Originally posted by MCory1
what are races then, at least by the definition you're going with?
I use the fuzzy sociao-culture definition of races. IE, when I say 'black' we all tend to know what I am talking about in general, because we as a
society agree, in general, who's black and who's not. Of course, ther eare lots of individuals who we'd all tend to disagree on. With 'white',
its even more problematic, because some don't consider hispanics white, some don't consider some hispanics white, some wouldn't consider jews
white, others question if sicilians or greeks are white, and if greeks are white then what about turks, etc etc.
What requirements are there for a "biological" race
A biological species is defined (or or less, there are varying defintions and some disagrement on it) as a group that can't breed with another group,
ie if you have two populations of insect that can't inter-breed to produce viable offspring, then they are seperate species. A species has all sorts
of things that help 'maintain it' and that set up barriers to hold it together, like this incompatibility of breeding. Thats a species. A race
would of course be a subdivision of a species, but I'd expect that it'd have to have something similar going on with it, ie some sort of biological
mechanism to 'maintain it', along with, say, a suit of characteristics (or perhaps even a single characteristic) that identifies it.
However, it gets tricky, because there are
subdivions within species that are not races, these are called demes. A deme is merely a population
that tends to associate with one another that lives in a specific location. So arabs in the suburbs or detroit might be said to represent a deme,
since arabs culturally tend to not breed outside of what htey recognize as their race and we're talking about people in a specific locality. But
'arab' doesn't become a race there because people in, say, iraq don't tend to mix with people from libya and yemen, or arabs from detroit. Blacks
in america, for example, might be thought of as a deme I suppose, but black in total isn't a deme, since people in harlem aren't exchanging genes
with people in ghana or swaziland.
Indeed, rate of gene transfer might also be a good way to identify a deme
So we recognize that a race should be intermediate between a deme and a species, and probably 'lower' in category than a sub-species. I would say
that a deme that has been isolated for a long time, or that has accumulated some characteristics that really distinguish it, might categorize as a
race. Problem is, (well, not really a 'problem'), there aren't any groups of humans that have had this happen with them. There is gene flow, even
if not actual inter-mixing of individuals, between all the populations. If a race were to ever exist, I'd think it'd've been in australia, where
the inhabitants are severly isolated, or on any one of the various polynesian islands. But they all end up not being nearly as isolated as one would
require, or as having arrived there too recently to have accumulated enough differences.
And of course in the modern era mixing increases dramatically.
an abstract of a paper on race formation within insects, for example.
At other times, a race is used to describe a species within a genus where teh members are all very similar, as in
. This obviouly doesn't
apply to man tho.
There also used to be something called a 'sport' in biology, but I don't think that that usage is really used anymore and its probably too archaic
to be relevant.
Basically, i'd like to see, say, some definition of race, or 'diagnosis' of any particular race, that makes sense. Skin colour isn't enough, and
anything anyone picks is just too arbitrary of a divison, picking a point in a spectrum and saying 'thats where it is'.
as opposed to the "social" races we've been discussing in here?
A socially defined race has no requirements, other than that some people recognize it. So in the past we had the latin race, or the gallic race, but
today society is different and we have white, black, etc.
So i just want to add, if there was a sensible biological basis for the existence of races in man, then, despite what anyone wants in terms of being
socially cordial and pc and all that, it'd be irrational to not recognize these races and act and respond appropriately with that biological
'fact'. There just happen
to not be any races in man. Man is, stunndingly and soberingly, incredibly invariant, all men are simply too
similar. Man has, so I have read, less genetic diversity than the Chimps, which is simply stunning, because all chimps look pretty much the same to
me, to amoung themselves, they must recognize an undreamt of diversity compared to man.
[edit on 19-10-2005 by Nygdan]