don Juan end up thriving in two groups of people who look very different from each other.

But what races are there?

I understand the article is about race the concept, but I wondered about there not seeming to be any list of the races. I tried looking for an article called "races", but no luck. Really what I was looking for was to see how many white races are said to exist, though. 21:28, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

There is only one race, human. But if you're interested in the races scientists alleged existed in the past, and some still believe in, see Race (historical definitions). FilipeS 21:57, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Very noble words. Shame that they are so far from the reality. Centrum99 06:19, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Got anything factual to contribute? If not, kindly find yourself a soapboax in another website. Wikipedia is not one. FilipeS 12:18, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Anonymous, I understand your curiosity, but I can not help. Truth is, this depends on defintion of race. Fact is nobody knows exactly how many races there are, and who qualifies. Many systems of classification have been proposed by such people as Carolus Linnaeus, Johann Blumenbach, Thomas Henry Huxley, and Carleton Coon, but such systems have been found to be largely fraudulent often created with a racist agenda. All modern human beings belong to the same species and subspecies (Homo sapiens sapiens) as opposed to Neanderthals, a different species (Homo neanderthalensis) and Idaltu man/archaic sapiens, a different subspecies (Homo sapiens idaltu). Fact is human racial groups could not be considered taxonomical categories. Unfortunately, it is hard to talk about race, given that racialist people often will enthusiastically propose classification schemes (albeit with a sinister agenda), whereas the people who should talk about race (experts in the field, most of whom renounce racism) are often afraid to.

The original question was about "white races," which is cutting the cheese even more finely than those mentioned above. If "race" is a sort of sub-subspecies, then [races] of white people would be something like a sub-sub-subspecies. The situation with humans is about like the situation with honey bees. You can distinguish between, e.g., the black bees of England and the striped yellow and black bees of Italy -- or at least you could before English beekeepers imported Italian queens because Italians are easier to manage and produce larger crops of honey. If you look at Carniolans and Italians, then the "classical types" of each variety look different and have different behavioral characteristics. But if you read about the bees found in places between the "homelands" of the Italians and the Carniolans you will find descriptions of bees that are said to be Italians but having many of the traits of Carniolans, and vice-versa. The truth is that there are broad hybridization zones between the two "homeland" regions. But if somebody in the middle wanted to declare his/her genetic mixture as the standard of a new "race" of bees, that idenitty would be as valid as either of the other two. Bees don't come labeled by nature except in their own individual genomes.

That being said, there has been lots of work done to try to sort out the general family histories of groups in Europe. The Lapps are linguistically very different from everybody else, and I believe they have some higher percentages of some haplotypes than do other Europeans. So you can wonder where they came from, when they got to Europe, etc. There is a chart on page 268 of Cavalli-Sforza's History and Geography of Human Genes that shows the genetic relations among 26 different groups. Those groups are generally identified by their geographical locations, and from that genetic tree you can see that Lapps are kind of off on their own, that Sardinians are next in line for remoteness, and then they are followed by the Greeks. Generally the rest of the results are pretty much as one would expect, e.g., Germans and Swiss are very close.

Lest anyone take too much comfort from this picture of sub-sub-racial differentiation, take a look at the charts in the rest of the chapter that show how, if you concentrate on one set of characteristics, some geographical area is tessalated by certain bands of genetic similarity, but if you pick some other set of characteristics then the bands on the map look totally different. So Michael and Patrick might both be mugwump Irish, but Patrick might be black Irish and Michael might not. In fact, Michael even might better fit in with the Scots on that one score.

Bottom line, if your ancestors all came from Wales and you want to know what your genetic constitution really is (and not just what it is statistically likely to be), you will have to get your genome analyzed. Beware. You might end up looking more like a Sardinian than whatever you thought you really were. P0M 21:37, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks and P0M! Interesting information. I think "species" is not so much what I was thinking about, but rather "traits." I think the Lapps look different from Scandinavians, and perhaps Russians also look different from Scandinavians. So perhaps there are differences between white people -- like a similar skin tone may be shared by Native Americans and Japanese, but few would say they are the same "race" just based on that. I'd say, considering how central "race" is to humans, the current article reflects that our knowledge, I mean generally, has lots of interesting progress to make still. (Just thinking out loud, here... :) Thanks again for your good replies and information. 04:45, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
It's obvious, but not politically corect. There are three primary races: caucasoid, negroid, and mongoloid. Secondary races are mixtures of these three and are not true races.Lestrade 16:41, 30 January 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

A notable racial group is the white race. Its history is well documented white history or [ white history].--DarkTea 09:21, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Since skin colors have infinite gradations and degrees, the adjective "white" cannot be used to describe humans. Does it mean pure white? If not, does it mean off-white, eggshell white, yellowish white, brownish white, greyish white, etc.? Using color, which has endlessly different tints, shades, and hues, as a basis of race is a poor idea.Lestrade 15:52, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
Skin colors not only have a wide range, the average color of a population in Iceland is very different from the average color of a population in Malawi. If you jump from Iceland to Malawi you may conclude that there are two very different kinds of people. On the other hand, if you walk and kayak from one place to the other you will see the "infinite gradation" phenomenon. But the same thing happens if you look at other traits such as head shape. If you look at genetic features, you see gradations too, but you don't see them forming along the same lines. There are mappings of genetic characteristics in books that you could look up, but just to get an idea of what I am talking about, imagine covering the palm of your left hand with blue paint and the palm of your right hand with red paint, have a piece of letter-sized paper positioned horizontally on the table, and make a handprint with each hand so that the finger areas cross each other. The red color represents one genetic trait (e.g., brown or black hair) and the blue color represents another (e.g., wavy hair). In some areas one trait may predominate, and in other areas the other trait may predominate, and sometimes you find an area where both traits are about equally represented, and people who have wavy black hair. If red and blue represent traits that are "race markers," then you have a problem. So the fall-back position is to say, "Well, Ms. X has 94% of the traits that would make her a Klingonoid, so let's call her a Klingonoid. Mr. Y, however, has only 93% of those traits, so we can't accept him as a Klingonoid. He has to be regarded as some kind of "mixed breed." Somebody else sets the line at 90% and somebody else is satisfied with 51%. Then, politics being what it is, the percentages go up and down depending on how people want to bend the discussion.P0M 17:07, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I think I am normally camel colored (or khaki? Some catalogues call it "sand"). When I get really sick though I think I am the color of bazooka bubble-gum that has been chewed a long time. Not sure how to classify that. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:59, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Using color as a basis of race, I'd say that you are racially a Turkish Taffy person.Lestrade 16:16, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
YES! By gum, I should have realized that myself! Slrubenstein | Talk 17:18, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Although it is clear that their is variation in color among the white racial group. The white racial group is clearly distinct here: white subraces or [ white subraces].--DarkTea 10:27, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

No more and no less distinct that other "racial" groups. We have all the same origins.--Ramdrake 14:23, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Make that origin (singular). We all originally came from a few one-celled organisms in Africa. But, seriously, the white race is becoming less and less distinct. What race is Mariah Carey, Johnny Depp, or Arnold Schwarzenegger? Lestrade 02:26, 4 February 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
According to MotT, the first two are not white, but I believe Arnold is white.--DarkTea 11:35, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I believe the only thing that's about prove is that the first hominids arose in Africa. As far as where the first one-celled organisms arose, I don't think anybody knows.--Ramdrake 16:22, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I guess it all depends on what criteria you use to define "White". Races as we know them might be totally irrelevant a few thousand years down the line, maybe sooner.--Ramdrake 16:22, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I suppose we could define a white as a black, but if we wanted the real definition of white we would have to go to here: white people or [ white people].--DarkTea 17:43, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

There is no "real definition" of white. It's a fiction. FilipeS 20:45, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

request for comments

On race and intelligence, please [2] Slrubenstein | Talk 13:13, 31 January 2007 (UTC)


We do not pursue truth in this matter. We pursue usefulness. It is more useful to conclude that African Americans are innately equal to other races in intelligence. Therefore, whether they are or aren't, it should be our policy to act as if they are. The reason is as follows: If it is agreed that African Americans are innately less intelligent, then they will have no motivation to try to improve and to try to learn difficult subjects. There will be a feeling of utter hopelessness, which will lead to despair. However, if it is agreed that they are equally intelligent, then they will have some motivation and, even if they fail, the standards can be lowered or tests can be eliminated altogether. In other words, it is more constructive for society to agree by convention that African Americans are of equal intelligence, whether it is strictly true or not.Lestrade 21:06, 5 February 2007 (UTC)ArnoldSchwarzneger

Or, people simply could use common sense. deeceevoice 12:05, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

For over a century now, the trend in anthropology, biology and more recently in genetics has been for more and more evidence to show up contradicting the notion that there are distinct human races. Human beings are simply both more alike and more diverse than that. "Race" as it is commonly perceived it is a social thing. If the concept of "race" has no objective biological basis, then surely the idea that there may be innate differences in intelligence between different races becomes nonsensical. Our gene pool is too scrambled to allow for that possibility. FilipeS 12:29, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

But, it is not scrambled yet to the point where Asians, Whites, and Blacks can be shown to score similarly on SATs and IQ tests. We look forward to the day when results are scrambled enough to show that no difference exists.Lestrade 14:46, 9 February 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
Circular reasoning. You are assuming the reason for the observed differences is genetic. But we've already seen that genetic differences between human populations are insignificant. FilipeS 18:40, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Genetic differences between races are significant enough to be easily spotted both with eyes and by genetic tests. Are you seriously think that there are no difference?--Igor "the Otter" 19:22, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Wrong. There are genetic differences between people. Races are just in your mind. FilipeS 22:38, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
User:FilipeS, you are so right. I was just looking at photographs of Idi Amin and Vladimir Putin. The genetic differences are so insignificant that I could hardly tell one from the other.Lestrade 20:51, 16 February 2007 (UTC)OmarSilliman
Can you tell apart Idi Amin from Milton Obote and Vladimir Putin from Mikhail Gorbachev? There is no "Idi Amin" race or "Vladimir Putin" race. There are individuals, and these will share some features with each other. Some of the features are selected so that their frequency increases in the environment where there are adaptive (some others will drift), but the features that are not selected will be shared across environments. And this is the bulk of our genome. It is also important to realize that a gene under selection (e.g for skin color) will be very fast delinked from its genetic background thank to recombination (in particular, the space between recombination hotspots in humans is estimated to be between 100-200 kilobases) so that only the gene (or feature) under selection will be fixed, whereas the diversity on the rest of the genome will be mantained. 18:18, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
The conversation between us was about IQ, remember? Or did you run out of arguments? FilipeS 22:39, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe, it is good idea to describe in this article, which are the differences in IQ between races. Who got higher score and who got lower. You may be mean that 99% of human genome is similar to all races then you say that races are only in my mind. So there are more common then different. May be. But cat's genome is 90% similar to human's one. So there are nine times more similar between human and cat genetically then different, so what? What is in my mind? Color of the skin and others racial differences? Haplogroups? Different sizes of the brain? Different IQ scores? What more do you need to see that races exist? The significance of the differences is not in number of differences/similarities, but in their qualities.--Igor "the Otter" 09:00, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
IQ tests simply cannot be used to compare across races or social groups. The reason for this is that they are standardized tests, i.e. the scores are normalized so that teh average score is 100 points and 1SD is 15 points. The normalization is done independently for every version of the test (and also over time). So, as an example, we have a test designed on and for English speakers and one one and for for German speakers. The two tests are then standardized independently as I mentioned before (average 100, 1SD=15), which makes a comparision between the two meaningless. So in order to compare two populations you have to construct a perfectly balanced sample of people to take exactly the same test. And again, you wouldn't get rid of the problem. In the original design of IQ tests, questions where an entire category of people scores exceptionally low compared to the rest are removed. This should be done also when comparing across "races". I think it is important to realize that the harm that can be done by misunderstanding reasearch on races, genetics or IQ is enormous and therefore extreme caution should be used and above all prejudices left aside. 18:18, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
And, either way, there already is a specialized article about Race and intelligence. FilipeS 18:57, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The enormous harm to our civilization was already done. By bringing millions of low-IQ people to Europe. 22:14, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
They should feel right at home, then. FilipeS 22:19, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

"Species and subspecies"

See this article definition of "race"... How somebody could claim that there are human subspecies? What that's mean? Is that ranging of human beings? What do you talking about with that claim in definition? -- 04:35, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Good call. Early in the article it clarifies the point but later in the article it talks about early 20th century attempts to divide plants and animals into groups smaller than species. Those groups were called subspecies, and "race" was (and still is) used as a synonym for "subspecies." The problem is that biologists in the field find it so hard to peg individuals as members of a subspecies that many think it is a useless endeavor. A sub-subspecies definition of "race" would seem to be what some people still feel to be a useful endeavor. I have responded to your valid criticism. Humans are indeed ranging. They range (and procreate) far more freely than members of the two "subspecies" of salamanders that appear to be "definably different" when looking at the far edges of their ranges but have an embarrassingly broad medial zone of hybridization.
As far as those who are still willing to talk about subspecies go, there is only one for all living humans, Homo sapiens sapiens.
P0M 04:57, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Over 5 centuries, such claims that there are human subspecies, was excuse for slavery, segregation, exclusion, genocide, extermination. So I call people who maintain this theories to think, what they are talknig about. -- 05:09, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Since we do not have the Neanderthals to kick around anymore, there is only one "subspecies" of human beings. The article, as it stands, does not claim that there are subspecies. Look again at the top of the article:
The term race distinguishes one population of an animal species (including human) from another of the same subspecies.
The claim of people who assert that there are [races] of human beings (which I personally think is a pernicious idea) is that there is something that might be called a sub-subspecies. Since field biologists often can't be sure which "subspecies" something actually is, i.e., because even subspecies designations are ambiguous, squishy, matters of opinion, etc., the possibility that cutting the cheese even finer will not make it crumble is very low.
Anyway, the sentence quoted above does not claim that living humans are members of separate subspecies. P0M 06:03, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
We didn't had Neanderthals when concept "race" (worldwide) in humans, begin to have clear meanings 5 centuries ago. I think that exists clear diferences in meaning, between animal classification and human classification in races. Nobody (or if, these are minorities) in relevant literature, uses term race to distinguish Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. Most literature on topic uses the term race to distinguish people/humans in base of skin color, some antropologic characterstics, and so on. Term subspecies here is very problematic. -- 17:34, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, neanderthals were not a different subspecies, they belong to a different species.'
O.K., words and classifications change. There is another subspecies, Homo sapiens idaltu (elderly wise man — discovered 1997).P0M 21:11, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Top note of this article states: This article concerns the term "race" as used in reference to human beings. -- 17:34, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

The word subspecies is simply unnecessary so I deleted it. I also added "group" because as far as humans are concerned there are different views and some see races not as populations but as social groups. This should be a fairly non-controversial edit; the delition does not change the meaning of the sentence, and the addition only adds another POV represented already in the body of the article, and does not remove the other POV. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:50, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
"Group" is a misleading word. "Social groups" sounds a lot like "ethnic groups", and we've already seen that race is not the same as ethnicity. FilipeS 18:43, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
You "saw" no such such thing. I just gave up debating because there was no point in responding to P0M's screeds of of-the-top-of-his head paragraphs that did not address the issue under debate but just generated more misconception and endless copy. One of the well established meanings of "race" is an "endogamous group". That was the most common and established meaning throughout most of the history of the term, and it is still a familiar usage. Of course this usage does imply some notion of "family" resemblance and common inheritance, but not necessarily one that is ancient or exclusive. More recently the term "race" has come to be used for social groups that share physicial features but do not necessarily have common ancestry, so an African and an Australian Aboriginal might complain about "racist" attitudes to "black people" even though they know that Africans and Australians are no more closely related than Africans and Europeans. In this usage the two groups are legitimately described as of the "same race". Even more recently the terms race and racism have been used to refer to national and religious groups, such as "racist attitudes to Muslims" [3] or even "anti French racism" [4]. These are now quite well established usages. Much of the problem here is the insitance that ther word has one true meaning (determined by the editor du jour) and that all others are either obsolete or mistaken in some way. In order to understand how the term is de facto used and abused we have to discuss this semantic field. Paul B 11:23, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
The term "group" do not involve adjectives "social" or "ethnic". "Group" is just sort of things... In most English dictionaries one of first definitions is: a number of people or things that are located close together or are considered or classed together. -- 19:48, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Giving the idea that any-old-social-group is good enough to be called a race is not in accordance with how the word "race" is normally used, by laymen and specialists alike. For instance, men and women constitute different social groups -- are they different races? Heterosexuals and homosexuals are different social groups -- are they different races?... FilipeS 20:37, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
The scholars in contemporary literature argue that the race is some sort of social construction, used along history to divide people in social groups (slaves and masters) in base of skin color, some anthropological diferences... And if we look in history of "racial divisions" skin color, was used to make social and other type of divisions, discriminations and today we cannot tell that have any sense in any democratic society, classificate people in races. I argue that races simply don't exist out of that social/divisions constructs, and that term race today simply shouldn't be object of any serious study of Homo sapiens, but this is my POV and it's not relevant for encyclopedia. -- 21:23, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
But we know that the term "race" suddenly starts to exist, whenever it can bring some undeserved profit to the alleged "discriminated minorities". 02:22, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

FelipeS, you misunderstand. To say that racemay be a social group is not the same thing as saying all social groups are races. You are making an elementary error of logic. All apples are fruits; not all fruits are apples. Ethnic groups are one kind of social group, races are(ormay be, according tosome) another kind of social group. As to your suggestion that we have already seen that races are not social groups, as anonymous user 80 points out, we editors do not put our own views in the article. Many verifiable sources (works by anthropologists and sociologists most prominently) argue that races are social constructions and social groups, and that when people self-identify asmembersof a race they are identifying with a social group. It doesn't matter whether you think this is true or not. What matters is that it is a verifiable view that must be represented in the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:13, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Slrubenstein, there is no logic error in my objection. What I am saying is that "race", as traditionally understood, is not a kind of social group at all. It's supposed to be biological, not social. Of course, in reality there's a good argument to be made that no such biological subdivisions actually exist in modern humans, and that what people mistook for biological differences (i.e. races) were actually just social differences (i.e. ethnicities). But people still believe that race is biological. They actually believed or argued that racial differences were innate and biologically determined. To explain and unravel this fallacy, the article needs to make a careful distinction between social differences that are understood as purely social, and social differences which people have tried to rationalize as biological. I know it's not always easy to explain our thoughts in writing, but I hope I was clearer this time. FilipeS 16:43, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

I understand your point about race as popularly understood. But NPOV requires that we include other views, not just the popular view. One important view is that race is a social group and that view must be included, and clearly stated. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:59, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

What makes you say that view of race as an ethnicity is important, when neither laymen nor specialists favour it? FilipeS 11:36, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

What are you talking about? Your comment has nothing to do with mine. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:38, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Of course it does. Your argument all along has been that the article should include "social group" as a possible definition of "race". My argument all along has been that that is a mistake. You claimed that "one important view is that race is a social group". Well, what makes that view important? Who, worthy of note, holds that view, or has held it in the past? FilipeS 11:47, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Because it is a fact that the term race has been used in the past and is now used to refer to social groups, usually established endogamous ones. Paul B 11:54, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Paul, Felipe is just trying to push his own POV. Anythign that doesn't coincide with his POV is not noteworthy, for him. He is the arbiter of what is correct or mistaken. I wish he would read our NPOV policy. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:03, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Eric Wolf, Marvin Harris, and virtually any anthropologist I know of writing about race in the Americas, also Ann Stoler and people writing about race in Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia. I think most sociologists also view race as a social group. And your 11:36 comment by the way did not broach this issue of race as social group. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:52, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

I have no idea what you're talking about. Neoracialists are always trying to find some way of "reinventing" the race myth. Once anthropology shows that race is bunk, they turn to genetics... and if even genetics says there's no biological basis for race, they try to pretend that race was never supposed to be biological in the first place, so it's really just a misunderstood synonym for ethnicity. Yeah, right.
And you accuse me of trying to push a POV? What a joke. FilipeS 13:09, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
So a pair of Marxists are "Neoracialists"? Your own comment demonstates that you are on an Evangelical mission, and that you have no wish to fully examine the usages and history of the term race. Paul B 13:14, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

FelipeS, you are talking nonsense. Also, this is the secont time you put words in my mouth. Please stop misrepresenting me. I never ever ever said race is a synonym for ethnicity. I even explained this to you in my 12:13, 10 February 2007 posting. This talk page would work better if you read the comments you purport to be responding to. And yes, when you reject any POV that does not coincide with your own, of course you are a common POV-pusher. Nothing else. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:26, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Racist Marxists? I'm shocked -- shocked, I tell you!
Paul, I remember you. You're just jumping at the chance to see 'race' behind every shadow. Fine. If you guys want to use Wikipedia to push a neoracist agenda, there's little I can do about it. But at least now that's out in the open. FilipeS 13:32, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Of course you do, didn't I just remind you of the fact in my 11.23 edit? Your ascription of fantasised agendas to contributors is tiresome and unproductive. Stop seeing a Manichean struggle between racists and anti-racists and allow legitimate exploration of the complexity of the issue. Paul B 13:38, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Neoracist agenca? So you think social scientists who study fascism are therefore fascists? Are social scientists who study imperialism imperialists? Do you think geologists are rocks? Slrubenstein | Talk 13:54, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

"People" = "Race"

I've noticed in some WP articles they talk about the "XXXian people". "People" can mean "persons" but that is obviously not what they mean - they mean "race" (or "ethnicity", a synonym). So I'm making it my mission to replace "XXXian people" wherever it occurs with "XXXian race". This will get me into disputes with Wikicrats who are promoting their ethno/racial "Peoples". Fourtildas 04:41, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

The term "peoples" has become the most common modern equivalent to the most traditional meaning of "race". I see no point in making a mission out of changing all uses of "peoples" to "race", which would be much ado about nothing much. I suggest that you need to ask the question "will this change improve this article?"Paul B 11:51, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Please refrain from doing this, as it would be incorrect. Not all peoples are "races" but for some peoples can also be "races". For one XXXian people, can be used to identify nationality, rather than "race" (e.g Iranian). Furthermore, the fact that you know that this will get you in dispute with Wikicrafts, is a clair sign that you should not do it. Please remember: WP:NOT#SOAP and WP:NOT#BATTLEGROUND and doing what you are planning is clarly againstthe spirit of both. So it would be better if you use your enegy in more productive tasks. 18:38, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Common Ancestry ??

Shouldn't it be stated explicitly at the beginning that races have common ancestry? As it stands, according to the first paragraph, bald people or any self-identified group could be a race. It should say up front that the article is about the modern meaning, "one of the major divisions of mankind", and not about the many other usages of the word "race" you will find in a dictionary, such as "tribe, nation, or people". Presumably the article is about that particular concept, not all concepts described by "race". Also, my English teacher would red-pencil "The term race tries ...". 04:17, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

I think it is unnecessary. Virtually all life-scientists understand that all life has a common ancestor - you and me and dogs and bacteria have a common ancestor. It's just not germaine. Creationists may believe that each species was created independently, and there may be racist creationists who believe each race was created independently, but that should be dealt with perhaps in the article on racism or creationism, not here. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:34, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

explanation for recent deletion

I deleted a few quotes that SecurID put in the article for two reasons: first, a section of an article should not just consist of a selection of quotes - that is not how to write an article. Second, this article has a structure and I see no reason to create a new section called "arguments against race" as if there are just two sides to an argument, when the article already provides much more sophisticated coverage of debates concerning race. Third, the views expressed in those quotes are already in the article, in appropriate sections. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:32, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Contents of recent deletion

For the record, these are here. Something here may find their way into an article needing editing. For what its worth.

  • Arguments against the concept of Race

Dr. Sylvia Spengler, U.C. Berkeley Genetics

Trying to mix genetics with race is, to my mind, inappropriate; cannot be done...Race is something we do to each other; it has nothing to do with what our DNA does to us.[1]

Eric Lander, director of the Human Genome Sequencing Lab, Whitehead Institute

Any two humans on this planet are more than 99.9 percent identical at the molecular level. Racial and ethnic differences are all indeed only skin deep. [2]

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer Celera Genomics Corp.

The concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis. In the five Celera genomes there is no way to tell one ethnicity from another. Society and medicine treats us all as members of populations, whereas as individuals we are all unique and population statistics do not apply. No serious scholar in this field thinks that race is a scientific concept. It just is not. [3]

American Anthropological Association

Evidence from the analysis of genetics (e.g., DNA) indicates that most physical variation lies within so-called racial groups. This means that there is greater variation within "racial" groups than between them.[4]

Now to check that I'm not being buffaloed. Fred 16:00, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

These are just a scattering of opinions. I do not reject the validity of the opinions or the importance of representing them in the article - but what is important is why many scientists have reached these opinions, and the article already provides an account of the scientific research and debates that led scientists to these opinions. Since we already cite the actual scientists who conducted the research and led the debateas, I see no reason for adding random quotes from random people that add no substance to the article. Any actual information in the above quotes is already in the article. And the POV that these quotes represent is alreadyin the article too. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:20, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Ahem. I was going to say "Goods news, they are there - albeit in a slightly different form. I hope section 0 can be fixed with the above in mind." (Emph. added) Anyway, happy editing. - Fred 16:28, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
First of all, these are not "random" people, these are quotes from leading researchers in that field. Second, talking about POV, the whole article implies the POV that race has a scientific basis, while the most recent studies from leading researchers reject that idea. The informations I added might be already mentioned, but they are well hidden in tons of text, while the outdated view of race as a scientifc concept appears to be the prominent message. If I could do as I want to, I would put the quotes I added right on top of the article and rewrite the whole thing, but I'm aware that this would be indeed POV. But I want to have at least one bold section in this article to balance all these sections about alleged "scientific" race concepts, and to make it cristal clear, even for the lazy reader, that the discussed so-called "scientific" concepts are no longer accepted as such. SecurID 17:04, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I think some of the quotes should be incorporated into the article as reference material to the antiracialist viewpoint the article as a whole seems to state a lot of things about what "some scientists" think without attributing it directly to someone. I think these quotes are useful when moving towards sourcing this article appropriately. For example the quote by the AAA illusrates nicely that this is in fact the mainstream viewpoint within social sciences. ·Maunus· ·ƛ· 16:55, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Suggestion: There is a section called "Summary of different definitions of race", we could add a similar section, something like "Summary of arguments against Race as a scientific concept"SecurID 17:11, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

SecurID, I think you are acting in good faith but you are wrong. first of all, the people you quote are simply not the scientists who established the prevailing arguments against the validity of race as a biological concept. The article already refers, explicitly, to the actual scientists who did the actual research. Second, you are simply wrong that the article buries the view that many scientists see race as a social construct: the introduction makes this explicit as does section 2.3. Third, you ask for a specific section arguing against race as a biological concept and it already exists - section 2.4.4. finally, your edit - aside from simply being atrocious style - is politically foolhardy. If you add another (redundant, superfluous) section stating race is not a biological concept, you are just inviting someone else to add another section countering those arguments. The fact is, the article already is accurate and complies with NPOV. But maybe you are not acting in good faith. maybe you want to turn a well-crafted and properly sourced article into a soap-box. Wikipedia is not a soap-box for any point of view and if you try to turn this article into a soap box for your own POV you are only going to invite and legitimize people who disagree with you doing the same and using this article as a soap-box for the view that race is a valid biological view. The proper thing to do is not use Wikipedia as a soap-box. By the way, I think your idea of summarizing arguments is a good idea, but you need to understand that in science (biological or social) an "argument" is not an assertion of a view (which is all your quotes do) but an explanation of reasons (which this article provides, explicitly) Slrubenstein | Talk 17:19, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree when you say that the article is properly referenced and NPOV. Even though it does represent all viepoint I think it does give a great amount of undue weight to the racialist viewpoint and that it has an implicit bias towards a biological/genetic understanding of the concept race. I think the added quotes could be interesting and useful for the article if used in a manner so that they coroborate the statement that it is in fact the mainstream viewpoint within several scientific fields to see race as a social rather than a biological concept. SecurID is not using wikipedia as a soapbox but simply trying to counteract a bias which is evident throuhgout the wikipedia articles on genetics and race. ·Maunus· ·ƛ· 17:27, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how the quotes I want to have included would invite and legitimize people who disagree with me to use this article as a soapbox. You claim that these informations are redundant, so these people are already "invited" by earlier versions. And I don't think that "avoiding to attract opposing voices" is a valid reason to remove sourced informations. But since you agree that summarizing the "arguments against race as a scientifc concept" is a good idea, let's work on that. Any suggestion for the outline? SecurID 17:34, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I am not saying the article is perfect (Manus's recent edits make sense to me). Anyway, my advice about a summary of arguments linked article is to start with the arguments that are already in the article ... Slrubenstein | Talk 17:54, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Alright, I will try to give it a shot over the weekend SecurID 21:53, 2 March 2007 (UTC)


Hi. Sub-(sub-)Section 2.4.4 could become a section. This view is verifiably predominant, well supported by evidence, demonstrably unifying, and has the added virtue of being true. Fred 19:06, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not about truth. Also, 2.4.4 parallels 2.4.3. If we make 2.4.4 a major section we would have to do the same with 2.4.3, and I do not think we should do that because 2.4.3 makes sense only in terms of cladistics (2.2.2). Slrubenstein | Talk 14:10, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Ok. We have established that truth should be subordinated below the fourth section (and only in the context of other slightly notable topics), can you demolish the rest of my arguement while I'm here? I am finding them a burdensome principles to observe. I look forward to liberation from them. - Fred 15:08, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Which section is 2.4.4 again?·Maunus· ·ƛ· 15:44, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
It is the one stating what most reasonable think. And is verifiable. And is likely to cause unity instead of conflict. The most important virtue of it was dimissed above. Please don't mention it again. - Fred 16:05, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, Wikipedia is all about verifiability, so we are on strong ground here. But we are also for NPOV which means we should not expect unity and we shouldn't even seek to impose it at controversial articles - on the contrary, we want a diversity of views. So I do not know what "demonstrably unifying" means except it unites all people who agree with the matter and they are already united at least on this matter! What "most reasonable people think" is a matter of opinion and this is precisely why we have an NPOV policy. One day in the future (as has happened in the past), a user will come here saying that all reasonable people think that race is biologically real and he or she will come with all sorts of quotes many from PhD.s to support it. That person will say the article should start with 2.4.3 and how will you respond to them? Ultimately, you will just say "You are wrong" which here at Wikipedia means you and s/he just do not agree - which is why Wikipedia is about verifiability not truth, and why NPOV is so important. Right now, this article complies with ATT and NPOV, our core policies. The introduction states that most scientists have come to reject race as a scientific concept and have turned to viewing it as a social construction. The article details the debates among scientists and gives considerable attention to those who moved away from race to other concepts, and about a quarter or third of the article goes into detail on race as a social construction. For such a controversial topic that is some achievement. So it still includes views you don't like or agree with? Alas, that is the nature of Wikipedia! Slrubenstein | Talk 10:50, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
While I am still not sure which section 2.4.4 is (for some reason the TOC doesn't show for me) I agree with Fred in that the article gives undue weight to the racialist viewpoint and downplays the sociological one which IS the prevailing view in science and in the world generally. We have to take steps to mend this and while making a subsection into a main section may not be the best way to do this, I think it is a fair suggestion that should be considered and not just waved off. How would you improve the article SLRubenstein? Or do you think it is fully perfect as is?·Maunus· ·ƛ· 11:15, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
2.4.3 is the argument for race as lineage (the only view held by scientists today; all statistics I know of say most biologists accept this view); 2.4.4 is the argument against race as lineage. To get back to Manus's main point, I honestly do not see how this article gives undue weight to the so-called racialist viewpoint (and if you do not think many people, including many biologists, hold this view, I fear you are mistaken). First, the introduction has three paragraphs and the first two stress that most scientists view race as a social construct - the third paragraph states that some scientists continue to believe it is biologically valid, which is true. I don't see how the introduction is biased in favor of race as biologically real. Second, the history of the race concept goes into detail about how evolutionary scientists moved away from the idea of race as a biological concept, and it cites all the people who did the major and pioneering research: specifically, Boas, Montagu, Wilson and Brown, Brace, Livingston, Ehrlich and Holm, and Lewontin - these are the researchers who actually demonstrated the meaningless of race. Also, while it is true that the section on the argument for race as lineage (the only meaningful scientific/biological use of race left) is a little longer than the section on the argument against race as lineage, that is because the argument against is so simple and straightforward - in this case, length of the section does not in my opinion indicate bias. The section on the argument against just does not need to be any longer. Finally, about a third of the article is specifically on race as a social construct. I just do not see how anyone can think that the view that race is biological is invalid and that we must view race as a social construct is in anyway downplayed in the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:35, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Further discussion

(Copied from my user talk page)

Just so you know what I meant: if you add a section called "arguments against race as a biological concept" or however you word it, I assure you that womeone will - within a few weeks or months - add a section called "arguments for ..." That said, I would not have cut what you added had I not sincerely thought that the points had already been made in the article, citing more important authorities (specifically, Boas, Montagu, Wilson and Brown, Brace, Livingston, Ehrlich and Holm, and Lewontin - these are the researchers who actually demonstrated the meaningless of race). Also, the introduction has three paragraphs and the first two stress that most scientists view race as a social construct - the third paragraph states that some scientists continue to believe it is biologically valid, which is true. I don't see how the introduction is biased in favor of race as biologically real. Also, while it is true that the section on the argument for race as lineage (the only meaningful scientific/biological use of race left) is a little longer than the section on the argument against race as lineage, that is because the argument against is so simple and straightforward - in this case, length of the section does not in my opinion indicate bias. The section on the argument against just does not need to be any longer. Finally, about a third of the article is specifically on race as a social construct. I just do not see how anyone can think that the view that race is biological is invalid and that we must view race as a social construct is in anyway downplayed in the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:47, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your note on my talk page. You are right that the article mentions the meaningless of race, but I still disagree with you that it's given equal weight. While researchers like Boas (1912), Montagu (1941), Wilson and Brown (1953), Livingston (1962), Ehrlich and Holm (1964) are already included, they seem to be outdated by the modern genetic studies mentioned. That's why I would like to include the findings of recent researchers and studies which second their early research and the researchers I cited are indeed authorities (fringe researchers are not given a chance to announce their findings for White House press releases). Given the fact that most of the article space is used to eleborate on all the different racial theories people came up with in course of time, illustrated with several detailed illustrations about race lineages, genetic clusters, DNA clusters, and so on, and then, additionally, provides a section which summarizes these already lengthy discussions, it's only fair to include at least one section which summarizes the opposing opinions of early as well as recent researchers. I don't want to act against consensus, that's why I will not edit the article before we reached one and would appreciate it if we could have this discussion on the articles talk page so that other editors have a chance to voice their opinions on that matter as well. SecurID 16:46, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for bring the discussion back here, SecurID. Has anyone suggested a history of racial theory or similar. This would put most of the content here in a suitable context. The end user is unlikely to get the information she is looking for, in the few minutes most readers take with an article. Finer detail of information can be found by an simply structured TOC, or linking to the pernicious theories of discredited 'thinkers'. Anyway, - Fred 17:22, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I do not think the scholars listed are out-dated. It is true that we are learning a lot through genomics that they did not know but much of what we learn confirms their views concerning the importance of clines and populations. I sense a bias on your part that if someone did research in the 1940s they are not as important as someone who does research now. That just is not true. for example, an article on quantum mechanics will cite Einstein, Planck and Bohr even though they did their research some time ago. It is still relevant. By the way, the opposing views to the more recent research are expressed in the section, "Arguments against race as lineages." Buddy, the section already exists Slrubenstein | Talk 14:28, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

If you allow me to interpret th statement of SecurID I understood it to mean that it looks like the views of those eminent scholars are outdated because the information that comes later seems to contradict them rather than corroborate them. That makes it look like their views are just as outdated as Huxleys and other 19th century anthropologists idea of race, rather than state that their views are actually teh foundations of modern understaning of the concept "race".·Maunus· ·ƛ· 15:17, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
My response then would be to strengthen the section, "Arguments against race as lineages." Personally, I think the section as is is adequate - I have never identified verbiage with value. I do not think that those people who are opposed to race as a biological concept think that any of the earlier research is outdated. It is simply a mistake to think that all scientific knowledge is progressive and that recent work invalidates earlier work (the same point I was making about Quantum Mechanics. I mean, we all know Einstein at some level invalidates Newton, yet his laws of gravity are still used by astronomers and physicists and taught). I think this started when SecureID added a few other quotes - those quotes were more recent, but in fact were not providing results of research or even making arguments, they were just recent quotes supporting the view that human physical variation is best understood in terms of populations and clines, and that races are socially constructed. If they added any new (original) argument or evidence, I would say, add them to the section on "arguments against race as lineage" (and in narrative form, not just plopped in as quotes) - but my reading of them is that they were not at all based on any original research or new argumentation. The article is still crystal clear in the introduction that most scientists see races as lineages, and up to a third of its contents is specifically sociological, so I still do not see a bias in favor of biologizing race. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:16, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Some history

Racial theory (history) or Race (historical definitions)?. Anyway, here is a bit more history:

The term race is used in a wide variety of contexts, with related but often distinct meanings. Its use is often controversial, largely because of the political and sociological implications of different definitions, but also because of disagreements over such issues as whether humans can be meaningfully divided into multiple races.

This is from a fairly good source. The last line might need a little work. Cheers, - Fred 08:35, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

What biologists think

In response to recent edits, I have a request and a point. Request: if someone knows of more recent surveys of biologists, can they please provide the source, the sample size (and if appropriate sampling methods) and actual figures? Point: biologists study all sorts of things. When it comes to this article, I think what matters is the opinion of biologists who study human beings, especially human evolution and genetic variation. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:50, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I think an official quote from the AAA is a pretty good indicator of what "biologists who sytudy human beings especially evolution and genetic variation" think.·Maunus· ·ƛ· 10:12, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't. First, let's note that the article already has a link to the AAA statement. Second, the AAA statement is a statement passed by a professional organization meaning that at an annual convention, at the business meeting, a majority of people voted for the resolution - this can be as small a number as 100 out of 5,000. To be clear: I believe that the AAA statement reflects the mainstream view of anthropologists, but let's be honest, it is not a survey and cannot act as a surrugate for a survey. Third, the AAA is an organization of anthropologists, not biologists. The AAA does include biological anthropologists and I doubt that the statement says anything that most biological anthropologists would reject. However, the vast majority of biological anthropologists do not attend annual AAA meetings and may not have been involved in drafting or voting on the statement (most go to AAPA meetings). The AAA statement at best reflects the views of all anthropologists, including biological anthropologists but also cultural anthropologists, linguists, and archeologists. It definitely does not represent the views of biologists. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:24, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Recent format changes

An anon user has replaced comments that look like this:

This is a long comment that extends all the way to the right margin and then is indented again at the left margin and so on down the page on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on...

with comments that look like this:

This is a long comment that does not extend all the way to the right margin. It is indented again at the left margin and so on down the page on and on and on and onand on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Now it is right-indented too, as though it were a block quote in the old style.

I originally reverted all changes because the ones I noticed first were short quotations (?) that did not look like real quotations, and because on my current computer screen the type is so small that I missed the left margin colon in the originals. Later I realized my mistake, so I have replaces most of those edits. Personally, I don't like the new style. The block quote style looks less jarring to me, so I left most of the places that had used that format as they were. (There was one place in close proximity to one of the new style quotations that I had to change because otherwise it would look too strange.

I don't care which format is used, but I thought I'd better let everyone know what is going on. This is the first time I've seen this new format for block quotations. P0M 02:49, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

moved from article for discussion new section of info sans citations

=== Race and genocide ===

The blindingly clear (though historically revisionist) obfucscations of one of the most important (and historically commonly applied) applications of racial classifications has been genocidal. For example, the first concentration camps were made in Africa (during the Boer war), the killing of Central Asians by Soviet Russians and also the Vietnam War have all relied upon racism and racial motivations to actively induce and motivate military policies designed to kill large numbers of people.

I removed this new addition to the article for several reasons:

  1. It may belong in racism
  2. It needs to be put in a neutral point of view format
  3. It needs citations. Although the conclusions may be true, they currently stand as "original research."

I do not want to discourage the writer, nor do I want to simply delete the new content, so here it is. P0M 23:35, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

It's gibberish. Concentration camps have nothing to do with "racism". The are simply camps for concentrating populations. In South Africa they were used to concentate white Afrikaaners by white British troops. The rest is just assumption. Paul B 00:27, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

too long

this article is really long SkyScrapers 15:27, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

indeed. please keep in mind articles are intended to be actually read by somebody and cut it down to at most half its present size.... dab (𒁳) 15:18, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
the more complex and contfrovercial the topic, the longer the article has to be. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:17, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
no indeed! that's a fundamental fallacy. What is your suggested ideal length for Universe then? WP:SS is the answer, main articles should give clean and brief summaries of sub-topics, you should be able to grasp the main lines of various arguments in five minutes, and visit sub-articles depending on the information you are looking for. Presenting the reader with a random essay rather than a clean overview is patronising and user-unfriendly. dab (𒁳) 18:25, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Nationality as Race

The current trend toward equating nationality as race has a very good useful rationale. If Asians, Negroes, and Caucasians are considered to be racially different, then the distinction between them is too definite. They each feel extremely alienated from the others, as though they were almost different species. However, if racial differences are simply mere differences in nationality, then the distinction is not as severe, and some kind of harmony is more of a possibility.Lestrade 22:48, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Where has this "current trend" been documented? Sounds like 19th century nationalism to me... FilipeS 20:08, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
"Nationality" means membership in a nation or country. "Nineteenth century nationalism" was desire for the dominance of a particular nation over all others. Currently, criticism of people from a certain country, like Mexico, China, or Palestine, for example, is called racism. This attitude assumes that a race is the same as a nationality.Lestrade 20:29, 3 May 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
Where did you get that idea that "criticism of people from a certain country [...] is called racism"? FilipeS 20:39, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Academic Rigor

How can a discussion of race be completely void of almost any real academic rigor? Reading this article I feel like I am sitting in an introductory Anthropology class listening to people discuss the topic without reading the texts. What about biological affinity? What about Dr. Stanley Rhine? If there were not biological differences in people how can physical anthropologists correctly assign "race" or biological affinity to skulls and skeletons with reproducible results? This is an emotional topic for many people, but I ask that we set aside our differences and approach this from a purely academic standpoint. Please provide refs and clearly identify scientific theory from law. CheersRtb677 01:27, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Too many liberal PC hippies on here. Manic Hispanic 01:34, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

This has nothing to do with "liberal", "pc", or "hippie". There is value to the study of biological differences between peoples. This information has medical value, forensic value, and academic value. People are arguing here from either a political view and trying to make the science fit. We should try to achieve a degree of objectivity. Granted I disagree with Franz Boas, I don't think true objectivity is achievable.Rtb677 02:16, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Do you have specific suggestions, sources? Paul B 10:02, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
The article never states that all individual humans are biologically the same. The article has long sections on those biologists today who do use the concept of race to discuss genetic differences. Indeed, even the sections that criticize the concept of race discuss the nature of biological variation among humans - and provides extensive citations from the scholarly literature. The above user either misunderstands the article, or is a POV pusher, or is simply not expressing him/herself well. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:01, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
Please refrain from personal comments. They lead to personal attacks. Discuss the points raised by the users, not the user themselves. Malamockq 15:53, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Clustering and lineages

Rosenberg (2005) shows that most individuals tested belong to more than a single genetic cluster, the clusters themselves vary clinally.

Why does this article claim that the existence of so called clusters is indicative of distinct lineages? This is simply untrue, indeed if distinct lineages did exist then there would be no need to do clustering analyses. The very fact that so many alleles are held in common by so many populations is the reason why clustering experiments are done. It is also clear form these data from Rosenberg that most populations actually belong to multiple clusters, even if the vast majority of populations have majority membership of one cluster. These data from Rosenberg et al (2002) should not be used as they have been challenged by Serre and Pääbo (2004). It is better to use Rosenberg et al. (2005) paper because it addresses the issues that Serre and Pääbo address. This 2005 paper alos uses a great deal more alleles, giving their results greater resolution. A quick look at their data shows that when their study design is altered their results are far less unequivocal, with much more membership of multiple clusters for individuals in the various populations. It is therefore apparent that the vast majority of individual people within each population have a membership of multiple clusters, so how can these be lineages? This indicates that these clusters are far far from distinct lineages. Alun 09:34, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


"Race and multilocus allele clusters"Muntuwandi 03:37, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

dumbing down

This article needs some dumbing down. Too much technical jargon Muntuwandi 03:44, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. FilipeS 11:53, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
True, I think that sometimes there are appeal to authority arguments that are used to support a given POV often these deliberately use technical jargon to confuse and cloud the issue rather than to clarify it. Alun 12:07, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
This is one of the most controversial topics on Wikipedia and the article is the result of a long and very careful process involving many editors who went to great pains to lay out all major views, explain the evidence supporting these views, and providing proper sources, thus fully complying with NPOV and V. "Dumbing it down" is not a very good attitude towards writing an encyclopedia in my opinion, and when applied to a very controversial topic it will only lead to chaos. You know, there is a "simplified Wikipedia." if you want to dumb down the article, do it there, not here. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:49, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Besides, the editing so far seems to have been to arbitrarily delete entire sections. A better way to go about shortening the article (if it can be done) would be a more consistent use of summary style.--Ramdrake 12:59, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
To Slrubenstein. Your post seems to be directed at me, so I will respond to you. As far as I can see there is little attempt ot "explain" very much here, rather the article goes into great technical detail in order to give various points of view 'without explaining very well just what these technical detail actually mean. This is an encyclopaedia, this means that articles such as this need to be accessible to anyone. For more detailed and technical explanations, for those who have a greater knowledge of a given subject, then different articles should serve. A general article about a given subject should always be as accessible as possible. I do not agree that it is true to claim, as I think you are, that the only way to make an article NPOV is to make it so complex, convoluted and detailed that only people with a thorough grounding in sociology and anthropology (and even genetics, though the genetics section seems to be mostly a misrepresentation of the science) could follow it. This seems to defeat the object of an encyclopaedia in my opinion, it's here to educate, not confuse. Remember this is an encyclopaedia, not a textbook. See also Wikipedia:Article size and Wikipedia:Explain jargon. Cheers. Alun 14:44, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Many of the subheads can be referred to appropriate articles that have expanded info. The article is indeed too long, and much of the jargon is spread all over. I mentioned earlier, the lead mentions "multilocus allele clusters" without giving a definition. How would someone who has never heard of the term know what it is. The article should be accessible to someone who has the basic knowledge of human biology because race is a popular concept not just limited to advanced population genetics. As the saying goes "sometimes Less is more". I recognize the hard work that has gone into the article, however the article needs to be periodically reviewed to keep its size in check and thus remain more cohesive. Everybody has had an opinion on race so the article can potentially be infinitely long. Thus some prioritization is needed to include mainly the high profile references.Muntuwandi 13:21, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not saying this article could not be pared down. What I'm saying is, for such major changes to be done, it's better to work by consensus and discuss changes one by one and implement them once consensus is reached. Otherwise, you risk getting reverted every time, regardless of how much merit your edits have in removing otherwise redundant, obscure or wordy material. Please do remember that this is one article where there has been much work put into developing a consensus version, so changes should preferably be gradual and discussed. Hope it all makes sense.--Ramdrake 13:40, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
As a matter or fact, the excessive verbiage often gives the impression to the reader that the article is attempting to obfuscate the issue, rather than clarify it. FilipeS 15:22, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Fine, then please state what you think the "issue" (I'm assuming you mean the point) of this article is or should be.--Ramdrake 15:41, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Human races: what are they supposed to be, what are they really, and what have they been so far. Easy-peasy. FilipeS 15:49, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Ramdrake is right - while I agree that ease of communication is important, let's first look at ways to improve the readability without losing information. This has been a controversial article in the past - maintaining balance is important. There's also a lot of useful information that I would not like to see lost. Most importantly - major changes need to be discussed. Guettarda 16:29, 30 April 2007 (UTC)#

For the record, I agree with Ramdrake. My initial comment was directed at Muntuwandi, not at Alun. I probably agree that "multiple allele clusters" does not belong in the first paragraph. But working step by step to clarify sentences and paragraphs is very different from the wholesale rewrite Muntuwandi is doing. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:34, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

To Guettarada maintaining ballance is important. One of the problems with certain articles on Wikipedia is that sometimes certain points of view are given undue weight. In this article the point of view that "some geneticists" think that "self identified race/ethnicity" is a useful "classification" is somehow used to imply that these geneticists are supporting the concept of biological race. But the fact is that self identified race/ethnicity is obviously a social construct in itself. Indeed the whole section from the introduction :

Other scientists however, have argued that this position is motivated more by political than scientific reasons. [4] Still others argue that categories of self-identified race/ethnicity or biogeographic ancestry are both valid and useful, that these categories correspond to clusters inferred from multilocus genetic data, and that this statistical correspondence, not necessarily a proven cause and effect, implies that genetic factors somehow contribute to unexplained phenotypic variation among groups.

Is quite meaningless. For example it claims that "this position is politically motivated", but what "position" is it refering to exactly? Do they mean the position that genotypic and phenotypic variation is best understood in terms of populations and clines? If so this is simply untrue, the reason scientists think that genes and physical differences are best understood in terms of clines is because they have been measured exhaustively, and the idea that these characteristics can represent discrete lineages has been comprehensively disproven. So this very first sentence is totally inclrrect. It is not even properly cited, a book is given for the citation!!! Are we to read the whole book to check this citation? To cite this properly we need a page number, otherwise it remains uncited. And what does categories of self-identified race/ethnicity or biogeographic ancestry are both valid and useful mean? It's "pure frontier gibberish" as far as I can see, it seems to be saying exactly the same thing as the previous paragraph which says "human genotypic and phenotypic variation in terms of populations and clines instead." That is the fact that "categories of self defined race/ancestry (itself a social construct) or biogeographic ancestry are both valid and useful" does not preclude these "categories" from representing specific regions on the semi-discontinuous distribution of phentoypes and genotypes. And what does this mean "genetic factors somehow contribute to unexplained phenotypic variation among groups" what is "unexplained phenotypic variation"? when it's at home? Human physical and genetic variation is geographically distributed, this is well known, and it is obvious that different genes occur at different frequencies in different populations (though it is only a tiny minority of genes that actually vary on an inter-population level, most variation occurs within group). But here's the rub, this article seems to be taking the view that any sort of evidence for between group variation is de facto proof of the validity of "race" as a biological construct. To be blunt this is simply nonsense. Furthermore the article gives undue weight to this sort of argument, the idea of neutrality does not mean that we need to be even handed. It is obvious to any biologist that the idea of human "biological races" is a nonsense, and no biologists would claim that there is evidence for such categories. Being able to identify the continental origins of an individuals ancestors based on their genetics is not proof that "race" is a biological concept, it is simply proof that certain genes are more likely to occur in some parts of the world than others. Race as a biological construct would involve belief in the multiregional hypothesis because this is the only hypothesis that supports the idea of discrete non-overlöapping human population lineages, but no one believes this hypothesis any more, because there is no evidence for it. When biomedical researchers talk about "race" they are discussing medical research, but the medical concept of "race" is a social concept and includes health factors associated with "race" that have nothing to do with biology or genetics. Indeed to say that self defined race/ethnicity correlates with genetic "clusters" can hardly be a shocking revelation, it's analogous to saying that an African American can be genetically shown to have African ancestors, well I don't really think we need genetic tests to tell us that. In short this article gives undue weight to certain points of view thatare just not supported, even by the sources that cite them. This sort of distortion is totally unencyclopaedic. Alun 17:33, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Alun, in at least one point you seem not to understand Wikipedia policy. The article states: "Other scientists however, have argued that this position is motivated more by political than scientific reasons." You counter, "Do thry mean the position that genotypic and phenotypic variation is best understood in terms of populations and clines? If so this is simply untrue, the reason scientists think that genes and physical differences are best understood in terms of clines is because they have been measured exhaustively, and the idea that these characteristics can represent discrete lineages has been comprehensively disproven." Your argument is in short that the claim (lets call it view 1) that the position (lets call it position 1) that presents us with populations and clines rather than race is politically rather than scientifically motivated is wrong, because the position that presents etc. is actually scientifically motivated. In other words, you are arguing against view 1. But it is not for wikipedia editors to judge any view as correct or incorrect. You say and I quote "this is simply untrue" but Wikipedia is simply not the arbiter of truth. Our standard is verifiability, not truth. See our NPOV and V policies. It is for us to present accounts of different views. You have every right to ask us to provide a source for view 1. And we can easily provide sources: there really are scientists who hold view 1. And as long as it is a verifiable POV, the article has to include it. The article of course also makes it quite clear that many scientists believe that position 1 is valid for scientific reasons - let's call this view 2. The article has to include view 2 as well - not because you agree with it but because it is verifiable. And indeed, the article not only provides view 2 in addition to view 1, it provides sources. You are flat out wrong when you write, "this article seems to be taking the view that any sort of evidence for between group variation is de facto proof of the validity of "race" as a biological construct." It does not take any view. It provides multiple views. Obviously it includes views you do not like or agree with. Too bad. It includes views I do not agree with, too. But wikipedia is not a place for you or I to forward our own views. Articles must be NPOV, and in this case it means including multiple views. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:49, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
I am not arguing for or against anything. I am saying that it is untrue to claim that Other scientists however, have argued that this position is motivated more by political than scientific reasons if the position (and it is unclear what this position is supposed to be) is supposed to be the observation that variation is clinal. Maybe the way I wrote it is confusing. But it is simple, the observation that variation is clinally distributed is not motivated by political reasons and to claim that some scientists think this is untrue and does not appear to be supported by a citation. If the claim is that "race" as a purely "social construct" is "politically motivated" then I think that possibly some scientists do think this. But I asked a question, which was what is the actual position this paragraph is talking about because there are several positions that it could be refering to. Basically this part is either written by someone who is hopelessly confused, or someone who does not know what they are talking about, or someone who is simply distorting the facts to push a point of view. Alun 19:22, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Multiple valid and verifiable views. Implying that proven falsehoods are true, or reasonable, is not kosher. FilipeS 17:54, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I hate to contradict you, but actually, Rushton and some other Pioneer Fundees have argued something pretty close to that. Now, no matter how I might dislike their ideas, they still exist, and are still worthy of mention. Whether I think it's true or false has no bearing on this.--Ramdrake 19:33, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Was that addressed at me? Actually, I'm with Alun. It's not even clear what the heck the article is talking about. FilipeS 19:42, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
What proven falsehoods are you referring to? I see arguable, even disputable views, but I'm straining to find "proven falsehoods". Please remember that we are not here to be arbiters of truth.--Ramdrake 18:21, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Not strictly speaking true though is it? Wikipedia clearly states that we should not give undue weight to minority points of view. It would also be inproper to try to portray non-scientifically accepted points of view as if they were actually supported by science. The fact is that there is a deliberate distortion in parts of this article between use of the term "race" when applied to a social construct in medicine, and use of the term "race" in biology, which is clearly used for subspecies. Multi locus allele clusters may be medically important, and they may identify those genes that are geographically variable, but these alleles represent a small subset of polymorphisms, the vast majority of which vary more on the intra-population level rather than the inter-population level. These clusters do not represent discrete lineages, but this article claimed as much untill recently. Would you care to explain why it did? Is it OK to include this because soemone on Wikipedia believes it? It's certainly not true in the sense that it can be cited from a scientific journal. It's equally true that when multi locus allele clusters like those produced by Neil Risch and Noah Rosenberg use "self identified race/ethnicity" they are not refering to scientifically or anthropologically defined lineages (race or subspecies), rather they are refering to socially constructed ideas of "race", hence "self identified". But here it is presented as if these were equivalent to subspecies. Most of the genetic information here is poorly presented, seems not to have been properly understood by the people who want to include it and is nothing more than an appeal to authority. We might as well write oooh look all these clever bods use the word race, and have produced things called "clusters" which they say correlate...oooh it proves "race". This is not what these papers actually say, nor is it what their results show. The argument above seems to be, let's lie about this because soem editors think Wikipedia policies on Neutrality allow editors to interpret and misrepresent science in their own words. Alun 19:38, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Clustering analysis done by Seldin et al in 2006 for the European population. These clusters are clinal as any geneticist would expect. By the way Seldin confusingly calls his clusters populations
Similar clustering analysis done by Bauchet et al 2007

Seldin's original data It's clear form these maps that when the "clustering" data are displayed geographically that these so called "clusters" are broadly geographically distributed, and represent genetic clines, with geographically localised maxima, they are not discrete population clusters. Show me a scientist who would argue that these clusters are discrete populations, because that's what the introduction of the article seems to be saying. I plan to produce similar maps for the 2005 Rosenberg data that are shown above in this talk page, these are also obviously clinal, observe the number of individuals who belong to multiple clusters. Alun 19:56, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Alun and Wobble, like you I think the clinal model to explain genetic variation within the human race is the correct one. It has wide acceptance and gains supporters every day. However, it is not the only model. Please take a look at the published works of JP Rushton, richard Lynn and others. While I personnally think they're wrong, it is not the place of this encyclopedia to decide who holds the truth or not. Besides, I'm starting to wonder what this argument has to do about your original concern of making the article more legible. So, I would like to invite you to focus on tangible changes to the article which you feel will improve ease of reading. Right now, we're down to arguing theories, not discussing the article per se.--Ramdrake 20:54, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Um... JP Rushton is not a scientist or a geneticist. I don't see any reason to give wingnut racists who want to publish shody racist research without the slightest academic credibility space here. Might as well cite Mein Kampf if that's the level of "academic" debate one wants. Besides which I know of no genetic research that this so called researcher has actually done. I think he limits his expertise in measuring things like cranial capacity doesn't he? Presumably this "scientist" thinks men are more inteligent than women based on his "science". Rushton's so called research is not even based on "race", his definitions of what constitute "race" are as hazy and as ill defined as any other socially constructed model. According to an old version of the Black people article Rushton defines Black people thus: "In both everyday life and evolutionary biology, a 'Black' is anyone most of whose ancestors were born in sub-Saharan Africa". This is not a definition that supports the concept of discrete lineages, Rushton is stating that a Black person can have ancestors from any number of regions and any number of backgrounds as long as 50%+1 of the ancestors are from sub-Saharan Africa (that is 51 out of 100, or 501 out of 1000 etc). This is clearly a nonsense argument from a "race" point of view and does not support the idea of discrete lineages. Alun 04:26, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
As for tangible changes, it's a question of emphasis isn't it? My problem is that in the genetics section at least, undue weight is given to certain points of view that are really tiny minority points of view. This goes for the evolution sections as well. Why do we have multiregionalism here? Multiregionalism is not supported by biology and anthropology. Multilocus allele clusters do not support the concept of biological race, but both of these ideas are given prominent places here as if this point of view is held by large sections of the scientific community. The correct way to present the multi locus allele cluster information is with regards to the distribution of genetic variation and not to their significance to out of date concepts of "biological race" on which they have no bearing. Troy Duster and Pilar Ossario explain it best and most concisely when they say [5]

Anthropologists long ago discovered that humans’ physical traits vary gradually, with groups that are close geographic neighbors being more similar than groups that are geographically separated. This pattern of variation, known as clinal variation, is also observed for many alleles that vary from one human group to another. Another observation is that traits or alleles that vary from one group to another do not vary at the same rate. This pattern is referred to as nonconcordant variation. Because the variation of physical traits is clinal and non-concordant, anthropologists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries discovered that the more traits and the more human groups they measured, the fewer discrete differences they observed among races and the more categories they had to create to classify human beings. The number of races observed expanded to the 30s and 50s, and eventually anthropologists concluded that there were no discrete races (Marks, 2002). Twentieth and 21st century biomedical researchers have discovered this same feature when evaluating human variation at the level of alleles and allele frequencies. Nature has not created four or five distinct, nonoverlapping genetic groups of people.
The human species possesses remarkably little genetic variation when compared with other organisms. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), close primate relatives to humans, possess approximately four times as much within-species genetic variation as do humans (Bamshad, Wooding, Salisbury, & Stephens, 2004; Kittles & Weiss, 2003). The relative lack of variability among humans can be observed when researchers measure genetic variation between two individuals or genetic variation between two human groups. Any two unrelated persons, chosen at random from across the globe, are 99.9% identical in their nucleotide sequences (nucleotides are the four famous DNA building blocks—cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine). That is, their genomes are 99.9% the same. Humans’ comparative genetic similarity can be explained by the fact that they are a young species, one that migrated out of Africa relatively recently in evolutionary terms and expanded rapidly to populate the globe (Kittles & Weiss, 2003; Olson, 2002).

This text does not represent a point of view so much as the academic orthodoxy, but in the article this orthodox point of view is given very little space in favour of sensationalist and distorted interpretations of the data that appear to be something approaching OR. But the quote above represents both orthodox thinking and the observed and measured distribution of diversity. This is not an argument of equals as the article tries to imply. It is an argument between science on the one hand and a few wingnut racists on the other who will hold on to their politically motivated racialist point of view however much scince disproved the existence of "race" as a biological construct. So we should be basically saying that biological races do not exist, because that's what science tells us, but also that a tiny minority of people still want to hold on to the belief that they do exist. Then the article can concentrate on discussing socially constructed concepts of race, which is what "biological races" are anyway. Alun 06:07, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

  • Alun, I'd thought I'd comment here that I agree that "race" exists as a social construct in that it is man who has decided or classified which amount of distinct biological traits should belong to which group based on geographic-associated variation. However, I believe that both this discussion and the article itself tends to over-emphasize the clinal properties of human genetic variation. From both the genetic data presented here and of course phenotypic variation, the clinal variation is hardly as gradual as some perceive. There is numerous evidence of abrupt changes or shifts in the clinal variation between certain geographic areas which scientists in the "pro-race" camp have used to attribute to the existence of so-called distinct "races". Clearly, the genetic variation is not strictly defined blocks or "sub-species" of any sort, but the clinal variation is hardly that smooth or gradual either. Obviously, the greater the geographic distance and isolation between groups, on average the more pronounced the differences are. However, this is not always the case and there are various examples where neighboruing or almost-neigbouring populations may have similar or equally stark differences in genetic variation. In terms of phenotypic variation, there is perhaps the most significant piece of evidence scientists in the "pro-race" camp have since the variation is clearly less clinal and gradual than the genetic evidence collected so far. Some have still argued against this, largely basing their arguments from gradual variation in complexion from northern and southern climates to equatorial climates (although this is not necessarily the case as the fairest human complexions are specifically linked with northern European populations only; other northern or arctic populations in Asia and the Americas have darker complexions than northern or central European populations). When cranio-facial measurements and other aspects of physical appearance are takent into account, the variation between especially continental populations becomes even more strictly defined which is why many "racial" terms remain in use by most Physical and Forensic Anthropologists today. Otherwise, I think the article is in decent shape although alot of the genetic data being presented is, in my opinion, actually over-simplistic. Much of the specifics of the data and studies themselves (i.e. which particular sections of DNA in each particular sample are being analyzed; detailed information on the sampled populations themselves) is lacking and reminds me of alot of the samples used in Anthropological studies in the early-mid 20th century. The questions, ulterior motives and overall unreliability in some of the data preseneted in so many of these studies is why they fail to ever garner much attention in the general population or media, not to mention various academic circles. Much more testing and studies are still needed before we even begin to get a definite, clear picture on our origins. Ciao. Epf 06:45, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Ah Epf, you seem to have missed the point. Genes always vary clinally, this is a function of sexual reproduction. The whole point of sexual reproduction is to mix genes up as much as possible. Unless you are going to claim that we are clonal and reproduce by binary fission like bacteria (which really do form discrete lineages) then genes must vary clinally. I think that when you say that "the clinal variation is hardly that smoot" you are refering to the fact that alleles do not vary at the same rate. This is in fact a well known observation and is addressed in the quote above when it discusses "nonconcordant variation". One would not expect alleles to vary at the same rate. Different alleles are of different ages, those that are younger are more likely to be geographically more localised. I don't think anyone has claimed that clinal variation is "smooth", but it depends what you mean by "smooth" really. As for your observations about complexion, well variation in skin colour is a very poor way of classifying people. Skin colour is under strong selective pressure, any attribute that is under such a strong selective pressure can never be a very good way of deciding if populations are closely related. I would suggest you take a look at Jablonski's excellent papers on human skin colour. Indeed evolutionary biologists try to steer well clear of traits that are known to be under selective pressure for obvious reasons. Alun 09:23, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
We are getting off-topic. The issue is not whether we agree or disagree about the extent to which genetic differences are clinal. The issue is, are we representing all major views, and are we explaining each view clearly. Our own views do not enter into the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:35, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Wobble/Alun, you seem to be missing the point: that Epf answered to you and pointed out evidence that makes some people think human genetic variation may not be as strictly clinal as you paint it, makes the point that this is also a position which should be discussed in the article. To say it should be dismissed out of hand (as you seem to be saying) is just unencyclopedic. It is a view verifiably held by some, and as such, has a right to be on WP. And as far as Rushton not being a scientist, he most definitely is (he holds a PhD and a DSc, in fields related to psychology). He has published in peer-reviewed journals, including a hypothesis about the origins of different "races". His hypothesis has followers within the scientific circles, even if it has a lot of detractors. We cannot judge and dismiss a published viewpoint just because we think it's dead wrong, or it doesn't suit us (amen to both). I never thought I'd be here to defend such viewpoints, but hey, here I am. How wrong we feel these positions are have absolutely no bearing on their right to be mentioned in WP.--Ramdrake 11:43, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Did he? Please say exactly where the "evidence" is because all I can see is Epf's opinion. Is there any evidence there? Where are his citations? You can obviously see this evidence that I am unable to see. Do we have invisible links now? Besides which I don't think I missed the point at all. Genetic variation is clinal, but alleles vary at different rates. Sometimes this is called semi-discontinuous variation. It is incorrect to claim that genes do not vary clinally, but it is perfectly correct to claim that some clines are very localised and steep, possibly varying clinally over a few tens or hundreds of miles, therefore unless sampling were done at a very local level the cline would appear as a discrete population. But this observation has more to do with sampling techniques than anything else. What have I said should be dismissed out of hand exactly? I don't think I have made any such suggestion. What I have said is that we should not present minority points of view as if they represented the academic consensus nor should we present a minority point of view as if it has equal validity to the majority point of view. Rushton may hold a PhD in psychology, but I wonder just how this makes him an expert on evolution and genetics as you claimed earlier? I personally think Rushton is a racist piece of scum. So sue me, you can idolise whoever you like, but don't try to claim that the crap he writesd is standard scientific doctrine, because he only represents a very tiny minority opinion, and that's howthe crsap he writes should be presented, as a tiny minority point of view. Like it or not the guy is far out on a limb and does not represent anything like the scientific mainstream. Alun 12:45, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Besides which Epf seems to be in complete disagreement with his own professional body, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists who say in their statement on Biological Race

There is great genetic diversity within all human populations. Pure races, in the sense of genetically homogenous populations, do not exist in the human species today, nor is there any evidence that they have ever existed in the past.....The geographic pattern of genetic variation within this array is complex, and presents no major discontinuity. Humanity cannot be classified into discrete geographic categories with absolute boundaries. Furthermore, the complexities of human history make it difficult to determine the position of certain groups in classifications. Multiplying subcategories cannot correct the inadequacies of these classifications....Generally, the traits used to characterize a population are either independently inherited or show only varying degrees of association with one another within each population. Therefore, the combination of these traits in an individual very commonly deviates from the average combination in the population. This fact renders untenable the idea of discrete races made up chiefly of typical representatives.....Partly as a result of gene flow, the hereditary characteristics of human populations are in a state of perpetual flux. Distinctive local populations are continually coming into and passing out of existence....There is no necessary concordance between biological characteristics and culturally defined groups. On every continent, there are diverse populations that differ in language, economy, and culture. There is no national, religious, linguistic or cultural group or economic class that constitutes a race....Racist political doctrines find no foundation in scientific knowledge concerning modern or past human populations.[6]

Oh, and this is evidence because it is not my opinion but derives from a reliable sourceAlun 06:30, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

You completely missed the point, and you repeatedly miss the point. This is not an issue about the correctness of any claims about the distribution or frequency of genes, or about clines. If you reply to me by insisting that your view of genetics (or clines) is correct and Rushton's is false, you will only prove once again that you miss the point. If you reply to me with any argument about genetics or race, you will only prove once again that you miss the point. The point is that Wikipedia does not include the views of editors, especially not views about what is correct or incorrect, right or wrong, true or false; Wikipedia is committed to including all significant views, including and especially ones we do not agree with. If you think I am idolizing Rushton you are even more mistaken because it means you do not understand the previous sentence. The article does not present Rushton as if his view represents a scientific consensus, it simply presents his view. You seem to think that simply to present his view is to argue that his view is the consensus - that is just silly. You seem to think that simply to present his view is to make a judgement that it is as valid as the majority view. But that argument of yours only once again proves that you miss the point since Wikipedia does not judge the correctness of views and wikipedia policy simply doe snot allow you to let your judgement of the correctness of a view influence edits to an article. If it does, you are violating Wikipedia policy and your edits will be reverted. If you want to contribute to articles, comply with policies. If all you want to do is express yourself, go start a blog. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:08, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Chart comparing Number of Pirates versus Global Warming; an example of the fact that correlation does not equal causation. The axis' labels are deliberately misleading.
Contunually telling me I have missed the point, and then accusing me of saying something I have not said is not really getting us anywhere. Both you and Ramdrake have now done this. No mate, it is you have missed the point and it is you who have not actually addressed my concerns at all. As far as I know Rushton has never written any paper about genetics. He is not a geneticist, I know of no statements he has ever made regarding the clinality or non-clinality of genetic distribution. I have never stated that he is wrong when he says that genes do not vary clinally, because as far as I know he has never actually made this claim. So just what are you talking about? Have you actually read any of what I say above? I suspect not. I am saying that on Wikipedia we do not present tiny minority points of view as if they have equal validity to major scientific theories. This article does this sort of thing often. I never said Rushton was wrong, (though I think he is and I think his writings are politically motivated racist crap) nor that we should say in the article he is wrong. I never said we should not include Rushton in the article. I said his point of view is a tiny minority point of view, and should therefore be presented as such as per Wikipedia policies. Now please address the point I am making and not things I have not said but you wish I had said. It's annoying to be constantly told that I am wrong for saying things I have not actually said. If you want to claim that all points of view have equal validity then I am saying you are not only flat wrong, you are breaching the WP:NPOV policy. For example the Multiregional hypothesis is given equal weight to the ROA hypothesis in this article, as if both of these theories represented equal and conflicting theories of human evolution. This is simply dishonest. And if you continue to claim that all points of view should be given equal space then I am going to demand equal space for Inteligent design (after all some people really do believe that God created humans in an instant and so therefore they must also believe that he created "races" at the same time. Indeed creationism probably has a greater level of belief than Multiregionalism). and Flying Spaghetti Monster in order to highlight the absurdity of your position. And yes I have been touched by His Noodly Appendage. We could also make the observation that global warming is obviously caused by the decrease in the number of pirates as proved by the chart provided, another example of the sort of excellent science you seem to think we should include. Alun 05:41, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
What is your point about the lengthy AAPA quote? That view is very clearly represented in the article; the introduction even identifies it as the mainstream scientific view. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:14, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Read what I wrote and you will understand my point. Epf claims that physical variation does not vary gradually, the AAPA disagrees with him. You don't have anything to say about the article presenting certain minority points of view with too much prominence? Alun 13:12, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I do not think that minority views are given too much prominence. I have been around a long time and I have seem massive edit wars over this article, where several editors insist that race is a scientifically valid concept supported by the best scientists. Wikipedia has no' mechanism for mediating disputes over the accuracy of content; indeed, it is pretty bad at mediating disputes over content, period. The principle mechanism for achieving good content is the "wiki" nature of Wikipedia - that anyone can edit. Alas, when it comes to controversial topics like this, the result is that there are often lengthy argments over what is the mainstream or majority point of view. There is only one way to deal with these conflicts: a willingness to compromise, on both sides. As I said, I have seen versions of this article that (from what I can tell of your beliefs) would just give you a heart-attack. The current version is - I wish you could trust me - the result of a long and careful process of compromise. The current version states that the view that race is a social construct, and that evolutionary scientists including population geneticists prefer to use the concepts of population and cline to address phenotypic variation, is the majority view. The article also provides a well-sourced account of how this view developed. It provides illustrations of the clinal view of phenotypic variation, and has lengthy sections on race as a social construction. Given that it does all of this, and knowing that the stability of Wikipedia articles depends largely on the ability of editors to compromise, I am quite happy to accept the representation of the other views in the article. I think it is a fairly stable version that satisfies all editors who understand and are committed to our NPOV policy. I think if anyone changed the article to say that the racialist view is a teeny minority, it will only open the door to a range of editors adding lots of citations of authors who believe race is biologically real, including extensive quotes from those sources. If you want an argument, and like to express yourself on talk pages, well, you will be in heaven because you will have lots of arguments and plenty of occasion to express yourself on the talk page. But you will not be able to control the content of the article and prevent people who utterly reject your view from adding more and more material on race as a biological concept. You just can't. It has nothing to do with right or wrong, it has to do with wiki - the software prevents you from stopping them. You may object that they are misrepresenting the field and misusing sources but the best outcome of such a situation would be an edit war in which you and others kept reverting one another and the article would become utterly unstable and the odds would be even that at any given moment someone looking at this article would be told that most scientists consider race biologically real or biologically unreal. That is life at Wikipedia. Instead of an unstable article where half the time readers get largely one view, and half the time they get the other view (depending when in the revert war they look up the article), I would rather see an article that provides both views but that (1) states what the mainstream view is and (2) explains it. The current version does just that. I personally am convinced that someone reading this article will learn not only what the AAPA view is but why they hold that view and what it really means. I don't want to jeopardize that. Now, if you think that the science behind this shift in the view of race can be explained more clearly or effectively I am all for your improving the article. But all my experience at Wikipedia tells me the winning strategy is to make sure the view you consider the mainstream scholarly view is explained well. Let the facts and arguments speak for themselves. Arguing against opposing views is in my experience never as effective as presenting the mainstream view well. And the real point is not what the AAPA or AAA statement on race says, but the science behind it. I really think the article explains that science well. But like I said, if you think it can be improved, go ahead. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:56, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
  • several editors insist that race is a scientifically valid concept supported by the best scientists
Race is a scientifically valid concept, who says it's not? The idea that biology supports the concept of race as the existence of discrete lineages within the human population (that is as subspecies, the normal biological concept of race) is not supported by genetic or physical anthropology research. You are conflating science with biology, and these are not the same thing. Alun 06:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Are you making a specific proposal to reword a specific sentence? Slrubenstein | Talk 11:37, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia has no' mechanism for mediating disputes over the accuracy of content
We are not talking about accuracy, we are talking about undue weight. Stick to the point. Alun 06:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I thought you were smart enough to see that the principle extends to conflicts over due-undue weight as well. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:37, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
  • a willingness to compromise, on both sides.
Where is your willingness to compromise? I see only rejectionism in your posts. You don't even appear to understand my concerns or indeed the problem with the article fully. I wonder how you can make such bold statements when you don't seem to even understand the basics of what I am talking about. You have several times accused me of saying things I have not said. You do not seem to understand the significant difference in the importance of the ROA model for human evolution compared to the multiregional model. You do not seem to understand that multilocus allele clustering has little or no bearing on the biological concept of "race". Indeed your main responses to my posts have been evasion of the subject at hand and trying to change the discussion to something completely different. Alun 06:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I think it is a fairly stable version that satisfies all editors who understand and are committed to our NPOV policy.
Odd that, because this used to be a featured article, and it has now lost that status, so at least some people think it is not as good as it used to be. Alun 06:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I think if anyone changed the article to say that the racialist view is a teeny minority
Who ever said that? I didn't. I said that we should not present people like Rushton as if he were not a teeny minority. I said that we should not present the multiregional hypothesis as if it has equal validity to ROA. I said that we should not present multilocus allele clustering as if it supports the concept of "race" as discrete lineages. These are specific and valid concerns. Please don't change what I have said, you are putting words into my mouth in order to use an argument that is irrelevant. There are certain sections of the article that overemphasis the importance of certain theories and/or research, that is what I am saying. Where have I said that we should say that racialism is only a tiny minority point of view. Indeed racialism may be a majority point of view for all I know, but what has that got to do with scientific theories and their relevance to human evolution and/or the concept of biological race? Indeed some geneticists want to redefine "race" as the geographical distribution of genetic diversity, but this involves a very different concept to discrete lineages. Alun 06:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I never mentioned Rushton. I think the article gives very little weight to the multi-regional hypothesis - it gets a short paragraph, the article suggests there is little evidence to support it, and it is presented before more recent research, showing that it is an older hypthesis. If you have made a specific proposal for how to explain the biological concept of race, I apologize to you for having missed it. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:37, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
  • best outcome of such a situation would be an edit war in which you and others kept reverting one another and the article would become utterly unstable
You really are pushing it aren't you? I came here to this talk page to make some valid statements about this article. The reason I am here is because I want to avoid an edit war. Now you seem to be accusing me of wanting to start one, you also talk about compromise. This is hypocricy in the extreme. You talk of compromise and avoiding edit warring, but what you are saying is if I change the article you will start an edit war because you are not prepared to compromise. Take a look at what you are saying mate. You are the one being intransigent here, not me, I have made relatively minor edits so far in the hope of getting a consensus for what I want to do. Alun 06:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Pushing it? Intransigent? How many of your edits to the article have I reverted? I think I have accepted most if not virtually all edits to actual content that you have made, that I am aware of. Also, I did not accuse you of wanting to start an edit war. You missed my point. I am open to any edit you propose that complies with NOR, V and NPOV and will support such edits. You really do both of us a disservice by taking my comments personally. You wrote above "You don't have anything to say about the article presenting certain minority points of view with too much prominence?" and I was just trying to respond to your question. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:37, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

(1) Why is Rushton a matter of discussion? Whether he's right or wrong, his contributions are relatively minor to this overall topic. (2) Settle down folks. I think there's a lot of talking past one another. Based on my very cursory reading, the distinctions that Alun is trying to draw are appropriate -- a "distinct lineage" is not necessarily the same thing as a "distinct population". There are enough subtle distinctions in this topic to be a challenge of the analytic philosophy variety -- some balance will need to be made between the presentation of a historical account of changing views and the diversity and subtlety of contemporary views. (3) but, otoh, an analytic philosopher can prove that the "gene" is not a rigorously valid concept, so care is need to not allow the distinctions drawn by one discipline to over-ride the language used by others. --W.R.N. 08:06, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

This is part of the problem. An editor called P0M used to appear to regularly declare that race was a construction on the basis that it is a concept and all concepts are constructions! This kind of argument gets us nowhere. Neither does the evangelical attitude of other editors who see all reference to race as racism. For heaven's sake, it's just a word. Like lots of words, some usages are inconsistent with others. We can tease that out and give the scientific arguments to clarify matters and also to draw attention to some of the ambiguities and confusions of the debate. I am a historian, not a scientist, so my understanding of the genetics is limited (to say the least), but I do not really see any consensus that race is not "real", except in the rather meaningless sense that all conceptual categories are not real and more specifically that human races (however modelled) are not subspecies. On the whole I widh this article explained views rather than presented matters as a dispute between "believers in race" and "unbelievers in race". Paul B 08:49, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
In a way he's right though. I am a biologist, and have a BSc in genetics, and one thing I do know is that even the concept of species is imperfect. Technically species should no be able to interbreed and also produce viable offspring (that is any offspring produced by the mating of animals from different species will be sterile or non viable). But many species break this concept. It is imperfect, take a look at Ring species for example. Most scientific conventions/concepts represent our way of trying to understand the natural world. But there are people who seem to think that concepts such as species or race are somehow naturally occuring phenomena. Well they are not, they are human made constructs, they have their uses, but they do not necessarily represent the natural world accurately, for the simple reasons that (a) our understanding of the natural world is incomplete (b) the natural world rarely behaves in the compartmentalised way we as humans would like it to. So here's the rub, "race" is a concept, but to discuss it we need to decide how it is defined, but it is not defined in a singular way, there are different ways to decide how we are going to categorise people. SO at the very least this article needs to discuss the different way "race" has been defined by biology and anthropology. Currently the article seems to think that biological "races" either exist or do not exist. It takes all evidence that genetic diversity is geographically distributed and implies that this supports "biological races". This is incorrect. Forstly there is absolutelly no consensus about what "race" is in the biological community, we need to say this, is "race" the same as subspecies? Is race la sub-classification of subspecies? Likewise there is no consensus about what subspecies is, some biologists think that subspecies is not a valid taxonomic classification, arguing that species is the lowest level of classification simply because at the subspecific level there is always going to be gene flow between the differnet populations. So we should start from these premises: 1) In biology "race" is most often used as a synonym for subspecies 2) There is debate in the biological community about whether subspecies is a legitimate scientific taxon 3) Currently all humans are classified as the same subspecies, we are all Homo sapiens sapiens (does the article even mention this rather important fact, if one accepts that race=subspecies then it is appartnt that biological races do not exist simply due to the taxonomic validity of this classification) 4) Usually subspecies are defined as deriving from seperate lineages, but there is no evidence for this within the human population 5) Humans are genetically very homogeneous compared to other mammals, probably indicating a common recent origin 6) In their test of several models for subspecies Long and Kittles concluded that human diversity does not fit any of the criteria for subspecies. 7) Some scientists have argued for a definition of "race" that equates to the distribution of genetic variation 8) Other scientists say that this is impossible because there are no discrete borders between populations. We could easily formulate the biology/genetics section arround these sorts of argument. But essentially POM is correct, whether "races" exist or not really depends on how you define a "race". Alun 17:18, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

I remember P0M, and I never saw him say anything remotely like that. You guys sure seem to have a tendency to misreport the facts. FilipeS 08:53, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

I was oversimplifying, but I tried to show that his argument was based on this claim, to which he responded, "In a very well educated world, any readership would be aware that any concept is a fabrication, a "useful fiction," and we would not have to flag the particularly flaky concepts. So I take Paul's point. We should not accept "physics" as having clear boundaries or clear referent(s) any more than we should accept "leprechaun" as refering to a definite and discoverable group of living organisms." He then went on to explain why in his view this general point was not applicable, but I confess his very allusive made his argument difficult to follow. Paul B 09:03, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

He was a tad philosophical, but he also made some good points. FilipeS 09:08, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Above, FelipeS writes, "Multiple valid and verifiable views. Implying that proven falsehoods are true, or reasonable, is not kosher." This is a misunderstanding of what we mean by "verifiability." Verifiable means it can be traced to a source available to other readers. It has nothing to do with what is true or false. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:49, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

You can spin it any way you like. You and your buddies have been giving undue weight to out-on-the-fringe-bordering-on-crackpot minority views. FilipeS 12:48, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

It is not a matter of spin, it is a matter of respect for our policies. Now, please tell me where and how exactly I have given undue weight to a crackpot theory? Slrubenstein | Talk 09:53, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Why to waste so much time and space because of several left-wing, anarchist cranks on this forum? 01:10, 5 May 2007 (UTC)