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57967.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:45 am Reply with quote

Q: What race are you?

F: Human, Caucasian, Jewish, white, Scouse, etc etc.

A: None - there aren’t any races.

I know Flash wasn’t too keen on this when it came up on the outer forums, but I think it’s quite interesting, and would surprise a lot of people, so I‘ll stick it here just for the sake of completeness. Have a look at
post 30792

57982.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:23 am Reply with quote

I read an article about this recently (can't remember by whom, but it was a 'respected biologist') that said that humans shying away from labelling people as different 'races' was just another form of Political Correctness Gone Mad, as they fall over themselves to avoid being called 'racists' - today's scapegoat word of choice.

'Race' in zoological terms is defined (very basically) as a population that all 'look' the same - i.e. have various physical characteristics that make them look distinct from other races.

Clearly there are human races: everyone can recognise an Asian, and African and a Westerner apart... It's another case of people fearing the 'proscription' label of science (Hitler, eugenics, etc.), as opposed to the 'description' (what it's supposed to be).

There's a HUGE Wikipedia article on race, including all the arguments, and the social points of view, and all the biological points of view.

From there:
A 1985 survey (Lieberman et al. 1992) asked 1,200 scientists how many disagree with the following proposition: "There are biological races in the species Homo sapiens." The responses were:

* biologists 16%
* developmental psychologists 36%
* physical anthropologists 41%
* cultural anthropologists 53%

So it might be a little vague to try to assert that there "aren't races" in humans.

57986.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:27 am Reply with quote

The HapMap genetic research project is doing genetic research specifically to find similarities and differences across races (although they've no doubt been instructed by their PR people not to use the word 'race' anywhere):
In the initial phase of the Project, genetic data are being gathered from four populations with African, Asian, and European ancestry. Ongoing interactions with members of these populations are addressing potential ethical issues and providing valuable experience in conducting research with identified populations.

138738.  Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:56 am Reply with quote

“White men with an unusual Yorkshire surname have black African roots, according to a study that shows Britain’s multiracial society dates back hundreds of years earlier than most people realise. It underlines how the concept of race has no scientific meaning by revealing that a white “Caucasian” man in Leicester has a significant African genetic ancestry, along with a lot of other men with the same rare surname.”
- Daily telegraph 24 Jan 07

(Of course, as we all know, the Telegraph is just political correctness gone mad.)

139218.  Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:11 pm Reply with quote

That story, or at least its moral, contains the seeds of its own destruction, doesn't it? It can't be the case that there is both no scientific basis for racial distinctions, and that scientific processes are able to detect the existence of an ancient racial admixture. Each statement precludes the other, surely?

139226.  Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:44 pm Reply with quote

What I don't like about this study is that the surname involved is unavailable. Surely this rules out any kind of peer-review?


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