Taxonomy of Race? A Social construct? A biological reality? Or is it both?

*Challenger, sorry, Damien, but “We” didn’t separate ourselves – different continents and evolution that took place upon them, did.

Damien, all people are 99.9 genetically identical in our genetic makeup.

There is no taxonomy of races, race is an informal rank in the taxonomic hierarchy.

*Challenger, read a book called, ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’ by Nicholas Wade. It’s about evolution so I know you’ll find it interesting.

Damien, I will look into it.

*Challenger, check out this link

Damien, I looked into it and I am not interested in the book as it’s not supported by science.

*Challenger, it is supported by science. Read the preface and you’ll find out why so many people came out so strongly against it.

Here’s a good doc that will ease you into the genetics of race without going full race realist on race differences in cognitive ability.

“Aarathi Prasad sets out to challenge the science of racial purity and examines provocative claims that there are in fact biological advantages to being mixed race.”

Damien, did you check out the link I gave it rejects his claim and the same is true for the first link I gave. If He thinks different ok. Here is another link Science Says: There Is No Such Thing As Race!

*Challenger, it’s a form of religious thinking. If something doesn’t conform with our kumbaya world view, deny it. I grant her, that it might be helpful for human comradely to think in these terms, but just because these views give us comfort, it’s no reason for adopting them. – especially when all the evidence points the other way.

Damien, here is another link Bill Nye: “There’s No Such Thing as Race”

*Challenger, he’s not wrong. They are all dogs, but they’re different breeds (races). No one is claiming that other races aren’t human, of course we’re all the same human species. They’re tackling a straw man.

Damien, well I will want for science as a group to go from disagreeing with him to agreeing with him before I do.

*Challenger, political correctness won’t allow for that. Nicholas Wade had to wait till he retired from the New York Times before he dared to write the book.

Damien, a conspiracy theory not a fact, a fact of race needs a scientifically establish a taxonomy of race to which there is no such thing, unless you know of one.

*Challenger, his earlier book… Before The Dawn, was also excellent.

Damien, are you open to be wrong? I am as I want what is true.

*Challenger, here is a link

Damien, without a scientific taxonomy of race, it’s a social construct we feel is useful.

*Challenger, it’s a hugely complex debate. It took me years to come to terms with the reality of race. I could dump a lot of links on you, but it isn’t likely to change your mind. I spent a long time trying to debunk the very best arguments for race realism and the hereditarian view… eventually I just ended up convincing myself I was wrong. Check out Jayman for a great place to start.

Here is a link

Prove him wrong or change your mind trying. I warn you though… these beliefs are foundational, when you accept these ideas, it changes your entire world. Once I saw that the evidence was overwhelming I had no choice but to adjust my views.

Damien, I don’t think it’s bigotry to see, analyze, or define difference between humans I am just going to trust the scientific community which is saying something otherwise; that there is no race.

*Challenger, (Excerpts from: A Troublesome Inheritance – Genes, Race and Human History)

In his book The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, the economic historian David Landes examines every possible factor for explaining the rise of the West and the stagnation of China and concludes, in essence, that the answer lies in the nature of the people. Landes attributes the decisive factor to culture, but describes culture in such a way as to imply race.

“If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference,” he writes. “Witness the enterprise of expatriate minorities—the Chinese in East and Southeast Asia, Indians in East Africa, Lebanese in West Africa, Jews and Calvinists throughout much of Europe, and on and on. Yet culture, in the sense of the inner values and attitudes that guide a population, frightens scholars. It has a sulfuric odor of race and inheritance, an air of immutability.”

Sulfuric odor or not, the culture of each race, whether genetically based or otherwise, is what Landes suggests has made the difference in economic development. Given the distinctiveness of European societies and the period for which they have been on their own path of development—at least 1,000 years—it is highly likely that the social behavior of Europeans has been adapting genetically to the challenges of surviving and prospering in a European society. The data gathered by Clark on declining rates of violence and increasing rates of literacy from 1200 to 1800, described in chapter 7, are evidence that this is indeed the case.

Though equivalent data does not exist for the Chinese population, their society has been distinctive for even longer—at least 2,000 years—and the intense pressures on survival discussed in chapter 7 would have adapted the Chinese to their society just as Europeans became adapted to theirs.


The presence of a genetic anchor would explain why expatriate English populations throughout the world have behaved like one another and like their source population over many centuries, and why the same is true of the Chinese abroad. A genetic basis for these groups’ social behavior also explains why it is so hard for other populations to copy their desirable features. The Malay, Thai or Indonesian populations who have prosperous Chinese populations in their midst might envy the Chinese success but are strangely unable to copy it. People are highly imitative, and if Chinese business success were purely cultural, everyone would find it easy to adopt the same methods. This is not the case because social behavior, of Chinese and others, is genetically shaped.


Today’s races hold three quarters of their history in common, only one quarter apart.

From an evolutionary perspective, the human races are all very similar variations of the same gene pool. The question that looms over all the social sciences, unanswered and largely unaddressed, is how to explain the paradox that people as individuals are so similar yet human societies differ so conspicuously in their cultural and economic attainments.

Nicholas Wade A Troublesome Inheritance; Genes, Race and Human History

Fear of Race Realism and the Denial of Human Differences

I have no fear of race realism.

*Challenger, here is a link

Damien, “Race” among humans is not the same as “breed”. Not enough phenotypic and genetic difference. Humans have very low genetic variability among the different populations. Humans harbour plenty of genetic variation and this is – to some extent – structured both spatially and by self-identified ethnic group. So, you can, for instance show there are genetic differences between sub-saharan African populations, and European ones. However, you could also show genetic differences between Norwegians and Germans – does that make them different races? Furthermore 1) the structuring is imperfect, 2) it does not correspond to people’s simple preconceptions (of e.g. black people, white people), 3) genetic variation among groups (however defined) is low relative to variation within groups; and, 4) to the extent that “races” exist in humans, matings have always occurred between groups (promoting genetic homogeneity).

Contrast this with dog breeds for which we have selectively bred traits under artifical selection while actively preventing inter-breed matings (or rather cross-bred offspring are not considered breeds). Could we do this in humans? As a thought experiment (i.e. leaving aside the ethics) – yes, and I am sure that we could select for more intelligent and less intelligent human breeds (or ones with floppy ears etc ). However, this has not been done in humans while it has in dogs. Hence the concepts of dog breeds and human races are not really comparable.

*Challenger, I understand all this. It’s actually covered quite intensively in the book I recommended to you.

Damien, I added it as you said: breeds (races).

*Challenger, “One popular argument used against the possibility of races in humans is that “humans are 99.9% the same”. This claim was first made by Craig Venter in 2000. However, in 2007, Venter did another analysis that showed that only around 99.5% of human chromosomal DNA is the same between two random individuals. Despite this, it is still a popular talking point among race deniers than “humans are 99.9% the same”. Keep in mind that humans and chimpanzees, on this scale, are 98.7% the same and 98.4% the same as gorillas.

Michael Woodley 2009 – Is Homo Sapiens Polytypic compared the heterozygosity in humans to other species with wide ranges. Heterozygosity is simply the probably that, at any given gene location, two organisms of that species will have a different gene variant (allele) at that specific location. A gene is a series of SNPs, so even though the similarly is 99.5% SNP by SNP, at any given gene they can be different more often than not. Of course this doesn’t measure the magnitude or consequence of that difference, merely whether there is in fact a difference, and so it is a rough measure.”

Damien, Interesting choice for the website name: the alternative hypothesis as there is no taxonomy of race or races, race is an “informal rank” in the taxonomic hierarchy.

*Challenger, here is a link

Here is another link

Damien, provide me with science journals or scientific magazines that support these race realism claims/Taxonomy of Race. While I do think, it is not bigotry to notice different we also must be careful to not fall for scientific racism or more accurately pseudo-scientific racism.

*Challenger, a 2005 study by Tang and colleagues used 326 genetic markers to determine genetic clusters. The 3,636 subjects, from the United States and Taiwan, self-identified as belonging to white, African American, East Asian or Hispanic ethnic groups. The study found “nearly perfect correspondence between genetic cluster and SIRE for major ethnic groups living in the United States, with a discrepancy rate of only 0.14 percent”.[6]

Paschou et al. (2010) found “essentially perfect” agreement between 51 self-identified populations and the population’s genetic structure, using 650,000 genetic markers. Selecting for informative genetic markers allowed a reduction to less than 650, while retaining near-total accuracy.[41]

Damien, Interesting.

Damien, so, the issue is Most physical anthropologists consider race to be primarily a social category that does not correspond significantly with biological variation, but some anthropologists, particularly forensic anthropologists, consider race a useful biological category.

*Challenger, also… there is the now well established fact that all non African populations are actually a hybrid of modern human and Neanderthal.

Damien, well ones who never went outside African and did not intermingle with anyone who had should not have any Neanderthal DNA of which those outside Africa mostly have Neanderthal DNA like around 1 to 4 %. Here is a link What Scientists Mean When They Say ‘Race’ Is Not Genetic

*Challenger, “In fact, a surprisingly number of snippets of Neanderthal DNA were associated with psychiatric and neurological effects, the study found.”

Damien, I like this post but I don’t see how it helps prove or offers a scientifically establish a taxonomy of race.

*Challenger, “More surprisingly, though, Capra’s team also found that Neanderthal DNA affects the risk of psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders and depression (which are new and unexpected). And 29 specific Neanderthal variants seem to influence when and where genes are turned on in different parts of the brain.”

Damien, I talk about Ancient DNA and our genetic relationship to several arcane humans now extinct. In my book and read up on it as well. Do you hold that race is biological or is it a social construct?

*Challenger, It’s both.

Damien, it may be, but then the rational question is how much is the amounts and how do you estimate this and is it methodologically acute that the scientific community largely agrees?

*Challenger, it really depends on what you are doing. Sometimes the big intuitive continental ancestral genetic groups are all the detail the situation requires… in another context the genetic differences between the East Africans and west Africans might be mean that you need to spilt the genetic clusters into smaller groups to get the detail you need. The point is that the genetic data can be clustered on the basis of similarities… and those clusters tend to fit what we see to be true… no matter how few or how many clusters you sort it into.

Here is a link

Damien, I don’t think have the aspect of races means racism nor do I fear just having race difference means racism. I don’t fear that just acknowledging a grouping cluster of humans is labeled race. Though we should always be careful when classing humans to not be involved in scientific racism so it that part I would be with the sociologists.

*Challenger, sociologists are mostly Marxists… and it’s a problem.

Damien, I am a socialist anarchist mutualist thinking leftist myself. However, I follow science unless science is unethical.

*Challenger, I was a Marxist for most of my adult life.

Damien, and now you are a Right Libertarian? So, if we are accurate to each DNA most people are mixed race, right, even if you can find common separation markers?

*Challenger, not really… maybe… I don’t think I’m very political. I like equal rights, freedom of speech, and a decent welfare state.

Damien, I can’t remember my actual DNA test results but let’s say I have 80% one race, what if I have 10 races? And when is there enough new variation for a new race? how do we know we have enough race classes or should we really make more?

“Mixed-race relationships are making us taller and smarter: Children born to genetically diverse parents are more intelligent than their ancestors”

“Many biologists have replaced the term ‘”race” with “continental ancestry.” This is because such a large fraction of the world has ancestry in more than one continent.”

“Race is a Social Concept, Not a Scientific One” Despite notions to the contrary, there is only one human race. Our single race is independent of geographic origin, ethnicity, culture, color of skin or shape of eyes — we all share a single phenotype, the same or similar observable anatomical features and behavior.  Science highlights these similarities in our embryonic development, physiology (our organ-based systems), biochemistry (our metabolites and reactions), and more recently, genomics (our genetic makeup). As a molecular biologist, this last one is indeed the most important to me — data show that the DNA of any two human beings is 99.9 percent identical, and we all share the same set of genes, scientifically validating the existence of a single biological human race and one origin for all human beings. In short, we are all brothers and sisters.

We design the class grouping, but where I see a need to be careful to not create a category we fill. We can make all kinds of different ways to make groupings and this is a concern leading to why we put more credence in double blind studies. So, if you mean it’s both as in we can make classes that fit our pre-approved created classes of race, (i.e. did we only find all the races we thought there where or did the science show more? If we can class or group, the data differently could just by doing so change the previous finding or will it always be the same? Is there a science established race(s) or only a common usage grouping criteria.

*Challenger, you can get as many clusters as you want… but they will always be what you expect. People don’t move around or outbreed nearly as much as people like to think they do. You can have 5, 6, or 30 clusters, but they won’t suddenly start lumping little groups of Polynesians together with Northern Europeans… you end up with population substructures that are basically going to correlate with local stereotypes… intuitive subgroups. The Scottish highlanders will be genetically distinct from the lowlanders… that kind of thing.

Damien, so, if we can break it down to as you said high lands differing from low lands then is this a race? And if, now could we? As in is it not us that design the few generalized race label groupings, as in can we with science data make fewer or greater number of races? If we could do this does this not demonstrate race is a social construct that although we can support by data can just as easily create several different race categories, then we do now. Would that make the ones now not accurate universally?

*Challenger, race is just the word we use to describe the major district continental populations that evolved largely in isolation after leaving Africa up until fairly recently. These groups are fuzzy sets, but they are obviously not independent of the underlying genetic ancestry.

Damien, to me without a scientific taxonomy of race, it’s a social construct we feel is useful. And a fact of race needs a scientifically establish a taxonomy of race to which there is no such thing, unless you know of one.

“Races were designed in the 1970s to help track compliance with civil rights laws, and are meant to identify groups that are vulnerable to discrimination. There are other considerations, as well. The geographic nature of the categories—aside from Hispanic, which has always been the most nebulous because of its linguistic basis—are supposed to make it reasonably easy for Americans to identify their own backgrounds. Individual federal agencies may choose to split up the OMB categories for more detailed data. The Census Bureau, for example, breaks “Asian” into several subgroups, such as Asian Indian, Chinese, and Filipino. Our modern racial-classification system is far from the first in U.S. history. The federal government asked about race indirectly (are you a slave or a free man?) in the inaugural census from 1790—although more for the purposes of the “Three-Fifths Compromise” than to prevent discrimination. In addition, early American law limited citizenship to whites, so the census had to distinguish between whites and everyone else. (African-Americans became eligible for citizenship in 1868, Native Americans in 1924, and Asian-Americans in 1954.) As people of different backgrounds intermarried and interbred, the government’s attempts to delineate people by race became increasingly tortured. For example, the 1890 census categories were white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian. (Census takers carried detailed instructions on how to explain the groupings.) Race categories continued to vary for most of the 20th century. The 1920 census listed the races as “White, Black, Mulatto, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hindu, Korean, and Other.” The 1960 census used different terminology, listing “White, Negro, American Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Other.” When the OMB set up its first governmentwide racial-classification system in 1977, just four major races (American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, black, and white) and two ethnicities (Hispanic and non-Hispanic) were included. Anthropologists criticized the new plan for its arbitrary distinction between race and ethnicity, and advocated lumping Hispanic in with the rest. Some activists urged OMB to change Hispanic to Latino. Many argued over the proper placement of people of Hawaiian, Alaskan, and Asian Indian origin. And lots of racial and ethnic groups clamored to have their own separate category, including Arabs, German Americans, and Cape Verdeans. (In earlier times, minority groups had fought against separate racial classification on the census.) Despite these complaints, the categories have changed very little in 35 years. The only major adjustment came in 1997, when OMB permitted respondents to choose more than one race, changed “Black” to “Black or African American,” and moved Pacific Islanders from the Asian category to a new one that also included native Hawaiians.”

“Most anthropologists recognize that there are four major race classifications in the world, which include caucasian, mongoloid or asian, negroid or black and australoid. The race classification was created by Carleston S. Coon in 1962. The four major races can then be further subdivided into 30 subgroups. Although all races share over 99% of the same genetic material, the classification and division of races is largely subjective, and all races belong to the same species – Homo sapiens. Scientifically, races are defined as a group of people that are separated and grouped together due to the fact that they have common inherited traits that distinguishes them from other groups. The notion of race is also divided based on geographic separation, social and cultural differences and distinguished physical differences. Human typologies are commonly differentiated based on the following physical axes:

    • skin color
    • hair texture
    • jaw size
    • facial angle
    • cranial capacity
    • frontal lobe mass
    • brain mass
    • brain surface fissures
    • body lice

These physical attributes do not necessarily have a strong correlation with genetic variations. As a result, the United Nations has opted to drop the term “race” and replace it with “ethnic groups” instead. According to a 1998 study published in the Scientific American, there are more than 5,000 ethnic groups in the world.”