Talk:Race (human categorization)/Archive 29

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Lede, sourcing?

Regarding the citation to American Anthropological Association Statement on "Race"". 1998-05-17 with reference to "When used as a biological term, race describes genetically divergent populations of humans that can be marked by common phenotypic and genotypic traits." I had read the AAA statement, authored by Smedley, some time ago, I didn't recall her supporting any kind of biological basis for race, nor did I see the same on rereading it. Perhaps editing over time without updating references has led to some anomaly? PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 05:33, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

It wouldn't be the first time and it would be a surprising thing for an Anthropologist to support. May be better as "Race can describe ..." or similar? --Snowded TALK 05:41, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I think the problem is that something changed and the AAA statement no longer applies, I hoped my question would jog some memories. In fact, the more I read the lede, the more I think that "less is more," but that's another conversation! PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 05:49, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I haven't checked the entire parade of sources but I suspect this is more of a wording stumble than a misrepresentation of sources. No, the AAA is not supportive of any biological basis of race. However "race" in non-human biology is (a now dying common usage or) synonym for subspecies or distinct evolutionary lineage--and the AAA will say by neither definition do human populations qualify as biological categories. The wording is too mixed up I think. Professor marginalia (talk) 06:11, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree in general less is more. But I also believe an introduction needs to introduce the article as a whole and this article reviews a range of approaches. That said, if we use any sources at all in the lead I think we should stick to AAA and AAPA, the largest professional arganizations representing scientists who study race/human evolution/human genetic variation. This article is chronically the target of people who rewrite the introeduction to insert their own views, so it is always degrading. Rather than argue over what the right view is, I propose we (1) keep any sentences sourced to the AAA or AAPA statements (2) make sure they represent those statements as accurately and concisely as possible and (3) make sure that any other major issue covered by the article is also introduced in the introduction. I am tring to propose general principles I hope we can all agree on; if we do I am sure that we can work out the specific wording through attentive good faith editing without much strife. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:33, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Slrubenstein that less is more. But contentious articles should, even more than most articles, be based on secondary/tertiary sources. The statements of professional organizations are, of course, important to include and reference, but they should not form the core of the lead or the article itself. Much better to use the Encyclopædia Britannica article or some other widely respected secondary (or tertiary) source. David.Kane (talk) 12:08, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
At the risk of perhaps betraying some personal opinions, I would see points to touch on in the lede, were it to remain of similar size, as including (but not limited to):
  1. the anthropological view of "race" as a social construct;
    1. I would see racial self-identification as congruent to that, i.e., SIRE should be mentioned;
    2. race as a historical tool supporting (self-anointed) colonial superiority justifying exploitation of other peoples—the science of classification as a useful contemporary to the expansion of colonial power;
  2. racial classifications as they correlate to and reflect human geobiodiversity—notably, geobiodiverse mutations are also demonstrated to be shared across geographically adjoining racial groups, so, for example, sickle-cell disease being the downside of an otherwise beneficial mutation—which one escapes me at the moment—shared among peoples of African and Mediterranean descent.
As I've indicated elsewhere, there's no train leaving the station. As Audrey Smedley is the author of a wide swath of EB content regarding race, point #1 would be the most prominent regardless, as AAA's statement and EB content have been penned by the same individual. Fortuitous, no? PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 14:35, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
(Personally speaking) there are aspects of cultural life which are associated with "race" particularly in the U.S. which are more reflective of what one would typically consider cultural differences between ethnic groups, but another topic. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:01, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
WP competes with EB so I see no point in our quoting them in the lead. If people want to use another general encyclopedia they are free to, if they want to use Wikipedia let's give them WP. Vercrumba, with regards to your chart, social construction refers to ways knowledge is produced, not to a specific group of people who use knowledge. Scientists "socially construct" knowledge as well. By the way, the sickle- cell is the beneficial mutation. People with a homozygote have too many sickle cells, and suffer from anemia, which is bad. People with the heterozygote have a lower number of sickle-cells, which affords them some protection against malaria. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:53, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it was the protection against malaria, I was recalling that it manifested as an increased likelihood of sickle-cell anemia, thanks. As I stated, my list is perhaps more my personal view, but even as such it might be useful for discussion. Since EB reflects AAA owing to authorship, I'm hoping we can largely avoid debate over prominence of secondary versus tertiary and focus on what are the essential points for the lede. Apologies to the long-standing participants at my opening the proverbial can again, but I do think the lede can be improved, not just focusing on the first sentence. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 16:04, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Now and then I should remember to scroll all the way down to remind myself what's already in the article in case I've forgotten! Thanks for your patience. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:23, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Returning to your opening question, this change is where the wording got mixed around. It was better before the edit. I'd twk it again to read, "When used as a biological term to describe humans, race should not be confused with subspecies because human races do not delineate unique subspecies. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:36, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

I do see the phenotypes reference in Smedley's text. I'll take a look at the wording before/after and current to see if there is a more straightforward way of putting things. I'll try not to be too bold if I do, copy edit only. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:01, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I tried to condense down a bit of the lede into plain English while maintaining the refs and links. I won't take umbrage if it gets reverted as not having improved things (as long as it's reverted politely!). PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:33, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I will also not assume any changes I make are acceptable if not immediately reverted or if there's no feedback within period X. Many a conflict has been exacerbated by "Unless I hear otherwise,..." (!) PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:26, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Made the rest of the lede readable (IMHO), unfortunately the reference for the statement regarding the study of ethnic groups didn't apply. I moved the reference up and noted we need a citation. On the other recent delete and restore, it would help to find some citations at least, the passages have been tagged since 2007. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 22:53, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Mike's deletions

Mike deletes informative content. He then adds tags, saying that certain claims are unsuppoted. This article has extensive sitations and it is just absurd to think every sentence needs a citation after it. What is necessary is to include coherent explanations of major points of view. Remove informative content, as Mike delights in doing, and what is left will not make sense to readers. Nice tactic. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:09, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

I thought there was a rule against vandalism on Wikipedia. I'm glad that at least you are restoring sourced content. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 23:17, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
Even if one were to take Mike's characterization as correct, eliminating the entire discussion prevents any understanding of the context and significance of the final position. It might as well state "Elephants have no pink polka-dots." Such mass deletions are not helpful. Let's not revisit this manner of bold editing. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 00:20, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
The article is significantly too long. If you disagree with Mike's deletions, what would you delete? Feel free to be bold and do it! His deletions seemed fine to me. David.Kane (talk) 02:35, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
As I said, the result left me asking what's the point of the content that's left, it says nothing to the average reader without additional background. There's a lot that can be done to copy-edit to tighten instead of deleting and leaving readers scratching their heads. IMHO of course. (Copy editing the lede probably cut out 20% or more.)
If the article is too long then suggest some appropriate (additional) daughter articles, perhaps. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 03:30, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
It would be helpful if everyone spoke for their own additions and subtractions as they are done so we can agree or disagree with the reasons given for an edit. Mike is absent from this discussion so it's one-sided at the moment. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 04:28, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I thought it was a useful cut and the result made perfect sense to me. I don't think we need an extended discussion of what race is not. The section is called 'Subspecies as clade', it's utterly off topic.
"For anthropologists Lieberman and Jackson (1995), however, there are more profound methodological and conceptual problems with using cladistics to support concepts of race. They emphasize that "the molecular and biochemical proponents of this model explicitly use racial categories in their initial grouping of samples". For example, the large and highly diverse macroethnic groups of East Indians, North Africans, and Europeans are presumptively grouped as Caucasians prior to the analysis of their DNA variation.
This limits and skews interpretations, obscures other lineage relationships, deemphasizes the impact of more immediate clinal environmental factors on genomic diversity, and can cloud our understanding of the true patterns of affinity. They argue that however significant the empirical research, these studies use the term race in conceptually imprecise and careless ways. They suggest that the authors of these studies find support for racial distinctions only because they began by assuming the validity of race."
is essentially babble. Who/What are "the molecular and biochemical proponents of this model"? No evolutionary scientist I know of supports human races as clades. It's a ridiculous strawman. We need to know exactly where all of this stuff was sourced from.
There's too much repetition here. Do we need to mention that races are best represtened as clines in the 'Subspecies as clade' section, when we have a cline section later?
Also, Weiji, next acusation of vandalism or disruption gets reported. mikemikev (talk) 10:12, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
It is a reliable secondary source and the citation is provided so just go ahead and read it. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:31, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I read it. The quoted sections are about the out of Africa model, not clades. This justifies immediate deletion. mikemikev (talk) 17:33, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
After breaking WP:BRD on this it would be interesting to see how your report of another editor would be taken. --Snowded TALK 10:20, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
How did I break BRD? I'm discussing now. mikemikev (talk) 10:21, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
You were bold on the 7th and were reverted, you then made the deletion again on the 8th without discussion/agreement. --Snowded TALK 10:26, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not paper. One way to deal with long articles is more effective introductions that let readers decide which sections they wish to read carefully. Nothing forces a reader to read the entire article. WP not being paper means we do not have to be superficial and partial like most encyclopedias. And I do not think we should write as if our main audience all has ADD. People can skip around from sextion to section if they wish or as Vercrumba correctly points out follow links to learn moe. But our main job is to educate by explaining things. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:03, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

@Sl, thanks for that. Equally important is that we write for our audience, not for professors reviewing a thesis. The former, IMHO, is much more difficult on any complex topic. Some of the current writing is dense enough to make reader's eyes water.
   Lastly, we're not children. This is article talk, not AN/I, so let's please dispense with accusations and threats and threats of retributions on accusations. Personally, I've had quite enough of that at the toxic R&I arbitration proceedings.
  • You have a problem, go to the arbitration while it's still going and diff away. Not here.
  • Major changes require discussion beforehand. Period.
  • Solicitous (engenders good faith and) trumps unilateral (which engenders bad faith). Always.
We can do better. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 14:54, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Peters wrote, "You have a problem, go to the arbitration while it's still going and diff away. Not here." Good point. Right now we have a forum that is very focused on the issue of constructive editing to build an encyclopedia, and anyone who has objections to editing practices on articles related to the ArbCom case can bring up those objections there. Here the goal is to read and discuss sources, and then in turn to discuss wording that makes a better encyclopedia article for a worldwide readership made up of persons of all backgrounds and varied presuppositions about the topic of the article. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:03, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Interesting new source on subject of this article.

I just yesterday saw that my local library has acquired a new book, Race and Reality by Guy P. Harrison, which has some excellent reviews from knowledgeable reviewers. I have requested it from the library and will use it to oversee further revisions in this article. All of you are welcome to recommend other good, recent sources on this subject. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:06, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I received the book from my local library yesterday and began to read it. It cites some very good quality scientific literature, which I will consult. The book is interesting because the author changed his own point of view on the issue, and details what evidence he considered as he changed his point of view. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 13:59, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Next, history concepts and realities of race section

I won't assume that there aren't quibbles with my edits to the lede, but I'm done with my own tweaking, so moving on. My eyes tear over a bit just reading the history section, which isn't even that complex. It's a bit longer and more torturous than it needs to be, and there's some crisper background available on etymology, though not dissimilar per the single citation that currently appears. I'll also work to get the section fully cited as well. That's for over the next couple of days, pretty full up on "stuff". Just a note so we're not stepping on each other's toes. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 16:09, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

New section inserted, everything has a source behind it. Apologies for the boldness, but all the meat is still below. I've also tried to keep the tone a bit more conversational, but not too much. Comments welcome.
I should mention that I didn't come at this from any particular POV. Also, the paragraph which starts with: "This does not mean that genomic analysis..." probably needs just a bit more historical meat, but I'm not unsatisfied at the moment. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 23:04, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
FYI the history section used to be much longer, starting in antiquity with distinct sections for the 18th, 195h and 20th centuries. I do not remember when it was pruned - David kane or mike Mike V. might know, but it was within the last year. Should it be restored? I ....... don't know. It is a long article and while WP is NOT paper, maybe we shouldn't cram everything into one article. If 18th and 19th century debates have no impact on the present, maybe they shouldn't be in this article. Anyway, if you want to know what was cut, go to the articles's edit history and go back about a year and you will see a much more detailed history section. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:50, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I'll go back to look, but we do have Historical definitions of race as a daughter article. I think we would look for this to be more the present day article as a companion to prior history. I might retitle the "History" section to reflect what's there now (as well as the rest of the article) a bit more accurately. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 16:37, 12 August 2010 (UTC) [Re-titled!]
I'm also wrestling with an appropriate organization of the content, as it jumps down evolution and subspecies, backs up to biological views, then follows with views across disciplines and then investigating in more detail.... The subject might be better served as
  • Interdisciplinary summary (the table of definitions, assuming we're all good with it, is a bit far down, IMHO)
  • Societal (anthropologists, etc.) = attitudes
  • Biological (geneticists, etc.) = scientific findings and postulations
with appropriate subsections. I'd dispense with the "Modern debate(s)" title under which nearly everything is lumped (and what isn't lumped should be). PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 17:04, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
I did some tweaking so it's more explicit regarding which discipline is making statements about what. That anthropologists call race a social construct is not the result of there being less genetic difference between races than within races, that (IMHO) is more a fortuitous circumstance. Were there major genetic differences, anthropologists would still call race a social construct. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 13:56, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

"This new science has led many mainstream evolutionary scientists in anthropology and biology to question the very validity of race as a scientific concept describing an objectively real phenomenon"

[1] [2]

Mainstream evolutionary scientists:

Baum, Bruce David.
Angier, Natalie.
Amundson, Ron.
Reardon, Jenny.

Also false allegation of vandalism. mikemikev (talk) 19:11, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

  • Eh, perhaps you care to look at the article from The New York Times. What's that, almost a dozen geneticists and others in relevant disciplines? Drmies (talk) 04:26, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
I count 4 supporting the statement, and an equal or greater number saying race is useful or reserving judgement. A quote mined New York Times piece "Do Races Differ? Not Really, DNA Shows" cannot be regarded as representing mainstream scientific opinion. We need to look at top scientific sources. Incidentally, here's a more recent New York Times piece (actually by an evolutionary biologist), reaching the exact opposite conclusion.[3] mikemikev (talk) 13:51, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
"LA!LA!LA!LA!LA!LA!..." you're not hearing that major changes with nary a comment directly prior or after on a topic in an area of contention are quite likely to be regarded as vandalism. Nor are you hearing why sometimes more is more and less is meaningless. Chill. You want to bring up allegations rightly or wrongly please take it up elsewhere. There's no train leaving the station here. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:56, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Don't be so childish. This is a ridiculous addition. These are not "mainstream evolutionary scientists", they're not even evolutionary scientists. Why don't you address the content instead of giving condescending procedural lectures. mikemikev (talk) 21:12, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I just checked Baum, he's source cited in studies on race. Perhaps you'd like to offer your categorization, along with your criteria, of these individuals instead of offering sarcasm and calling me childish. I suggest trying this again as a discussion instead of sneering. As for "condescending" I rather suspect you are projecting your conflicts with other editors on me. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 00:53, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for checking Vecrumba. Of course, it doesn't matter how much any one of us checks sources. One has to know how to use sources. No one ever claimed that these sources were written by evolutionary biologists. They were written about evolutionary biologistists 9among other things). This is typical of secondary sources. And of course fully in line withour policies. Sometimes I have to wonder whether mike ever looked at our policies. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:49, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
[4] My categorization is "not a biological or evolutionary scientist". How can this guy speak for evolutionary science? A sociologist asserts "biological race does not exist" (Lewontin's fallacy no doubt). Who cares? He doesn't even explain why in the cite. mikemikev (talk) 09:57, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Then, maybe you'd like to take a look at the resume of Jenny (Jennifer) Reardon, who's a full-blown biologist, specializing in genetics and genomics and their impact on social identity. AFAIK, she fits the bill perfectly as an expert on race.--Ramdrake (talk) 15:10, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Mike, nor have you answered my request on your reasoning regarding the individuals mentioned and your associated criteria as they haven't dropped out of thin air. "NOT" something doesn't move the conversation along. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 16:33, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Why should I waste my time categorizing people who are not relevant? Sociologists? Political theorists? Bagpipe players? Who cares. The point is that the quote concerns "mainstream (evolutionary) biologists", and none of these people are. The only one of these who has a tenuous connection is Jenny (Jennifer) Reardon. She's now in a sociology department, hardly the place for a "mainstream (evolutionary) biologist", but let's play along. Specifically can you quote where she said something which supports this statement? mikemikev (talk) 18:38, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I'd say she said something quite similar to this right here. Now, will you please stop this WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT attitude? The fact is that mainstream science considers race to be biologically meaningless (it is socially and sociolgically meaningful, though). That's it, that's all, move along, there's nothing more to see.--Ramdrake (talk) 00:30, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that Ramdrake (from the journal of feminist and cultural studies). In that cite she was just saying that there have been a lot of claims about the biological meaninglessness of race. Nowehere does she say she agrees with it. From her other work it's clear she regards the claims as an oversight, from "anti-racists" quote mining and jumping the gun, usually with little understanding of biology. mikemikev (talk) 13:20, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Your interpretation that she doesn't agree with it is absolute, pure OR. Also, please note that nobody cares about your personal opinion; readers, however should care about her opinion as expressed in the source I provided, as she is a bona fide expert in genomics. I'm appalled and flabbergasted at how you can twist legitimate sources to try to make them say the opposite of what they're actually saying. Geesh. I'd also like you to provide the sources which demonstrate she regards the claims as an oversight, from "anti-racists" quote mining and jumping the gun, usually with little understanding of biology. I've been looking at her publications and can't honestly find such a quote.--15:12, 11 August 2010 (UTC)--Ramdrake
So provide the quote. mikemikev (talk) 18:27, 11 August 2010 (UTC) I mean the quote I originally asked you for which supports the statement in question. Copy it out. mikemikev (talk) 18:32, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
At this point, your behaviour has become nothing short of trawling. As per WP:DNFTT], my question stands and if you can't answer it (produce a quote which verifies she endorses the biological reality of races, as you claim), it will just be a confirmation of your trolling trawling behaviour.--Ramdrake (talk) 18:53, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
So I can put "citation needed" back in? mikemikev (talk) 19:00, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
No, unless you can get a consensus for it on this talk page.--Ramdrake (talk) 19:12, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

I'll say, there is no rule that you have to be X in order to say "Most X think this". --Enric Naval (talk) 18:45, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

It starts to look pretty lame when you can't reference one X saying it. mikemikev (talk) 18:54, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
(ec) @Mike: If you can't be bothered to "waste" your time explaining why individuals whose scholarly opinion would appear to be relevant are not other than to indicate as much in a derisive and uninformative fashion, then how is anyone supposed to understand your editorial POV? Not to mention your insulting everyone else here as being a waste of your personal life force. If you keep treating me like I'm your adversary, then that's what you'll eventually wind up with. Reductio ad Ludwigsium. Again, at least pretend that you are interested in my understanding your editorial point of view and answer the question. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 18:55, August 10, 2010
@Mikemikev, deleting sources and replacing them with a citation needed tag does not qualify as a discussion of your editorial point of view. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 19:50, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Recent edits

I was previously discussing fully protecting this page after the last block, but did not do so. A long series of edits were made by Vecrumba (talk · contribs) since then - see this inclusive diff (two Slrubenstein edits are in the middle, but it's nearly all Vecrumba) [5]

Are there any objections to this series of edits from "the other side", including Mikemikev or David.Kane? If so, I will fully protect the article until Arbcom is done. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 00:58, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

No objection. (Note that I did not study these edits at all and, at least as far as I can tell, Vecrumba (talk · contribs) is not on the other side from me. But I see no harm in having this article protected. David.Kane (talk) 01:03, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm not on anyone's "side" in the brouhaha. All that is required is discussion of intended edits as opposed to announcements of fait accompli. Feel free to temporarily block anyone who doesn't follow that, including myself. Leaving the article at most semi-protected allows editors trying to move on to demonstrate the capacity to cooperate. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:19, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
I am of the opinion that Vercrumba's recent edits constitute an improvement to the article.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:48, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

What is the article's point of view?

Far be it for us to synthesize our own, I think we've already seen the results of attempts to do that; even good faith eventually succumbs to contentiousness. On the other hand, unless we can have at least some agreement, the content will be a voluminous unfocused wandering. I've added a succinct—and I thought non-judgemental—quote from Graves which I thought useful. I'm not married to it, thoughts? PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 17:46, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

This is not a well formed question since it can only really be answered by pointing to WP:NPOV - the larger issue, namely "what is in fact the most neutral perspective on this topic" is immense and cannot be answered simply. I think the quote is fine. ·Maunus·ƛ· 17:55, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Completely agreed. Perhaps my question is better asked as: what is the plot of the (NPOV) story we are telling here? I don't suppose we'll have a quick answer(!); it's more important we keep the question in mind as we work toward some consistent content. (Not just here, but at any article.)PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 18:23, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
I guess I don't understand what the focus of the article is because there is another Race and genetics article (desperately in need of inline sources) and many many others that when taken altogether make the question "what is race" about as clear as mud. While "Race is a social construct" is considered the consensus view today, there is no corresponding "classification system" for socially defined races. So is this article meant to describe why race no longer is considered an official scientific classification, and the few "practical" applications such as forensic anthropology or race-based medicine where it continues to be used? Professor marginalia (talk) 19:09, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
WTF. The few "practical" applications, such as law and medicine? Perhaps you could enlighten us as to the use of cultural anthropology, and how it's anything other than a self satisfied school of fiction writing. mikemikev (talk) 19:33, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I'll have to check, but it might be that this article and Race and genetics should be merged. If they are both about human races, not treating the issues together sounds like more than a little bit of a POV fork. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 20:48, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
The point of view is "biological race does not exist" (you can't believe your eyes, Lewontin's statistics are the truth). Naturally you need to use "secondary sources" for that, which excludes all biologists. Ideally you should use sociologist who takes a quote from a biologist out of context to support this POV. mikemikev (talk) 18:41, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I mean, otherwise, people would be forgiven for thinking that sociologists are just a bunch of pointless harmful, fiction writing windbags. It's so impressive that actually, they are the authorities on biology. mikemikev (talk) 19:23, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
@Mikemikev--you're no longer even pretending to edit constructively; if you want to rant or soapbox you need to find another website. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:54, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Ad hominem. mikemikev (talk) 19:57, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Thats not an ad hominem (an adhominem is a kind of argument) that is advice about your behaviour (a kind of speech act different from an argument). For someone coming back from a block - listening to such advice is ... adviseable.·Maunus·ƛ· 20:00, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
If it's offered in place of addressing my point (that you continue to reference sociologists on biology), it's effectively ad hominem. mikemikev (talk) 20:03, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
If you had actually made that point instead of just making snide sarcastic remarks your comment would have been received differently. You have been offered quotes from a rather impressive number of geneticists and biologists (you seem to be confused about what is the nature of physical anthropology - but its a lot closer to biology than to sociology) who agree with that view, every time you're confronted with that you just dismiss them for one fanciful reason or the other.·Maunus·ƛ· 20:13, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Name these geneticists and biologists. mikemikev (talk) 20:19, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Mike I have. For the sake of courtesy only I will mention some of them again. Craig Venter, Francis Collins (geneticist), Robert Sussman[6], Jonathan Marks (biological anthropologist and geneticist)...Do they speak for all of biology? probably not, but until you show reliable sources to the effect that the dominant viewpoint within human biology and genetics study is that human populations can be reduced to a number of macro races that fit nicely with the social construction of continental racial groups in the US then there is not really much discussion to do here. ... Oh and your favorite pet peeve Lewontin is a doctor of zoology...And Steven Rose is a biologist. Maybe that could move the debate away from thisidea you have that if only people have the right academic background they will agree with you. ·Maunus·ƛ· 21:01, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── (The earlier attempt to post this was apparently eaten by an edit conflict.) Let's not forget John Maynard Smith, who decried "g groupies" and disagreed with a computer science professor at Sussex University, with Maynard Smith saying "that there was no reason to believe that the gap in IQ scores between black and white Americans, to which the [professor] had also referred, was genetic in origin." -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 23:21, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Maunus: From Francis Collins, "Is race biologically meaningless? First, it is essential to point out that 'race' and 'ethnicity' are terms without generally agreed-upon definitions. Both terms carry complex connotations that reflect culture, history, socioeconomics and political status, as well as a variably important connection to ancestral geographic origins. Well-intentioned statements over the past few years, some coming from geneticists, might lead one to believe there is no connection whatsoever between self-identified race or ethnicity and the frequency of particular genetic variants 1, 2. Increasing scientific evidence, however, indicates that genetic variation can be used to make a reasonably accurate prediction of geographic origins of an individual, at least if that individual's grandparents all came from the same part of the world3. As those ancestral origins in many cases have a correlation, albeit often imprecise, with self-identified race or ethnicity, it is not strictly true that race or ethnicity has no biological connection. It must be emphasized, however, that the connection is generally quite blurry because of multiple other nongenetic connotations of race, the lack of defined boundaries between populations and the fact that many individuals have ancestors from multiple regions of the world."
Weiji: We're discussing whether mainstream biologists think race has a biological connection. Please stop with the irrelevant anecdotes. mikemikev (talk) 04:27, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
No Mike we are not discussing whether race has a biological connection - it obviously has. We are discussing whether it has a primarily biological basis which it hasn't and which Collins clearly agrees that it hasn't when he concludes that the connection between selfreported race and genetics is one of a series of surrogate relationships.·Maunus·ƛ· 19:34, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Mikemikev-Francis Collins is offering argument that knee-jerk exaggerations that because, say, scientists have found there to be so much gene flow in the past 100,000 years that there never has been any clearly disconnected and divergent evolutionary lineages evident in human genetics today does not mean that there is literally absolutely no evident genetic patterns of differences among geographically proximate peoples compared to geographically remote peoples. No justification for exaggerated extremism, is essentially what he's saying. But notice he's largely consistently lumped ethnicity and race here...why? I would submit it's probably because the "fuzzy" categories can be similarly useful in a practical sense, as rough proxies, even while there's almost nobody that would say "ethnicity" is a legitimate biological category. Cultural genealogy, not race biology, is why the American Amish have such high prevalence of dwarfism, for example. "Connection" does not a "biological race" make--I have a biological connection to my parents, yet my parents, my siblings and I do not constitute a biological race. Professor marginalia (talk) 05:26, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
(multi!ec) @Mike: Sigh. Once one gets past the shouting over "race is a figment of our construction," there are anthropologists, biologists, sociologists, et al. who have stated "race" as a concept has its place other than simply being denounced. I'm not here to push or censor any view. I can only speak for myself that if you have anything you'd like to say to me in a constructive manner noting your editorial concerns regarding any changes I propose or make, I'm happy to hear it and discuss it. And please do stop shouting about Lewontin. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:26, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Any issues with the "possibility that human history has been characterized by genetically relatively homogeneous groups ('races'), distinguished by major biological differences, is not consistent with genetic evidence." for example? Owens is a geneticist and AFAIK a senior fellow at the University of Washington. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:29, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Owens seems like a reasonable source. mikemikev (talk) 20:58, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
The current point of view of many scientists who are intimately familiar with the biological facts of the sole living hominin species, Homo sapiens, is that no system of "race" classification (among the many that have been proposed over the years) has day-by-day usefulness for scientific inquiry. Sources on this issue are abundant, and I am gathering them in my office for addition to one of the source lists to share with our fellow Wikipedians. I am familiar with people who already knew this years ago from foreign travel, including living in an international dormitory with students from all over the world, but it's interesting to know that many lines of evidence, especially molecular biology and evolutionary biology, are all converging on this conclusion. The basic biological unity of humankind amid individual biological diversity is a hard concept for some people to wrap their minds around, but I recommend
* Harrison, Guy P. (2010). Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity. Jonathan Marks (Foreword). Amherst (NY): Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-59102-767-6. Lay summary (16 August 2010). 
as one good, recent source with plenty of citations of up-to-date scientific literature and discussions of what is puzzling about this issue. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 20:52, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I recommend throwing Marks in the bin and spending five minutes looking at the medical literature. mikemikev (talk) 20:55, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
No room for him there - its already full of your worthless "recommendations" based solely on POV and not on arguments and automated dismissals of every solid scientist that you are presented with.·Maunus·ƛ· 21:03, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
(multiple! ec again) I've taken a look at Harrison (forward by Marks). IMHO it's good for pointers but as Harrison is a journalist, I wouldn't use it as a secondary source in and of itself (regardless of its inherent value) other than representing views of race in the press. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:10, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree Harrison is useful, but many elements in it are unapologetically "advocacy" and personal, and those elements don't really belong here (however it's easy to separate his personal opinions and anecdotes from his researched claims). I don't think his own opinions are noteworthy enough to include in this article, even as a representative view of opinions in the press. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:06, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Recommended sources?

I have circulating access to a huge Bio-Medical Library, part of the university libraries system at my state's flagship research university, and I have visited that library on repeated occasions to gather books for editing Wikipedia articles. I have quite a few of those books arrayed in my office for entry into updates of the source lists for Wikipedians posted in my user space. Inasmuch as that library not only has a lavish collection, but also great interlibrary loan service, I'd be happy to hear from anyone on this talk page about sources that you recommend for the latest, most authoritative view of the science related to racial classification of human beings. I'll look up the sources. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 21:30, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

For editors new to the topic, it might be useful to have categories for both:
  • appropriate for use/citation in the article
  • recommended background reading, e.g., Harrison's
Just a thought. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:42, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm actually beginning to develop a two-dimensional rating system like that for the sources mentioned in my source lists. One rating axis is the "read this first" axis, mentioning the most readable, thoughtful sources that clarify the issues, and another axis is the Wikipedia reliable sources for medicine-related articles axis, showing which sources can generally be counted on as directly citable sources for Wikipedia articles. I'm in an early stage of rating the books I've already cited in the source lists, and would be glad to hear the opinions of other editors about what is already posted. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 21:48, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that Harrison or other works in that vein necessarily must be relegated to mere "background reading", and when there is some question about whether or not some cited claim is controversial enough to require more authoritative sourcing then those can also be used to better settle the question. But books like Harrison and others which are good at presenting the topic in a way that may be more accessible, succinct, etc, then they are oftentimes a big help when writing these articles. And when they're used they should be cited with any other sources useful to bolster the claim authoritatively. It's important to give credit where credit is due, in other words. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:36, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, Professor marginalia, for the detailed comments on how a popular nonfiction book (which I acknowledge Harrison 2010 is) can be used for sourcing a Wikipedia article. I definitely agree that there are more scholarly sources on this topic, and I'm glad to see suggestions of those. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 17:10, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Check out the entire volume of American Anthropologist Volume 100, Issue 3 September 1998. Also, Alexander Alland's very well-reviewed book, Race in Mind. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:06, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Slrubenstein, for the recommendations of sources. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 17:10, 17 August 2010 (Utc)
I agree with the recommendation of race in mind - I would also strongly reccomend Jonathan Marks "Human biodiversity: genes, race, and history" even though it was written at the onset of the genetic era it is still really good and gives a good understanding of genetics and how it relates to race. Marks has an MSC in genetics and did postdoctoral reserach in genetics so I wonder why Mike can't seem to stand him, maybe rather because he doesn't agree with him? ·Maunus·ƛ· 19:37, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Somewhere along the way we discussed a book by Harrison with a foreword by Marks, I'm not sure there wasn't a bit of mix-up in the commentary. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:42, 17 August 2010 (UTC)


This article is slanted to a cultural anthropology viewpoint. Especially the key sections. Cultural anthropologists are referenced on genetics: not their field. mikemikev (talk) 15:51, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Could you give some specific examples of quotes by people whom you feel are used as authorities outside of their field of exertise? Preferably you would also include a quote showing that important figures within the field of genetics do not agree with them, in order to show that their opinions are in conflict with the general view within the field of genetics. ·Maunus·ƛ· 16:30, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
"Today, many anthropologists consider race, with respect to how individuals in society interact with each other, to be a cultural construct independent of biological or genetic variation. Having arisen as an ideology about differences between peoples, race is something to be analyzed apart from biological or genetic considerations."
"Anthropologists also point out that genomic analysis has shown that racial distinctions are "not genetically discrete, are not reliably measured, and are not scientifically meaningful.""
Both sourced to Smedley, a cultural anthropologist.
I referenced Collins above. Also hundreds of medical studies where race is a variable. "Racial distinctions are not scientifically meaningful and independent of genetic variation" is a fringe viewpoint. When made by someone out of field it does not belong in an encyclopedia. I'm disturbed that it is the theme of this article. mikemikev (talk) 16:46, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
You misrepresented the claim in the Collins source btw. He did not say that racial distinctions are scientifically meaningful and independent of genetic variation. He said that they can be used for practical purposes but concludes that they are a series of surrogate relationships. In short there is a correlation that is big enough to be of practical use in comabting certain medical problems. ·Maunus·ƛ· 19:32, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Smedly is summarizing the findings of the entire field of anthropology, cultural and biological anthropologists - we often rely on secondary sources for generalizations or synthetic statements as we cannot make them ourselves. It is not her claim that genomic analysis has shown that racial distinctions are not scientifically meaningful (one would expect one to be a biological anthropologist to make that claim). It is her claim that anthropologists believe this. And she is an entirely reliable source when it comes to what is the manstream view of anthropologists.
But if you want, from the same journal issue we could include biological anthropologist Matt Cartmill's view:
There are hereditary differences among human beings. Some of these differences have geographical correlates. Some genetic variants that produce physical or behavioral deficits occur significantly more often in some areas, or in some ethnic groups, than in others. However, none of these facts provides any intellectual support for the race concept, for racial classifications, or for social hierarchies based on ethnic-group membership.
The geographical element of the race concept is important in theory but is widely ignored in practice since it does not conform well to the facts of current human phenotype distribution. Much of the literature on supposed racial differences involves such geographically meaningless exercises as studying differences among "races" by subdividing a sample of North Americans. If races are defined as geographically delimited conspecific populations characterized by distinctive regional phenotypes, then human races do not exist now and have not existed for centuries,
There is no doubt that Smedly is giving an accurat report of the mainstream anthropological view.
Can you really not tell the difference between a claim about genetics, and a claim about what anthropologists have learned from genetics? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:04, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
How delimited? How distinctive? It's the same again and again: "races are not non-overlapping homogenous sets, therefore they are meaningless". It's ridiculous. It's what Dawkins would call "the tyranny of the discontinuous mind". Races are fuzzy sets, but they are meaningful. Why on earth would medical science use them otherwise? So anthropologists believe this? Medical doctors don't. Are they not studying man? You can't say your source speaks for all science. In fact Smedley's source specifically states that it represents the view of the author. You seem to be trying to claim a much wider authority than your sources command. Do "anthropologists" trump Collins? Who is Cartmill? mikemikev (talk) 17:20, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
POV is already being discussed here on the talk page, so no article tag is necessary. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 17:25, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
The tag stays up until issues are resolved. Self-revert please. mikemikev (talk) 17:30, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
The complaint is ridiculous. The list of sources used are littered with population geneticists and other biologists, including biological anthropologists (even featuring a statement issued by the American Association of Physical Anthropologists). Smedley's qualifications are good enough irl,[7]-(she's the author of the official statement American Anthropological Association) so they're good enough here. On the other hand, Mikemikev's is a completely unqualified opinion and a broken record--it deserves to be ignored at this point. Professor marginalia (talk) 17:32, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
What list of sources? The References in this[8] Smedley paper used to source "Today, many anthropologists consider race, with respect to how individuals in society interact with each other, to be a cultural construct independent of biological or genetic variation. Having arisen as an ideology about differences between peoples, race is something to be analyzed apart from biological or genetic considerations" are almost entirely about the history of slavery. mikemikev (talk) 17:38, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Don't try to claim that the AAPA is an umbrella organization for human genetics, it isn't. mikemikev (talk) 17:49, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Agreed with WBB, the Professor, SLR and Maunus. The sources used to describe mainstream opinion look absolutely sound to me. It also looks like we have editors' consensus that there is no POV issue here. Mikemikev, please self-revert your tag. Not doing so would be yet another example of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. Thanks. --Ramdrake (talk) 17:50, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
This is insane. Smedley is not a biologist. You are simply lying. mikemikev (talk) 17:52, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Nobody is saying that and Audrey Smedley isn't giving the viewpoint of biology but of anthropology about a partly biological issue as you have been explained a few times already. ·Maunus·ƛ· 19:39, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
It's when biology, genetics and medicine express the opposite view that we have problems. Anyway, I brought it up here.[9] mikemikev (talk) 19:47, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
You haven't provided a single source that shows that biology medicine or genetics has the opposite view. The Collins source that you kindly presented does not disagree with Smedley.·Maunus·ƛ· 19:53, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
It says "it is not strictly true that race or ethnicity has no biological connection." mikemikev (talk) 19:57, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── (multiple!ec) Yikes. This is like a bad sci-fi movie where you step away for 10 seconds and when you come back to the TV there's another huge smear of blood on the wall and you're wondering what you missed. We all know Smedley's qualifications. Before shouting, is "slavery" any different from how the British treated the Chinese, for example? Colonialism pretty much cemented the negative aspects of race, it's not just American slavery. And, again, Mike, you are completely missing the distinction: "race is something to be analyzed apart from biological or genetic considerations" speaks to the anthropological view and does NOT state there are absolutely NO biological or genetic considerations. It is the geneticists, quoted later, who state that genetics DON'T LINE UP with our notion of race. There ARE differences, and those are what need to be dealt with in looking at geo-biodiversity, population clines, et al. (and as they correlate to current notions of race). I'll consider whether I need to add a bit more to the introductory section after the lede. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 19:59, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Slavery isn't an issue here, except in that it's not relevant to genetics. As for Smedley, I think you're promoting a fringe view. That's fine but I don't think it should have such a prominent place, or be unattributed. The source states that it represents the view of the author. I think most scientists and lay people are well aware that race is a biological phenomenon, in no way "independent of biological or genetic variation." The exact nature remains poorly understood, I don't think anybody has any illusions about that. mikemikev (talk) 20:12, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
How can it be a fringe view if she is telling what the view of anthropology is and has been chosen by the American Anthropological Association to do so on behalf of the discipline? Anyway Smedley is NOT saying that race does not have a biological connection - she is saying that it does not have a biological foundation which is something completely different. Denying that race has a biological "connection" would be to deny that having a parent that selfidentifies as black is likely to coincide with a dark skin color in the child. That is ludicrous, noone is saying that. Anthropologists are saying that race correlates to a degree with genetic frequencies but that it is not based on it but on varuying social conventions. It is really embarassing that you continue to be so confused about what anthropology actually means after ranting about it for this long.·Maunus·ƛ· 20:18, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Fringe with reference to the rest of academia. I think you may have rather too high an opinion of the AAA. If the medical profession use race, it must have a biological foundation. mikemikev (talk) 20:29, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
(multi!ec) @Mikemikev: Race is a social construct goes back in mainstream anthropology at least 50 years. And as anthropologists deal with how we interact with each other, which would be the most important thing in a society, putting the anthropological view up front is entirely appropriate. "Race" as a biological phenomenon, at least with reference to the biological characteristics according to which we classify races, according to the geneticists deals with the most superficial aspects of our genetic makeup. And that is exactly what I wrote. You insist that I wrote something different, IMHO it's because you don't like having Smedley at top. Personally, there are anthropologists I "like" more than Smedley; the difference is, I don't need to feel warm and cozy to put her first, where she belongs as the primary author of major statements by the anthropology discipline. Smedley states nothing regarding any biological or genetic basis of race. She merely states that, in the end, where societal interaction is concerned, it's irrelevant.
   If the medical profession uses "race," it is as a useful corollary to something. Sickle cell anemia, often called a disease "afflicting blacks" is not that at all. However, that "blacks" are among the groups that need to be more aware, such a view has its uses, even if not accurate.
   Lastly, I believe I cover this in my mischaracterized section rewrite as well.
(multiple ec)You think the AAA are the "most important" scholars? I won't argue that right now, but I guess it's your opinion. Also, geneticists don't know how phenotypically significant or superficial racial genetic differences are, Smedley is wrong again. mikemikev (talk) 20:42, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I will say that the AAA tend to be left-leaning in Anthropology, which tends to be left leaning in academia. So you can imagine where the articles at from an NPOV. Maybe lefties have more time to spare ;) mikemikev (talk) 21:03, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
(update/ec) I'm sorry, I quote a geneticist, verbatim, regarding the observable genetic differences of races. Also, you would contend that those whose life work and profession it is to investigate how you and I view races (and how our forebears classified them), would not be the most important? The article is about classification, no? PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:52, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
My mother told me I was a suppressed lefty. There's no serious disagreement here. Don't read into what I (re)wrote any more than what is there. Each sentence is part of the narrative, not a whole in and of itself. You're essentially quoting me out of context, accusing me of writing something I clearly did not, and going on about Smedley being some sort of radical, which is irrelevant. She's good enough to write on race in EB, she's good enough to be quoted on it. Let's move on. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:11, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── On "Also, geneticists don't know how phenotypically significant or superficial racial genetic differences are, Smedley is wrong again." Nothing to do with Smedley, "superficial" is based on geneticists analyzing the causes of observable differences:

"How, then, does genetics explain the

stereotypic features of “races”: skin color, hair color and texture, and facial traits? These traits are quite literally superficial, in that they affect exposed surfaces of the body. It is reasonable to suggest that variation in these traits may reflect differential selection by climate in various parts of the world. Recent analysis of the melanocortinstimulating hormone receptor gene (MC1R) suggests that various alleles of this single locus may underlie much of observed human variation in skin and hair color (21, 22). This variation is largely due to varied amounts of eumelanin (brown and black melanins) and phaeomelanin (red and yellow melanins) produced by melanocytes. Eumelanin protects against ultraviolet (UV) radiation, whereas phaeomelanin may contribute to skin damage, including melanoma, induced by UV. The balance of melanins is regulated by melanocyte-stimulating hormone, which acts through its receptor. Amino acid sequence variants occur at multiple sites in the second transmembrane domain, the first extracellular domain, and the seventh transmembrane domain of the MC1R protein. Variation at these sites was found in more than 80% of individuals with red hair and fair skin that burns rather than tans, but in less than 4% of British or Irish individuals with skin that tans without burning, and in no African individuals. Among Asians, still other amino acid substitutions in MC1R are common. Nucleotide diversity at MC1R is several times higher than the average nucleotide diversity in human populations. High nucleotide diversity, coupled with common variation at nonsynonymous sites, suggest that MC1R variation is an adaptive response to selection for different alleles in different environments, possibly to differences in day length and hence available sunlight at different latitudes. If true, variation at this locus, which encodes evolutionarily important but superficial traits, has been the cause of enormous suffering. Variation in other traits popularly used to identify “races” is likely to be due to similarly straightforward mechanisms, involving limited numbers of genes with very specific physiological effects."
21. P. Valverde et al., ibid. 11, 328 (1995).
22. B. K. Rana et al., Genetics 151, 1547 (1999); H. B. Schioth et al., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 260, 488 (1999).

Feel better? PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:18, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Right. So that's the only thing that varies. Internal organs all exactly the same. Sure. mikemikev (talk) 21:27, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Brain size for example. Exactly the same. Amazing. mikemikev (talk) 21:30, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

(multi!ec) And here's a summary regarding the abuse of race in medicine:

Hearkening back to the role of patents in the case of BiDil, we can see

how the cases of Bystolic (nebivolol) and warfarin response testing are both similar and different. The story of BiDil involved the use of race to recapitalize the value of existing generic drugs. The need to create a patentable product in order to convince corporate backers of the drug’s viability as a commercial product led to using race as a frame for interpreting existing science, developing clinical trial protocols, compiling regulatory filings, and designing marketing campaigns. Patenting and marketing strategies mutually incentivized the use of race independent of any specific scientific or medical utility. The new nebivolol patent application indicates a BiDil-like strategy to use race to extend patent life. In contrast, the Academia Sinica patent application process has not directly involved the reconfiguration of an existing product as racial in order to extend patent life, but it does show how race can be used to differentiate one product or process from another as a potential means to obtain initial patent protection. Both models involve the exploitation of race in order to enhance the commercial value of scientific research by creating race-specific market-niches for products. The story of warfarin testing further demonstrates that even after specific genes for drug response are identified, race continues to be commercially useful as a means to gain patent protection and carve out niches in a crowded marketplace. Biotechnology firms and biomedical professionals thus continue to embrace race as a central component of patenting and marketing strategies, even after it has ceased to serve any scientific purpose.

   On the other, IMHO we're really much better off talking about populations, population clines, geobiodiversity, and then how "race" does and doesn't align.
   On the other other, and how much is it that we actually use of our cranial capacity? IMHO, it doesn't make much difference if I've got a 30 gallon tank and you have a 35 gallon tank if we're both only driving to the corner to get a quart of milk. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:39, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Well I'll ask at the MRI lab tomorrow. All of it I think. mikemikev (talk) 21:42, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh, silly me, I'll be blocked. I'm sure you can email Smedley for the facts. mikemikev (talk) 21:44, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
The talk page has deteriorated into soapboxing and rants again. There is no valid NPOV dispute to be made over the qualifications of the authors cited. If that's all you've got besides more of your perpetual personal opinionating over why you think races are biological then this discussion should be closed. Professor marginalia (talk) 21:45, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
@Mikemikev: All this stuff aside, with respect to biology/genetics: do you have any serious objections to investigating populations, population clines, geo-biodiversity et al. and then discussing how "race" maps/correlates and doesn't? @Prof m: Perhaps Mike can just answer my question. If it's positive, we can move on, if not, I don't see how to move the content forward without everyone in some sort of agreement on approach. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:50, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Of course, others might also seriously disagree with the sort of general approach I've suggested. Even an agreement to "wait and see" would help, but I'm a bit concerned at my little bit of rewrite after the lede which I thought was pretty uncontroversial. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:51, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

We are avoiding the real issue here, which is that any discussion wtih Mikemikev will literally be endless and unresolvable, since he dismisses any source that does not parrot his own POV as bull, stupid, or trivial. Anthropology is the scientific study of H. Sapiens, just as geology is the academic study of rocks. It is reasonable to turn to anthropology for principal views on people. MDs do research on a special subset of humans, sick ones. And in the US, they do research generally (but not always) on middle-class or wealthy sick people. MD's have no interest in seeing whether their claims are valid for ALL humankind, because most of the procedures they develop and most of the pills they test will be used on Americans and anyone else who can afford the technology or drugs, which is a small sample of humankind. Let's put things in context here. Anyway, immediately after dismissing a CULTURAL anthropologist I quoted a biological anthropologist. But Mikemikev just pooh-pooed that. Obviously spending your life researching a topic is not the way you learn things. Mike, waht is the secret of your depth of knowledge/ Really, how do you manage to know so much more than so many PhDs? Slrubenstein | Talk 22:51, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Oh, I thought you wrote the part I pooh-poohed because you messed up the indent. Honestly. Drugs are tested on rich people? WTF? Mark Cartmill is an anatomist isn't he? Anyway, his refutation of "geographically delimited conspecific populations characterized by distinctive regional phenotypes" is not at odds with any notions of race I know of. Does this mean race is "meaningless", no. mikemikev (talk) 23:21, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
It's a fuzzy set. It's not black and white, and nobody thinks it is. It's a strawman argument. mikemikev (talk) 23:24, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Swelled heads

On a lighter note perhaps, I was going to joke about Latvians having big round heads just so we could afford to lose a few brain cells to frostbite, that it doesn't mean we're any smarter, et al. As it turns out, the brain cavity going more spherical decreases heat loss while the change in shape markedly affects brain volume; so the "driver" behind brain size is latitude and not some need to be smarter and grow a bigger brain to survive. (Taller = bigger brain too, so any studies of brain size which do not normalize for how tall someone is are statistically invalid from the get-go.) PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 22:33, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

On wiki-break until the weekend if not further, alas. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 22:34, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Wow. I guess an infinitely small brain would be just as smart in really hot weather, like on the sun. (talk) 22:37, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Tobias 1977 makes this argument about brain size - brain size correlates strongly with height and height correlates with latitude and latitude correlates with skin colour. Those correlations of cours emake it possible to correlate skin color with brain size - but that could well be a coincidence as the correlations between height/latitude and latitude/skin colour are both stronger.·Maunus·ƛ· 23:57, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Skin color is really a red herring. The correlation of race with brain structure and causative gene patterns is the question, one which is still being investigated. Until then WP will have to written by a bunch of sinister character assassinating Marxists and their unwitting tools pretending that they have the answers. (talk) 04:32, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Being that the Marxists screwed up communism (claiming moral superiority of socialism over capitalism), they are now reduced to believing themselves in a morally superior position to suppress free speech when it's deemed racist. Personally, the Marxist record on applying their moral superiority to society has not been one to write home about. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:40, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
But Vecrumba, when Mike says Marxist he just means anyone who disagrees with him, in this case you and me.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:41, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Alas, my personal perspective on society's ills and the abuse of "the worker" in the quest to maximize profit would push me towards being a communist (small "c"), except I know how that goes. Imposing one's ideology on the wider populace never ends well. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:49, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
No, I mean people who assume we're all equal ex cathedra and then try to twist the facts accordingly. (talk) 15:56, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
And when I say "we" I don't mean everybody. (talk) 15:58, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
the claim that all people are created equal is a claim within political theory; it does not mean all people are the same or have equal capabilities (which is patently not true), but rather that all people have equal rights under the law; Rousseau addresses these issues. Your argument can work very nicely against those who believe in race, because historically people have made the assumption that members of the same race are equal. It is precisely because all human beings are different, and difference usually has a normal distribution, that many scientists abandoned race - it clusters people into groups that obscure differences, including inequalities. That said, there is an argument against racial discourse because it has often been used to legitimize social inequalities among people. Obviously there were and are many blacks who are smarter than whites. During slavery and Jim Crow, race was used to justify the law treating those superior blacks as inferiors. Social inequality is the issue for these people, not biological inequalities.
In any case as Maunus suggests, marxism simply is not relevant to this discussion and bringing it in is just disruptive. No offense Vecrumba, I am sure we could have a very interesting chat about marxism and communism; I just don't think it takes us anywhere here, working on this article. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:02, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • No offense taken :-), only noting that the "Marxist" view of things was not plucked out of thin air, it has been invoked in the race the dialog. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 14:06, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
"During slavery and Jim Crow, race was used to justify the law treating those superior blacks as inferiors." Whereas, now, race is used to justify treating possibly inferior blacks as equals, without evidence, which is just as unfair. I imagine you'll have some histrionic fit "OMG, he's a racist", but like I said, there is no evidence races are equal, in terms of wealth generation. (talk) 17:12, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Folks, please do not feed the troll. Thanks.--Ramdrake (talk) 17:37, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Your time will come. mikemikev (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:44, 18 August 2010 (UTC).

Joseph Graves quote

I’ve removed the quote from Joseph L. Graves, added by Vecrumba, from the beginning of the “modern debate” section. I hope this won’t be a controversial change. I’ve always felt that it’s unencyclopedic for articles here to include miscellaneous quotes that aren’t integrated into the body of the article—there’s a separate project, Wikiquote, for collecting quotes like this. I also think that in an article that covers the work of such a large number of researchers, giving a particular one of them this much prominence is undue weight.

Vecrumba, when you added this quote to the article you said “I’m not married to it.” Are you okay with my rationale for removing it? --Captain Occam (talk) 10:19, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Okay, my edit has just been reverted by someone called "The Ogre", with no comment here and no edit summary. Could he please explain why he thinks it's better for this quote to be included in the article? --Captain Occam (talk) 11:00, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't agree with your rationale for removing - I think it could be incorporated into the text instead of having it as an introduction to the entire debate section which does appear to give it more importance than it is due.$ However I think the quote is important and should be incorporated into the article in another way. I don't think it should be removed untill a better place for it is found.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:43, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Given that most of the contentiousness is on the biological side—that is, mainstream anthropologists have told us for at least 50 years that the modern concept of race is a social construct—I wanted something that would not be attacked as POV or my personal synthesis, i.e., a quote we could all agree on, as opposed to endless wordsmithing. IMHO, sometimes a quote is the very thing to make a topic approachable (which the rest of the article desperately requires). I think the quote quite eloquently gets to the root of the "debate" without all the shouting and without getting lost in all the nuances (or more serious differences). I don't see a particular need to remove it or water it down with less eloquent narrative. "WP:UNDUE" is with reference to a point of view; the characterization of the situation as expressed by Graves is not in contention by anyone, therefore "WP:UNDUE" is not an issue. The devil of disagreement is in the details, which is the rest of the article. On break, but I'll try to stop in at this one article once a day or so. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 13:57, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Let me do some reference work and look at the article as a whole in its current state before commenting one way or the other. Graves is a well known scholar on the issues. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:15, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Ideally, my (no hubris intended!) plan is to
  1. reorganize and fix the rest of the article to have a flow that communicates (not obfuscates) the subject, then
  2. after the Graves quote, expand the "debate" lead-in section (which is now just the quote, and which, remember was nothing prior) with appropriate narrative so it's not just the quote. Any further attention to the "Modern debate" section currently occupied by the Graves quote is 100% premature.
What's needed next is a reorganization of the body of content along the social<->biological<->genetic spectrum to fix the current jumbled order and major content bleed-overs between sections. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:29, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
The quotation as is looks fine for the moment. I am likely to be more active over the next few days in editing some articles about IQ testing that have long been badly in need of sources, which I have gathered in my office. I also have sources about human genetics and anthropology in my office, but I haven't even had time to log those into source lists yet. So far, it seems to me that the recent edits by Peters have largely improved the article for readability and for NPOV, and I have no objection to the plan for continued editing that Peters has announced. This too is not an assertion of ownership, but a simple mention that I'm not seeing any glaring problems in what Peters is doing thus far. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 16:02, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
“I think the quote quite eloquently gets to the root of the ‘debate’ without all the shouting and without getting lost in all the nuances (or more serious differences).”
I think nuances are important here. If we try to “dumb down” any aspect of this topic (even if a more detailed explanation is presented later on in the article), it’s inevitable that we’re going to run into NPOV problems. In this case, the mainstream view (as presented in this paper from Nature) is that racial divisions as they’re understood by lay people are primarily socially defined, but that they still correlate with genetic clusters based on geographic ancestry, so it’s inaccurate to dismiss race as biologically meaningless. I don’t think it’s neutral to present the idea of race as a social construct without also presenting these caveats.
If consensus supports the inclusion of the quote, which seems to be the case, I agree with Maunus’s suggestion about integrating it into the text of the article. That way it could be presented as part of a paragraph that also explains some of the nuances of this idea. --Captain Occam (talk) 16:58, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I would suggest taking a deeper look at that paper and at follow-up citations of that paper. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 21:46, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I’ve read the whole thing. This paper was discussed pretty extensively last year on the talk page for the Race and genetics article. It was linked to by someone who advocated minimizing the genetic aspect of race in that article, but he still agreed with what the paper had to say about this.
I can’t tell whether you agree with this paper or not. I’m going to quote the first paragraph of its conclusion, which summarizes the perspective it takes:

Data from many sources have shown that humans are genetically homogeneous and that genetic variation tends to be shared widely among populations. Genetic variation is geographically structured, as expected from the partial isolation of human populations during much of their history. Because traditional concepts of race are in turn correlated with geography, it is inaccurate to state that race is "biologically meaningless." On the other hand, because they have been only partially isolated, human populations are seldom demarcated by precise genetic boundaries. Substantial overlap can therefore occur between populations, invalidating the concept that populations (or races) are discrete types.

As I said, an advocate of emphasizing the social view of race was presenting this as being the mainstream view about it. Do you disagree that it is? --Captain Occam (talk) 23:57, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
With an opening sentence of "New genetic data has enabled scientists to re-examine the relationship between human genetic variation and race." I daresay that the chances the paper represents the mainstream is vanishingly small. I think this is another classic example of the danger of using primary sources. Investigating how secondary sources have received and used the results of the paper would go a long way towards clarifying how "mainstream" the conclusions are. What did you find in the follow-up citations? aprock (talk) 00:20, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Um, this is a secondary source. None of the data that it’s reporting is being first introduced in this paper; it’s merely reviewing the conclusions of several existing papers. This paper itself is investigating and reviewing the conclusions of primary sources.
Can you explain how a paper which is only summarizing and reviewing the results of other papers, which is what this paper does, can be a primary source? This looks a lot like you attaching the label of “primary” to a source just because you disagree with what it says.
Also, can you be more specific what you mean by the follow-up citations? As far as I know, they aren’t linked from the paper itself. --Captain Occam (talk) 00:37, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Again, we have a confusion of primary vs. secondary sourcing. To the extent which this paper reviews other papers, those discussions are secondary sources. On the other hand new conclusions made by this paper are primary, and quoting them (as you do above) treats the paper as a primary source. Regardless, this paper is six years old. Surely there are other literature reviews and overviews which cite it. What have they said? aprock (talk) 00:49, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Just because the conclusion that I quoted doesn’t contain a citation doesn’t mean it’s a new conclusion. It’s merely summarizing the conclusions drawn by the rest of the paper, all of which are cited. By the standard you’re using, not even the APA’s report Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns would be a secondary source, because its last several paragraphs (which summarize the rest of the paper) don’t have citations. I think you’d agree that it’s ridiculous to call the APA report a primary source, but the exact same principle applies to the paper I’ve cited also.
Anyway, here is the most recent paper I can find which cites the 2004 paper. This one is from 2009, and reaches essentially the same conclusion that the 2004 paper does. I’ll quote the paragraph from it that discusses this:

Does the global pattern of phenotypic traits seen in skin color and craniometric traits support the idea of race? The answer depends on initial definitions and the use of the term “race.” On the one hand, the idea of discrete races in the typological mindset of past centuries clearly does not apply to humans. There is, however, geographic patterning to human biological variation, both for traits affected strongly by natural selection, such as skin color, and for traits whose distribution tends, on average, to be more neutral, such as craniometrics and many genetic polymorphisms. I suggest that typical uses of the concept of geographic race today are simply crude labels imposed upon this geographically structured variation. In that sense, race is culturally constructed, as all labels are, but it is also based on an underlying reality of biological variation. Rather than argue about whether race is a cultural construct (an idea that many unfortunately take as being equivalent to a denial of variation) or that race is “real”, it might be more useful to consider race as a culturally constructed label that crudely and imprecisely describes real variation.

Can we stop arguing about this now? I really didn’t think there would be so much resistance to the idea that this is the mainstream view. --Captain Occam (talk) 01:24, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
This isn't resistance. This is a query about what other sources who've cited this paper say. aprock (talk) 01:52, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm more than a little curious what further conclusions we are expected to draw from that, in view of the repeated assertion of "consensus" on issues that were talked about with varying points of view among editors on this article and on other articles. The statement, as quoted, doesn't sound like a fringe statement, but perhaps there are statements that are yet more centrally situated in the current mainstream of scientific opinion. That's what I'm still checking, by looking at a variety of sources. -- 02:12, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This is rather how things spiral out of control. Re: Occam's:

In this case, the mainstream view (as presented in this paper from Nature) is that racial divisions as they’re understood by lay people are primarily socially defined, but that they still correlate with genetic clusters based on geographic ancestry, so it’s inaccurate to dismiss race as biologically meaningless.

Well, this is what the Graves (not an anthropologist) quote says, certainly not that "biology" is meaningless, just that it doesn't line up to "race" to the degree you can say there are biological/genetic races the way we conceive them. That in no way conflicts with what anthropologists state about race or genetics, not that it matters to them; even if there were 100% correlation biology to race, our notion and treatment of race would still be a social construct, which is, Occam, the point that perhaps you are missing; you seem to contend there is some mutual exclusivity of position between social construct and, to simplify, scientific usefulness—there's not. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 02:17, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Think of it in terms of religion: one can believe in the Bible AND believe in evolution at the same time. It is only the extremists who insist that the Bible and evolution are mutually exclusive. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 02:23, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Vecrumba, I’m aware that Graves’ opinion is not that race is biologically meaningless. But this goes back to my point about why nuances are important: my problem here is that the quote, as it is presented in the article, doesn’t make that clear. When readers see the phrase “The lay concept of race does not correspond to the variation that exists in nature”, devoid of any context, they’re going to interpret this to mean that race is biologically meaningless, which misrepresents not only the science on this topic but also Graves’ opinion. (Assuming you’re correct about what his opinion is.) Can you see why I think that’s a problem? --Captain Occam (talk) 03:07, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
I disagree the Graves quote is unclear or misleading. It's not-a straightforward reading of Graves conveys exactly what he means. But obviously there is a kind of general confusion over how it can be that races are not biological while sometimes they sorta kinda share some certain biological something in some cases, sometimes. Unfortunately those confusions can't be resolved with some neat quote. I think it was Graves who tried to illustrate with an example such as, what the groups of people commonly think of with the term "race" are not the same bunch of people that biologists think of when using the term "groups correlating genetic clusters with geographic ancestry". The number of "groups" biologists can cluster this way number more than a thousand plus, and even then the clusters are arbitrarily defined and lack the neat definitional lines that taxonomists look for. I'll try to dig up some of the better of the published explanations on this. But it may be like the confusion that so many have understanding evolution whose framing of the questions is so removed from the everyday reality of the authorities studying and coming to judgments on the subject that they can't talk to each other well. The "if we evolved from monkeys how come there are still monkeys" or "if evolution is true then how come scientists have never found a fossil of a crocoduck" is a big gulf to cross. Professor marginalia (talk) 04:35, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
“races are not biological while sometimes they sorta kinda share some certain biological something in some cases, sometimes.”
If this is how you summarize the two papers that I quoted, it looks like you have as much confusion over this topic as anyone does. The idea that two things can be correlated without being identical entities is not such a complex or difficult concept.
But in any case, if these complexities can’t be resolved in a neat quote, then why is the article attempting to use a neat quote to do this? This argues against the inclusion of the quote, at least in the context-free manner that it’s currently presented. --Captain Occam (talk) 06:01, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The quote says what it says. It is there to prompt an expectation of, and thought about, the material to follow. No nuance is lost or misunderstood, so (Occam) let's please stop contending there is some loss or misrepresentation here. What is important is the article which follows, where all the points that everyone has raised can be discussed properly. About:

“races are not biological while sometimes they sorta kinda share some certain biological something in some cases, sometimes.”

Once again, mainstream genetics states that when you get down to it, genetic "races" do not exist according to the manner we have (popularly, societally) conceived them. What does and does not align biologically/genetically along populations (a better, more neutral, and more correct term) versus "races" is part of the subject here. Really, Occam, I respect your viewpoint but don't argue for it by contending there's confusion when there's not and that there's exclusion of positions when there's not. "Sorta kinda" (sometimes) is the exact reason why there aren't biological "races" as we conceive them. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 13:39, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

As far as I can follow this discussion, I think I agree with Vecrumba and not Captain Occam. It seems to me that what Graves (a well-respected evolutionary biologist) is saying is very much in line with what anthropologists have been arguing since the 1940s. I think this is a case where more context is necessary. I don't know the context, but I can hypothesize that it will reveal two things: first, that Graves is informed by and speaking to research largely in the US, where, because of a demographic history characteristic of the US but not found everywhere else (e.g. definitely not in Brazil or the Dominican Republic), self-identified race often (but not always) aligns with the ways forensic anthropologists and physicians use race.
Second, Graves is commenting on a predictable outcome of the way evolutionary scientists themselves "socially" construct the concept of race: namely, if you are absolutely committed to using the word race, as we learn more and more about genetic variation around the world and take on board the fundamental principle of genetics, that phenotype is influenced by but seldom the same as genotype (e.g. the two have to be considered separately), there will be a constant process of redefining (if you prefer the word, "refining") of the definition of race so that by the 21st centuy, any scientist who uses the word race has to use it a certain way, use certain qualifications ... my point is, what is at issue here is NOT the question "Race: is it real or not?" What we are facing is the question "Race: what would a definition of this word look like, if we tried to account for everything we have learned as scientists?"
I see no assumption that races are real in any ontological sense. What I see instead is a language that has the word "race" in it, and in the 20th century scientists are presented with data that compels one of two responses: abandon the word race as currently defined, or, redefine the word race. If you go for the first option all problems are solved - because of the colonial history of the US in which races applied to continental populations, people rely on biological markers to identify race (this is much less the case in Latin America), but now as then people use race because the word has real force, socially, economically, politically; but if you arestudying human evolution or genetic variation the word is not useful and you therefore do not use it. If you go with the first option, you are now confronted with a new challenge: how will we define the word race? It is a fact that some biologists (although if we are talking pure research scientists and mainstream biological anthropology I think it is a minority or fringe group) use the word race and for the same reasons that most have abandoned the word, they have to expend a certain amount of energy redefining the word and you can look at the record of publications to see this process of redefinition. Those scientists who simply reject the word race do aso because they know what race cannot mean. So it is not hard to predict that those scientists who still want to use the word will end up coming up with a definition that looks like this: "race 1" (race as it was understood in the 19th century) - "x, y, z" (all the things we know race cannot mean) = "race 2" (the definition some biologists now use). This should surprise no one, it is not a major discovery. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:51, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Yea... my point exactly! :) I was just too lazy and did not bother myself to explain... Mea Maxima Culpa! The Ogre (talk) 17:28, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Traditional races are actually the best first approximation for modern global genetic variation. Did you ever consider referencing an RS instead of babbling? (talk) 17:37, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
There are better first approximations, e.g., population latitude, more directly tied to the "global," that is, geographic, variation you appear to refer to. Race is not an approximation for overall genetic diversity, the old familiar saw of "within group" variation being much greater than "between group" and all. Lastly, please leave the derisive commentary for your family and friends. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 17:49, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
No, this is simply nonsense. Two people from the same latitude will not tend to be more genetically similar than two people from the same race. You're probably thinking of one or two traits, out of millions. Please stop the embarassing combination of arrogance and ignorance. (talk) 08:51, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
@Slrubenstein: In word, yes. What I see is a move toward the discussion of "populations" which align less to our concepts of race and more to shared biological/genetic factors. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 17:55, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Hopefully as we work to organize the content and make it a bit more approachable this will all be made clear. :-) PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:07, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
I’m still concerned about clarity here, but it looks like consensus opposes me about the quote being included, so I’m not going to make another attempt to remove it. But Vecrumba, if you have ideas about how this part of the article could be made more clear, I’d definitely appreciate you editing the article accordingly. --Captain Occam (talk) 04:08, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Captain, can you pinpoint in one sentence what you think is unclear? Or, if you think the section is ambiguous with regards to several points, could you provide a simple one sentence explanation of what is unclear about each of those points? Are you unclear about what scientists belive? Or why they believe it? Or what is the difference between concept a and concept b? Or something else? Slrubenstein | Talk 09:59, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
I can: The Graves quote is a misleading representation of the fact that evolutionary biology considers the lay concept of race to be the best first approximation of the variation that exists in nature, and therefore it does correspond. Can I indulge myself with a second sentence? I will: This is the same strawman usually used: race doesn't correspond exactly, so it doesn't correspond. Rubbish. (talk) 11:41, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
"First approximation" for what? All For a clear majority of genetically meaningful variations? No, for some particular genetically meaningful variations. No one has stated that race can't be a useful analog for populations; that doesn't imply a lot beyond usefulness as it all depends on what, specifically, you are talking about. That horse has been flogged to death. Present a source that states "approximation" in particular cases means race is biologically/genetically significant in a significant majority of cases, which is the "bar" for significance. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:46, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Sadly, it sounds like you need to look up the meaning of the word 'approximation', then think about whether an approximation would be expected to account for all of the variation. The statement "race does not correspond to the variation found in nature" is highly misleading, and just a further example of the anti-science advocacy by the loud mouths plaguing this project. Well, carry on, I'll get back to real science and wait for the proof that will crush this neo-Lysenkoist nonsense. By then I expect there will be another civilization wrecking fantasy to deal with. Or maybe these people will finally get their just deserts. (talk) 19:00, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Present a source that states "approximation" in particular cases means race is biologically/genetically significant in a significant majority of cases, which is the "bar" for significance. [] (talk) 20:41, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
I noticed some other papers on the Duke web including one by Sesardic, whose text I'm reading at the moment. Even Smedley in her correspondence indicated there is still some debate on the matter. There's no loud-mouthed movement to plague appropriate representation of, in this case, current scholarship that can be generally described as alternate statistical interpretations of human genetic variation. Feel free to suggest adding it to the reading list. Lastly, and again, whatever we find genetically does not change that the modern concept of "race" originated in human society. Your accusations of close-mindedness reflect only on yourself. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:01, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
This fits the agenda at Duke investigating racial medicine et al. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 21:04, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Edwards is based in Cambridge UK. The link happens to be hosted at Duke. Your argument is trawling the depths right now. (talk) 21:13, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
And Duke would be hosting copies of the works of authors (Edwards, Sesardic) positing fresh views of statistical genomic analysis which would provide stronger scholarly support for studying racial medicine for some other reason? "Agenda" is not meant in a pejorative fashion, it is what it is and as I've stated is worth investigating; the question is, do we pick spot quotes from single sources or go the extra step to find out more about the research at Duke (and what's available for reference which is not original content)? I know Edwards is not at Duke. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 00:39, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
You want to make me your lightning rod for WP race topic article plaguing loud mouths, go right ahead. :-) PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 00:42, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Since we're lucky enough to have so many informed editors supporting the Graves quote, perhaps one of them could give a brief overview of his supporting argument, to justify it's pride of place. (talk) 08:36, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
New SPA IP editor just after a block for an editor taking the same position? WP:DUCK --Snowded TALK 08:45, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
You could put me down more convincingly by answering the question. (talk) 09:04, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I'll take that as a confession. Semi-protection requested --Snowded TALK 10:14, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Likewise I'll take this as an admission that you don't understand this subject and have to silence me through administrative means. WP: the encyclopedia knowledgeless whining cry babies can edit. (talk) 10:27, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Sigh, a community has rules, you broke them to the point where you were indefinitely banned. I think thats a little more serious than administrative measures. I see your IP is located at UCL. A university with considerable reputation for academic integrity and the quality of its discourse. You might want to pay attention to that, especially the latter.--Snowded TALK 10:31, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Sorry, could you remind me of the "quality discourse" you brought to the table here? The rules here are absurd, I do not respect them. (talk) 10:42, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Snowded, I don’t think this is Mikemikev. If you were active on the race and intelligence article in May, you’d be aware that for a little while that month there was a barrage of uncivil IPs which edit warred to introduce unhelpful pro-hereditarian content. And it clearly wasn’t Mikemikev, because Mikemikev thought the material these IPs were adding was unhelpful also, and in one case reverted one of them. I think this IP has more in common with the IP that edit warred over the race and intelligence article in May than it does with Mikemikev. --Captain Occam (talk) 20:58, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't around then so I am not familiar with those incidents. I am concerned they are coming from University based IP addresses. The edits do seem similar in style (the expertise issue) to Mikemikev, but I'm happy to believe they are "other"; whatever they are a menace. --Snowded TALK 21:03, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
@Our derisive IP: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to an editorial position backed by reputable sources. No one is entitled to treat other editors like asses. If you disrespect others, you only disrespect yourself. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 02:41, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Continuing Graves, but not really

@ It's mainstream biologists and geneticists who adhere to the "strawman." I've got my own POV but on this subject matter I think it's become quite clear that one can't write about it constructively on WP without enforcing personal agnosticism.

To Captain Occam, and this is on the fly, a bit: there's

  • anthropology,
  • physical anthropology (yes, "biological" is also used, but, really, when a large part of the human record is just bones, physical is the better word, perhaps, as what our "biology" is at that point is conjecture)
  • biology (so, the more macro view of our pound of flesh)
  • genetics (peering into our cells and genomes et al., the micro view)

To me, this presents a spectrum for examining ourselves and our concept of "race" ranging from the societal to the genomic, at each point investigating race (at some point we really should use "populations" for, realigning our concept of race to populations, not necessarily "races", sharing distinctive biological/genetic characteristics apart from other populations) at ever smaller scales, a sort of racial/population "Fantastic Voyage":

  • 105 – 106+, "large" — populations of continents (global population passed 1,000,000 around 10,000 BC, I don't think we've evolved much since...), not as large as we might think
  • 103 — regions (obviously we'd need real scales of populations according to anthropologists, these are placeholders)
  • 101 — clans
  • 100 — single individual
  • 10-1 – 10-2 — our body piece parts
  • 10-6 — our cells (e.g., blood cells and sickle cell anemia)
  • shrinking further ... alleles et al.

Admittedly not along the "spectrum of disciplines" organization I was thinking of, but might be an interesting means of organizing, for example, there are good numbers on genetic variation within populations, between populations on the same continent, and between populations on different continents—at which at the "large" scale is fine, with more detailed investigation later. The challenge is how to break it into chunks while still keeping it in some sort of meaningful order. (And to think I was complaining about "impenetrable"...) For what it's worth. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:30, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

This all goes back to the question of what is the story and how do we plan to tell it? PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 15:52, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
For you movie fans this reminds me of the moment Marty McFly suddenly stops playing the electric guitar realizing he has lost his audience. (Back to the Future) PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 00:46, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I’m still reading, although I don’t have much to say at the moment.
I’ll also probably stay off this article for a little while once my R & I topic ban happens. The arbitrators have said that the topic ban is for articles related to “race and intelligence”, not for articles related to race or intelligence, so I’m assuming that it doesn’t extend to this article. (Which is about race, but not intelligence.) But the arbitrators have also suggested that I stay off controversial articles for the next little while even that aren’t in the area of my topic ban, so I’ll probably be doing that also, at least for controversial articles that I’ve edited in the past. --Captain Occam (talk) 01:25, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I think we had better get clarification on that statement, I would say that broadly construed includes this article --Snowded TALK 08:43, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
My experience leads me to agree with Snowded. Please check specifically on this article, as I would take the ban as being anything race and by definition include intelligence as it pertains to race, and more widely construed, people. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 02:34, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, that’s not what the arbitrators are saying. I’m not sure if it really matters, though. As I said previously, the only one of your recent changes that I’ve disagreed with was adding the Graves quote without any context, and by now it’s clear that consensus opposes me about that. So unless there are some major new developments on this article, there probably wouldn’t be much reason for me to remain involved here anyway. --Captain Occam (talk) 06:33, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Of course it matters, given that you began editing this page in tandem with your edit-war at Race and Intelligence. I certainly hope you will not involve yourself in any major new developments here, given you track record and the ArbCom ruling against you. Do we really need to take this to ArbCom, or will you move on and work on unrelated articles? Slrubenstein | Talk 12:00, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
If there are any major new developments here, I may or may not choose to get involved in them. My current plan is to avoid editing any race-related articles for the next month or so, but it depends on whether any problematic changes to the article are handled well even without my input. I suspect that they will be, but I can’t guarantee that.
If you think that isn’t an acceptable answer, go ahead and bring it up with ArbCom. Snowded and Muntuwandi already have, and all three of the arbitrators who commented in the thread stated that my topic ban applies only to articles dealing with race and intelligence in conjunction with one another. I don’t think asking them about this again is likely to change the answer, but if you absolutely must ask, I’d prefer that you just get it over with rather than constantly threatening this whenever I comment here. --Captain Occam (talk) 13:35, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Rather than Occam doing a variation on the fox and the sour grapes while Slrubenstein lobbies for the conjoined article topic view, perhaps Occam can simply ask ArbCom about this article in particular. It would help to have a clear "this particular article 'not in scope' statement" from ArbCom as this affects more than one editor. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 13:41, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
P.S. I suggest that we all cease and desist from speaking for Arbcom, interpreting ArbCom, and anticipating ArbCom. That does nothing for the topic here and in the ends only breeds bad feelings. I would suggest where the topic ban is concerned, that editors check on a case by case basis that a particular article pertaining to human evolution and "race" is not in scope of the ban. Perhaps such a list can be maintained at the ArbCom case. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 13:46, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
What would the best way be for me to ask ArbCom about this? I don’t think they want us posting new sections on the proposed decision talk page when the case is about to close. But I was also under the impression that after the case closes and my topic ban takes effect, I won’t be allowed to post requests for amendment/clarification on this case. --Captain Occam (talk) 13:58, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
It been raised and commented on for Arbcom - nowt more to do than await for their clarification. I agree with Captain O here, it is now the lap of the (well not Gods but ....) --Snowded TALK 15:54, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
To the other, comments at the case indicate appeals or amendments are some months off in terms of being considered if proposed. However, requests for clarification would be expected. When posting a request for clarification, avoid getting involved with the peanut gallery who pretend to speak for ArbCom but do not. That just leads to more drama. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 17:49, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Looks like at least one member of Arbcom is firming up a view and the wikilawyering response may just confirm it--Snowded TALK 17:55, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
How can this be considered Wikilawyering? This question was already discussed over the past few days, and I’ll I’m doing is restating the answer that the arbitrators already provided to it.
If we consider the discussion on this page a vote, three arbitrators have voted that the topic ban only applies to articles that discuss race and intelligence together, and only one has voted that it can apply to any article that discusses either topic on its own. Unless this question is voted on formally, the opinion expressed by a majority of arbitrators is the only thing I can use as a basis for my understanding of which answer is correct. --Captain Occam (talk) 18:18, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
In your shoes I would leave well alone. Bringing other editors in, arguing a case all suggest that the previous problems will just carry over and it will sway opinion. My recommendation (with no authority behind it whatsoever) is take and declare a voluntary break from anything to do with Race for six months. Then the pressure is off all round. --Snowded TALK 18:23, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hello Occam. Do not consider discussions among arbitrators prior to closure of the case as votes on activity subsequent to the case. That is treading thin ice. Wait until the case is closed and you have received your formal notification, then insure you have an official clarification stating YES on participation here or on related. There is no "majority" vote when it comes to in/out of topic ban scope; do not interpret a majority vote; insure you act based only on a "single-voice" ArbCom response. There's no train leaving the station. Indeed you will find that six months from now, the train will still be in the station. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 18:34, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Snowded: I never wanted this to keep being discussed. You need to remember how this discussion started. I said that I would probably stay off this article for the next little while, but that I wasn’t actually guaranteeing this, and several other editors thought this was such a problem that they had to bring it up with the arbitrators again when the case was about to close.
Vercumba: What do you mean when you say I should act “based only on a ‘single-voice’ response”? I’ve received two contradictory messages here. One, from Carcharoth, Newyorkbrad, and Rlevse, is that my topic ban covers the same area as the locus of dispute in this case, while the other, from Roger Davies, is that it covers any article which discusses either race or intelligence. Other than basing it on what opinion is being expressed by the majority of arbitrators, what can I use as the basis for my understanding of which statement is correct? --Captain Occam (talk) 18:44, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Sorry if I wasn't clear. It should be Arbcom letting you know its final decision (the "one" voice), not your interpretation or taking lack of unanimity during discussions to be a green light (whether rightly or wrongly). My concern is that should you edit without waiting for ArbCom to express its (singular) consensus, that will be viewed as provocatively pushing the envelope. Hope this helps. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 13:25, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Scope of ArbCom decision

It appears now this article does fall under the scope of sanctions issued in arbitration.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I read the individual findings about editor conduct closely, and there is zero doubt that this article is within the scope of the topic ban. See if you don't agree after you read each individual finding on editor conduct. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 18:37, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

I know I’ve stated this before, but the only opinions that I think count here are the opinions expressed by the arbitrators. And at the moment, the arbitrators are apparently split 3 to 1 over this. --Captain Occam (talk) 18:47, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Nope. Careful reading skills are a must. Take a look at the individual findings about your conduct. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 19:07, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Didn’t Vecrumba just say that people like you should stop trying to speak for ArbCom? Roger Davies apparently agrees with you, but Carcharoth doesn’t. According to Carcharoth, since the locus of dispute is specific to race and intelligence, and since the only proposed remedy which addressed the topic of race in general failed to pass, the topic bans are limited in scope also. You have no business to be saying that Roger Davies is right about this and Carcharoth is wrong. --Captain Occam (talk) 19:18, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
This article discuess not just race - but also the relationship between race and intelligence. I personally think its a nobrainer that this article is covered by any topic ban on "race and intelligence related articles broadly construed". I don't think that lawyering about the precise boundaries of a topic ban instead of simply walking away to one of wikipedias many other pastures is a very good approach.·Maunus·ƛ· 19:34, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Good catch, Maunus, in noticing that section. Of course, deleting that whole section of this article is one possibility for reducing the bloated length of this article, but meanwhile the individual findings about Captain Occam's conduct (which are hardly likely to change much before the case closes, being unanimous to date) point to another reason to regard this article as within the scope of the topic ban. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 19:44, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
(e/c) Occam: my impression of cases like this is that sysops in general and arbiters in specific tend to interpret restrictions of this sort broadly rather than narrowly. Once a problem has gotten to the arbitration stage, most admins view enforcement as damage control designed to prevent further confrontational outbreaks in new arenas. If there is any doubt on the matter (and I don't think you would be willing to say there is no doubt here), you would be well advised to make a formal request for clarification from the committee. Trying to push the margins of the ruling will more than likely be viewed in a dim light. word to the wise... --Ludwigs2 19:38, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
It looks like Aprock has already made a request for clarification about this. Is it normal for requests for clarification to be made before a case is even closed, though?
Maunus: that’s a good point. Let me reiterate what I said before, though—the reason for this dispute is not because I actually want to edit this article. The reason for it is because when other users editors (not arbitrators) asked me to promise that I would not edit it for the duration of my topic ban, I didn’t agree to make that guarantee.
If arbitrators decide that this article should be covered under my topic ban because it includes a section about race and intelligence, I won’t consider being unable to edit this article much of a loss. But per Aprock’s comment there, what he seems to particularly care about is whether my topic ban will prevent me from editing articles related to the New Black Panther Party. I will consider it a loss if articles on that topic are considered to be within the scope of my topic ban also, because I’ve been intending since before the arbitration case to create an article about the controversy surrounding the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. I haven’t created this article yet because I was intending to save it for after the arbitration case was finished—although I was aware of the possibility that I would be topic banned as a result of this case, it never occurred to me that my topic ban would cover such a wide range of articles that I would be disallowed from creating this article after it. --Captain Occam (talk) 19:55, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't think you should give any promises about which articles you will or won't edit, nor should you ask for pre-approvement of future edits - thats not really how the system works. You should just try to remain reasonably clear of articles that might strike someone as violating the topic ban. If you err and edit an article and someone asks you whether you aren't violating the ban with a particular edit you can always choose then to stay away from that article or you can argue your case that it isn't within the topicban, in which case it is likely to be taken to clarification or amendments. Theres no reason for premptively seek permission to edit any particular pages - if you want to edit the new black panther party I'd advise you to do it - if anyone has a problem with that the onus is on them to request clarification or amendment or enforcement - if you were editing in good faith it shouldn't be a problem. ·Maunus·ƛ· 01:07, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
You may be in for a rude awakening. Look let me the repeat the advise but make it personal. I got a three month topic ban under the Ayn Rand arb com resolution. I was a remain firmly convinced that she is not a philosopher and an evil woman. However I got it wrong in terms of how wikipedia works. OK I was allowed (and did) contribute on the talk pages. However I took the ban, did not argue with it, took the widest possible interpretation and had a break. I learnt from that. I really recommend you do the same. Just back off from all and any race articles on a voluntary basis for at least six months and then ask permission to come back in. That way you can win the respect of the community. As it is, your arguments are likely to convince anyone looking at this that you have a real problem with race articles and the wider the block the better. --Snowded TALK 20:13, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I'll add that I remember seeing another editor play this kind of 'game of chicken' with an arbitration ruling, and he ended up getting a 1 year topic ban transformed into a 6 month site ban followed by a 1 year topic ban. but I suppose we all have to learn things in our own ways. --Ludwigs2 20:21, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Snowded: I’ve already said, several times, that I do intend to back off from this article on a voluntary basis. But apparently several editors aren’t happy with the implications of the “voluntary” aspect of it. I think it’s completely pointless to be arguing over whether or not my topic ban will cover an article that I’ve already stated I don’t intend to continue editing, but apparently several editors still think it’s essential to convince me that I have no choice in the matter. I don’t understand why this is so important, unless it’s for the sake of feeling like they’ve won a personal victory over me. --Captain Occam (talk) 20:38, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Look I am trying to help - I think its going to include the Black Panther article and the sooner you accept it the better. This is not about a victory for other editors, its about you realising that when arbcom finally gets to this sort of action its best to back off completely for a bit. Its your funeral as they say, but I and others are trying to provide advise born of experience. --Snowded TALK 20:47, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I can understand Maunus’s reasoning for thinking that the Race (classification of humans) article should be included in the scope of my topic ban, but I have a hard time believing the arbitrators would have this opinion about me creating an article about the voter intimidation case. For one thing, this topic only marginally involves race—it’s mostly about politics. And for another, it was specifically in the context of asking whether I would be allowed to create this article that Carcharoth, Newyorkbrad and Rlevse said the topic ban was limited to articles that discuss race and intelligence in combination with one another. Do you think it’s likely that after having told me this, they would change their minds and decide that I’m disallowed from creating the voter intimidation article after all? --Captain Occam (talk) 21:00, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I think it depends more about your editing behaviour than about the sanction. I don't find it likely that if you write about the Black Panther Party and Muntuwandi and Aprock and the rest of the gang cannot find any POV related flaws and the editing environment is amicable, that the arbcom is going to enforce a the restriction on that page - but if the article has POV disputes and bad editing environment and some of the responsabilityt for that can be ascribed to you I think they will.·Maunus·ƛ· 01:12, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
“I don't find it likely that if you write about the Black Panther Party and Muntuwandi and Aprock and the rest of the gang cannot find any POV related flaws and the editing environment is amicable, that the arbcom is going to enforce a the restriction on that page”
How confident are you about this? The impression they’re giving me at the moment is that they’re looking for anything they can find to get me in trouble over. The relevant question here isn’t whether they’re going to report it to arbitration enforcement if I create this article, because I think it’s pretty clear that they are. The question is how ArbCom will react when they do. --Captain Occam (talk) 03:50, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
I expect that ArbCom will look unfavorably on frivolous and excessive requests for clarification, amendment and enforcement. Given that the discretionary sanctions apply to everyone, I assume that (just as on ANI) the behavior of all editors, including/especially the posting editor, will be open to sanctions. aprock (talk) 05:37, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Whether or not this article is within the scope of the arbitration is somewhat ambiguous at this point. And regardless of whether a firmer answer to the question is given, make no mistake that admins will be given broad latitude even as far as this article is concerned should the disruptions continue here. So for now I think that any further personal advice for Captain Occam probably belongs on user talk pages and let's leave this page for discussing the article. Professor marginalia (talk) 21:27, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This article is in the scope of the topic ban because, as I noted, editor conduct on this article was observed by ArbCom during the ArbCom case. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 05:24, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Only one arbitrator has commented there so far. Why don’t you wait until there’s been some actual discussion about this before jumping to a conclusion? --Captain Occam (talk) 05:39, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
As I said, careful reading skills are a must. Now more arbitrators have commented in detail, and there is no doubt whatever about the conclusion. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 14:22, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
It looks like you’re probably right that this is going to be the conclusion, although the arbitrators haven’t yet answered my question about how to reconcile this with what Carcharoth and Rlevse said about how the remedies shouldn’t extend farther than the locus of dispute.
I have a question about this. You obviously care a huge amount about my inability to edit this article—if this wasn’t obvious before, it is now that you’ve brought it up yet again immediately after Professor Marginalia said this page should be reserved for discussing improvements to the article. Your attitude about this began when I stated that I don’t intend to continue participating here, but that I considered this a voluntary decision on my part, and in response you set out to prove that I should not consider this voluntary because I have no choice in the matter. Why do you consider it so essential to prove this? Nobody has ever argued that I’ve caused any disruption on this article, and now that I’ve expressed my non-interest in editing it, the odds of my causing disruption here in the future would be next to nothing even if it weren’t going to be covered by my topic ban. --Captain Occam (talk) 15:13, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
The article is within the scope. It's good to clear up any uncertainties on this because it would be unfortunate to see editors earning further sanctions because they didn't understand this. While this seemed obvious to some others insisted this article was not included, and that's reason enough to clear it up right up front. Without pointing fingers at any one in particular, yes it is disruptive to edit war, it is disruptive to canvass or recruit backup, it is disruptive to "veto" edits via reverts and hold articles hostage with recycled WP:IDIDNTHEARTHATs on the talk page. It is disruptive for editors to require constant hand holding or reassurance. It is disruptive to trawl and forum shop for loopholes, only to then beg/demand/pester others ad naseum to "prove", "explain", "justify", or "clarify" the same things repeatedly as punishment for answers the petitioner didn't want to hear. So let's stop doing it here. Can we close this thread now? Professor marginalia (talk) 16:01, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Marginalia, you may be saying you don’t want to point fingers, but the implication in what you’re saying here is are pretty obvious. I want you to look at my editing history on this article, though. I’ve only edited it 11 times since joining Wikipedia, including only a single edit in the past three months, which I did not reinstate when I was reverted. The person who’s caused disruption on this article is Mikemikev, not me. And Mikemikev is site-banned, so the question of whether topic bans extend to this article isn’t relevant in his case.
I’m also not the person who brought this issue up (again) with ArbCom. If you look at the request for clarification you’ll see that it was posted by Aprock, and Muntuwandi is who brought this up yet again on the proposed decision talk page. Can you recognize that I’m not the person who’s been sustaining this endless argument, and that I actually don’t want it to keep being dragged out like this? --Captain Occam (talk) 16:23, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Clue: there is not going to be any such reconciliation with what Carcharoth and Rlevse said. Among other things: the situation has changed since then, the arbs now think that the problems in your editing extend to articles outside strictly R&I, you had a "broadly contructed" topic ban and yet you decided to edit articles that are closely related to the topic (a big no-no), you started testing the limits of your topic ban instead of simply editing articles that had nothing with the topic, you started testing the limits even before the topic ban was implemented, you want to edit articles that potentially allow you to make the same type of edits that caused the topic ban in the first place, etc. It all adds up, and it accumulates in time. Basically: you are doing all the wrong things, one after the other. For a person with some experience in wikipedia (like myself), an extension of your topic ban will just be a natural result of your actions, and it won't come as a surprise at all were you to continue this line of argumentation.
You need to change your scope, you are thinking wrong about this, that's why you expect a different output from what is happening now. From the point of view of wikipedians who just want to write articles you are being a nuisance. As soon as you keep proving yourself a nuisance (in the eyes of those wikipedians) you will keep being rebuffed.
Many people have told you to GO EDIT ARTICLES THAT ARE VERY UN-RELATED TO THE TOPIC. That's the only advice that you need to hear, and that's why people keep repeating it. Start paying some attention to that advice. Stop insisting that there must have been an error somewhere.
(and, yeah, let's close this thread) --Enric Naval (talk) 16:27, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Enric, please don’t act like you own this page when you aren’t paying attention to what’s going on here. For one thing, the reason I’m not observing my topic ban yet is because it won’t take effect until the arbitration case closes. I’m not testing it; I’m merely waiting for it to happen before I start observing it. For another, I’ve stated multiple times that I intend to voluntarily disengage from this article, and it’s apparently the word “voluntary” that’s making others need to badger ArbCom about the extent of my topic ban. Statements like “you want to edit articles that potentially allow you to make the same type of edits that caused the topic ban in the first place” make it clear that you haven’t even read most of this thread.
Let me be clear: I have nothing to lose here. I’m already being topic banned, and when my topic ban takes effect, I’ll be forced to disengage from this discussion. But in the meantime, the more people are archiving my posts and misstating what I’ve said, the more likely it is to draw attention as far as discretionary sanctions are concerned. I’m already being sanctioned, but as of yet you aren’t. So what do you think you’re accomplishing here, and do you think it’ll do you any good? --Captain Occam (talk) 16:45, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Let's discuss improvements for the article.

Because that's what talk pages are for, let's discuss here what improvements would be good to make to the article once full protection is removed. My immediate comment is that it would be good to shorten the article, by relying more on published secondary sources that give examples of treating this topic in a summary, encyclopedic manner. Does anyone have suggestions of such sources that haven't already been referred to in this article? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 16:19, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Efforts have been made to shorten this article in the past, with very mixed results, and I am dubious. My feeling is, Wikipedia is not paper, and complex topics need longer articles. Past attempts to shorten often left things out of context. This led to a predictable cycle, if you have been around Wikipedia long enough: first, someone cuts the reasons for a position, saying only the conclusion matters. Then, someone comes along and finds that position impossible to believe, and asks for more citations, or identifies it as a fringe view, or keeps it as is, but then begins another paragraph that starts "But most people believe (and then a paragraph explicating the opposite view). I think a better strategy is to provide as much detail as necessary to explain the major views, but to strive to find the simplets and clearest language possible to express it, and rely heavily on hypertext and a really good introduction that is a roadmap to the article helping people figure out which section they really wish to read. You know how EP has a "micropedia" and then the full version? I think WP should and will move to a model of longer introductions that provide the main points summary style with links so people can decide what they wish to read about in greater detail by navigating the page sucessfully.
That said, if you guys want to shorten the whole article, okay but I urge you to move ANY material deleted from this article to a linked article i.e. each major section of this article should be a summary of a longer linked article that goes into full detail. If some of these sections are not already summaries of longer articles, create new articles using the entire sectionl then provide a link to it in this article and write a summary.
I have found WeijiBaikeBianji and Vecrumba to both be very reasonable, thoughtful and well-informed editors and if both of you agree on specific major edits, well, I won't get in the way. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:32, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶·Maunus·ƛ· 19:48, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I may be talkative and verbose at times, not to mention my penchant for text decoration, but there's no desire to usurp wider discussion! :-) PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:34, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
And Maunus too!!! I would be quite please if the three of yo constituted an informal commitee, worked on a revision at one person's sandbox, and presented it to us. i for one would have high confidence in any thing you three agree to. But step one is a coherent strategy for linked pges that together cover all major and discree topics. !!!!
Thanks for your participation. I have been digging into current textbooks about general genetics and human genetics, to get a sense of what the mainstream biological view of race is. Yes, please feel free to start a draft of a slimmed-down and sourced-up article for all of us (anyone who surfs by and wants to help) to comment on. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 22:30, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
This article is no longer full protected, so you can edit at will. Presumably, some administrators will be keeping a close eye on changes here. I'll scramble to gather up more sources before starting many substantive edits, so feel free to dig in and fix what needs fixing meanwhile. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 20:21, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Has much thought been given to Vecrumba's questioning what is the particular thesis of this article? It's still confusing to me where this fits in the lineup. We have this article, of course, and also Race and genetics, Historical definitions of race, Social interpretations of race, Human genetic variation, while we have no Folk races or Race as a social construct, which is surprising to me since the latter is used so often in social sciences and the former so often even in the biological sciences. Also we don't have an article Racial classification (this one redirects to Historical definitions of race which is about human race, not the more general race in biology). Yet we do have Race (biology) which is an absolutely useless, insensible article, imo, and lends no help whatsoever to understanding why race as defined in biology doesn't see examples in humans.
The subject is as complicated in real life as it is here on wikipedia, I'm sure. But if I could sketch out the basic gist of what comes through to me when reading a fairly broad sampling of sources used here is that there are two types of definitions of race in humans: one can be labeled folk conceptions of race and other scientific conceptions of race. And there was a long period of time in which pseudo-scientific conceptions of race took hold which were labeled "biology" or "science" but were really "folk". Then the pendulum went away from biology back toward folk in the so-called expert realm, even though the old pseudo-scientific ideas (folk race mislabeled science) lingered in the minds of the general public. Even though there's a debate (obviously) over whether or not race is biological, I think there's broad agreement from both sides to this overall background. However I would say there is something of an ongoing confusion/debate about how far the pendulum swung the other way such that at one extreme end are the "race is 100% non-biological" against the opposite extreme "race is obviously biological." While in the middle battles rage over nuances, definitions and caveats, much of it talking past each other and instead rebutting the extremists on either end-which I'm not sure to what degree actually exist.
Sorry for what's now a long winded attempt to say that I think the middle needs describing better because when the debate is overly focused on the "between two extremes" model the nuances, definitions and caveats in the middle get misapplied. For example, those on the "race is obviously biological", may invoke the work of somebody like Cavalli-Sforza who doesn't think this, while somebody on the "race is 100% non-biological" will invoke Lewontin who also doesn't think this. Since folk race has no classificatory scheme that I know of, I think a more general article about "human races" might be warranted, one which gives the broader overview of the universe of definitions today (including what it means as a biological classification as well as those that are "socially defined", "self-identified", etc). Beyond that, this one could be the niche for discussing the ins-and-outs of race in terms of a biological sub-classification in the human species, including how it does or doesn't correlate to the classic racial scheme. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:43, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I thought the whole length of the question was helpful. I've been gathering books about general biology, general genetics, human genetics, general behavioral genetics, and human behavioral genetics for a while now, to add to a new citations list, and what is striking to me so far is how few of the most current secondary sources in those disciplines even mention race, especially race as categorized in the United States, in any context. Population genetics is mentioned a fair amount, but no one agrees about categories anymore, because the genetic information has been too nuanced for the old straitjacket categories. Those categories seem to appear in current literature only in a shrinking minority of primary studies, outnumbered by other studies that take different approaches. This prompts me to think I need to look soon at some of the articles related to this article to see if they are up to date with current literature and sourced mostly with unreplicated primary studies or with authoritative secondary textbooks and practitioner handbooks. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 00:03, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I would like to contribute to this discussion by addressing the question of, "What is this article about" and "how does it fit in with other related articles?" (following on Professor Marginalia's comment). My approach to answering any question like this is to look at the history. This article is one of the oldest articles at Wikipedia; it was created back in 2001 i.e. within the first year of WP's existence. If you want to know what the original author's intention was in writing this article, I will quote for you the first three paragraphs:
A race is the taxonomic concept of a group of people associated by heredity, geography, culture, religion, and politics. Heredity is especially emphasized, as those who developed the concept in the 18th and 19th centuries appealed to and were inspired by the evolutionary biological concepts being developed at the time.
The historical definition of race, before the development of evolutionary biology, was that of common lineage, a vague concept interchangeable with species, breed, cultural origin, or characteristic quality. ("The whole race of mankind." --Shakespeare; "Whence the long race of Alban fathers come" --Dryden
The 19th-century anthropological concept of race was based on morphological characteristics such as skin colour, facial characteristics and amount and type of hair. Though such characteristics have since been shown to have a minimal relationship with any other heritable characteristics, it retains popularity because it is easy to immediately distinguish people based on physical appearance.
So, clearly, this article is about either "the human race" or "how the concept of race applies to humans." I realize there is some wriggle room in between these two descriptions, but I think it is fair to say that for most of its history for most editors this article has been about one or both of these things or something in between them. At certain times during its history this article included what some editors considered major racial taxonomies e.g. Carlton Coon's. So a major part of this article was an account of different human races. For most of its history however this kind of section was excluded from the article. It was decided among editors that we would have separate articles for specific races (which led to other debates - look at articles like "white people" "white race" "races of Europe" "ethnic groups of Europe"); this article would cover debates about the concept of race in relation to humans.
The disambiguation page dates back to 2007 so you see, compared to the existence of this article, the question of "what other articles should there be" and "what is their logical relation or arrangement" came pretty late.
These are my main recollections. 'First' that there were some debates that heavily overlapped but were formulated in terms of different questions:
  • a debate between evolutionary biologists versus zoologists - it appeared that zoologists still use the word "race" when referring to varieties of plants and animals, while most evolutionary biologists studying plants and animals do not use the word "race."
  • a debate over whether races are natural or socially constructed. As you might have guessed, people with a background in evolutionary biology were more likely to say "socially constructed" and people with a background in zoology were more likelly to say "natural."
  • so should we have one article on the biological concept of race, or two articles, one for humans and one for all other animals and plants? Most zoologists insisted on the latter. many other people came up with different answers to this question for different reasons.
Second there was a separate debate over the length of this article. Even if we restricted it to "race in relation to humans" if following NPOV we were to include ALL significant views on "race" as it has been applied to humans, this article would be three or four times the recommended limit for WP articles. The standard practice when an article gets too long is to turn each section into its own article, and either create a disambiguation page or (as in this case, and the Jesus article, and several others) keep the article but for each section (which now has its own article) just have a concise summary. But this means that the character of linked articles depends on the contents of this article. And in the time I have been here this article has gone through at least four major revisions, so major I'd say four fundamentally different versions (even if there was a lot of overlap). It is fair to say that these revisions have all involved debates over whether race is natural or a social construction. Take a sample of article versions from 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 and you will find different tables of contents. Do you see? If the tables of contents are different, it will lead us to spin off different articles. Articles spun off at one time may all fit together logically. Articles spun off at different times may well not fit together logically
So the reason for the state of the disambiguation page is that the division of articles is the result of two different sets of debates, one involving evolutionary biologists and zoologists and others that was resolved by treating humans and non-humans differently, and another over the contents and organization of the article on race among humans. In both debates, "natural or social construction" came up, but it was resolved differently based on different facts and criteria.
When the disambiguation page was first created, this article was called "Race (anthropology)" and then someone changed it to "Race (human)" but whatever it was called, I think there has been one major continuity - namely, that this article shoul dmore or less be about whatever this article was about when it was first created in 2001 (see the quotes above). I hope this is useful information.
I think we need an article that is about "race" as the term has been applied to humans, and that reflects research by scientists (including social scientists) and historians on race in relation to humans. A LOT of people turn to an encyclopedia to learn just about this. If the research is isomorphic with that of research by biologists on other genera, well, okay, but I see this as a secondary question. Then the next issue is, what views to include and how to organize them. I think it was a big advance when someone introduced the table from Long and Kittles 2003 summarizing four biological views of race, because it was a reliable secondary source identifying four significant points of view. That race is a social construction is another view that has to be included. In the context of explaining these five views, two other issues came up that I think have a place in this article: first, when biologists and sociologists use a word differently, we need to explain why - this was less controversial and complicated with regard to the word "race" than it was to the word "lineage;" molecular geneticists use the word lineage but in a way that has no relation to the way sociologists or social anthropologists or even novelists or plain people use the word; explaining this took some time an dintroduced another distinction, between how molecular geneticists interpret Y-haplotype and MtDNA data versus the way these terms are used by people in the "heritage" business who use the word in their marketing. Finally, in explaining how race may be a social construction, it was decided that we needed to explain how poulation geneticists talk about genetic variation without using the word "race," which led to sections on "population" and "cline." I am trying to explain the process by which the article developed the sections it has. I think we need to bear all this in mind when considering reorganizing this and linked articles. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:03, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I do not think aticles should have "arguments" or "points" because this leads us to violate NPOV and often NOR as well. But if there were to be an argument, I would say, discuss Franz Boas's basic argument - the point he and his students were making was pretty simple: human genetic variation and cultural variation are not reducible, one to the other. When Boas was writing, people inside and outside of the academy used "race" to refer to groups that were both biologically and culturally distinct from other groups. You still see this today when people use the word ethnicity as a euphamism for race (because they understand neither word) and then insist that ethnicity is biological, which voids the whole reason for using the word ethnicity instead of race to begin with. Since people use the word "race" to refer both to biological and cultural variation, I think it is unavoidable that an article on race say somethign about genetic variation, and also say something about cultural variation. Some people will argue that if the two are incommensurable or simply different things, they belong in different articles. But since peopel regularly use the word "race" in ways that brings biology and culture back together, I think the "race" article has to explain how it is that genetic and cultural variation have distinct mechanisms. And we need to explain why many times it appears that biological and cultural difference go together (the reason is actually prtty simple: since Columbus, the forced or voluntary movment of people from one continent to another has regularly placed them into distinct economic niches that are often politically as well as economically unequal. This does not always happen, but it often happens, and when it does, people who are biologically different, because they come from different continents, will also remain culturally distinct or develop new cultural differences, because they are economically segregated from others - that is to say, social segregation replaces geographic separation (Eric Wolf 1982 Europe and the People without History p 380; see also Marvin Harris Patterns of Race in the Americas and Peter Wade Race and Ethnicity in Latin America), Slrubenstein | Talk 14:25, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that, that was really valuable—and will require several re-readings(!). There might be some parallels regarding zoology where taxonomies are constructed based on observable characteristics—orderings of nature which genetics subsequently has proven or disproven. There do appear to be outliers among those studying genetics who disagree with the widely accepted view of in-population and between-population differences with regard to "races", but I need to do more reading before I can suggest a cogent statement or content on that—not extensive quotations. I would agree that this needs to be the article which brings together all the multi (but never completely separable)-disciplinary views of humans as organized along "racial" lines. Let me know if I'm misinterpreting! PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 14:55, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I think you have it right. I would just underscore (1) that at crucial points in entrenched edit conflicts, Lieberman et. al. 1992, and Long and Kittles 2003, were both imensely helpful secondary sources for clarifying distinct points of view. But it has been a while since I immersed myself in this literature and I applaud you guys for looking at what has come out since then. Actually, I think the last really major overhaul of this article was around 2005 so any sources since then, especially really good secondary sources (and Alland's book comes to mind) really probably would be most valuable resources.
Anyway, I think the key thing is to imagine an omnibus article on "race," what are the distinct debates, and within those the distinct POVs, and how best to organize it ... and then decide what the linked articles should be, even if this requires merging or renaming some of the articles currently at the disambiguation page. I think all of you guys currently working on the article understand that the worst way to edit-war and degrade the quality of an article is when you take a view expressed in one context and use it in a different context. I can tell you that the current structure of the article was an attempt to provide a clear context for every view. I can also tell you that the most persistant erosion of the quality of the article was not done by real POV pushers, but by countless independent editors who, wherever they saw any explaination of race as a social construction, added "but most scientists disagree." The point is not that this statement is wrong. The point is that the article ought to have a whole section, or multiple sections, for scientists who express different views. But some reads the article and they think that whatever view they believe in, it has to be expressed in every section. So we move from an article with many sections each covering a different debate and a different view of race, to an article with many sections each of which repeats the same thing: some people say race is real, others say it is socially constructed. In every section. Then the article grows, gets too long, and the whole organization is a mess. It is death by a thousand small cuts, and each editor claims to be making the article "NPOV" but the problem is each editor is adding a point that already appears, just in a different section. So I think it is a complex topic that demands many different sections, and the problem is that the introduction and table of contents never provided a foolproof roadmap to the article, so people reading one section and getting pissed off would know that the other points of views are represented in later sections or other issues (like MtDNA research) are covered, just in a later section. The biggest challenge in my experience is an effective organization.
I do not have the Wade book on hand, but I think it is very valuable and I hope someone can find it. Another problem that makes it hard to come up with a good organization is: there is a good deal of research on the social construction of race in latin America. But most research on race as a biological distinction takes place in the US. Since the research is asymmetric, strage contradictions end up in the article - claims are made about biological difference that are true in the US but not Brazil or the Dominican Republic. But the research in Brazil was not reproduced in the US, and the research in the US was not reproduced in Brazil. So some sections end up being US - centric and others Brazil-centric. I do not know the solution to this. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:25, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree-I think maybe if the POV pushing is better curtailed, all these various aspects can be described more cogently. Now it's a bit like a tumble down the rabbit-hole, a kind of "Race can mean A, B, C or D. It used to be thought that race was Z." This is followed by in-depth discourse about Z, what's wrong with Z, different ways of measuring-grouping-clustering Z, quotes about Z, who still uses Z, who is marketing genealogy with Z. And after dispensing with Z, the A-B-C-D which we led with is largely treated as an afterthought, almost a catch-phrase, for left overs after sweeping up all the "Not Z". I'm still inclined to see the term "classification" in its Linnaean sense. I agree that the key piece is the omnibus article. And we don't need to put the cart ahead of the horse, but I'm thinking that a title with "classification" would muddy the picture given by the omnibus treatment. It would be voluminous to go into the various attempts and missteps in applying a classification scheme of race in modern humans (species/sub-species/cline/clade/ecotype etc). And if such efforts warrant describing in an article here, I don't think the best place for it is the omnibus article-there I think it should be left to the situation as it stands now. For example (I could be wrong so please correct me), haven't scientists moved beyond the multi-regional hypothesis and notions of race as sub-species? Maybe I need more coffee, but I think a clearer treatment would be to move away from this overemphasis on describing race this way: "Race as X" followed by several paragraphs about why it's not X, "Race as Y" followed by several paragraphs why it's not Y, and "Race as Z" followed by "so again no, race is not Z". What I'm saying is that while the general public may have mistaken ideas about how closely genetics aligns with it, in the everyday world people define race socially and culturally, not genetically. For example, people generally tell clinicians what race they belong to, not the other way around. We need more about how people define race, and maybe much less emphasis on the ways geneticists today don't anymore.Professor marginalia (talk) 18:02, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Diagrams based on original research are not permitted in the article.

This talk page includes a link to a reminder to all Wikipedians from the Arbitration Committee about the care to be taken when sourcing statements for this and related articles. There is a vast and somewhat contradictory primary literature on this subject, which rapidly becomes obsolete as further research is done. There is also a considerable number of reliable secondary sources on this subject, including some much more recent than the primary sources often cited in this article, that are too often neglected by Wikipedians, even though the Wikipedia reliable source guidelines remind us that "Articles should rely on secondary sources whenever possible. When relying on primary sources, extreme caution is advised: Wikipedians should never interpret the content of primary sources for themselves. See Wikipedia:No original research." In my own reading of the secondary sources, one striking issue is how little agreement there still is on human ancestry trees based on DNA markers. As new human individuals are sampled, or as new DNA locuses are considered, the trees have to be rewritten. If there are to be diagrams of human ancestry groups put in this article, they must be sourced directly to verifiable, reliable secondary sources, and if different sources disagree on the structure or importance of such tree diagrams, that must be mentioned in the article for neutral point of view. P.S. Any Wikipedian reading this is very welcome to suggest additional sources (I mean reliable secondary sources, mostly) on the issues discussed in this article. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 18:21, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Let's focus on what medically reliable sources say about race, if anything.

I'll draw more attention to something I've found as I compile source lists to share with Wikipedians. While gathering books about general biology, general genetics, human genetics, general behavioral genetics, and human behavioral genetics over the last few months, to add to a new citations list, what is noteworthy is how few of the most current secondary sources in those disciplines even mention race, especially race as categorized in the United States, in any context. Population genetics is mentioned a fair amount, but no one agrees about categories anymore, because the genetic information has been too nuanced for the old straitjacket categories. Those categories seem to appear in current literature only in a shrinking minority of primary studies, outnumbered by other studies that take different approaches. Plenty of examples are published in the current textbooks of medically interesting genes that occur in multiple populations that usually aren't categorized into the same "race" category. This prompts me to think I need to look soon at some of the articles related to this article to see if they are up to date with current literature and sourced mostly with unreplicated primary studies or with authoritative secondary textbooks and practitioner handbooks. What sources do you have at hand? How many reliable, recent secondary sources mention race prominently or even at all? Specific citations would be very helpful for this discussion. P.S. The Wikipedia guideline on identifying reliable sources in medicine is an excellent research guide for this topic. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 18:39, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

I believe that this is the leading textbook for physical anthropology. Slrubenstein | Talk
A few other crucial articles:
  • Nadia Abu El-Haj 2007 "The Genetic Reinscription of Race" Annual Review of Anthropology Vol. 36: 283-300
  • William W. Dressler, Kathryn S. Oths, Clarence C. Gravlee 2005 "RACE AND ETHNICITY IN PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH: Models to Explain Health Disparities" Annual Review of Anthropology Vol. 34: 231-252
  • B F Williams 1989 "A Class Act: Anhropology and the Race to Nation Across Ethnic Terrain" Annual Review of Anthropology Vol. 18: 401-444
  • C C Snow 1982 "Forensic Anthropology" Annual Review of Anthropology Vol. 11: 97-131 (since many supporters of the race concept come rom this field, which really means it is a view from law enforcement).
Annual Reviews is highly reviewedn and an authoritative source and its reviw essays are sources of the literature considered most significant in the field. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:46, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Are you managing your list or would you like me to add these? KI thought you miht wish to check them out first. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:50, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Hi, Slrubenstein, I just realized you asked me a question earlier that I haven't answered specifically. The answer is that any Wikipedian is welcome to add source suggestions (or comments about sources already posted) to the suggestions page of the bibliography on subjects related to this article. The more, the merrier. People who post citations to that page will see those posted there immediately--that page operates like any talk page--and over time I'll read and digest sources (as I obtain them from libraries here) and add them to the main pages of the source list, which will be in copy-and-paste cite tag form for insertion into articles all over Wikipedia. Thanks for suggesting sources here based on your knowledge of the literature. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 21:02, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I am sorry, but race is not a medical condition. Race is a sociological categorization based on population genetic differences, but these differences are not in any way "medically interesting", they are just "racially interesting".

I really think the debate whether race is "factual" or "a construct" is a big misunderstanding. There are any number of facts in the real world. But facts in themselves don't have meaning, attaching meaning to facts is what humans do. So race is, in fact, a human construct of meaning attached to selected population genetic facts. --dab (𒁳) 06:42, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Hi, dab, thank you for your comments. I am responding implicitly to earlier comments here and on other Wikipedia articles that the category of race has some medical relevance (for which citations to primary research publications are occasionally provided). My response to comments such as those is that if there is indeed an issue of medical relevance here, the way to decide what to say about that issue in the text of a Wikipedia article is to go to the sources of medical reliability, which is something I have been doing by requesting books from the Bio-Medical Library of the major research university in my metropolitan area. But in fact, I thus far have not found a lot of current, reliable, secondary sources about medical issues that mention "race" categories as important for human medicine. If there are such sources, I would be glad to hear about them. If there are not such sources, that suggests a path for future revision of this article. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:09, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Really? You must not be looking very hard.
Body mass trajectories vary by race:
Truls Østbye, Rahul Malhotra, and Lawrence R Landerman. Body mass trajectories through adulthood: results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Cohort (1981–2006) Int. J. Epidemiol.
Race is an important factor in lactation score:
Krause KM, Lovelady CA, Ostbye T. Predictors of Breastfeeding in Overweight and Obese Women: Data From Active Mothers Postpartum (AMP). Matern Child Health J.
Rates of Hepatocellular cancer vary by race:
Qin H, Liu B, Shi T, Liu Y, Sun Y, Ma Y. Tumour Necrosis Factor-alpha Polymorphisms and Hepatocellular Carcinoma: a Meta-analysis. J Int Med Res. 2010;38(3):760-768.
And that's on the first page. Going to PubMed and typing in "race" gives over 15,000 results. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 21:59, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I was referring to a research process that would focus on medically reliable sources, and anyone who actually reads that thoughtful page by Wikipedia editors for other Wikipedia editors will understand the distinction between primary research articles (which are often not replicated) and secondary reference sources, which are the kind of sources recommended there. What that Wikipedia page certainly does not advise, but what plenty of inexperienced Wikipedians do, is running a keyword search on a database and gathering up sources without reading the sources first to evaluate their quality and to find out what they actually say. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 00:17, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

Race and biomedicine

Chapter 5 in "Ian Whitmarsh and David S. Jones, 2010, What's the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference, MIT press" contains a critical discussion of why racial categories are still being used as if they were markers of genetic variation in the field of biomedicine. Reviewing a large body of literature criticizing the continued use of racial categories in biomedicine the authors write:

"Two broad groups of arguments were observed: those relating to the use of racialized categories as (if they were) genetic variables, and those exploring their use as such within biomedical research. Five specific groups of arguments against the use of racialized categories as (if they were) markers of genetic variation emerged from these articles. These drew on concerns that most genetic variation is found within all racialized groups; only a modest amount of genetic variation loosely clusters around racialized groups (but does not result in distinct packages of genetic traits that are unique to each racialized group); genetically “ pure ” racialized populations do not exist (and have never existed); variation in phenotypic traits among racialized groups cannot be assumed to refl ect variation in genotypic traits; and using racialized categories as (if they were) markers of genetic variation tends to reify these categories as essential qualities of the individuals and groups concerned (rather than as context-specific and fluid forms of sociocultural identity). Six related themes emerged concerning the use of racialized categories as (if they were) genetic variables in biomedical research, drawing on concerns about the lack of consensus regarding the defi nition of racialized categories; the limited reliability and external validity of racialized categories; the limited internal validity of racialized categories; the way in which using racialized categories as (as if they were) markers of genetic variation tends to encourage their widespread use to (erroneously) infer genetic causality for disparities in health among racialized groups; the way in which research emphasizing differences in health risk and health care need among racialized groups can lead to the development of inappropriately targeted services for different racialized groups; and how the use of racialized categories to explore disparities in health (and particularly the possible genetic basis for these) can lead to stigmatization and stereotyping. We discuss how these arguments are not simply overlooked,ignored, rejected, or circumvented by contemporary geneticists and biomedical scientists within the context of contemporary genetics and biomedical science, but are selectively engaged with to generate a largely self-referential case for the continued use of racialized categories as (if they were) markers for genetic variation between populations by the researchers involved. As such, while the criticisms and concerns reviewed in this chapter provide powerful arguments for removing the use of racialized categories as (if they were) genetic variables from most genetic (and related biomedical) research, selective engagement with these arguments, together with the self-referential interpretation of findings from analyses using racialized categories as (if they were) genetic variables, continues to make their use as such appear useful to geneticists and biomedical researchers alike."

"It suggests that a more appropriate use of racialized categories as (if they were) markers of genetic variation would be one that recognizes these as, first and foremost, social categories that may only be usefully incorporated into biomedical research and practice in those instances (and these seem likely to be rare) when they are strongly associated with genetic differences responsible for disparities in health." ·Maunus·ƛ· 18:35, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

So basically these scholars (Outram (a cultural anthropologist?) and Ellison) think race is not useful (because of "lack of consensus", "stigmatization and stereotyping", "erroneous" inference of causation (a serious charge), "inappropriately targeted services for different racialized groups" (surely the opposite is the intention?)), but because the entire field of genetics and biomedicine "selectively engages" these arguments, they continue to use race. And yet, despite the entire field of genetics and biomedicine continuing to use race, you use the opinion of a cultural anthropologist in the "Race and biomedicine" section. Maunus, you are a cultural anthropologist. This is the problem. (talk) 07:42, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Mike: You are not reading what it says. They SURVEYED 350 articles published in the field of genetics written by others that were critical of the use of race as a proxy for genotype. Those 350 authors used those arguments. Anyway Outram has a Msc in environmental epidemiology. ·Maunus·ƛ· 11:11, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I think it's severe POV to find the most critical possible source and base the section on it. (talk) 14:35, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
This is probably the best statement of current mainstream POV[10], from Francis Collins. Race is useful, but it's better to be more precise. You should base the section on this. The massive condescending criticism heaped on the concept by Outram above is innappropriate. Much of it can be applied to any classification system. (talk) 15:00, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
It is not the mpost critical source possible - it is a survey of an extensive body of criticism of the use of race in medicine that already exists and which the article (and most editors) has ignored untill now.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:04, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I have advocated the use of Collins as an example of the mainstream view among within biomedicine as well - but the article has to present the objections to the use of race in biomedicine (many of them also coming from within the field) as well, and here Outram contains an excellent summary of the arguments.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:07, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Why are you just including the criticism? Surely the use is more pertinent, and uhh, useful. Is part of critical theory? (talk) 16:26, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Because the uses are already there - and a bunch of editors (including you) have argued that the use of race is standard practice with no opposition in biomedicine - this clearly shows that its not that simple. Anyway the criticism shows that the uses aren't necessarily more useful.·Maunus·ƛ· 16:35, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Including criticism is fine, but the current paragraph is now overwhelmed by it. I think it could stand to be more balanced overall. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 17:08, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Try to write up a suggestion for a raceand biomedicine section that you would find more balanced and present it here on the talk page for collaborative improvement?·Maunus·ƛ· 17:24, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
If the IP wants to give it a shot, he should go ahead first (since it seems like he has more of a problem with it than me). If not, I'll see what I can do tomorrow, I'm a bit bogged down with class today. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 17:46, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I am fairly sure that the IP is a banned user - he should not be asked to make any edits or suggestions to the text. ·Maunus·ƛ· 18:10, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Oh - didn't realize that. I'll try working on a suggestion tomorrow if I have time. The source the IP recommended might be worthwhile though, so I hope it's not a problem to use it. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 19:09, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
No, its a very good source and incidentally I was the one to show it to him a couple of months ago.·Maunus·ƛ· 19:35, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Ferahgo, you need to reread neutral point of view policy if you think that every Wikipedia article on a topic you devote your editing to will be "balanced." By Wikipedia policy, articles have to represent the best available sources. The best available sources are anything but balanced on some issues that Wikipedians disagree about. That's a learning opportunity for the Wikipedians who take the time and effort to read the best current sources. I've changed my point of view over the years on a number of issues because I enjoy visiting a high-quality university library (and making use of interlibrary loan facilities and other aids to research) to read about things I wasn't taught in my undergraduate and postgraduate formal schooling. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 03:04, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
You seem to be misunderstanding my concept of "balanced." In no way did I mean to imply that I think the article should have undue weight in favor of the relevance of race (with caveats) in medicine, because from my own perception of the literature available, that is the mainstream view among doctors and geneticists. From my perception the article currently has undue weight towards the meaninglessness of race in medicine, which is not an accurate representation of the current body of research. But if even the discussions on the race & genetics talk wasn't able to convince you, I doubt I will. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 04:36, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
For what its worth I think Ferahgo has a point, the biomedicine section does seem a bit like a response to a statement that isn't provided (namely "this is how race is used in biomedicine"). It would be better if it provided the statement of how race is actually used in biomedicine, possibly providing some of biomedicines own reasonings to continue the use and then went on to describing the responses and criticisms. ·Maunus·ƛ· 12:05, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Maunus, your statement makes a lot of sense from the standpoint of best practice as well. It rules nothing out while acknowledging the body of knowledge to date. futurebird (talk) 14:53, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
We have, or used to have, citations for articles criticizing some uses of race in biomedicine. Modern science is founded on statistics and there is sometimes a high correclation of a disease and people from a particular part of the world. In some cases where one's recent ancestors were from correlates well with SIRE. But not always. Sickle-cell anemia correlates with people from swampy areas in warm areas that have been modified by the practice of agriculture. This includes Italy and parts of Africa. In the US most victims of SSA are descendents of Africans so people link it to "race" but there are many blacks who live in places where there has never been any SSAA, and Europeans who suffer from the illness. So a doctor has to be attentive to ancestry but also cognizant that it signals risks, not certainties. Anyone who assumes certainties that there are "white" or "black" diseases will, if they treat a lot of patients, eventually be wrong and perhaps in a grave way. Some drugs have been marketed to "black" diseases and it turned out it was far more a marketing campaign than science. So we need to be cautious and Maunus's excellent source is an important contribution. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:45, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Maunus has found a thoughtful source (which I also obtained this week) from a major university press with articles by several medically astute experts on the current role of "race" in human medicine. The source is well worth reading, and is quite mainstream in how it reaches conclusions about former race classifications on the basis of the most recent and advanced consensus in genetic research. Remember, by Wikipedia sourcing policies, articles that make medical claims should be sourced to medically reliable sources, which that source indubitably is. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 02:56, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Biomedicine draft

I felt that this basically needed to be rewritten from the ground up. It had a lot of problems, the most noticeable of which were constant synth and organization problems (in addition to the fact that the section was overwhelmed by criticism). The organization issue was probably the biggest one, which includes the fact that the original section didn't even explain the basics of race in medicine and basically dove straight into the arguments for/against instead. The whole thing jumped all over the place, without any clear flow and direction. My rewrite divides the issue into five distinct sections by paragraph: 1. Opening/overview of the situation, 2. Why some people think race in medicine is valuable, 3. Examples of race-linked disorders and race-based medicines 4. Why some people think race in medicine is not valuable, and 5. Looking forward/where this issue is heading.

I tried to keep almost everything that Maunus added from Outram & Ellison, but I removed a lot of content that was either obvious synth, POV, unsourced, or simply not relevant. For example, the source about sickle cell did not include anything related to criticisms of associating disorders with race, so I removed the POV-related stuff surrounding it while still pointing out the facts. I didn't think that the paragraph about the possibly insidious purposes of BiDil were relevant to this section, because what it's really criticizing is the marketing practices of the pharmaceutical industry rather than the concept of race-based medicine in general; this should be discussed in the article on BiDil but not here. The section is already long enough that I think things of only marginal relevance are better left out. The whole section about gene flow, while a decent point, is synth in that the source it cites mentions nothing about comparative levels of MS between Africans and African Americans resulting from gene flow (and I tried to find another source explicitly stating this, with no success). I tossed out the entire last paragraph due to being unsourced and only tangentially related to begin with. If anyone else would like to contribute further sources from either perspective, feel free, but as it is I think it's a reasonably good summary of the current body of literature in this area.

In biomedicine

Since the turn of the millennium, the use of racial categories as a tool for evaluating genetically conditioned health risks and treatment choices has seen a marked increase. The main impetus for this development is the possibility of improving the prevention and treatment of certain diseases by predicting hard-to-ascertain factors, such as genetically conditioned health factors, on the basis of more easily ascertained characteristics such as phenotype and racial self-identification. Since medical judgment often involves decision-making under uncertain conditions,[1] many doctors consider it useful to take race into account when treating disease because diseases and treatment responses tend to cluster by geographic ancestry.[2] The discovery that certain diseases have a considerable degree of correlation with racial identification further sparked the interest in using race as a proxy for bio-geographical ancestry and genetic buildup. Some of the genetically linked diseases that have been found to be particularly prevalent in some populations are Cystic fibrosis, Lactose intolerance, Tay-Sachs Disease, sickle cell anemia, and Crohn disease.[1] There is a general consensus in medicine that the ability to treat diseases improves with greater specificity of genetic analysis, and that the use of racial groups as a predictor of genetic buildup is a crude and imperfect way to identify genetic clusters that correlate with disease risk. However, until cheaper and more widely available methods of genetic analysis are commonplace, the consideration of race remains a worthwhile practice for many doctors and researchers.[3]

The perceived benefit to using race as a consideration in biomedicine is based on the series of surrogate relationships between self-identified race and disease risk.[3] Analysis of microsatellite DNA markers and SNPs from human populations have shown that using a combination of these polymorphic genes it is possible to determine a person's geographic ancestry with a high degree of accuracy. Furthermore, analyzing the fraction of human genetic variation that lies within and between geographically separated populations has shown that the genes that are geographically highly differentiated in their allelic frequencies are not typical of the human genome in general.[4] Since race can be seen as an imperfect surrogate for ancestral geographic region, it is in turn a surrogate for variation across one's genome. There is therefore a degree of correlation between genome-wide variation and variation at specific loci associated with disease. The ways in which these variants interact with environmental factors can subsequently give an approximation of propensity for disease or for preferred treatment response, although the approximation is less than perfect.[3]

distribution of the sickle cell trait
distribution of Malaria

A classic example of a disease that tends to correlate with ethnic clusters is Tay-Sachs, an autosomal recessive disorder that has been shown to be more frequent among Ashkenazi Jews than among other Jewish groups and non-Jewish populations, though it also does occur in other groups.[5] Sickle-cell anemia, another well-known genetic disorder, has been seen as most prevalent in populations of sub-Saharan African ancestry, but it is now known also to be common among Latin-American, Indian, Saudi Arab, and Mediterranean populations. The portion of the population with the sickle cell trait is higher in some regions than in others, since it offers some resistance to malaria and consequently has been positively selected in regions where malaria is present.[6] While a correlation between sickle cell and race does exist, some researchers believe that the trait correlates more strongly with geographic ancestry traced to regions with a historical prevalence of malaria. For example, a substantial percentage of people with Sicilian ancestry also carry the sickle cell trait, since malaria was a serious problem there historically.[7] Gene flow and intermixture can also have an effect on predicting relationships between race and race-linked disorders. Multiple sclerosis, for example, is typically associated with people of European descent, but due to admixture African Americans have elevated levels of the disorder relative to Africans.[8]

Race-based medicine is the term for medicines that are targeted at specific ethnic clusters which are shown to have a propensity for a certain disorder. The first example of this in the U.S. was when BiDil, a medication for congestive heart failure, was licensed specifically for use in American patients that self-identify as black.[9] Previous studies had shown that African American patients with congestive heart failure generally respond less effectively to traditional treatments than white patients with similar conditions.[10] After two trials, BiDil was licensed exclusively for use in African American patients. Critics have argued that this particular licensing was unwarranted, since the trials did not in fact show that the drug was more effective in African Americans than in other groups, but merely that it was more effective in African Americans than another similar drug. It was also only tested in African American and white males, but not in any other racial groups or among women. This peculiar trial and licensing procedure has prompted suggestions that the licensing was in fact used as a race based advertising scheme.[11]

The continued use of racial categories as proxies for knowledge about genetically determined health concerns in populations has been criticized widely. Outram and Ellison have identified the most common concerns expressed in relation to this practice: most genetic variation is found within racial groups whereas very little genetic variation loosely coincides with racial groups, but without making any well-defined genetic criteria for ascription of individuals to racial groups possible. Completely genetically homogenous racial groups have never existed and therefore phenotypic traits, and variation between them, do not translate directly to similar variation in genotypic traits. The continued use of racial categories as proxies for genetic variation has a social function of cementing socially constructed racial categories as if they were natural classes, which could result in increased stereotyping and discrimination in society.[12] In many cases, health disparities will be caused by environmental factors common to certain populations and geographic areas, such as differences in culture, diet, education, socioeconomic status, and access to health care, rather than by allele clusters.[3] Another concern is that the way in which research emphasizes differences in health risk and health care need among racial groups can lead to the development of racial discrimination in health services.[12]

There is general agreement that a goal of health-related genetics should be to move past the weak surrogate relationships of racial health disparity and get to the root causes of health and disease. This largely includes research which strives to define human variation with greater specificity across the world.[3] One such emerging method is known as ethnogenetic layering, which is a non-typological alternative to depending on the racial paradigm in biomedicine. It works by focusing on geographically identified microethnic groups, which are far more nuanced and sensitive than simple race analyses.[13]

  1. ^ a b Ian Whitmarsh and David S. Jones, 2010, What's the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference, MIT press. Chapter 9.
  2. ^ Satel, Sally. "I Am a Racially Profiling Doctor". The New York Times, published May 5, 2002
  3. ^ a b c d e Collins, Francis S. What we do and don't know about 'race', 'ethnicity', genetics and health at the dawn of the genome era. Nature Genetics Supplement, volume 36 No. 11, November 2004.
  4. ^ Revisiting race in a genomic age. By Barbara A. Koenig, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Sarah S. Richardson. Rutgars University Press, 2008. Chapter 5.
  5. ^ Myrianthopoulos NC and Aronson SM (July 1, 1966). "Population dynamics of Tay-Sachs disease. I. Reproductive fitness and selection.". American Journal of Human Genetics 18 (4): 313–327. PMID 5945951.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Bloom, Miriam. Understanding Sickle Cell Disease. University Press of Mississippi, 1995. Chapter 2.
  8. ^ Cree, BA et al. Clinical characteristics of African Americans vs Caucasian Americans with multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2004 Dec 14;63(11):2039-45. PMID: 15596747
  9. ^ Taylor AL, Ziesche S, Yancy C, et al. (November 2004). "Combination of isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine in blacks with heart failure". The New England Journal of Medicine 351 (20): 2049–57. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa042934. PMID 15533851.
  10. ^ Exner DV, Dries DL, Domanski MJ, Cohn JN (2001). "Lesser response to angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor therapy in blacks as compared with white patients with left ventricular dysfunction". N Engl J Med 344 (18): 1351–7. doi:10.1056/NEJM200105033441802. PMID 11333991.
  11. ^ Ellison, George (2006) Medicine in black and white: BiDil®: race and the limits of evidence-based medicine. Significance, Volume 3, Number 3, September 2006 , pp. 118-121(4)
  12. ^ a b Ian Whitmarsh and David S. Jones, 2010, What's the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference, MIT press. Chapter 5.
  13. ^ Jackson, F.L.C. Ethnogenetic layering (EL): an alternative to the traditional race model in human variation and health disparity studies. Annals of Human Biology, March–April 2008; 35(2): 121–144

It might not be perfect, but I think it's a substantial improvement over what's there now. Do you agree? -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 07:45, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Go for it! It looks excellent!...--Novus Orator 07:48, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't see any serious POV related problems (only in the mention of BiDil which I think needs to mention the criticisms that have been published that accuse it of using racial targetting as an advertising scam (Ellison, George (2006) Medicine in black and white: BiDil®: race and the limits of evidence-based medicine. Significance, Volume 3, Number 3, September 2006 , pp. 118-121(4)). The main problem here I think is clumsy writing - many sentences are heavy or less than precise and some constructions are illogical (e.g. "sickle cell disease offers protection for malaria since it has been positively selected" which reverses cause and effect). Also "ethnicity" is used once or twice where another word would be better. All in all I think the flow is better than in the current version and that once the language problems and minor corrections have been taken care of it could go into the article without objections from me.·Maunus·ƛ· 11:22, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. I added the source about BiDil as a marketing scam, and fixed the bit about sickle cell trait (that sentence was left over from the original version that I didn't change) as well as replacing ethnicity with "geographic ancestry" in at least one place ("ethnic clusters" was a term used by several of the sources I read, so I figured it was alright to leave that). If you have any additional wording issues or places where the sentences feel clumsy or imprecise, please feel free to point them out. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 11:45, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
The BiDil part still doesn't work. Ellisons point is that the "substantial" evidence for BiDil's racial effectiveness is exagerrated so it doesn't work to merely attach the marketing scam (also I think marketing scam may be too strong a wording, that was mine not Ellison's). Could I be allowed to edit directly in your draft?·Maunus·ƛ· 12:00, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Sure, go ahead! Though keep in mind that the "substantial evidence" part refers to earlier research from 2001, not the 2004 research on BiDil specifically. To my understanding this research (in how blacks and whites respond differently to CHF meds) provided the foundation for the research that went into BiDil. [11] -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 12:01, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I've given it a shot. I didn't see anything suggesting that the licensing of BiDil was in fact related to the earlier research from 2004. The 2001 study showed enlapril to be ineffective in African Americans - the second trial of H-I (BiDil) replicated this finding by showing that enlapril was more effective in whites than in African Americans. The first trial of H-I showed H-I to be more effective than placebo in African American males but not in White males. Thus the substantial evidence only showed that enlapril doesn't work well in african-american populations - the evidence in favour of BiDil's effectiveness was all but substantial.·Maunus·ƛ· 13:11, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Okay, your revision looks decent too. I fixed a few minor things in it, mostly structure, wording related stuff, conciseness, and a few grammar issues here and there. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 13:45, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
You also changed my: "This is because the occurence of the sickle cell trait within populations is higher in regions where Malaria has historically been endemic, because the same genetic trait that causes sickle-cell anemia also offers some resistance to Malaria and has consequently been positively selected in certain geographic areas." back to your previous: "The sickle cell trait offers some resistance to malaria, since in regions where malaria has historically been endemic, sickle cell has been positively selected and consequently the proportion of people with it is greater." This doesn't make sense because it gets the causality backwards - it seems to be saying that the reason that the Sickle-cell trait offers protection is that it has been positively selected, it is of course the other way round, it has been positively selected because it offers protection. My version is wordier, but much more clear about what has actually happened and why this is relevant to the issue.·Maunus·ƛ· 14:04, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Ack, I actually had changed that in the version on my computer but forgot to copy it over for some reason. Anyway, it's mostly the wordiness of your version that I had a problem with, and the double usage of the word "because" in the same sentence. How about this: "The portion of the population with the sickle cell trait is higher in some regions than in others, since it offers some resistance to malaria and consequently has been positively selected in regions where malaria is present." -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 14:12, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Much better, I like it now, but lets await comments from editors such as Victor, Aprock, Slrubenstein et al. before we include it in the article.·Maunus·ƛ· 14:18, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I disagree with the draft. Based on WP:Summary style, I believe that the section should be a summary of the race in biomedicine article, which currently is not the case. The draft has given WP:UNDUE weight to race and genetics, which is not the case with the main race in biomedicine article. Basically when one goes to see a doctor in the US, when filling out forms one is given an option to check a box to describe their race. The section on race and biomedicine should discuss why this is done, and the many ways in which such information is used. Such information can be used with genetics in mind, though traditionally this was not the case because the use of genetic technology is fairly recent and the use of racial labels in biomedicine isn't. Wapondaponda (talk) 14:23, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Race in biomedicine redirects to Race and health in the United States. Did you mean Population groups in biomedicine instead?
If Race and health in the United States is what you meant, this section of the article should not be specific to the U.S., so the fact that it's not accurately summarizing a U.S.-specific article is hardly an issue. Since this section of the article is written from an international perspective, it also shouldn't need to explain medical practices (such as checking a box about one's race) that are specific to the U.S. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 14:36, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
There are two other articles covering this general topic as well: Ancestry and health and Ethnicity and health. In addition to population groups in biomedicine, I'd say that my draft here is a fairly good summary of the concepts illustrated in these articles. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 15:04, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Race and biomedicine used to be a separate article, [12] before it was redirected to Race and health in the United States. The usual problem arises in that most countries do not use racial labels as in the US, so there isn't much data from outside the US. Other nations do use data based on ethnicity, but typically not race. The article Population groups in biomedicine has too much in common with Race and health in the United States, such that I would argue that it should be merged into Race and health in the United States. There is a discussion here concerning this very problem. Since the main article is about race, to avoid original research, the section needs to address issues where race is specifically discussed as race, and not where race is confounded with ethnicity, population or nation of origin. The articleethnicity and health is in poor shape and therefore isn't currently suitable for use with wp:summary style. Race and health in the United States is the only article that I can see specifically addressing the use of racial labels in health. Wapondaponda (talk) 16:33, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

You're not addressing my main point. The stuff about how the articles were structured over a year ago, and what articles you think should be merged into which other articles, isn't relevant here. An article from an international perspective should not be modeled after a U.S.-centric article or focused on practices that (by your own admission) don't exist in other countries.
You also said: "Since the main article is about race, to avoid original research, the section needs to address issues where race is specifically discussed as race, and not where race is confounded with ethnicity, population or nation of origin." Please take a look at the sources I cited. All of the ones directly relevant to this issue use the word "race" constantly and most of them have it in the title. These sources are discussing race specifically as race. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 17:05, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Well this article is Race (classification of humans) not race in biomedicine, an extensive discussion of race in biomedicine isn't required in this article, only an appropriate summary. Seeing that this article has been structured with the summary style format, it is relevant to address which article the biomedicine section should be a summary of. Even if the sources cited do mention race directly, one can cherry pick sources in order to advocate a particular point of view. This is why I suggest using a well established article because we can benefit from various perspectives related to the use of racial labels in biomedicine and not just those that discuss "genetic clusters" or specific conditions where race disparities are large as opposed to conditions where race disparities are small. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:26, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
"it is relevant to address which article the biomedicine section should be a summary of." The Race and health in the United States article is not an appropriate article to model this section after, because this article is not U.S. specific.
If you can suggest specific sources that should be added, you're welcome to do that. Continuing to belabor this point about it needing to summarize a U.S.-centric article is not helpful. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 17:39, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think Muntuwandi/Wapondapondas objections make sense or are constructive. We shouldn't base the summary in this article on an article that may not be of the quality that we want this article to be. We are writing this article here, what other articles say doesn't matter - we can iimprove those later. Also there is no automaticness in this section being a summary of any other article. Comments here should adress the contents of the draft not stipulate new rules for how content should be generated. I think this section should desribe the fact that racial categories has become reintroduced as an operational concept in bioscience after a long time of being unthinkable to use as such and on the possible social and scientific problems that arise from this fact. It shouldn't be US specific but global, but as data is definitely richer for the US examples will generally have to be from there. ·Maunus·ƛ· 18:41, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
There are no restrictions on discussing material that is US centric provided that it is stated from the outset that the material in question primarily concerns US data. Looking at the references FTA has provided, almost all are about studies conducted in the US, so it is not appropriate to argue that your draft is more "international" than the Race and health in the United States article. Indeed we are not obliged to follow the summary style format, at the same time, why reinvent the wheel when there is already an article that discusses the subject in detail. What FTA and Maunus seem to want to focus on is the intersection of race, genetics and health, this is a legitimate topic for discussion, but it is only one of several subtopics related to race and medicine. This is why I pointed to Race and health in the United States because there is a lot more to race and health than genetic factors, which I am afraid to say is always the point of fixation for certain users. Wapondaponda (talk) 18:57, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Studies conducted in the US about the topic in general are not the same as specific practices and specific relationships that do not exist outside of the U.S.
Something worth pointing out here is that this section is called race in biomedicine, NOT race and health. "Health" is a much more general term than biomedicine, which has a very specific definition: medicine based on biology. The terms are not the same and most of the things you're bringing up would not legitimately fall into the category of biomedicine. Additionally, the entire section is in the category "Political and practical uses." Again, I don't think your suggestion belongs here.
Here's a specific suggestion for you. If you think these issues should be discussed in this article (and I won't say that they shouldn't be), why don't you propose a new section for it and flesh out a draft? I guess you could call it something like "Environmental health disparities" or "Health and socioeconomic status" or something along those lines. Maybe that could go in the section "concepts and realities of race" or somewhere else. Point is, your suggested changes do not fall into the definition of "practical uses" and they don't fit under "biomedicine" either. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 19:37, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I think that maybe I see a part of Muntuwandi's point in that this version doesn't deal with how genetic medicine is also sometimes criticized for overlooking the socioeconomic aspect of disease by focusing solely on the genetic aspect. It is one of Outram and Ellison's points, but maybe it could be expressed more clearly.·Maunus·ƛ· 20:55, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Checking the box to describe one's race during a medical appointment is a "practical or political use" of race. Doing this is done not solely for the purpose of investigating genetic differences between races, but for a host of other reasons including whether there is any racial disparity in a particular health problem. This is obviously important because it helps policy makers decide how to allocate resources to address various health concerns. As I mentioned before, the subject of race, genetics and health is indeed topic that is being investigated and discussed frequently, in fact it is briefly mentioned in this section, Race_in_biomedicine#Race_and_genetic_biomedical_research. But I disagree with the idea of reducing the race and health discussion to a subject of race and genetics, especially in a general article about race. This may also be a good opportunity to address the overlapping subjects of race and genetics, race and health and race and biomedicine. Wapondaponda (talk) 21:35, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we are reducing race and health to a subject of race and genetics - we are simply treating those topics apart. Race as it is used in biomedicine in recent years is a topic that has generated a large body of data that deals mostly with the attempt at reviving the relation of race to genetics - not nearly as much with race is constructed within the health system of particular countries. The sources we have simply don't treat that topic. If there is a literature on this subject that you are familiar with I think it would be a good idea to try to build a section from it or if the material is not sufficiently large to merit an entire section to integrate it into this section. I think it is unconstructive to simply object to the section because you feel something is missing - why don't you try to see how to include it instead.·Maunus·ƛ· 21:47, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I believe there is plenty of literature concerning race and health in the Race and health in the United States#References section. Some of the literature focuses on genetics and some doesn't. I think the lead from the article is a fairly decent summary

Race and health research is mostly from the United States. It has found both current and historical racial differences in the frequency, treatments, and availability of treatments for several diseases. This can add up to significant group differences in variables such as life expectancy. Many explanations for such differences have been argued, including socioeconomic factors (e.g., education, employment, and income), lifestyle behaviors (e.g., physical activity and alcohol intake), social environment (e.g., educational and economic opportunities, racial/ethnic discrimination, and neighborhood and work conditions), and access to preventive health-care services (e.g., cancer screening and vaccination)[13] as well as to treatment (through lack of insurance, lack of hospitals in certain areas, etc.), among other environmental differences. Some diseases may also be influenced by genes which differ in frequency between groups, such as sickle-cell anemia, which occurs overwhelmingly among some black populations, although the significance in clinical medicine of race categories as a proxy for exact genotypes of individuals has been questioned.

I would like to reiterate, Race (classification of humans) is a general article about race, therefore extensive discussions about health, biomedicine and genetics need not take place in this article, rather such extensive discussion should take place in the respective articles such as race and health or race and genetics. Only a summary that is representative of the whole topic, not just selected parts, is needed in the main race article. Wapondaponda (talk) 05:29, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, I disagree with that.·Maunus·ƛ· 11:19, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
So, what should we do now? Everyone else who's commented so far other than Muntuwandi has liked it, and he isn't willing to make a specific suggestion about how it can be improved. His only suggestion is that the section on biomedicine should be omitted altogether, although he also isn't offering any specific proposal about what to replace it with, other than that it should be modeled after a US-centric article.
Based on his original comments here and in his user talk, I think it's pretty likely part of Muntuwandi’s reason for disliking this draft is based just on the fact that I wrote it. The focus on biomedicine that he's objecting to was also true of the original version of this section, which had been in the article for years, but he never had a problem with this before now. As far as I can tell he hasn't even been involved in this article for years, but as soon as I made this proposal he immediately showed up here to oppose me. Since the end of the arbcom case the vast majority of Muntuwandi's involvement in Wikipedia has been trying to stop me from contributing to these articles. If his opposition to my draft is more of this same pattern, there's nothing I can do to satisfy him other than leaving it out completely.
Meanwhile the section that's currently in the article is a mess, both in terms of organization and its number of synth issues and unreferenced material. My draft fixes these problems even if it's not perfect. If Muntuwandi's unwillingness to accept my draft or suggest specific changes to it means we can't ever reach a consensus, that means all the synth and unreferenced material that's currently in this section will stay there. This isn't an acceptable solution. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 13:01, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, the "everyone else" who has liked the draft is in fact just me. so I think the right thing to do is await more comments by contributors like Slr, Aprock, Victor, WaikeBanji etc.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:44, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
To be fair, Novus Orator commented positively too. Otherwise, I'm fine with waiting for others' input for now. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 15:49, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah, true I missed that one.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:50, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Isn't this a problem we face with many articles? At first, there is one article with many parts and we work on it as a whole and can easily see how each part contributes to the whole. Then the reach a certain size where it becomes too big. So sections are spun off to become new articles, and the topic is covered in the original article in summary style. Okay so far, buthow do we proceed at this point? As I said this happens ith most articles. Do we continue to use the main article to develop subtopics and thn export to the linked article, or do we work on the linked article and periodically revise the summary in the main article? Slrubenstein | Talk 16:01, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't think the top down approach (conceptualizing the topic as a whole and writing the spinnouts, then integrating the summaries into the main article) is feasible. We are very few editors working here and the discussion that is necessary for every change make the process so time consuming that insisting on building the spinnout articles would mean that the main race article would not reach an acceptable state within our lifetimes. To me the only feasible approach is to let each editor work on the articles of their choice and contribute to improve that - we should not be insisting that every new inclusion should fit within some larger picture that none of us can agree about what looks like. We should take one improvement at a time and when individual articles reach a stage where we are comfortable with we can start comparing. The other approach will get us nowhere.·Maunus·ƛ· 16:26, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I think the skeleton structure for wp:summary style is already in place for the main race article. Much of the work has already been done by other editors in the past, so there is no need to start the process from scratch. Periodic reevaluations and cleanups are probably in order as opposed to complete rewrites. There is no requirement to strictly adhere to the summary style format, but I think it makes working on content a lot easier because some of the research has already been done. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:06, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I have expressed my concerns on the Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Amendment‎ page, concerning FTA and for now will leave the discussion there. When I contributed to this article a few years ago, race and health and race and biomedicine were treated as a single subject. Indeed today both are redirects to race and health in the United States. It is from this perspective that I was of the opinion that the section in question was meant to address race and health issues in general and not specifically the debate about race and genetics alone. So I was concerned about the draft's focus on genetics, because genetics is always controversial.
I haven't made in concrete suggestions yet, but I have made some implicit suggestions. I am putting the following points up for consideration.
  • Reconsider "race in health care" because this is indeed a practical use of race and this application is probably more established than the use of race in biomedicine. Biomedicine is a discipline within the health care system so it is covered as well.
  • In the US, race is an important variable in the health care system
  • For a number of conditions, health disparities between racial groups in the US do exist.
  • Socioeconomic factors are responsible for some of these disparities (poverty, crime, health insurance, education etc).
  • Genetic factors also play a role, eg sickle cell, Tay Sachs etc
  • Race may be a proxy, albeit an imperfect one, for both socioeconomic and genetic factors.
  • The role of genetics in explaining health disparities is controversial because of the risk of reifying race.
Some clarifications on the material that is presently in the article. Though not so eloquently put, the main point about the sickle cell trait is that its occurrence does correlate with race, but in fact the occurrence of the trait may correlate more strongly with geographic ancestry traced to regions with a historical prevalence of malaria than it does with race. This is because Eurasians living in areas affected by malaria have moderate frequencies of the trait and the trait is almost absent in regions of Africa where there is no malaria, such as south of the Tropic of Capricorn and in the highlands of East Africa. Apparently Sicilian Americans living in New York make up the second largest group of sickle cell patients [14]
The main point about MS is that was traditionally considered a Northern European trait. It is rare among Africans, but occurs in low frequencies among African Americans due possible to gene flow. The article Clinical characteristics of African Americans vs Caucasian Americans with multiple sclerosis discusses this. Wapondaponda (talk) 16:10, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Both of those sources are useful and I have incorporated them into my draft (in the paragraph about race-linked disorders). The first point, about sickle cell in Italy, I got rid of originally just because I felt it was only tangentially related, but since someone has a specific preference for it to remain, I don't mind re-including it. The second point, about MC admixture, was a good point to begin with but the reference in the original section related to this does not mention this point directly and is obvious synth. Your new source for this is much better.
Suggesting specific new sources for this is always useful, and I think it's probably the only way it makes sense for requesting changes to the draft, rather than just offering general complaints. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 17:22, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
With the exception of the last uncited paragraph, much of the material in the current version isn't any worse than in than in draft. I believe the article Back with a Vengeance: the Reemergence of a Biological Conceptualization of Race in Research on Race/Ethnic Disparities in Health probably gives the best explanation of the Bidil controversy. There are several criticisms regarding how BiDil was marketed. What I find most interesting is that the efficacy of BiDil is related to low levels of nitrous oxide. It happens that African Americans tend to have low levels of nitrous oxide which is related to diabetes, a condition that is common among African Americans. The critics argue that it is nitrous oxide levels that should be considered, and not race, when prescribing BiDil as members of all races who fit a specific nitrous oxide profile would potentially benefit from the drug. Wapondaponda (talk) 23:03, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I've pointed out several ways in which the current version contains a large amount of synth and original research. There are sources being cited currently that don't even mention the points that the article is making. And that's not even considering the unsourced material and very bad organization. I find it worrisome that you'd prefer these problems to a version that doesn't have them just because the original contains the amount of criticism you prefer.
I also think the paragraph about BiDil has enough criticism already. The BiDil paragraph is currently around half criticism, and the other half is mostly just explaining what the drug is to begin with. One of the problems (which others agreed was a problem) with the original section is that the entire thing is overwhelmed with criticism, and that needs to be avoided. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 23:24, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, per wp:summary style, if users find that they are devoting too much space to a specific section, its probably a good time to consider moving efforts to a new article, and summarizing arguments in the main article. The main criticism of "race based medicine" is that clinicians would be better off considering causative factors that contribute to higher frequencies of medical conditions within certain ethnic or racial groups. So with sickle cell the causative factor is malaria prevalence, and not necessarily race. With BiDil, the causative factor is nitrous oxide levels, and not necessarily race. If this core criticism of race based medicine is addressed, then the space devoted to the examples can be reduced. Wapondaponda (talk) 23:42, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Are you saying that the section needs to include the "core criticism" that there's often a causative factor other than race at play in race-based medicine? Just inferring this from various sources that point to a causative factor other than race would be synth. If you can give me a source for that specifically I'll consider adding it to my draft, and reduce the space given to specific examples of what's wrong with race-based medicine. For example I'd probably cut out some of the problems with BiDil if Maunus is okay with that. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 00:36, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I think maybe its best to leave BiDil out entirely or to merely mention that it was the first drug to be licensed exclusively for use in one racial group and that this licensing decision has been controversial.·Maunus·ƛ· 02:27, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Reading the section, it's not clear to me that it falls under the topic of the article. If it were up to me I would move all of section 3 "Political and practical uses" to the appropriate articles, including them in the "See Also" section, or maybe a short summary in the body. aprock (talk) 18:31, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

I wish someone had mentioned they wanted to can the whole section before I bothered rewriting it...
The goal here isn't to rewrite most of the article. The existing section has a lot of synth, OR and organization issues, and my goal was to improve the one section. If we can't do anything until we've figured out how to improve the whole article, we're never going to accomplish anything, and the crappy current version of the section will indefinitely stay. Can we at least agree that my draft is better than what's there currently, and work on changing larger parts afterward? -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 19:22, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I echo Ferahgo's sentiment.·Maunus·ƛ· 19:41, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I'll just note that my comment is in no way meant to indicate that the content does not belong on wikipedia, or should be deleted. I specifically suggested moving it to a more appropriate article. Beyond that, I really can't speak to the content issues here as I've done very little reading on race and medicine. I suspect that the draft is an improvement, but that's without reading any of the sources. I do think it would be better to move the various "applications of race" to the appropriate articles. aprock (talk) 19:50, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Some accusations of OR and SYNTH have been proven false. FTA stated that the material about sickle cell or MS was synth, but sources clearly back the statements up, and FTA has now admitted that the MS material is backed by sources. I am all for improving the organization of the article in general and any specific subsection, I have concerns about advocacy and other policy violations. Wapondaponda (talk) 20:39, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Um, how is that proving it false? You gave me a new source, which supports this information so I've integrated it into my draft. The current version is still rife with the same problems it's always had. You are literally the only person who has a problem with my draft. Also, I am very confused about "advocacy and policy violations," what policies am I violating here and how? -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 21:06, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Just because something could be cited better doesn't automatically mean that it is OR or SYNTH as you suggested. In fact the current reference for the MS material states"
"MS is primarily a Caucasian disease, especially affecting those of northern European ancestry (e.g. Scandanavians, English, Irish). Its prevalence is low in African blacks, Asians and other ethnic groups with little Caucasian admixture."
Though the new source is more direct, I don't see the old source as being significantly different.
Wapondaponda (talk) 21:47, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── To start with, the draft states,

"Since the turn of the millennium, the use of racial categories as a tool for evaluating genetically conditioned health risks and treatment choices has seen a marked increase."

I have concerns about the accuracy of this statement. Racial categories in health have been used for quite some time now, not just since the turn of the millenium. Furthermore while the human genome is now available, not much is known about how it works. Polymorphisms that are used to differentiate populations are known, but their role in health disparities is still poorly understood, eg this study A High-Density Admixture Scan in 1,670 African Americans with Hypertension states,

"Our results are consistent with there being no common variants with a strong effect accounting for differences in HTN prevalence between African and European Americans. This increases the weight of evidence that non-genetic causes explain most of the difference in rates across populations."

I digress, but just wanted to illustrate that there are a lot of mixed results. In addition to the many criticisms of racial labels in biomedicine, I find it hard to see a clear cut consensus that "the use of racial categories as a tool for evaluating genetically conditioned health risks and treatment choices has seen a marked increase". Honestly I find the current leading sentence "There is an active debate among biomedical researchers about the meaning and importance of race in their research" a lot more neutral and representative of the current controversy. Wapondaponda (talk) 22:08, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

The Outram And Ellison article clearly states that point - several other excellent sources could be cited as well there has been a marked increase. I went to a lecture last week with NYU Sociologist Troy Duster - it was called "The Concept of Race in the Biological Sciences and Clinical Medicine - With some Social and Political Consequences of its Surprising, even Vigorous Revitalization". ·Maunus·ƛ· 23:00, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
The old MS source says nothing about African Americans, or even about the idea that ethnic groups with more European admixture have elevated levels of MS. That's why it's synth. And I completely agree with Maunus about the lead sentence. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 01:49, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Biomedicine draft section break

I have undone the premature change by Maunus, as their is no consensus, at least from my perspective regarding the changes. I have expressed my concerns, and they have not been addressed. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:53, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
The first reference "Ian Whitmarsh and David S. Jones, 2010, What's the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference, MIT press. Chapter 9." I haven't read it yet, but I am not sure that this book should form the backbone of this section, as it does since it is cited four times. I can see no customer reviews yet from amazon, which is an unscientific method of determining that it hasn't been widely read yet.
The second reference "Satel, Sally. "I Am a Racially Profiling Doctor"" is an article that appeared in the NYT. It is the opinion of one doctor, but not the opinion of the whole medical field. Maybe statements from the American Medical Association would be more representative of the medical fields position on race.
Wapondaponda (talk) 05:08, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I haven't replied here simply because I have been busy finding sources on the subject under discussion here, and gradually posting results from earlier searches for sources on other Wikipedia articles. So I express no opinion on either the "before" text that has been in the article for a while or the "after" text that was drafted here for a while before recently being posted to the article. (That's right, isn't it? That's the sequence I recall seeing from diffs on my watch list.) It may be, whatever is in the article at the moment, that I will be extensively revising what is there based on the sources I am still gathering literally through today. I see mention of the source Satel, Sally. "I Am a Racially Profiling Doctor" I definitely do not approve of that source being prominently mentioned in the article, as that is not a Wikipedia medically reliable source for such claims, even though the opinion piece from a major newspaper is written by a medical doctor. There are abundant medically reliable secondary sources, which I have already found and in some cases have already logged in to source lists I keep in user space, that show that individual licensed physicians in primary care practice in many cases do not keep up with the latest research on racial classification of human beings and make clinical decisions about considering patient race that are not warranted by sound biomedical science. Because of the usual sourcing rules, it would be much better to cite those sources than prominently to cite an opinion piece such as that source. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:59, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
You haven't expressed any "concerns" you have just objected to the sections very existence and when you were contracidtec you left the debate. If we wanted to move forward there was nothing else that could be done than inserting the section. I am getting extremely tired of the tactics you use - basically they are identical to the stalling tactics used by Occam and Kane.You aren't willing to acvtually write a sentence yourself only to impede any progress. Why is this? Do you really think the articles are that good? ·Maunus·ƛ· 12:18, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Maunus, the edits I have seen from the keyboard of Wapondaponda have mostly been constructive and encyclopedic, even though many of them have taken the form of deleting POV content rather than adding freshly sourced content. That seems to Wapondaponda's strength as an editor, recognizing when there is undue weight given to viewpoints that are not well represented in the professional literature. Some editors contribute most by removing what is left to take away and others by adding what needs to be added. To be clear, I trust Wapondaponda's judgment in such matters, after repeated instances of seeing his edits on controversial articles, but I simply have no opinion at all about the relative merits of the two blocks of article text discussed here, as I have given neither a line-by-line reading. (It is of additional note to me that Professor marginalia has evident concerns about both blocks of text, and that those concerns are motivated by examining recent sources on the subject.) Simply put, I express no opinion on what the current passage in article text should look like as between the former article text and the text newly drafted here on the talk page, but I reserve the right to make bold edits in whatever I find in this article on the basis of sources, as I discover those sources. I also respectfully suggest that all of us continue to think about how to reduce the inordinate length of this article, and how to use the existing linked subarticles to treat each detailed topic better. I will be happy to take up your encouragement to write new article text as I catch up with rewrites on the several dozen related articles that need rewrites. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:59, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
There is tendency here to take the reader into the "rabbit hole" (or is it "black hole") of these "race" articles when the focus is on satisfying subtextual questions. At the uppermost level, the question is whether race is more genetically defined or culturally defined, and whether or not the two reliably correlate. Of course, strongly interested partisans can be found on both sides eager to seize ammunition for their "side", while in medicine, of course, there are strong correlates to "culture" and "biology" both. So how does one determine how much weight to give one over the other? If there are outcome differences between culturally defined "race" groups do they necessarily suggest underlying genetic differences? Of course not. So the tension in biomedicine is between how useful/damaging is it to focus on race (socially defined) when tailoring diagnoses or treatments, -and what inferences can be drawn from them that these are culturally based differences rather than genetically based differences.
I'm not picking a "side" here...I'm trying to read like a general reader here. And I think the rl tension isn't well described in either version or in the discussion here--instead, the debate about "biomedicine" comes off like a "capture the flag", a contest over the invisible subtexts. THAT is what should be our focus, I think. How to eliminate or tune out subtextual noise to simply describe how this ambivalence is expressed in biomedical research. Professor marginalia (talk) 06:10, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree that that the subtextual noise is one of the main problems with this particular dispute. The draft has a particular undercurrent, basically it seems set up to imply the existence of biologically distinct races. I have offered an alternative approach, but some others have not thought of it as worthy of consideration. The real motivation for using race in health care is to identify and address health disparities, not to prove or disprove the existence of biological races. Some health disparities between populations may have a genetic origin, others a sociocultural, and still others may be the result of both. Race is indeed important in health care. African American men have much higher rates of prostate cancer than European American men, so it makes sense to give more emphasis to prevention or early detection when dealing with African Americans than other populations, which is currently the case. But race is not the overriding or most important factor, it is useful in a probabilistic sense not an absolute one. Many men of European extraction are also affected by prostate cancer. The subject of particular genes and race I think would be appropriate for the race and genetics article. Wapondaponda (talk) 09:30, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Give us your draft Muntuwandi, do contribute something other than "concerns".·Maunus·ƛ· 12:18, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I haven't left the debate, I had taken some time off to address the amendment case. For the record, some of the material in the current section was written by me, so I my contributions aren't restricted to the talk page, or "impeding progress". Since you asked, I will add a proposal for consideration as well. I will use anything useful from the current version, and this draft as well. Wapondaponda (talk)

I think that while we wait for Muntuwandi to come up with his own draft, mine should go back into the article. After he produces his, we can perhaps integrate them together. In the meantime, though, I don't think we should leave the section the way it is now with all of its poor organization, synth and OR issues. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 15:45, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Just to remind you that one of the issues raised concerning Captain Occam was a tendency to falsify or exaggerate consensus, and ignore opposing viewpoints. I also expressed concerns about Captain Occam's overly aggressive editing( Ludwigs referred to Captain Occam as a pitbull) Furthermore I am uncomfortable with the my draft/your draft talk. It reminds of a discussion found here Wikipedia talk:Mediation Cabal/Cases/2009-11-12/Race and Intelligence/Archive 5#page_structure_-_convenience_break_2 in which Slrubenstein responded to Captain Occam with the following
We are seeking mediation to come up with ONE outline for the article. In the end there is no "my outline" versus "your outline,"
Let us avoid ownership of drafts or articles. At the end of day the goal should be to develop material that is firstly, representative of mainstream science, and secondly, that the broader community will find acceptable. I hope to have a proposal up by midnight pacific time. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:42, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I've done everything but "ignoring opposing viewpoints." All of the specific suggestions you've given - involving sources - I have added to my draft, which I've noticed you've ignored. I would also be glad to add more specific suggestions you have that aren't just vague complaints. Additionally, you're overcomplicating this. The issue is that the old version which you've restored has numerous organization, synth and OR issues, and there's no reason for those to remain in the article while we wait for further improvements. If you want to offer a way to improve the section that goes beyond the improvements I've suggested already, you're free to do so. Until you do, we should go with the best thing we have. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 18:10, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Biomedicine proposal 2

Race in health care

In the United States, race is an important variable in health care system. Policy makers use racially categorized data to identify and address health disparities between racial or ethnic groups.[1] In clinical settings, race has long been used as a variable in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. This is because some medical conditions are more prevalent in certain racial or ethnic groups than in others.

In more recent times, the role of race in biomedical research has attracted considerable interest. Much of this interest has been fueled by the proliferation of human genetic data which followed the decoding of the human genome. There is an active debate among biomedical researchers about the meaning and importance of race in their research. Some researchers strongly support the continued use of racial categorizations in biomedical research and clinical practice.[2] They argue that race may correlate, albeit imperfectly, with the presence of specific genetic variants associated with disease.[2] Knowledge of a persons race may be a cost effective way to assess susceptibility to genetically influenced medical conditions.[2] Detractors of this position acknowledge that race is sometimes useful in clinical medicine but encourage minimizing its use. They suggest that medical practices should maintain their focus on the individual rather than an individual's membership to any group. They argue that overemphasizing genetic contributions to health disparities carries various risks such as reinforcing stereotypes, promoting racism or ignoring the contribution of non-genetic factors to health disparities. [3]

I have taken into consideration A.Prock and Weiji concerns. Basically the main race article is quite large and that such specialist topics are better off if they are dealt with in sub-articles. I have also taken a cue from the Race (classification of humans)#Race_and_intelligence section as it gives only a brief summary of the race and intelligence article as opposed to an extended discussion. I therefore propose moving either the current content or the draft created by FTA to the article race in biomedicine and expanding it further from there. Any comments, critiques, additions, subtractions or suggestions are welcome. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:28, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

It's certainly concise. It is almost so concise as to not be informative - I think the use examples help the reader a lot. I appreciate the point I think you're trying to make that selecting examples creates the possibility of undue weight to a single issue or of having to include all kinds of arguments in order to achieve balance. But This seems just a little too generic for my tastes. Also there is an issue with the references there are a lot more references in the list than in the text.·Maunus·ƛ· 12:07, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Understood, my point of reference was the race and intelligence subsection, which is even more concise and has no references. My suggestion is to move the discussion with all the references to the main race and biomedicine article, where at present, there are no space constraints. There is a lot of interesting material to add, I found it hard to choose what to include and what to leave out. I couldn't see how we could include all of it in a single subsection without it getting bloated, so for the moment I decided to leave out all the examples. It should be noted that some of the examples I omitted, such as MS or sickle cell, were introduced to the article by me a few years ago. However I am comfortable omitting them for now, because they can be moved to the main subarticle. This is when WP:SUMMARY STYLE becomes useful, because there is no loss of information. I have concerns that some editors prefer to advocate points of view on "high profile" articles because they believe these articles have a wider audience. But I personally don't mind working on a "low profile" article like race and biomedicine because editors can do a better job of comprehensively covering the discussion as opposed to cherry picking the most controversial or provocative aspects of the subject. So I urge others to not shy away from working on some of these obscure articles, in fact it is sometimes more rewarding to work on such articles because they don't have much baggage. Wapondaponda (talk) 15:32, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I see you just replaced my entire section with yours, and moved my section to Race and health in the United States. I'm a bit confused about this considering the only person who commented on your suggested changes (Maunus) clearly disapproved of them. I agree with him that your section is far too concise so as to be uninformative, and leaves out important details and examples (also has a couple of grammar/link errors). You've also moved my section to a US-centric article, where it does not belong as it was not written with only the US in mind. It's very curious that you would reject Maunus's edit on the basis of "no consensus" when you were the only one who disagreed [15] and then further replace my edit when you had no one agreeing with you at all. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 06:20, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I replaced the longer section. I find it odd that this relevant information is considered "too long", while reams and reams of dubious discussion of what race is not (and incidentally what nobody thinks it is) is considered encyclopedic. (talk) 12:53, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I think it is not a good sign that we are revert warring again here...·Maunus·ƛ· 13:49, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
After reading Whitmarsh and Jones chapter 9 for the second time, I have reverted the I.P. edit (thus restoring Wapondaponda's edit). The block of text from the keyboard of Wapondaponda much better reflects current reliable sources on the subject, which should be the key consideration here. The block of text from the keyboard of Ferahgo and company was a fudge of the content of chapter 9 of Whitmarsh and Jones, and relied on another source that is not a Wikipedia medically reliable source while writing about medical practice. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:07, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Weiji, if you have an issue with the way I've used that source, then you need to explain what it is specifically on the talk page so it can be fixed. Complaining about it in the edit summary during a revert is the worst possible way to bring that up, why didn't you bring it up a week ago when Maunus and I were tweaking it? I'm also sick of all the implications that I'm not making these edits on my own, it's an insult and a slap in the face after having sacrificed an entire day researching and writing that draft without anyone's help. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 15:17, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I always respect Maunus's views. I smetimes disagree with him; I disagree with Wapondaponda more often, but I also respect his views and sure hope we can work out some compromise. But for now, I agree with WeijiBaikeBiabnji and his revert. I sure hope this is not an edit war. I think it is time to call for a voluntary moratorium on edits to the article and just talk out differences here. If Ferahgo wants more explanation I hope it will be provided. But what we need right now is patience. I do not have time to check WP every day. Sometimes I cannot check it every week. I didn't have time to participate when Maunus and FTA were tweaking it. But htis is not a job that needs to be finished in a week. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:21, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
For the record, I would like to see more content, but WAponda is right that complex topics should be discussed in separate articles. But I have no objection to more content, I just propose that that content be placed here and maybe more people participate in "tweaking" it or making major edits, before it is added to the article. It is fair to ask Weiji for more explanation about specific examples of objectionable content as a start. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:24, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Maunus suggested here [16] that we get the opinions of Victor Chmara, Weiji, Aprock, and you about my draft before making a final decision about anything. Victor is the only one who hasn't commented here yet, so I think we should get his opinion too. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 15:55, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@IP, there is a long standing discussion concerning the length of this article. If editors are interested it can be addressed. Yes the section is concise, but as previously mentioned, the section on race and intelligence is even more concise, has no references, yet nobody is complaining. I guess that is basically because the purpose of the section isn't to debate race and intelligence, but simply to introduce readers to the subject. If they require further information, they can follow the "main article" wikilink. As for concerns about not being informative enough, I think the race and health article is quite informative, and since there is a link to it now, readers will now have access to more comprehensive information on the subject, not just controversial stuff, but uncontroversial material as well. I guess Slrubenstein's point is that even with summary style, sections need to be "attractive" enough to entice users to want to read more on the subject and follow the links to the main article. In principle I have no objections to adding more content. I do however think that since we have gotten off to a bad start, it is probably best for now to debate the controversial claims in the appropriate article. Despite the fact that some editors disapprove of "proposal 2", I don't think anyone can have major complaints that is not neutral. I have seen this approach used in a number of content disputes when there is an impasse. I have moved the article race and health in the United States to Race and health to address concerns about US-Centrism. Wapondaponda (talk) 17:26, 5 October 2010 (UTC) Going around seeking the opinion of editors who share a similar point of view, with the purpose of influencing a decision may constitute inappropriate canvassing. Wapondaponda (talk) 18:20, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Oh, come on... Maunus specifically listed the names of editors whose opinions he'd like to hear about this topic, and Victor is the only one of them who hasn't commented. I think it's more questionable that you'd have a specific desire for Victor to not see this discussion. You are grasping at straws for things to get me in trouble over. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 18:27, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Victor or anyone else for that matter is free to comment on this subject. However I believe that given the history of FTA/Occam canvassing Victor, it seems dodgy. I know there are many other editors interested in this article, so the "list" is somewhat arbitrary. Wapondaponda (talk) 18:54, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Are you incapable of having a content discussion with me without dragging your unnecessary suspicions into it? I thought you were going to stop this when Maunus asked you to after this comment. [17] Please stop obstructing discussion and progress on this article with your unreasonable nitpicking. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 19:11, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
In all fairness, I believe that you should be observing your topic ban, rather than evading it. Until the matter is resolved by Arbcom, I will follow the recommendations from Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Captain Occam/Archive. Whenever Arbcom resolves the matter, whichever way it goes, the atmosphere will be cleared for everyone to refocus their energies on content rather than conduct, which is what I would prefer. Wapondaponda (talk) 19:23, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I do not have a topic ban, and I am not evading it. Maunus has already reminded you of this once: [18] untill such a time as arbcom should decide to impose restrictions she is as free as anyone else to work towards an improved article. You did not, from what I can see, receive any recommendations from the outcome of the SPI. You did however receive a recommendation from Maunus, who asked you nicely to stop harping on this, and for the good of the articles I implore you to respect that request. Also, when you say that the atmosphere will be cleared for everyone to discuss content after arbcom makes their decision about me, does that mean you intend to keep this up until that point, diverting all of my attempts to discuss content with you into these personal accusations? -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 19:53, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Maunus is an involved party and his opinions about this case are not shared by everyone. I do know that FTA did receive advice from a number of uninvolved editors and has completely ignored this advice. I may continue to discuss this issue if the Occam-like conduct issues that were discussed in the Arbcom case such as coordinated tag-teaming, battleground editing, advocacy, edit warring and falsifying consensus, continue to appear in these articles. Wapondaponda (talk) 23:25, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
@Ferahgo-all three clerks responding on the SPI were persuaded that you looked like a sock. The first appeared to decline the investigation simply because there was no need for it--it appeared to be an open-and-shut case.
I don't think that any of the revisions of that section are getting the job done. I'll try to take a crack at it myself--by tomorrow maybe. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:57, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I think you misread the SPI - one of the clerks said "Personally, I find the idea that someone who did not start editing in earnest until 2009 maintaining a sock from 2006 to be rather unlikely." I'm pretty sure that no one in the current arb amendment thread actually thinks I'm a sock, the issue is mostly whether or not my account falls under WP:SHARE. Anyway, this is all beside the point really. This whole situation is currently being dealt with by arbcom and in the meantime I have not violated any policies on these articles, and would like to continue contributing to them productively. I think that until a decision is reached by arbcom it's not too much to ask that I be afforded the same civility that would be expected of any editor. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 00:42, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
You forgot to mention the first sentence "If what Captain Occam says is true a CU should be able to verify it". Timotheus Canens was of the opinion that a Checkuser would clear you and Occam. But since Occam admitted that him and FTA edited from the same network, a Checkuser was no longer necessary. Had a checkuser been taken, based on the technical data, FTA and Occam would have been indistinguishable, which is often the basis for determining sockpuppetry. I am aware that you are uncomfortable with the subject of sanction evasion (IMO because it is accurate), so I have avoided discussing it in this article, but it is not uncivil to discuss sanction evasion when there is some questionable conduct. I don't recall anyone in these threads having been personally uncivil towards you. Wapondaponda (talk) 04:20, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

The issue is not how many people have been canvassed or polled. The point is dialogue and collaboration. Maunus is a highly respected editor and Wapondaponda is also wel-respected. So are Captain Marginalia and WeijiBaikeBianji. instead of voting on which version we prefer, this makes more sense: we all agree on what minimally belongs. WeijiBaikeBianji and Wapondaponda have problems with more information, which Maunus thinks is worth adding. Well, I think Maunus should be given a fair hearing by those who disagree. This means providing reasons and seeking compromises. Can we focus on this? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:53, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

@Ferahgo-let me clarify. Two of the three were persuaded that you were a sock, and the third explicitly endorsed the investigation to determine the question via checkuser. A half hour after the checkuser investigation was recommended, Captain Occam acknowledged both accounts edit from the same house.
I have serious concerns how sources are being used here. How many of us have access to and have read all these sources cited in the biomedicine section??Professor marginalia (talk) 18:47, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
We can safely ignore Ferahgo here - just ignore her. What matters is Maunus and Waponda and Weiji talking to one another about the material Maunus thinks should be in, and they shink should not be in, and what is a reasonable compromise, and how best to present any additional material that goes in. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:34, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
If this is how I'm going to be treated when I try to discuss content on this article, I don't think any of you should expect Maunus to participate here any time soon. See the discussion in his user talk. If you're interested in anything resembling a compromise on these articles, you’ll need to avoid acting in a way that drives away everyone who disagrees with you. -Ferahgo the Assassin (talk) 22:19, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

About BiDil

About: "I didn't think that the paragraph about the possibly insidious purposes of BiDil were relevant to this section, because what it's really criticizing is the marketing practices of the pharmaceutical industry rather than the concept of race-based medicine in general; this should be discussed in the article on BiDil but not here."
BiDil should not be used for race based medicine—there is no basis for any scientific claim that it works better or differently in one race versus another. Its claim is based solely on having targeted a single racial group for trials. It is not an example which demonstrates a basis for/the value of race-based medicine. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 19:10, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

It does not as you say demonstrate the value of race-based medicine. What it does demonstrate, which is relevant to this article, is the ways in which race-based medicine reflect social rather than biological considerations, which is a general theme of the article than thus relevant. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:55, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately (IMHO) BiDil exploits race as a marketing vehicle; as long as it's portrayed that way I do agree it's significant for what it is. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 23:17, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Just to be clear: I agree with you 100%. But given that this article is also explaining race as a social construct, this is an important place where we have to discuss the research (and it does exist) that makes just this argument. otherwise people will get the misleading idea that race is only a social construct in the world of sociologists, and not in the world of medicine and pharmaceutical companies. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:05, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
And I agree as well—noting that BiDil is the application of the social construct as there is no basis for the claim that pharmacogenomics is involved, i.e., claiming that there is any difference in its efficacy across populations. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 20:29, 11 October 2010 (UTC)