Stephen Beecroft wrote:
> > A new study of Brazilians confirms what biologists have always
> > known (but maybe not anthropologists?): namely, that there is
> > no genetic basis for determining race:
> The study discussed in the article was performed on Brazilians, a highly
> racially-heterogenous group -- and on a very heterogenous subgroup of
> Brazilians, too. The study is ridiculous; it's like saying, "There is no
> such thing as dog breeds, because we went to the pound and found no
> strong correlation between the mongrels' supposed breed and their actual
> attributes". Totally bogus. I will bet that performing the same study
> between groups of Japanese, Norwegians, and Ethiopians would give the
> lie to the statement that "skin colour is a poor indication of
> Besides, the concept of "race" consists of much more than skin color,
> despite the article's implication otherwise. Body build, height, facial
> features, hair color/texture/distribution, subcutaneous adipose
> preponderance -- all these are considered "racial features". While
> mentioned in the study, these are clearly relegated to the back seat, as
> evidenced by the article's opening line.
Actually they weren't. The author of the article doesn't mention them up front, but as
Thomas Hudson from McGill University is quoted as saying, "'The physical traits of an
individual -- especially skin pigmentation, hair colour, hair texture, and the shape
of the lips and nose -- are constantly used for racial
categorization and thus play an extremely influential role in human social
relationships," the authors write. Yet, they point out, "It is possible for two
siblings differing in colour to belong to completely diverse racial categories' in
Brazil." He clearly equates the other physical features with colour as a
traditional designator of race.
> There very clearly is a "biological basis" for the characteristics we
> classify as race. It's called genetics. The statement that there is "no
> biological basis for race" is absurd on its face, and those that hold to
> it are either deeply ignorant or else have an axe to grind.
Can you show this from a scientific source? With all due respect, I don't think you
know what you're talking about. Not meant as an attack -- I just want to see a
contrary scientific view. This story isn't news -- it just adds to the pile.
Geneticists have been saying this for a long time. Incidentally, not only do we
have nothing to fear from this, but in light of the Tom Murphy affair, this actually
gives us ammunition. I'm using it in some apologetics work I'm doing regarding
Murphy's review of DNA and Lamanites.
> It's one thing to say that current racial classifications are imprecise,
> or getting blurred, or not useful for this or that purpose. All such
> proclamations may or may not be true. But to say that race doesn't exist
> is to be tautologically incorrect
That's not what the article is saying, and it's not something I would claim, either,
fwiw. The point is whether race is a sociological concept or a biological concept.
Admitting it is social is not to say it doesn't exist -- you've either misinterpreted
the paper or are making a logical error.
> -- people whose ancestry originated in
> different parts of the world look more like others with similar ancestry
> than they do like those with ancestry from other parts of the world. And
> children look like their parents, so to say that there is no biological
> basis for race is to play the fool.
"Play the fool" is not a scientific concept either ;-)
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick
himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely;
its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer, nor those of
any organization with which the author may be associated.
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