Is race real?

Discuss various aspects of ancient civilizations and humanity in general.

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Re: Is race real?

#3501  Postby mcgruff » Aug 10, 2011 7:32 pm

I would think (not entirely sure if this is kosher science) that isolated groups would more readily develop the genetic uniqueness of race in species with large amounts of variation. So we might find that race is more common in other species. Humans have a small amount of variation, relatively speaking.

It all comes down down to the gene map for each particular species. If we can find distinct groups with unique genetic profiles, we've found race.

I'm afraid I don't know any details about wild dogs or dingos, or anything except humans.
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Re: Is race real?

#3502  Postby pinkharrier » Aug 11, 2011 12:23 am

I wasn't concerned so much about finding "that race is more common in other species". I thought you were claiming that it didn't exist full stop, especially in humans.

Perhaps you should rewrite some of those police descriptions floating around London and show me what you mean. Thx.
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Re: Is race real?

#3503  Postby mcgruff » Aug 11, 2011 12:39 am

Variation is real. Race is not.
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Re: Is race real?

#3504  Postby pinkharrier » Aug 11, 2011 12:50 am

In anything? OK. It is just that your remark "race may be more common.." etc got me. So what is your take on police descriptions? Be precise please.
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Re: Is race real?

#3505  Postby mcgruff » Aug 11, 2011 1:10 am

If I'm going to be precise I might need to know which descriptions you mean exactly?
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Re: Is race real?

#3506  Postby lyingcheat » Aug 11, 2011 1:17 am

pinkharrier wrote; Hmmm. Does this apply to life in general (such as wild dogs and dingos etc) or just humans?

Do wild dogs and dingos roam about globally?
pinkharrier wrote; So what is your take on police descriptions? Be precise please.

Are 'police' scientists? Are their 'reports' submitted to peer reviewed journals? Are they authorities on biological taxonomy?
Do not individuals and institutions reflect the culture from which they spring?

You are referring to ephemeral cultural artifacts as if they scientifically significant.

Be precise in your answers to these questions please.
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Re: Is race real?

#3507  Postby Biowatch » Aug 11, 2011 3:21 am

mcgruff wrote:So what do we actually find?

  • human genetic diversity is unusually low for a primate species (as a result of recent near-extinction events)
  • you can pick any population at random anywhere on the planet and you will find almost all possible human variation within that group
  • more variation within a given population than between populations
  • multiple independent clines*
  • if you use enough markers (many thousands) you can identify which population an individual belongs to with very high accuracy (but not with smaller numbers of markers)
[/i]


1. Have you heard of the Lewontin Fallacy? Read Cambridge geneticist AWF Edwards' paper on it, or Steve Hsu's discussion here:

Further technical comment: you may have read the misleading statistic, spread by the intellectually dishonest Lewontin, that 85% percent of all human genetic variation occurs within groups and only 15% between groups. The statistic is true, but what is often falsely claimed is that this breakup of variances (larger within group than between group) prevents any meaningful genetic classification of populations. This false conclusion neglects the correlations in the genetic data that are revealed in a cluster analysis. See here for a simple example which shows that there can be dramatic group differences in phenotypes even if every version of every gene is found in two groups -- as long as the frequency or probability distributions are distinct. Sadly, understanding this point requires just enough mathematical ability that it has eluded all but a small number of experts.)


http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2008/01/no ... -race.html

2. What about the genetic diversity in comparison to other species which have sub-species or races?

Table 1. Comparative figures for the genetic diversity of humans and a variety of other large mammals (sampled across much or all of their range except as noted), based on autosomal microsatellites (He and Ho = expected and observed heterozygosity, respectively):


Species He Ho

Humans [18] -- 0.776
Humans [19] -- 0.70-0.76
Humans [20] -- 0.588-0.807
Chimpanzees [21] 0.78 0.73
Chimpanzees [22] -- 0.630
African buffalo [23] 0.759 0.729
Leopards [24] 0.36-0.80 --
Jaguars [25] 0.739 --
Polar bears [26] 0.68 --
Brown bears (N. America) [27] 0.26-0.76 0.30-0.79
Brown bears (Scandinavia) [28] 0.709 0.665
Canada lynx [29] -- 0.66
Bighorn sheep [30] 0.681 0.566
Coyote [31] 0.675 0.583
Gray wolf (N. America) [32] 0.620 0.528
Pumas [33] -- 0.52
Bonobos [34] 0.59 0.48
Dogs (42 breeds) [35] 0.616 0.401
African wild dogs [36] 0.643 --
Australian dingo [37] 0.47 0.42
Wolverines (N. America) [38] 0.42-0.68 --
Wolverines (Scandinavia) [39] -- 0.27-0.38
Elk (North America) [40] 0.26-0.53 --

Keeping the preceding caveats in mind, these are qualitative guidelines suggested by Sewall Wright for interpreting FST:

“The range 0 to 0.05 may be considered as indicating little genetic differentiation.
The range 0.05 to 0.15 indicates moderate genetic differentiation.
The range 0.15 to 0.25 indicates great genetic differentiation.
Values of FST above 0.25 indicate very great genetic differentiation.” [81]

Table 2.
Here are some comparative figures for humans and other species (again, sampled across most or all of their ranges except as noted), based on autosomal microsatellites:
Species FST
Gray wolves (North America) [82] 0.168
Pumas [83] 0.167 (mean pairwise)
Humans (14 populations) [84] 0.155 (AMOVA)
Asian dogs (11 breeds) [85] 0.154
European wildcats (Italy) [86] 0.13
Humans (44 populations) [87] 0.121 (AMOVA)
Coyotes (North America) [88] 0.107
Wolverines (North America) [89] 0.067 (mean pairwise)
Jaguars [90] 0.065
African buffalo [91] 0.059
Polar bears [92] 0.041 (mean pairwise)
Canada lynx [93] 0.033
Humpback whales [94] 0.026 (mean pairwise)

See data sources here http://www.goodrumj.com/RFaqHTML.html also, set out here by Woodley. http://tinyurl.com/4yoersb
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Re: Is race real?

#3508  Postby mcgruff » Aug 11, 2011 4:04 am

Biowatch wrote:1. Have you heard of the Lewontin Fallacy? Read Cambridge geneticist AWF Edwards' paper on it, or Steve Hsu's discussion here


It's not "The Lewontin Fallacy". It's just a single paper critical of Lewontin where Edwards, like many others, mistakes variation for race. What about Kaplan:

http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0005857.html

Although there exist human populations that differ in the proportions of particular alleles present, this fact does not support claims that ‘race’, as it is usually understood, is a biological rather than a social concept. Although there are differences in proportions of alleles in those races usually recognised in contemporary western social discourse (folk-racial categories), these differences are no more biologically significant than are the genetic differences that exist between populations that are not socially recognised as races (populations that do not correspond to folk-racial categories). This implies that whatever average genetic differences exist between the populations called ‘races’ in ordinary social discourse, those genetic differences are not what account for the folk-racial categories in use today. Despite recent research sometimes taken to imply otherwise, folk-racial categories – which remain of fundamental importance to people's life-prospects – remain social categories and not biological categories.


Biowatch wrote:2. What about the genetic diversity in comparison to other species which have sub-species or races?


It doesn't actually matter. We need to find distinct groups with some kind of unique profile regardless of the amount of variation. The statistical measurements Edwards made do not define races. Also see Genetic Similarities Within and Between Human Populations (Witherspoon et al).

The fact that, given enough genetic data, individuals can be correctly assigned to their populations of origin is compatible with the observation that most human genetic variation is found within populations, not between them. It is also compatible with our finding that, even when the most distinct populations are considered and hundreds of loci are used, individuals are frequently more similar to members of other populations than to members of their own population. Thus, caution should be used when using geographic or genetic ancestry to make inferences about individual phenotypes.


With multiple intersecting clines we can triangulate someone's position on the gene map but this is not race. There is no significant covariance.
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Re: Is race real?

#3509  Postby Biowatch » Aug 11, 2011 5:49 am

What does Kaplan mean by biological categories? See Risch et al:

Populations that exist at the boundaries of these continental divisions are sometimes the most difficult to categorize simply. For example, east African groups, such as Ethiopians and Somalis, have great genetic resemblance to Caucasians and are clearly intermediate between sub-Saharan Africans and Caucasians [5]. The existence of such intermediate groups should not, however, overshadow the fact that the greatest genetic structure that exists in the human population occurs at the racial level...

Two arguments against racial categorization as defined above are firstly that race has no biological basis [1,3], and secondly that there are racial differences but they are merely cosmetic, reflecting superficial characteristics such as skin color and facial features that involve a very small number of genetic loci that were selected historically; these superficial differences do not reflect any additional genetic distinctiveness [2]. A response to the first of these points depends on the definition of 'biological'. If biological is defined as genetic then, as detailed above, a decade or more of population genetics research has documented genetic, and therefore biological, differentiation among the races. This conclusion was most recently reinforced by the analysis of Wilson et al. [2]. If biological is defined by susceptibility to, and natural history of, a chronic disease, then again numerous studies over past decades have documented biological differences among the races. In this context, it is difficult to imagine that such differences are not meaningful. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of a definition of 'biological' that does not lead to racial differentiation, except perhaps one as extreme as speciation.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC139378/
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Re: Is race real?

#3510  Postby Galaxian » Aug 11, 2011 12:16 pm

Biowatch wrote:What does Kaplan mean by biological categories? See Risch et al:
Populations that exist at the boundaries of these continental divisions are sometimes the most difficult to categorize simply. For example, east African groups, such as Ethiopians and Somalis, have great genetic resemblance to Caucasians and are clearly intermediate between sub-Saharan Africans and Caucasians [5]. The existence of such intermediate groups should not, however, overshadow the fact that the greatest genetic structure that exists in the human population occurs at the racial level...

Two arguments against racial categorization as defined above are firstly that race has no biological basis [1,3], and secondly that there are racial differences but they are merely cosmetic, reflecting superficial characteristics such as skin color and facial features that involve a very small number of genetic loci that were selected historically; these superficial differences do not reflect any additional genetic distinctiveness [2]. A response to the first of these points depends on the definition of 'biological'. If biological is defined as genetic then, as detailed above, a decade or more of population genetics research has documented genetic, and therefore biological, differentiation among the races. This conclusion was most recently reinforced by the analysis of Wilson et al. [2]. If biological is defined by susceptibility to, and natural history of, a chronic disease, then again numerous studies over past decades have documented biological differences among the races. In this context, it is difficult to imagine that such differences are not meaningful. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of a definition of 'biological' that does not lead to racial differentiation, except perhaps one as extreme as speciation.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC139378/
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Thank you Biowatch. But it seems that no matter how often we post 1) The genetic distance between various creatures, showing that humans have just as much variability. 2) The fact that many other creatures are given taxonomic sub-species & even species categories based on systemitists' preferences (both in the past & currently). Our protagonists still conveniently ignore those arguments & evidences, & keep returning to "no such thing as race". Like a holy mantra, that if repeated often enough will morph into existence. :beercheers:
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Re: Is race real?

#3511  Postby mcgruff » Aug 11, 2011 1:02 pm

@Biowatch

Nobody is saying there is no variation. However, variation is not the same thing as race. People always get the two mixed up.

If you are to prove the existence of race you would have to demonstrate distinct populations with unique genetic profiles.

However, this can't be done. There is no such thing as race in humans, just multiple intersecting clines.

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Re: Is race real?

#3512  Postby Galaxian » Aug 11, 2011 1:37 pm

mcgruff wrote:@Biowatch
Nobody is saying there is no variation. However, variation is not the same thing as race. People always get the two mixed up.
If you are to prove the existence of race you would have to demonstrate distinct populations with unique genetic profiles.
However, this can't be done. There is no such thing as race in humans, just multiple intersecting clines.

Just as many other animals. Eg, lists that Biowatch & I posted many times. Venters facile BS notwithstanding :coffee:
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Re: Is race real?

#3513  Postby mcgruff » Aug 11, 2011 2:02 pm

I repeat: you are simply confusing variation with race.
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Re: Is race real?

#3514  Postby pinkharrier » Aug 11, 2011 4:17 pm

Ok McGruff. I'd like an example of race (humans excluded). Thanks.

And other examples of variation besides humans.

And finally, to define the variations in humans, what terms (if any) do you use?

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Re: Is race real?

#3515  Postby mcgruff » Aug 11, 2011 5:13 pm

pinkharrier wrote:I'd like an example of race (humans excluded).


(1) distinct groups
(2) genetic uniqueness within the group

pinkharrier wrote:And other examples of variation besides humans.


Everything you see that isn't inanimate.

pinkharrier wrote:And finally, to define the variations in humans, what terms (if any) do you use?


Genetic variation.
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Re: Is race real?

#3516  Postby pinkharrier » Aug 11, 2011 11:22 pm

Well name names. Don't be vague. Just examples.
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Re: Is race real?

#3517  Postby mcgruff » Aug 11, 2011 11:32 pm

Where are you going with this? The existence, or not, of race in one species doesn't tell us if race exists in another.
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Re: Is race real?

#3518  Postby Biowatch » Aug 12, 2011 2:16 am

mcgruff wrote:@Biowatch

Nobody is saying there is no variation. However, variation is not the same thing as race. People always get the two mixed up.

If you are to prove the existence of race you would have to demonstrate distinct populations with unique genetic profiles.

However, this can't be done. There is no such thing as race in humans, just multiple intersecting clines.


Did you read the paper I cited above? Population genetics studies consistently show that when you aggregate dna from individuals around the world they fall into identifiable groups/clusters - which correspond to commonly recognised human races. You can call them varieties if you prefer that term.

I'm not sure what you mean by distinct unique genetic profiles - perhaps you are thinking of different species?

It appears that those who attempt to deconstruct the concept of race by
gratuitously burdening it with essentialist connotations (‘‘discrete’’, ‘‘non-overlapping’’,
‘‘discontinuous’’, ‘‘defined by racial markers’’, ‘‘racial genes’’, etc.) are
unaware that their criticism has already been addressed by Dobzhansky more than
40 years ago:

Professor Fried has correctly pointed out that there is no careful and objective
definition of race that would permit delimitation of races as exact, nonoverlapping,
discrete entities. Indeed, such criteria do not exist because if they did,
we would not have races, we would have distinct species.
(Dobzhansky in Mead
1968, 165)

In fact, Dobzhansky’s argument should be taken one step further: the essentialist
requirement is so unrealistically demanding that, if this criterion were applied, even
the species concept would fail to pass muster: ‘‘


http://www.ln.edu.hk/philoso/staff/sesa ... e=Race.pdf

As Risch & co point out, the reason you get those clusters is because of geographic separation (oceans, deserts, mountains etc) over the past 50,000 or so years. Some examples of this clustering.

Image
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/06/ge ... gress.html
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Re: Is race real?

#3519  Postby mcgruff » Aug 12, 2011 3:47 am

Biowatch wrote:Did you read the paper I cited above?


He doesn't have anything to say. I particularly like the way he - and you - seem to think you can just dismiss the idea that races have to be identifiably distinct groups.

Biowatch wrote:Population genetics studies consistently show that when you aggregate dna from individuals around the world they fall into identifiable groups/clusters - which correspond to commonly recognised human races. You can call them varieties if you prefer that term.

Do you dispute that the gene map is a series of multiple intersecting clines each following their own selective pressures? Such a pattern does allow an individual to be reliably triangulated to a population (but only if you use many thousands of markers) but that, clearly, is not race. If you used this as your definition of genetic uniqueness you would end up with hundreds of thousands of different races.

Biowatch wrote:http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/06/genetic-clustering-40-years-of-progress.html


Are you serious? "Some guy on a blog" is an authority on race?

Interesting reference to Cavalli-Sforza. :oops: Do you know what he had to say about race?

"The classification into races has proved to be a futile exercise for reasons that were already clear to Darwin"
--Cavalli-Sforza

I also saw some ancient studies from the 1960's and 1970's but no mention of newer research. To be fair though, at least they were AD not BC.
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Re: Is race real?

#3520  Postby Biowatch » Aug 12, 2011 4:55 am

mcgruff wrote:
Biowatch wrote:Did you read the paper I cited above?


He doesn't have anything to say. I particularly like the way he - and you - seem to think you can just dismiss the idea that races have to be identifiably distinct groups.


Haha, maybe you should read it again. Risch is only the 2004 winner of the Curt Stern award for outstanding scientific achievements in human genetics over the preceding 10 years, he has a fair idea about the subject. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curt_Stern_Award

In terms of your query, according to the sub-species classification approach the qualifying criteria for subspecies is being able to correctly assign ~75% or more members to a population. Refer to: Smith et al., 1997. Subspecies and Classification or Amadon, 1949. The Seventy-Five Per Cent Rule for Subspecies. In terms of human races you can do this using morphological features or by looking at dna. http://www.ln.edu.hk/philoso/staff/sesa ... e=Race.pdf

mcgruff wrote:Do you dispute that the gene map is a series of multiple intersecting clines each following their own selective pressures? Such a pattern does allow an individual to be reliably triangulated to a population (but only if you use many thousands of markers) but that, clearly, is not race. If you used this as your definition of genetic uniqueness you would end up with hundreds of thousands of different races.


You're committing the Lewontin fallacy again. If you look at small numbers of genes you overlook the broader correlational structure that reflects population or racial differences. Similarly, if you just look at a person's ears, or eyes you might struggle to identify their racial group. If you look at more features you'll see they correlate in a way that reflects geographic ancestry.

Of course by looking at one small aspect of something, you deconstruct any number of categories. If you look at the hair at one point at the back of someone's head you could say a 'bald' person actually isn't bald. You need to look at the whole head of course!

You keep talking about clines, but you're overlooking the fact that you get small discontinuous jumps in genetic distance—across oceans, the Himalayas, and the Sahara etc—that lead to the clusters that correspond to geographic regions. Those geographic regions reflect the major races as set out in the diagram above.

mcgruff wrote:Are you serious? "Some guy on a blog" is an authority on race?

Interesting reference to Cavalli-Sforza. :oops: Do you know what he had to say about race?

"The classification into races has proved to be a futile exercise for reasons that were already clear to Darwin"
--Cavalli-Sforza


Hsu has just returned from the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) he is up with the most cutting edge work in the field. Besides, his post simply provides diagrams from published papers over the past 40 years.

As for Cavalli-Sforza's comment, he started making those comments in the 1990's when he was getting heat for his Human Genome Diversity Project (he was even accused of racism!). Of course he tried to downplay the existence of race (are you aware of the various ethical guidelines for research?). Nonetheless, behind the squid ink he mentions the major racial groups in his book:

The color map of the world shows very distinctly the differences that we know exist among the continents: Africans (yellow), Caucasoids (green), Mongoloids… (purple), and Australian Aborigines (red). The map does not show well the strong Caucasoid component in northern Africa, but it does show the unity of the other Caucasoids from Europe, and in West, South, and much of Central Asia” [The History and Geography of Human Genes , p. 136]


Image
The political aspect to this is something you might not be aware of but it's there nonetheless:

Dr. Stephen O'Brien, a geneticist at the National Cancer Institute, said that the conclusion that race was not a valid concept ''comes from honest and brilliant people who are not population geneticists.''

''That doesn't mean they are insincere,'' Dr. O'Brien said. ''It's just that they haven't really looked at it. What is happening here is that Neil and his colleagues have decided the pendulum of political correctness has taken the field in a direction that will hurt epidemiological assessment of disease in the very minorities the defenders of political correctness wish to protect.''


http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/30/scien ... d=4&src=pm
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