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[OBG] Nature of Race Full

#71
[OBG] Nature of Race Full Version

Author: John Fuerst

Abstract: Racial constructionists, anti-naturalists, and anti-realists have challenged users of the biological race concept to provide and defend, from the perspective of biology, biological philosophy, sociology, and ethics, a biologically informed concept of race. We do this in a six part analysis.

Keywords: natural division, race, biology

The article can be found here: https://osf.io/ruxzi/
PDF and DOC version at OSF

Please download the latest version of the document and read it; the OSF browser version does not include the many footnotes.
 Reply
#72
Chuck,

Does this link (shown below) take me to the most recent version of your text?
https://osf.io/y2q3u/
 Reply
#73
(2015-Mar-13, 23:06:45)Peter Frost Wrote: Chuck,

Does this link (shown below) take me to the most recent version of your text?
https://osf.io/y2q3u/


Yes, section 1 can be found at that link. You can download the 2015-03-05 file on the right. I also uploaded a full version (all sections+references) here: https://osf.io/ruxzi/

There are a number of formatting issues, especially with the tables. But I was waiting for review comments first.
 Reply
#74
Section V-A is about the moralistic fallacy. I don't believe this section really deserves 2 pages. But you do what you want.

Your reply to Templeton is good, but I would appreciate if you write section "IV-I" instead of "IV" : "the ambiguous 75% rule of thumb, a rule which was discussed in section IV".

For your reply to Lahr (1996), I have nothing more to say, but perhaps you can refer to section IV-I, which talks about the 75% rule.

Your reply to Pigliucci & Kaplan (2003) is not satisfying. When they say "folk race" they must mean something like this :

Quote:There remains a broad consensus that current folk racial categories—those categories usually used on surveys, recognized by tbe U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and used on census forms and by U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA)—do not correspond to meaningful biological categories.

http://people.oregonstate.edu/~cloughs/M...Kaplan.pdf

But what you say looks like nonsense to me; I don't see the argument you're making. You say something, but at the same time, nothing substantial, such as "they are only able to make this case by narrowly understanding the ecotype concept". Of course, you don't say what you meant by narrow understanding. Secondly, you cited Coyne's blog article "Are there Human Races?" on ecotype. But the only thing I read is this :

Quote:In my own field of evolutionary biology, races of animals (also called “subspecies” or “ecotypes”) are morphologically distinguishable populations that live in allopatry (i.e. are geographically separated). There is no firm criterion on how much morphological difference it takes to delimit a race. Races of mice, for example, are described solely on the basis of difference in coat color, which could involve only one or two genes.

I'm left with the impression that he uses races or subspecies and ecotypes interchangeably although it's difficult to tell. But whatever the case, reading the above quote does not help me to understand your point, when you say "they miss common ecotypic subspecies understandings, such as discussed by Coyne (2012)".

Ironically, what I believe could be an answer to Pigliucci & Kaplan was this passage from your section "Semantic Arguments" :

Quote:Given our concept of biological race, a reply to Malik is ready on hand: geographic ancestry, let alone continentally delineated group is not, in fact, synonymous with biological race; only when individuals from roughly the same geographic region descend from the same natural divisions do they belong to the same race; hence, the geographically defined sociological race of Asians in the US does not correspond to any biological one.

I do not understand why the entire critique of Pigliucci & Kaplan did not belong to "Folk Race Mismatch Arguments".

Next, the below paragraph, appearing just before the section "Panmixia Arguments" has a big problem :

Quote:In summary, these four arguments represent the prominent subspecies critiques of biological race. They are unsound because they narrowly equate biological race with the taxonomic category of subspecies and because they rely on qualification conventions or interpretations of these which are not commonly used in biology or which are selectively imposed in the case of humans.

Because I remember what you say in the 1st paragraph of section V-B. And it reads :

Quote:These can be subdivided into human subspecies, panmixia, population structure, and discordant cluster arguments.

In other words, the other paragraph "In summary, these four arguments ... imposed in the case of humans" is in the wrong place. Furthermore, you have added two sections : "Bio-statistical Arguments" "Folk Race Mismatch Arguments". So the above paragraph should be modified, and it's now 6 arguments, not 4.

Concerning the section "Panmixia Arguments" I believe the main idea has been already explained in section 2 (same thing with the section following this one) and I don't see anything new here. Also ...

Quote:While human races are not as genetically differentiated as Ostrich or Elephant subspecies, it is not difficult to find a plethora of species with unchallenged formally recognized races which are both phenotypically and genetically less differentiated than human continental divisions.

Can you cite a reference ?

Concerning the section "Bio-statistical Arguments" I read :

Quote:Rather, characters are correlated. This allows for increasing, not decreasing, accuracy when more traits are taken into consideration.

Is it the same argument as "aggregation reduces measurement errors and, consequently, improves accuracy of measurement" ?

Concerning "Cluster Discordances Arguments", I have nothing to say, since I agree. However, I think you can add "and different study samples" to this "Discordant clusters just mean that one is using imperfect data".

For section V-D, I think the sociological argument is hopeless. If you want to discuss it, fine, but I wouldn't waste my time on it.

Concerning V-D section, I don't understand the lumper-splitter controversy. If they think it applies to races, it also applies to anything else. I have heard that language classification (in american indian languages) also suffers this problem, yet I have never heard anyone saying that there is no language. Generally, the argument is just another version of the argument which says that if you don't know the exact number of races, there are no races at all. It's amusing that your single quote of Dobzhansky (1946) says it all ("There is no "true" subspecific level"), and yet the section V-D has a length of 6 pages.

In the same section, there is this passage that I don't understand. Too obscur... especially the last sentence.

Quote:Discussing one line of argument, Kaplan (2011) notes that one of the “main lines of argument against the biological reality of races” is that “what was meant by “race is biological” was a strong essentialist claim that we now know to be false, not just of human populations, but indeed of most biologically respectable populations”. To render this position otherwise: biological races are not real because “races” are biologically impossible entities.

Also, if the citation comes from "'Race': What Biology Can Tell Us about a Social Construct" (Kaplan 2011), I didn't find it in the paper. Same thing for this quote from your section "Folk Race Mismatch Arguments" :

Quote:Here is a rough summary of the main lines of argument against the biological reality of race: 3) the populations we identify as races in contemporary social discourse do not map neatly onto any legitimate biological populations (the mismatch argument see e.g. Root 2003).

I really think it's not the correct reference. If it's true, be careful to replace all "(Kaplan 2011)" by the correct reference. Also, I remember now there was a "(Kaplan 2010)" in section IV (which is absent in the reference list).

In section V-E, you noted :

Quote:From this perspective, nature can never determine a concept; it can never specify, for example, that species entails this and not that.

I can't agree more. A good comparison would be to say that history does not determine theories. It is theories that must be used to understand, interpret history. Some people fallaciously believe that history makes theory.

Concerning the section "Semantic Arguments", I have already commented on this, since it was previously incorporated in section 2 and not 5, and I didn't see anything wrong in the argumentation. You said that geographic ancestry does not determine biological race, and that the meaning of the race concept did not change over time, and that population can't be a substitute for race. All of these points are correct.

In section "Historical Mismatch Arguments", you rightly noted that "scientific concepts often involve evolving and shifting meanings". I can't say anything special about it. You illustrate that fallacy in a nice manner. An attack toward an old concept does not necessarily do any harm to the new concept. More importantly, I agree that some authors (Zack, 2002) have mischaracterized the old, historical concept of race by pretending that it assumes discontinuities when in fact, it wasn't the case. Instead, discontinuity has been used to determine species.
 Reply
#75
I made all of the requested changes, except as discussed below:

Quote:MH: Your reply to Pigliucci & Kaplan (2003) is not satisfying. When they say "folk race" they must mean something like this

Part of the problem is that ""folk race" is used ambiguously. At times it is used to mean both sociological classifications like US "Asians" (which often don't cut out natural divisions) and at other times it is used to mean traditional race classifications like Mongoloid, Caucasoid, etc. (which do cut out natural divisions). Pigliucci & Kaplan (2003); Pigliucci (2013) seem to use it in the latter sense. Consider the following passage from Pigliucci (2013):

"Pigliucci and Kaplan (2003) have therefore proposed that human races—to the extent that they exist—could be thought of from a biological perspective as ecotypes. There are several implications to this proposal, the most fundamental being the following two: (a) there is little relation between human races qua ecotypes and the folk concept of race, because the same folk ‘‘race’’ may have evolved independently several times in response to local environmental conditions, and be characterized by different genetic makeups; (b) ecotypes (and hence races) are only superficially different from each other because they are usually selected for only a relatively small number of traits that are advantageous in certain environments. This means that races are nothing like phylogenetically divergent subspecies, and that racial differences are literally skin deep.. the validity of such contribution lies precisely in the fact that it shows that Sesardic-like accounts of race are ill-informed scientifically, so that we can all move on and concentrate on the more relevant and complex issue of the social construction of the concept of race...""

Pigliucci (2013) -- and by inference Pigliucci & Kaplan (2003) -- argue that:
(a) ecotypic races exist
(b) but ecotypes are nothing like "phylogenetically divergent subspecies" because they represent local adaptations
© therefore Sesardic's "folk races" -- which are the THRs and which are something like subspecies -- can't be ecotypes

My reply was that Pigliucci (2013); Pigliucci & Kaplan (2003) overly narrowly understood the ecotypic concept -- Mayr, for example, quite explicitly says that "phylogenetically divergent subspecies" are necessarily ecotypes. And Coyne equates the two.

To clarify, I rewrote this as:

"As such, while they allow for human ecological races and subspecies, they argue that such races do not correspond with traditionally recognized ones such as the THRs. As Pigliucci (2013) notes:

As for the biological interpretation of the concept of race, I have reiterated Pigliucci and Kaplan’s (2003) suggestion that it is not meaningless, but it does have a sufficiently different meaning from that of folk races [including the THRs] to create serious problems for most of the published scientific and philosophical literature on biological differences among ‘‘races.’ There are several implications to this proposal, the most fundamental being the following two: (a) there is little relation between human races qua ecotypes and the folk concept of race… ecotypes (and hence races) are only superficially different from each other because they are usually selected for only a relatively small number of traits that are advantageous in certain environments. This means that races are nothing like phylogenetically divergent subspecies, and that racial differences are literally skin deep. [Italics added]

Of course, they are only able to make this case by narrowly understanding the ecotype concept. In their hurry to dismiss 'folk races', they miss common ecotypic subspecies understandings, such as those discussed by Mayr (1970) and Coyne (2012). As discussed in section IV-I, Mayr (1970) noted that "not a single geographic race is known that is not also an ecological race, nor is there an ecological race that is not at the same time at least a microgeographic race”. So much for Pigliucci’s (2013) claim that ecotypic races are “nothing like phylogenetically divergent subspecies”!

Quote:MH: I do not understand why the entire critique of Pigliucci & Kaplan did not belong to "Folk Race Mismatch Arguments".

Yes, it would be a sub-type of this, too. It's a subspecies argument because ecotypic subspecies ~ races.

Quote:MH: Next, the below paragraph, appearing just before the section "Panmixia Arguments" has a big problem

The "In summary, these [four] arguments represent the prominent..." should say [three]. But yes, you are correct that I forgot to mention three subtypes of arguments.

The biological scientific arguments are:
Subspecies arguments -- three of them
Panmixia arguments
Population structure arguments
Bio-statistical Arguments
Cluster Discordances Arguments
Folk Race Mismatch Arguments


I fixed thus:

"Biological arguments work from within the biological sciences and attempt to show that human races, or, at times, races in general, do not exist given some strictly natural scientific considerations. These can be subdivided into human subspecies, panmixia, population structure, bio-statistical, cluster discordance, and folk race-biological race mismatch arguments."

Quote:Concerning the section "Panmixia Arguments" I believe the main idea has been already explained in section 2 (same thing with the section following this one) and I don't see anything new here. Also ...

It gave an excuse to add:

"Before engaging this argument, it needs to be pointed out that the non-trivial differentiation between human populations indicates that there must have been significantly restricted gene flow. There is a well-known rule of thumb in biology called the One-Migrant-per-Generation Rule. According to this, populations will not genetically differentiate if there are more than one migrants per generation between them. While the actual practical number of migrants needed to prevent divergence is somewhat higher (Wang, 2004), the point stands that for the level of divergence found between THR, gene flow must have been substantially restricted."

Quote:While human races are not as genetically differentiated as Ostrich or Elephant subspecies, it is not difficult to find a plethora of species with unchallenged formally recognized races which are both phenotypically and genetically less differentiated than human continental divisions.

Can you cite a reference ?

I discussed this in section IV:

"Templeton (1998) did this using MtDNA for non-Human species (between subspecies) and microsatellites and RFLPs for humans (between continental populations). The Fst values range from about 0.095 to 0.95; of the 13 species he presented, humans came in 10th place in terms of interpopulation Fst values. Using the same method as Templeton (1998), similar results would be found using the values for the 17 ungalate species with MtDNA Fst values presented by Lorenzen (2008); of the 17, Humans would have placed 14th....Humans (based on continental races) came 21 out of 25 in terms of genetic differentiation . These results, then, are quite similar to those found by Templeton (1998)."

In a footnote I noted: "Of course, 21/25 is still the 14th percentile, which is low average (9th to 23rd) not borderline (2nd to 8th)."

I changed this to: While human races are not as genetically differentiated as Ostrich or Elephant subspecies, as discussed in section IV-I, it is not difficult to find a number of species with unchallenged formally recognized races which are both phenotypically and genetically less differentiated than are human continental divisions.

Quote:Concerning the section "Bio-statistical Arguments" ...Is it the same argument as "aggregation reduces measurement errors and, consequently, improves accuracy of measurement" ?

It would be more like: including a wider range of measures allows for the more accurate estimation of a latent variable.

Quote:It's amusing that your single quote of Dobzhansky (1946) says it all ("There is no "true" subspecific level"), and yet the section V-D has a length of 6 pages.

Probably true, but I will leave it.

Quote:In the same section, there is this passage that I don't understand. Too obscure... especially the last sentence.

"Discussing one line of argument, Kaplan (2011) notes that one of the “main lines of argument against the biological reality of races” is that “what was meant by “race is biological” was a strong essentialist claim that we now know to be false, not just of human populations, but indeed of most biologically respectable populations”. To render this position otherwise: biological races are not real because “races” are biologically impossible entities".

One of the lines of argument is that "biological race" means something like the species realist's species -- hence a "strong essentialist claim". It is argued that this is what "biological race" meant and it is concluded that therefore "biological race" can not exist any more that phlogiston can. One of my points has been: (a) this makes for an argument against "biological species" and (b) "intraspecific race" was never thought this way that species once were.

How about:

"To render this position otherwise: biological races are not real because “races” refer to entities which we now know can not possibly exist."

As for the source it was: Kaplan, J. (How Much) Do the Semantics of “Race” Matter? A Note From a Parochial Perspective. I noticed that it hasn't been published. I attached a copy below -- which does not specifically say "Do not Cite" He also presented it at a conference:

Jonathan Kaplan (Oregon State Univesity)
Do the Semantics of Race Matter?: A Note from a Parochial Perspective
Comment: Christopher Lean
http://www.docsrush.net/2535211/northwes...edule.html

What do you suggest I do? If I list it, I will list it as: Kaplan, J. (n.d.). (How Much) Do the Semantics of “Race” Matter? A Note From a Parochial Perspective.


Attached Files
.pdf   Do the Semantics of “Race” Matter.pdf (Size: 113.98 KB / Downloads: 359)
 Reply
#76
Note: from now on all edit are being made to the full copy.
 Reply
#77
Content-wise, I am very impressed. As far as presentation goes, formatting needs work. A lot of paragraphs aren't properly separated and quoted paragraphs aren't indented.
 Reply
#78
(2015-Mar-19, 14:00:41)B.B. Wrote: Content-wise, I am very impressed. As far as presentation goes, formatting needs work. A lot of paragraphs aren't properly separated and quoted paragraphs aren't indented.


The downloaded version should be better than the browser one. If you could point out errors that would be very helpful.

Currently, I am waiting for Peter Frost's and Michael Levin's reviews.
 Reply
#79
Can you post a PDF version too? DOCX is a proprietary format (owned by Microsoft) that isn't perfectly understood by LibreOffice. I don't have MS Word.

If I review the DOCX version, I may be commenting on formatting issues resulting from the the format alone.
 Reply
#80
OK, added above.
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