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This Darwinian stuff about races

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But for Darwinism, would modern race theory exist?

(For Fred Reed, here.) Another reaction to Nicholas Wade’s parting shot at the New York Times, a book resurrecting Darwinian racism Pacific Standard:

The concept of human races appears to be solidly grounded in present-day biology and our evolutionary history. But if you asked that conference of geneticists to give you a genetic definition of race, they wouldn’t be able to do it. Human races are not natural genetic groups; they are socially constructed categories.

Political correctness warning: This has now become a politically incorrect belief. It wasn’t so yesterday or last month. The New York Times has announced it is so.

Now, the truth of this claim is not obvious. The idea that humans fall naturally into racial groups is almost universally accepted in all societies. Sure, many people have mixed ancestry that crosses racial boundaries, but there are undeniable physical differences between people native to different parts of the world. Many of those physical differences reflect genetic differences, and over the past two decades, researchers have used those genetic differences to pinpoint the geographical origins of people’s ancestry with ever-increasing precision. Just last month, one group reported that they could use DNA to place Sardinians within 30 miles of their native village. On a larger scale, geneticists will frequently talk about the “populations” of general geographical areas, making these broad populations sound very much like races. And there are clear examples of recently evolved adaptations in different human populations, such as the high-altitude physiology

Hmmm. Yeah but so? As this guy says,

Without natural genetic boundaries to guide us, human racial categories remain a product of our choices. Those choices are not totally arbitrary, biologically meaningless, or without utility. But because they are choices, we have some leeway in how we define and apply racial categories. We shouldn’t deceive ourselves; how we define race does not just reflect biology, it reflects culture, history, and politics as well.

Canada, one of the world’s oldest stable democracies, kicked it all to the moon and wasn’t the worse for that.
Maybe others should try it.

And that raises a point: But for Darwinism, would modern race theory exist?

I (O’Leary for News) grew up in a world where everyone was either white or Indian (Canada, mid-twentieth century). If you were a treaty Indian, you were protected by various laws put in place under Queen Victoria (1819-1901).

If you were white (okay, not a treaty Indian, we are all liberals here, okay), you were on your own, like the coyotes. We ” white” people thought we were better because we could survive without protection. The coyote probably thought the same, but he couldn’t tell anybody; so he just acted it out by killing and eating farm animals. (Which sure got him to the top of the To Do list at my ancestors’ farmhouses: Obliterate coyotes.)

The Indians thought they were better because they had been here from the dawn of ages and survived, whereas people like my family had just washed up desperate, recently, and had farm know-how (like: Obliterate coyotes).  And we all survived. somehow.

There is no settling disputes like this. People have to just decide how to live together in peace, each entitled to their own opinion about The Way Things Are. And we surely all know the dreadful consequences of utopian forms of government.

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16 Replies to “This Darwinian stuff about races

  1. 1
    Timmy says:

    Since many biological and sociological traits are not evenly distributed throughout the human population, it is hard to imagine why any society would bother with “racial” denialism unless sacred cows and political power were at stake…as is the case in the Western establishment. They are anti-racist for the same reason they are pro-Darwin, pro-gay, pro-feminist, etc. Politics/dogma > truth. Meanwhile the Japanese and Chinese, for example, have much more realistic views on race than we do.

    Since the data on these distributions have nothing to do with Darwin or macroevolution, I don’t understand what Darwin has to do with anything. If Darwin had popularized coffee drinking, would that mean coffee drinkers are Nazis?

  2. 2
    Acartia_bogart says:

    There is something inherent in human psyche that we have this need to categorize things. We do it with animals, plants, fossils and humans. The human races are no more real than the breeds of dog. Like all breeds of dogs, all humans can interbreed with all other humans, regardless of race.

    This being said, examining the different races is worthwhile. There are numerous genetically linked to one or more races. We conduct genetic research on different strains and varieties of all other organisms. Why shoul we not extend this to humans?

  3. 3
    goodusername says:

    But for Darwinism, would modern race theory exist?

    What do you think “modern race theory” is, and how is it related to Darwinism?

    Political correctness warning: This has now become a politically incorrect belief. It wasn’t so yesterday or last month.

    What is “this”? If you’re referring to the belief in human races, that became politically incorrect at least a couple decades ago.

    And that raises a point: But for Darwinism, would modern race theory exist?

    Replace the word “genetic” with “physical” in the block of quote you just gave and it sounds like it could have come from Descent of Man.
    Darwin made the same points, that the differences between humans are small, and that we don’t fit into distinct groups. He made the point effectively by showing how those that have tried to discern the number of human races or species (actually, the leading theory at the time) have derived figures anywhere from 2 to 63.

    The belief in races, just as with species or genera, has nothing to do with Darwinism. The belief that humans comprise races had nothing to do with Darwinism (as mentioned, at the time that Darwin wrote Descent of Man, the leading theory was that humans comprised several or many species.) And the modern debate regarding the existence of human races has nothing to do with Darwinism, but is centered on genetics: Do humans comprise distinct genetic groups? Are the differences sufficient to warrant the term “races”? Etc.

  4. 4
    Timmy says:

    Acartia_bogart @ 2

    The human races are no more real than the breeds of dog.

    In other words, they are absolutely real. A much better analogy is to families and extended families. If race is a social construct, then families are social constructs, and the relationship between parent and child is not real.

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    I wish greater attention were paid to the flux in the fortunes of the Mayan Indians, so unhelpful to those anxious to categorise some races as mentally inferior, on the basis of the current level of their worldly intelligence.

    Aldous Huxley’s contention is the only one that makes sense of the distinctly mutable disparities between historical levels of worldly intelligence (such as it is) of the various races, invariably hybrid in varying degrees.

    We were taught, in anthropology I, that hybrids actually inherited the best genes/qualities of their parents. I can believe that of Mohammed Ali and African Americans, generally, but harbour serious doubts concerning my own rather ‘challenged’ frame.

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    This racial determination of apparent worldly intelligence on the basis of the people’s prevailing interest, is, of course, absolutely in line with the voluntarism whereby we choose to know what we know; and necessarily, upon which Biblical teaching and eschatology are based.

    Nobody goes to heaven or hell on the basis of what they don’t know in terms of their worldly intelligence, but surely will on what they know or don’t in terms of their wisdom – so fundamental to the morality and merit of our world-view.

  7. 7
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Timmy, I respectfully disagree. The differences in the breed of dogs and races of people are completely parallel. In both cases, there is only one potentially interbreeding species. The only difference is how the physical differences arise in the two species. In one there was an outside intelligent agent directing the changes and in the other, there was no outside intelligent force.

  8. 8
    Timmy says:

    but surely will on what they know or don’t in terms of their wisdom – so fundamental to the morality and merit of our world-view.

    Indeed.

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    I have actually read the book. One of the way that different groups of people are identified is through cluster analysis, a statistical technique. The genomes of the various people are put into the statistical program and they tend to group in to different clusters.

    It is then possible to see what genetic elements caused the clusters. The 5 main clusters are African, Caucasian, East Asian, American Indians and Australian.

  10. 10
    ppolish says:

    I think it is important to protect the racial purity of the Australian Cluster. Love the way they talk, “crikey” “good on ya mate” etc.

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    lol. too late. those folks were impure before they ever got to Australia, that’s why they were sent there! To preserve the purity of the British race! Long live the Queen!

  12. 12
    Timmy says:

    Acartia_bogart @ 7:
    Disagree with what? I agree with you: they are completely parallel. They are therefore completely real. The differences between breeds of dog are real, no? Dog breeds are extended families in exactly the same sense as races.

  13. 13
    Robert Byers says:

    I’m unsure what “kicked to the moon ” means vut hopefully it means far too many foreigners were let into canada 50 years ago.
    Only a few , relative to the pop, and those who assimilate to the natives satisfaction should be allowed in. Also no segregation or discrimination against the natives. its unnatural to have so many foreigners in ones nation at one time.
    Immigration to Canada must end period or its an oppression.
    anyways.
    there are no such things as races.
    Its all evolutionist error.
    We have our looks because of adaptations to needs. Not because we are related.
    Therefore there was never a white tribe but rather segregated identies moved into areas that brought whiteness. We separated at Babel .
    Therefore there is no connection between a celt and a slavic despite looking alike. Or rather no more then other identities in the indo european language group which has dark people as in India.
    If we have like looks THEN we would have like DNA but not from descent.
    its just from common design in this case making common results upon migrations.
    No evidence of races.

  14. 14
    Acartia_bogart says:

    @RB: “its unnatural to have so many foreigners in ones nation at one time.
    Immigration to Canada must end period or its an oppression.”

    I’m sure that the Indians (as you refer to them) would agree.

  15. 15
    Timmy says:

    @ Acartia_bogart

    I’m sure that the Indians (as you refer to them) would agree.

    The American Indians are the prime example of why alien immigrants are bad, bad bad.

  16. 16
    Robert Byers says:

    Acartia
    Nope. the indians are immigrants to canada too. They were just a few obscure “nations” on some rivers and meadows. 95 % was free land. The little remaining was a tradeoff by them to gain a great civilization they otherwise would not have and be still eating other .
    Canada is a real nation.

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