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Old 2009-02-10, 11:58   Link #81
Slice of Life
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fome View Post
I mean, on average, two East Asian individuals will have more similar DNA sequences than those of an East Asian individual compared with a Caucasian individual. Can anyone deny this?
I don't think anyone denies this. The only question is what it means, if anything. The logical fallacy is again that you put the races you want in ("two XYZians on average") to get the races you want out. And what the "average individual" is or does might substantially differ from what the individual individual is or does. So let's say you determine the average East Asian genome and the average European genome. Now you find Chinese individuals who are closer to the latter than to the former (and you'll find a lot since the correlations aren't that strong). So what conclusion do you draw? Have those Chinese mistakenly been classified as East Asian in the end? Or do you throw your probes into the bucket, saying they are East Asian because they are obviously East Asian? If so, why doing all this pea base counting in the first place? (The first alternative is more interesting from a mathematical standpoint because after a reclassification of large parts of the world's population you'd have to calculate your averages again. And I wonder if this procedure converges and how.)

Races are a cultural construct and first of all a local agreement about who's "one of us" and who's "one of them". Identifying the three major races as such seems to be a global constant which even a Martian would understand (I think - though I don't even know what those isolated Amazonians have to say about it) but that's pretty much where the common ground ends. Beyond that the distinctions vary from culture to culture and over time and don't necessarily make much sense. Even how to classify individuals into the different races is a cultural agreement which doesn't necessarily make much sense either, and a definition introduced by racists might become explicitly anti-racist a few generations later. If you live in the right place of course. Otherwise you might just watch from the sidelines and wonder. And don't get me started about the ever-changing labels.

Long story short, if you want to identify races by looking at DNA, this is no problem at all. Which result would you like to get exactly?

We can of course also go another way and classify humans by blood type. This would have the advatage that the routine is pretty simple and the result is definite. We would have the Abians, Beebeans, Abeebians and Zerobians. Of course soon things will get messy again when people with blood type B will become Abians for historical reasons - and people will argue that the difference between Abians and Beebians is a scientific one because Abians have blood type A "on average" while Beebians have blood type B "on average". (I know that the example doesn't make sense because e.g. Abeebians will have Abian and Beebian children - but that's not the point).

Quote:
To me, it seems entirely reasonable that geneticists in the future will be able to take blood samples from a crime scene and say with confidence, "Ah, this was a Caucasian woman."
It's a no-brainer that you can distinguish between a (native) Swede and a (native) Nigerian once you've pinned down the genes responsible for melanin production. The interesting scientific question is, giving a computer the full genome of 100 Swedes and 100 Nigerians without further information and asking it to separate them into two groups in a meaningful way, what will come out? Not what you expect probably. And the interesting cultural question is what will the police even bother to look for? White or black? Swede or Arab (Both white in my book. In yours too?) Arab or Jew? Nigerian or Somali? Japanese, Korean, or Chinese? What does the police file template have little boxes for and what not?

Apart from that I agree to what Vexx said which is a good idea in most cases anyway.
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Old 2009-02-10, 12:34   Link #82
Lathdrinor
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Race is a socio-political construct not because there aren't genetic differences between people in different regions of the world, but because it is a socio-political interpretation of those differences, as opposed to a scientific one. Much of the anti-race doctrine of modern liberalism has to do with undoing the socio-political stratification of race during the past few centuries, partly to diffuse the immense tensions that have built up in multi-racial societies like the US. In some ways it's gone a little too far - ie denying that genetic differences exist altogether - but for the most part it's had a positive effect on social stability, without which we'd be facing race riots or maybe even wars.

At a more scientific level, there could indeed be "clusters" within the human species that can be categorized as "races." Even so, these categories are meaningful only with respect to the goals of categorization. Indeed, some would argue that all classifications (not just racial ones) are arbitrary - but the reason we differentiate between, say, a chair and a table is that they serve two different functions and we wouldn't want to mix that up. Do racial categories serve a similar purpose? That is the question you have to answer before you decide whether a particular taxonomy of race is meaningful or not.
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Old 2009-03-20, 22:54   Link #83
Shadow Kira01
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Although this is fanmade, yet these guys did a much better job!
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Old 2009-03-20, 23:27   Link #84
Nosauz
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Age: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
At a more scientific level, there could indeed be "clusters" within the human species that can be categorized as "races." Even so, these categories are meaningful only with respect to the goals of categorization. Indeed, some would argue that all classifications (not just racial ones) are arbitrary - but the reason we differentiate between, say, a chair and a table is that they serve two different functions and we wouldn't want to mix that up. Do racial categories serve a similar purpose? That is the question you have to answer before you decide whether a particular taxonomy of race is meaningful or not.
The science ie geneology of race is actually a lot more complex than just saying a certain group of genes represents a race. With the world becoming more and more intergrating and many "races" homoginizing once 'race' specific alleles and genes are being spread around. I've spent time in labs researching, and my father helped map out the human genome so my background in this is quite adiquite to say that true melanin can help distinguish race but then again with dna being constantly methylated and actually being changed depending on the cell it really only services as mean to seperate humans. And in humans the actual differences in dna is minescule, most of our dna is virtually the same, some key amino acids in the proteins may be different but when it comes down to it genetic code that codes for individuality of humans is actually a very small portion of dna.
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