Prevalence of Race related threads

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by thefountainhed, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. leopold Valued Senior Member

    a related issue of racism is discrimination
    discrimination will always be around
    we can not live without discrimination
    how else are we going to tell the difference between the bed and a cliff
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  3. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    I completely disagree. Race is not biologically meaningless. Race is part of biology... how can it be meaningless?
    And no, race isn't judging people on the way they look, it's observing people. Some people are black, have really curly hair, others are brown, white, some have round eyes, others have slanted eyes, etc.
    RACISM is making incorrect assumptions about a race, but just because you acknowledge that different races exist doesn't mean you're making assumptions about anything.
    That I agree with.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I agree with you, TheAlphaWolf. Racism is where the incorrect assumptions come in, not race per se.
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  7. android nothing human inside Registered Senior Member

    Read those two statements in succession, and see if you can see my point.

  8. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    yeah, you must admit they ARE confusing.
  9. leopold Valued Senior Member

    race IS biologicly meaningless
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Sorry if I confused people. Let me try to be clear.

    "Race" is a term applied to people based on their external appearance. Since the external appearance of people varies depending on their ancestry, over long periods of time relatively isolated groups of human beings came to share a certain set of outward characteristics.

    Nevertheless, over the last several thousand years, individual human beings constantly moved from one region to other, settling and interbreeding with people from other regions. The effect of this has been to virtually completely mix up the genetic variation in the human species, so that modern humans, although they have various outward appearances, share a great variety of genes.

    Apart from external appearances, therefore, the concept of race is not biologically of much use. Take two black people from the same village in Tanzania and two white people from the United States. Sequence their genomes. Across the entire genome, you are just as likely to find more common sequences between one of the white people and one of the Tanzanians as you are to find more in common between the two white people, for example. Note: this is NOT necessarily true for the particular genes which code for certain aspects of outward appearance.

    Is race a good predictor of the likelihood of certain health issues arising in particular populations? Sometimes. But we need to ask why. The answer is often more cultural than biological. Because of the cultural characterisation into "races", different racial groups have often experienced different social environments. Thus, if we find that lung cancer is more common in black people in the United States than in white people, that doesn't necessarily mean that black people have a genetic difference which makes them particularly susceptible. We need to look at the social conditions under which the two groups live - and, in particular, how it affects their smoking behaviour in this example.

    I hope this helps.
  11. android nothing human inside Registered Senior Member

    This isn't accurate - race is also a set of internal characteristics (intelligence, inclinations, preferences) and is represented in DNA.

  12. Zephyr Humans are ONE Registered Senior Member

    So you mean, intelligent people who like chocolate are one race (regardless of skincolour) whilst dumb people who like chocolate are yet another race? And intelligent people who don't like chocolate ... my head's beginning to hurt.

    *eats some chocolate*
  13. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    No, it isn't. It ISN'T applicable as a biological concept to the human species.
  14. Satyr Banned Banned

    Interesting that you arbitrarily decide to draw the line between “inner” and “outward” as if inner was a phenomenon fully conceptualized, severed from outward, and not an illusion.

    The inner is a manifestation of the outer and the outer is a manifestation of the inner.
    You can’t separate the two without losing some part of individuality. Your outward appearance cannot fully define who you are, but it does offer insight into some of what you are.
    In the same way beauty (symmetry) is supposed to symbolize a healthy resistance to disease and genetic mutation, all outer markers signify deeper genetic characteristics and some times outer characteristics determine perspectives.
    For instance a tall person has a different perspective than a short person and a muscled individual has a different outlook than a scrawny one.

    Nature uses aesthetics to make qualitative differentiations constantly.
    Coloration, shape, stripes, spots, smells, sounds, plumage, skin health and so on and so on are used by all animals as markers of general health and genetic quality.
    Mate selection is dominated by such genetic markers.

    All animals, that is, except the “enlightened” human, who, having replaced instinctual predispositions with ideals and driven by a socio-economic culture that favors inclusion (A systemic need for conformity and stability), indoctrinates its parts into its preferred memes.
    Only the human being wants to ignore aesthetics, as a way of excusing certain individuals from the flaws they inherited and are not personally responsible for and as a way of making them feel included and wanted and deserving, so as to maintain systemic cohesion.
    We are living in an age where even being fat is attempted to be portrayed as the new ideal of beauty and those that cannot control their eating habits or have a genetic deformity that prevents them from slimming down, are comforted and soothed with altruistic ideals.

    Nature is cruel and vicious. Weakness is punished.
    Nobody asks about the justice of being born into a herd of Buffalo, maimed or imperfect and having a pack of wolves tear you apart.
    We do not disparage nature for making some individuals weaker than others and forcing them into subordinate social roles in lion prides or chimpanzee troupes.
    But we do with humans, because human life has been raised into sanctity by a creature that wants to feel special in all the void and central in the unknown.

    We defend the weak so that our own weakness will be excused.

    It’s true that with globalization race mixing has made racial distinctions less relevant, but remnants of the past still lingers and are easily discerned using external markers.

    It’s absurd to acknowledge that geographic effects played a part in natural selection and chose specific physical traits over others, but that the same geography and climatology had no effect on creativity and intellect and psychology, given that challenges create the necessity for ingenuity.

    Are you saying that human DNA has been completely mapped out and that how each gene participates in the whole is fully understood?
    The words “more” and the phrase “…just as likely” are vague references to the hoped for unknown.

    Yes, the modern need to place all determining effects on environment, the preference of Nurture over Nature, is one of those current cultural prejudices driven by the need to maintain the illusions of commonality and equality, across vast populations with, often, so little in common as to appear alien to one another.

    Also this desire to blame it all on nurture, as a strategy of escaping the determining effects of historical circumstances on our being, is a method of maintaining the illusion of free-will or of healing.
    When all is a consequence of immediate environmental conditions and nothing is beyond our rational grasp, then the world can be healed and our hope is saved.

    Although our immediate environment, as it is shaped by culture and society, plays a part in determining how a mind develops or how much of a particular potential one achieves, the potential itself has been ingrained through centuries of natural selection and chance, into our genetic makeup.

    We can all agree that if you change the dietary habits of a particularly short ethnic group that it will grow taller, yet certain population groups have the potential of becoming taller just because of their particular historical/genetic pasts and we can hypothesize that if you place a darker skinned group in northern environments that it will become lighter in time, but why do we ignore the same effects of environment on our intelligence and creativity and aggression and psychology?

    Is it because the mind represents what we have come to believe is the core of what it means to be human and in differentiating between groups in this manner we are making some more human than others?

    The cold fact is that certain human groups, oh so long ago, were pushed into less hospitable geographic areas, and were fortunate enough to have access to certain natural resources that developed their society, forced an ingenuity from them and lead to them dominating the earth.
    These, once weak groups, then returned as conquerors back to the places they came from and found there population that, having never left human natural environments, never had the need to adapt or to become ingenious or to invent or to struggle - in comparison to them – and they became their masters.
    Where there is no necessity there is no growth. Now we can debate the details of how much difference a few centuries of genetic selection can have on potential but we cannot deny that some differences, no matter how slight, must have occurred as a consequence of environment and necessity. To ignore it is a naïve mind’s desperate attempt to live up to its memetic programming by remaining loyal to its dictations.

    The end.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2006
  15. Xerxes asdfghjkl Valued Senior Member


    You are like the bastard child of Fromm and Russell. You really need to write a book...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  16. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    OK, yes there have been mixing, but not nearly as much as to "virtually completely mix up..." You can still distinguish different races. Oh, and as for the classifying issue (that I have a feeling is going to come up), mixed people are mixed races. You don't have to say they're one race or another, they're both. It's easy.
    Well, the very definition of race is based on external appearances, so you're creating a straw man.
    I watched a show about race last semester, and what they did was take pieces of JUNK mtDNA from people in the US (meaning they were probably mixed), sequenced it, and then said what you said.
    There are so many logical fallacies in what they did I don't even know where to start.
    But sometimes it is biological. If you take a bunch of white people and a bunch of black people, you're more likely to find the sickle cell trait/disease in blacks than in whites. Or with tay-sachs, etc...
    Although frankly I think that's irrelevant. I'm not arguing any race is superior/inferior than another, or anything like that.
    others said it before and I'll say it again, that has nothing to do with races.
    That's a cultural thing.
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I don't see people ever talking about the "intelligent race", or the "friendly race" or even the "homosexual race". That seems to disprove your statement.
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Good points. Generally, I agree with you.

    I agree. The question is how well things like skin colour correlate with other traits we might label as more "inner". And the answer to that is: the correlations are generally very low - much much lower than what the racists preach.

    I would not go so far as to say "ALL" outer markers signify "deeper" characteristics. Many outer markers signify nothing special - they are just a normal part of human variation. Do you think it matters how big your ear lobes are? Do you think that tells you about anything "deeper"?


    I don't think that, in practice, anybody ignores aesthetics. More enlightened people recognise many situations whether aethetic qualities are less important than other qualities. For example, If you're employing a person for a desk job, whether they are fat or thin should not affect your decision. Of course, this kind of thing does come into play for less enlightened people, often. And race is a prime example of that.

    But superficial appearances are not always a reliable indicator of weakness. Human beings can do better than that, even if some choose not to.

    Up until quite recently, the vast majority of human beings have had to struggle for survival. The individual conditions they have faced have varied, but the value of traits such as intelligence, it is fair to say, have likely been equally important, in different ways, in all climates and geographical areas.

    I don't deny the possibility that there may be subtle and interesting differences in psychology and perhaps even in creativity and intelligence among peoples from different regions, but I'm not aware of any good evidence for that at present. Are you?

    The human genome has been completely mapped. How each gene participates in the whole is not yet known.

    I agree that it is possible for the pendulum to swing too far towards "nurture" in the "nature/nurture" debate, and perhaps it has already done so.

    A good read on that issue is Steven Pinker's book The Blank Slate, if you're interested.

    You can spin this both ways. Another option is that the same human groups you referred to moved into more hospitable geographic areas and were fortunate enough to have access to resources not available to those who stayed behind. Biological differences played little part in who ended up conquering who; resources played the major role in shaping each society and its access to technologies which allowed or prevented domination of others.
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    But that's my point. The term "race" indicates, essentially, only the set of "outer" characteristics which can be used to distinguish people. Where the lines are drawn are largely arbitrary.

    Can you make a start, please? I think I might have seen the same documentary. What are some problems with what they did?

    Yes, but generally only in areas where malaria is common. And in that case, if whites lived in those areas they would also have had an increase in the sickle-cell trait.

    This is a good example of why it is important to look beyond skin colour if you really want to work out why a particular trait is more common in a certain group of people.
  20. leopold Valued Senior Member

    couldn't men and women be considered two races?
    they look different, walk different, think different
    but yet genetically they are pretty similar

    please note that the only biology i had was in high school
  21. TheAlphaWolf Registered Senior Member

    Well, first off, using mtDNA on mixed people (lol, that doesn't sound right does it? btw, I'm mixed... Mexican)... mtDNA is mitochondrial DNA, and it is only inherited (well, USUALLY. there are exceptions) though the mom. So let's say the people they tested were black, but their mom's mom's mom's mom's mom's mom's mom's mom was white, the mtDNA would be of a white person, regardless of anything else.
    secondly, using the junk DNA part is wrong. That's the part that doesn't code for polypeptides, so as far as I know there's no natural selection on them. Testing junk DNA only tests for ancestry, not for races per se. Races came about because of natural selection (you need to be dark in the tropics because of the UV, etc).
    Also, since I'm not sure if they actually only tested junk mtDNA... if they did test for actual genes, mtDNA codes for proteins needed in cellular respiration, something that every organism does, and when something is that important, there is not a lot of variety. It would be like looking at the hearts of people... they're all going to be pretty much exactly the same, because straying from the "design" (I hate to use that word) would be bad.
    yes, what's your point? That's why there are different races- different natural pressures. Given enough time, a white population will become darker and darker in the tropics. (of course, that's given a lot of things which aren't really happening in the modern world, but you get my point... right?)
    A race isn't just skin color, it's also eye shape, hair texture, hair color, height, and many other things.
    in a word, no.
    They would be consider two sexes. lol...
    You need two sexes in a race, otherwise the race wouldn't exist.
    (sigh, this is one thing I hate about nature- you can't make a simple statement.... yes, a hermaphroditic species... or one that reproduces through parthenogenesis would only need "one" sex)
  22. android nothing human inside Registered Senior Member

    Please post utterly convincing proof thereof. So far, there's a lack of it, and yet people like you scream like chimpanzees and throw poo whenever someone calls you on your bad science.

    Race exists. It's part of life. Bigotry is a separate question, as is nationalism.

  23. leopold Valued Senior Member

    i think this pretty well sums it up
    it's the racial bigots and the racial haters that are the problem

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