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Race is not just biological: it is a core of biology

 
Abel Dean
 
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Abel Dean
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16 January 2019 19:59
 

Race is not just biological: it is a core of biology. You can not make sense of biology without it. If this seems like a scientifically fringe claim, then I will explain further.

The fundamental theory of biology is Darwin’s theory of evolution. This is not a controversial claim among us, I expect. The theory of evolution holds that all life on Earth can be organized on a single family tree, a “phylogenetic tree,” allowing for exceptions such as viruses or potential horizontal gene transfers at the root of the tree. Any closely-related pair of species descended from a single species not long before on the evolutionary timeline. This is “speciation.” Speciation does not happen suddenly; one species divides into two species gradually. Before they are two different species, they are first two different races of the same species. The concept of race is therefore a fundamental component of the theory of evolution. The concept, not the word. Sometimes, instead of “race,” different words are used, such as “subspecies” or “population” or “breed” or “strain” or “ancestry.” Those words may have meanings that are too specific, but I prefer “race,” as it is a word with a broad meaning that covers a broad evolutionary pattern. It is a word that has been used among biologists for hundreds of years, and the word is still used among biologists of all fields today. If you don’t believe me, then do a search on Google Scholar for race+speciation. When Charles Darwin put “race” in the subtitle of his book about the theory of evolution, the concept of race since then did not lose any of its importance.

OK, so race may be part of evolutionary theory, but that doesn’t mean there are biological races within the human species. Maybe, despite the appearances of biological human races, human races are really only a social construct, nothing to do with biology. This thinking should already seem absurd on the face, but I can get into the details. A standard metric of genetic differentiation among populations is Fst, or Wright’s fixation index. On a scale of 0 to 1, human races have an average Fst of about 0.12, among seven different races chosen by Richard Lewontin in 1972. This is a confirmed value. For context, an average Fst of 0.33 exists among dog breeds. An Fst of 0.5 exists between chimpanzees and bonobos: barely two different species. So, human races are perhaps a quarter on their way to becomes many different species. On a related note, some biologists (Alan Templeton and Joseph Graves) have claimed that the standard criterion for biological races is an Fst of 0.25 and so human races don’t meet that threshold. But, there is no such standard criterion, and there never was. The two biologists backed up this claim only be falsely representing their sources. The biological defintion of race is and has always been broad.

A pretty good metric of the legitimacy of a scientific concept is its practical application. The biological concept of race is used every day among forensic geneticists. A forensic anthropologist looking at bones with the naked eye can identify the race of a skeleton with about 90% certainty. Pretty good, but, under the right conditions, a forensic geneticist can identify race with 100% certainty with only a small sample of any biological tissue; the only potential hang up is a contaminated sample. And a geneticist can go beyond that: he or she can break down the percentages of many racial components in any genome. This science is now a familiar part of such services as 23andMe and Ancestry.com, though they don’t use the word, “race.” The reason why this science works is that genetic differentiation among groups is largely a matter of geographic distance among their ancestors. This is a fundamental of population genetics. People who are descended mostly from Europe in the last 100,000 years (whites) have frequencies of each of a large set of genetic variants that are different from those of people who are descended mostly from Africa south of the Sahara (blacks). Race can be determined not from looking at just a few genes but from a combination of hundreds to thousands of correlated genetic variants.

So, why is it so common among scientists and academic authorities to deny the existence of biological human races? Easy. It is to fight racism. After World War 2, American anthropologists believed that the most effective way to fight racism was to destroy its scientific underpinnings: the biological concept of race.

To make it seem like it wasn’t purely ideological, they have long had many arguments. Perhaps the most common argument today rests on the continuum fallacy: if you can’t draw a sharp line between the European race and the African race, then the two races are merely subjective. Most of us would not be stupid enough to say such a thing about colors: if you can’t draw a sharp line between red and yellow, then colors are only subjective? But, if stupidity serves the righteous cause of fighting racism, then we will choose to be stupid at least in that narrow domain. An offshoot of the bad argument is a claim of history, that races have always been traditionally believed to be sharply-divided. This is no longer the continuum fallacy, but it is a straw man. I challenge anyone to find a prominent supporter of the idea of biological races in either the past or present who claimed that races are sharply-divided discrete sets. The idea that human races are continuous goes at least as far back as Blumenbach of the late 18th century, who is credited as the grandfather of human racial theory. Charles Darwin then made the spectrum of races absolutely necessary.

The biological continuum of races means it is impossible to define “race” in anything but ambiguous terms. If we are talking about genetics, then each lab has their own list of genetic variants associated with each race, though overlap is expected. Each list would be a detailed definition of a given race, and each would be correct.

Many other arguments exist for why races don’t exist. Such arguments seem to exist all along the spectrum from terrible to even more terrible. Which argument do you prefer? I know I am being closed-minded, but I have changed my mind about ideologically-loaded issues in the past. Sometimes changing my mind is easier than trying to justify the various absurdities. I go for the truth about objective realities in the end, whatever that truth may be. After we know the truth of objective realities, then we are much more capable of pursuing moral/political goals including liberal goals. We should not try to find our way through a hazardous moral maze wearing upside-down glasses.

 
Garret
 
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16 January 2019 21:11
 

I rely on the argument that you haven’t shown me genetic definitions of race.

Don’t talk about the evidence, show it to me.  I have multiple university accounts, link me some biology papers.  Even if they’re behind paywalls I can look at them.  Show me the genetic definitions of the racial categories.

 
Abel Dean
 
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16 January 2019 21:23
 
Garret - 16 January 2019 09:11 PM

I rely on the argument that you haven’t shown me genetic definitions of race.

Don’t talk about the evidence, show it to me.  I have multiple university accounts, link me some biology papers.  Even if they’re behind paywalls I can look at them.  Show me the genetic definitions of the racial categories.

You are asking for both definitions and evidence. Some of the evidence is in genetic terms, but the definitions are in broadly biological terms. As far as I am aware, the word “race” is not commonly used within genetics, though other words they use would be substitutes for it, specifically “population” or “sub-population.”

 
Garret
 
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16 January 2019 22:01
 

In other threads, you’ve made claims about the genetics of “black” people.

Using genetics, define “black” people.

Edit: Alternatively, show me a study on intelligence and how they use genetics to define “black”.  If there is conclusive evidence that at least part of the racial variation in IQ is genetic, then those studies should have genetic based categories.  If they don’t have genetic based categories, than anyone who is claiming we can infer anything about genetics is making an erroneous conclusion.

If those studies are instead only using the broadly colloquial definition of race (ie, a definition not based on genetics), than we can only make conclusions based on culture, and nothing about genetics.

[ Edited: 16 January 2019 22:34 by Garret]
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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17 January 2019 04:46
Abel Dean
 
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17 January 2019 05:06
 
Garret - 16 January 2019 10:01 PM

In other threads, you’ve made claims about the genetics of “black” people.

Using genetics, define “black” people.

Edit: Alternatively, show me a study on intelligence and how they use genetics to define “black”.  If there is conclusive evidence that at least part of the racial variation in IQ is genetic, then those studies should have genetic based categories.  If they don’t have genetic based categories, than anyone who is claiming we can infer anything about genetics is making an erroneous conclusion.

If those studies are instead only using the broadly colloquial definition of race (ie, a definition not based on genetics), than we can only make conclusions based on culture, and nothing about genetics.

Geneticists tend to use the word, “population,” to denote their samples. It is a word and a concept integrated into genetics, but the concept is not based on genetics. Instead it is based on geography. It does not follow that we can not say anything about the genetic differences of those populations. Sometimes they use the phrase, “race/ethnicity,” or something like that in their studies of human groups. The raw data of such groups would be a matter of self-identification. So, a “black” person would be someone who self-identifies as “black.” The basis for races in such cases really is cultural conventions. Cultural conventions can be here, there and everywhere, or so you may think, but it turns out that people are pretty good at knowing the objective realities of where their ancestors tended to live thousands of years ago. Genetic divergence followed from the geographic divergence, so blacks have a set of allele frequencies different from whites. Any geneticist can choose any set of alleles to distinguish blacks from whites, and there is no single standard set of lists, but it still works pretty good. For example, see the study by Hua Tang et al., 2005, “Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity, and Confounding in Case-Control Association Studies.” There is nearly 100% concordance between what people believe their own races to be and what a geneticist expects their races to be from their DNA samples. You have heard about racial variations in frequencies of purely-genetic diseases. Whites have a frequency of cystic fibrosis that is about five times greater than among blacks. It turns out that genetics has a lot to say about what follows from our cultural conventions, and it would be a mistake to infer that all such genetic studies are therefore just cultural, like we can’t really know anything about genetic differences. Our cultural conventions have a lot to do with the objective realities of our biology.

 
Abel Dean
 
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17 January 2019 05:06
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 17 January 2019 04:46 AM

How genetics is changing our understanding of “race”

Yes, pretty good article. I mostly agree with it.

 
Garret
 
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17 January 2019 08:35
 
Abel Dean - 17 January 2019 05:06 AM
Garret - 16 January 2019 10:01 PM

In other threads, you’ve made claims about the genetics of “black” people.

Using genetics, define “black” people.

Edit: Alternatively, show me a study on intelligence and how they use genetics to define “black”.  If there is conclusive evidence that at least part of the racial variation in IQ is genetic, then those studies should have genetic based categories.  If they don’t have genetic based categories, than anyone who is claiming we can infer anything about genetics is making an erroneous conclusion.

If those studies are instead only using the broadly colloquial definition of race (ie, a definition not based on genetics), than we can only make conclusions based on culture, and nothing about genetics.

Geneticists tend to use the word, “population,” to denote their samples. It is a word and a concept integrated into genetics, but the concept is not based on genetics. Instead it is based on geography. It does not follow that we can not say anything about the genetic differences of those populations. Sometimes they use the phrase, “race/ethnicity,” or something like that in their studies of human groups. The raw data of such groups would be a matter of self-identification. So, a “black” person would be someone who self-identifies as “black.” The basis for races in such cases really is cultural conventions. Cultural conventions can be here, there and everywhere, or so you may think, but it turns out that people are pretty good at knowing the objective realities of where their ancestors tended to live thousands of years ago. Genetic divergence followed from the geographic divergence, so blacks have a set of allele frequencies different from whites. Any geneticist can choose any set of alleles to distinguish blacks from whites, and there is no single standard set of lists, but it still works pretty good. For example, see the study by Hua Tang et al., 2005, “Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity, and Confounding in Case-Control Association Studies.” There is nearly 100% concordance between what people believe their own races to be and what a geneticist expects their races to be from their DNA samples. You have heard about racial variations in frequencies of purely-genetic diseases. Whites have a frequency of cystic fibrosis that is about five times greater than among blacks. It turns out that genetics has a lot to say about what follows from our cultural conventions, and it would be a mistake to infer that all such genetic studies are therefore just cultural, like we can’t really know anything about genetic differences. Our cultural conventions have a lot to do with the objective realities of our biology.

You present multiple points.  I want to address just one.  Try not to add more, just address this one, then we can move onto the next. (edit: I’ll even let you pick one of your previous points you want me to address next, but I will do so only after we resolve this one)

Cultural tradition describes objective reality.

This is an appeal to tradition, and an appeal to popularity.

I agree, in as much as the tautology is true that a cultural tradition describe the reality created by that cultural tradition.  For example, if a country is predominantly Muslim, that country is a “Muslim country”.  It does not make the religion of Islam factually true though.  Second example, in the US football is the most profitable sport (measured by gross revenue), this means that football is the most popular sport, but it does not objectively make it the “best” sport.

If cultural tradition were sufficient to describe objective reality, then the Christian, Muslim, and Hindu religions would all be factually true.

Are you standing by your claim that cultural tradition is a valid way of determining objective reality?

 
GAD
 
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17 January 2019 08:45
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 17 January 2019 04:46 AM

How genetics is changing our understanding of “race”

Makes sense to me. Really everyone accepts that genetics dictate skin color, eyes, hair, height etc and disposition to diseases etc, the issue is when someone asks if it could also dictate intelligence, violence, sexuality etc, that’s when it goes crazy, not because it couldn’t but because of the fear that knowing could be used by one group against another.

 
 
Garret
 
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17 January 2019 09:56
 
GAD - 17 January 2019 08:45 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 17 January 2019 04:46 AM

How genetics is changing our understanding of “race”

Makes sense to me. Really everyone accepts that genetics dictate skin color, eyes, hair, height etc and disposition to diseases etc, the issue is when someone asks if it could also dictate intelligence, violence, sexuality etc, that’s when it goes crazy, not because it couldn’t but because of the fear that knowing could be used by one group against another.

Except that the problem is making broad generalizations by creating categories of people who share very little common ancestry.

When examining genetics, “race” is not a useful category, unless we expand “race” into at least 97 groups, at least a dozen of which make up the majority of the population on the African continent.

Take the above example of cystic fibrosis.  You have to realize how much data he left out.  In the whole world, there are roughly 70,000 cases of cystic fibrosis, 30,000 of which are in the US.  Using simplified napkin math, roughly 97.5% of the white population in the US has perfectly normal CTFR genes, which means they aren’t carriers of the mutation which causes the disease.  Using his ratio of cases between “racial” groups, that means that 99.5% of black people are also not carriers.

Cystic fibrosis is not a unique disease though, and by that I mean it isn’t caused by a single genetic mutation.  There are actually 1700 different mutations of the same gene, all of which result in the same disease.  In the entire course of human history, that gene has mutated 1700 times, resulting in different lineages.  That means that each mutation on average represents less than 0.00147% of the white population.

Do you think that something that describes 0.00147% of the white population is a good way to characterize the other 99.99953% of the population?

This is the problem with making genetic claims about large populations.

Also, we can identify which genes modify skin color and eyes, but we don’t know which genes control height (even though we have reason to believe height has genetic correlation r-value of .8)  We understand which genes influence intelligence even less than we know about height.

Seriously, the more you guys talk about race and genetics, the more obvious it becomes you don’t understand anything about genetics.

[ Edited: 17 January 2019 10:02 by Garret]
 
Garret
 
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17 January 2019 14:07
 

Understanding our DNA and ancestry is important and informative, but the 5 racial categories (caucasoid, negroid, capoid, mongoloid, and astraloid) are archaic, unproductive, and only have cultural or historical value, with no scientific value.  Other than identifying the continent that the person most likely had the majority of their ancestors came from, there is no predictive value in those 5 races (from a scientific, genetic standpoint).

A far more useful, and used, distinction is haplogroup.  In fact, in the past 10 years, biologists who sort humans by genetics almost exclusively use haplogroups.  Haplogroups are predictive.  If you are a member of a haplogroup, we know significant and distinct sections of your DNA just from this.  The predictive power on other genes acquired from your parents is substantial when we identify your haplogroup.  While knowing what race (from above) you belong to does tell us which haplogroup you might belong to, it does not actually tell us which one.  There is no significant knowledge gained about your genetics by knowing your race, but knowing your haplogroup does give us knowledge about you.

The fact that several people in this thread seem completely unaware of this suggest to me that you have no clue what you’re talking about.

Just a couple quick numbers, there are 23 Afro haplogroups, with another 24 Afro-Mediterranean haplogroups.  These are identifiable populations who can be traced to a specific ancestor, either through a Y chromosome, or mitochondrial chromosome.  Each haplogroup can be millions of people and have genetic diseases that are not found in other haplogroups that are geographically neighbors.  So, the continent of Africa has 27 large populations with distinct genetic differences.  Some of these groups share as much similarity with each other as they do with any European haplogroup.

So when you say “white” or “black” and reference genetics, I understand that you think you are talking about distinct populations, but you aren’t.  And it is your certainty that you are that is the dead give away that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

[ Edited: 17 January 2019 14:17 by Garret]
 
Abel Dean
 
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17 January 2019 18:22
 
Garret - 17 January 2019 08:35 AM
Abel Dean - 17 January 2019 05:06 AM
Garret - 16 January 2019 10:01 PM

In other threads, you’ve made claims about the genetics of “black” people.

Using genetics, define “black” people.

Edit: Alternatively, show me a study on intelligence and how they use genetics to define “black”.  If there is conclusive evidence that at least part of the racial variation in IQ is genetic, then those studies should have genetic based categories.  If they don’t have genetic based categories, than anyone who is claiming we can infer anything about genetics is making an erroneous conclusion.

If those studies are instead only using the broadly colloquial definition of race (ie, a definition not based on genetics), than we can only make conclusions based on culture, and nothing about genetics.

Geneticists tend to use the word, “population,” to denote their samples. It is a word and a concept integrated into genetics, but the concept is not based on genetics. Instead it is based on geography. It does not follow that we can not say anything about the genetic differences of those populations. Sometimes they use the phrase, “race/ethnicity,” or something like that in their studies of human groups. The raw data of such groups would be a matter of self-identification. So, a “black” person would be someone who self-identifies as “black.” The basis for races in such cases really is cultural conventions. Cultural conventions can be here, there and everywhere, or so you may think, but it turns out that people are pretty good at knowing the objective realities of where their ancestors tended to live thousands of years ago. Genetic divergence followed from the geographic divergence, so blacks have a set of allele frequencies different from whites. Any geneticist can choose any set of alleles to distinguish blacks from whites, and there is no single standard set of lists, but it still works pretty good. For example, see the study by Hua Tang et al., 2005, “Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity, and Confounding in Case-Control Association Studies.” There is nearly 100% concordance between what people believe their own races to be and what a geneticist expects their races to be from their DNA samples. You have heard about racial variations in frequencies of purely-genetic diseases. Whites have a frequency of cystic fibrosis that is about five times greater than among blacks. It turns out that genetics has a lot to say about what follows from our cultural conventions, and it would be a mistake to infer that all such genetic studies are therefore just cultural, like we can’t really know anything about genetic differences. Our cultural conventions have a lot to do with the objective realities of our biology.

You present multiple points.  I want to address just one.  Try not to add more, just address this one, then we can move onto the next. (edit: I’ll even let you pick one of your previous points you want me to address next, but I will do so only after we resolve this one)

Cultural tradition describes objective reality.

This is an appeal to tradition, and an appeal to popularity.

I agree, in as much as the tautology is true that a cultural tradition describe the reality created by that cultural tradition.  For example, if a country is predominantly Muslim, that country is a “Muslim country”.  It does not make the religion of Islam factually true though.  Second example, in the US football is the most profitable sport (measured by gross revenue), this means that football is the most popular sport, but it does not objectively make it the “best” sport.

If cultural tradition were sufficient to describe objective reality, then the Christian, Muslim, and Hindu religions would all be factually true.

Are you standing by your claim that cultural tradition is a valid way of determining objective reality?

Yes, I stand by it in this case. I can’t think of a single example in which a group of people had completely the wrong idea about the region of their own racial ancestry, though maybe such an example exists somewhere in the world. I would have claimed that the Mormon church is an example, but they merely have the wrong idea about someone else’s race, not their own. I can think of one intermediate example: a tribe in Pakistan claims they are partly descended from the invading army Alexander the Great, but their DNA does not indicate such a thing. People get a lot of other things mixed up, such as the timeline of their ancestry or historical events or specific ancestors. But, people are really very good at knowing their own general geographic origins. It may follow from racial phenotypes being persisting guidesticks of such traditional knowledge. I think DNA testing services mislead the public with ads claiming that we will be surprised by what our true race is according to our DNA. Surprises are rare. Again, check out that study by Hua Tang et al. Here is a link to the full text:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1196372/

 
Abel Dean
 
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17 January 2019 19:38
 
Garret - 17 January 2019 02:07 PM

Understanding our DNA and ancestry is important and informative, but the 5 racial categories (caucasoid, negroid, capoid, mongoloid, and astraloid) are archaic, unproductive, and only have cultural or historical value, with no scientific value.  Other than identifying the continent that the person most likely had the majority of their ancestors came from, there is no predictive value in those 5 races (from a scientific, genetic standpoint).

A far more useful, and used, distinction is haplogroup.  In fact, in the past 10 years, biologists who sort humans by genetics almost exclusively use haplogroups.  Haplogroups are predictive.  If you are a member of a haplogroup, we know significant and distinct sections of your DNA just from this.  The predictive power on other genes acquired from your parents is substantial when we identify your haplogroup.  While knowing what race (from above) you belong to does tell us which haplogroup you might belong to, it does not actually tell us which one.  There is no significant knowledge gained about your genetics by knowing your race, but knowing your haplogroup does give us knowledge about you.

The fact that several people in this thread seem completely unaware of this suggest to me that you have no clue what you’re talking about.

Just a couple quick numbers, there are 23 Afro haplogroups, with another 24 Afro-Mediterranean haplogroups.  These are identifiable populations who can be traced to a specific ancestor, either through a Y chromosome, or mitochondrial chromosome.  Each haplogroup can be millions of people and have genetic diseases that are not found in other haplogroups that are geographically neighbors.  So, the continent of Africa has 27 large populations with distinct genetic differences.  Some of these groups share as much similarity with each other as they do with any European haplogroup.

So when you say “white” or “black” and reference genetics, I understand that you think you are talking about distinct populations, but you aren’t.  And it is your certainty that you are that is the dead give away that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

When I first set out to trying to understand human genetic diversity, haplogroups seemed to be a tempting alternative to races, because haplogroups don’t have the fuzziness and ambiguity that races have, and as an added bonus they don’t have the ideological baggage. But, when I looked up the heritable disease frequencies of haplogroups, I soon discovered that the differences were slim compared to races and irrelevant for my purposes. Maybe haplogroups are good for family trees, numerical ancestry metrics, and some narrow molecular genetic purposes, but they don’t seem to be nearly as predictive as races concerning any phenotype. The reason seems clear after understanding what both races and haplogroups are about. Haplotypes are only a small set of linked genetic variants, and they are shared among other humans through only either the male branching lines of descent or the female branching lines of descent. Nothing is expected to correlate except the genotypes that follow from the same genes as that of the haplotypes. Races are about the whole genomes, not just a small piece of them. Differential evolution, i.e. the process of speciation, is likewise a function of the whole genome. When beneficial mutations happen and they are naturally selected, then they increase in frequency among the organisms living in the same geographic area (AKA race). The mutations do not increase in frequency so much among the haplogroup. Even genetic drift is expected to affect the race more than the haplogroup.

I haven’t examined the topic deeply for years, and perhaps you know more than I do, so I would like to know if you have information that would be at odds with what I have concluded about haplogroups. For example, do you happen to know some examples of common genotypic diseases that correlate with haplogroups more strongly than with races? If there is a disease that correlates with a haplogroup only because the disease follows from the same gene as that of the haplotype then it would not interest me. Otherwise, it would. Thanks.

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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17 January 2019 21:56
 
Abel Dean - 17 January 2019 07:38 PM
Garret - 17 January 2019 02:07 PM

Understanding our DNA and ancestry is important and informative, but the 5 racial categories (caucasoid, negroid, capoid, mongoloid, and astraloid) are archaic, unproductive, and only have cultural or historical value, with no scientific value.  Other than identifying the continent that the person most likely had the majority of their ancestors came from, there is no predictive value in those 5 races (from a scientific, genetic standpoint).

A far more useful, and used, distinction is haplogroup.  In fact, in the past 10 years, biologists who sort humans by genetics almost exclusively use haplogroups.  Haplogroups are predictive.  If you are a member of a haplogroup, we know significant and distinct sections of your DNA just from this.  The predictive power on other genes acquired from your parents is substantial when we identify your haplogroup.  While knowing what race (from above) you belong to does tell us which haplogroup you might belong to, it does not actually tell us which one.  There is no significant knowledge gained about your genetics by knowing your race, but knowing your haplogroup does give us knowledge about you.

The fact that several people in this thread seem completely unaware of this suggest to me that you have no clue what you’re talking about.

Just a couple quick numbers, there are 23 Afro haplogroups, with another 24 Afro-Mediterranean haplogroups.  These are identifiable populations who can be traced to a specific ancestor, either through a Y chromosome, or mitochondrial chromosome.  Each haplogroup can be millions of people and have genetic diseases that are not found in other haplogroups that are geographically neighbors.  So, the continent of Africa has 27 large populations with distinct genetic differences.  Some of these groups share as much similarity with each other as they do with any European haplogroup.

So when you say “white” or “black” and reference genetics, I understand that you think you are talking about distinct populations, but you aren’t.  And it is your certainty that you are that is the dead give away that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

When I first set out to trying to understand human genetic diversity, haplogroups seemed to be a tempting alternative to races, because haplogroups don’t have the fuzziness and ambiguity that races have, and as an added bonus they don’t have the ideological baggage. But, when I looked up the heritable disease frequencies of haplogroups, I soon discovered that the differences were slim compared to races and irrelevant for my purposes. Maybe haplogroups are good for family trees, numerical ancestry metrics, and some narrow molecular genetic purposes, but they don’t seem to be nearly as predictive as races concerning any phenotype. The reason seems clear after understanding what both races and haplogroups are about. Haplotypes are only a small set of linked genetic variants, and they are shared among other humans through only either the male branching lines of descent or the female branching lines of descent. Nothing is expected to correlate except the genotypes that follow from the same genes as that of the haplotypes. Races are about the whole genomes, not just a small piece of them. Differential evolution, i.e. the process of speciation, is likewise a function of the whole genome. When beneficial mutations happen and they are naturally selected, then they increase in frequency among the organisms living in the same geographic area (AKA race). The mutations do not increase in frequency so much among the haplogroup. Even genetic drift is expected to affect the race more than the haplogroup.

I haven’t examined the topic deeply for years, and perhaps you know more than I do, so I would like to know if you have information that would be at odds with what I have concluded about haplogroups. For example, do you happen to know some examples of common genotypic diseases that correlate with haplogroups more strongly than with races? If there is a disease that correlates with a haplogroup only because the disease follows from the same gene as that of the haplotype then it would not interest me. Otherwise, it would. Thanks.

What signatures within the genome are you using to identify race?

See, if you ask me, “How do you identify Haplogroup A?”  I can respond by digging up the literal genetic code (literally the ACGT sequence) and tell you.  Mind you, I’m not super well versed in this, so it might take me half a day, but I can do it.  We have this level of genetic information.  Researchers are still sequencing more and more people to build bigger databases and through which are learning more and more about our ancestry, but this is all genetically sound and well understood.

Perry Y chromosome (Haplogroup A00)

That’s a paper about how the Perry Y chromosome, or one of the first branchings that occured and is preserved in human DNA through to today.  It is a line of male descent that has survived over 350,000 years, and current research suggest that their migration was part of the first migration of farming humans.

See… this is science.  What you’ve presented so far… is not science.

Show me science or STFU.

Edit: Something that occurred to me a few minutes later.  You said you looked at haplogroups, but they didn’t provide the results you were looking for.  Holy shit.  You literally found results that disagreed with your assumptions, so you are choosing to ignore those results.  You clearly aren’t interested in “truth”.  You have an agenda.

[ Edited: 17 January 2019 22:15 by Garret]
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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18 January 2019 08:51
 

The problem with relying on outward physical characteristics, is that populations that don’t share DNA can develop the same physical characteristics (phenotypes).  There is a subset of genetics called epigenetics.  Epigenetics are the expression of genes, and can change from individual to individual without altering the underlying genetics.

A recently examined example of epigenetics is obesity correlation with the obesity of the parents.  A male who is obese at the time of procreation is more likely to produce offspring who will also be obese in their life times, but if that male loses weight, subsequent offspring will have lower chances of being obese (and the reverse is also true).  The amount of body fat that a person carries at a specific time does not alter your DNA, but it does alter your hormone regulation, which alters how your genes are expressed.

Another example is sickle-cell anemia.  Often considered a “black” disease, there are white populations that are found outside of Africa that have this disease present genetically as well, and they developed it independently (not through a mixing of populations).  The underlying cause is that the population has been repeatedly exposed to malaria.  People who survive malaria don’t have their genes altered, but how their body expresses those genes changes.  Even if the children are never exposed to malaria, they can retain these changes for generations which result in sickle cell anemia.

This can even affect things like nose shape and skin color.  It can even affect blood vessel formation and distribution.

Genetic Similarities Within and Between Human Populations

A paragraph explaining “distance” between individuals versus populations.

The simplifications introduced by Risch et al. (2002) and Edwards (2003) allow an alternative view, represented in Figure 1C. Here, each individual i is assigned a unidimensional genetic location qi (the individual’s population trait value; see materials and methods). The trait distance between any two individuals x and y is now just the horizontal distance between them, |qx–qy|. This simplification is possible only in the two-population case and requires a population-specific coding of allele states, so the trait distance is not equivalent to the genetic distances represented in Figure 1, A and B. Nonetheless, it is instructive to consider the analogy using Figure 1C as a guide. For example, an African individual x with qx = 0.52 will be more similar to a European y with qy = 0.60 than to another African z with qz = 0.4. Yet that individual x will still be closer to the population mean trait value for Africans (qA ? 0.48, the African centroid) than to the mean value of Europeans (qB ? 0.68). It follows that many individuals like this one will be correctly classified (yielding low CC and CT) even though they are often more similar to individuals of the other population than to members of their own population (yielding high equation M15).

If you want to read a conclusion that doesn’t use mathematical statistical language:

The fact that, given enough genetic data, individuals can be correctly assigned to their populations of origin is compatible with the observation that most human genetic variation is found within populations, not between them. It is also compatible with our finding that, even when the most distinct populations are considered and hundreds of loci are used, individuals are frequently more similar to members of other populations than to members of their own population. Thus, caution should be used when using geographic or genetic ancestry to make inferences about individual phenotypes.

I thought that the last sentence would be particularly useful for you.

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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18 January 2019 09:33
 
Garret - 17 January 2019 09:56 AM
GAD - 17 January 2019 08:45 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 17 January 2019 04:46 AM

How genetics is changing our understanding of “race”

Makes sense to me. Really everyone accepts that genetics dictate skin color, eyes, hair, height etc and disposition to diseases etc, the issue is when someone asks if it could also dictate intelligence, violence, sexuality etc, that’s when it goes crazy, not because it couldn’t but because of the fear that knowing could be used by one group against another.

Except that the problem is making broad generalizations by creating categories of people who share very little common ancestry.

When examining genetics, “race” is not a useful category, unless we expand “race” into at least 97 groups, at least a dozen of which make up the majority of the population on the African continent.

Take the above example of cystic fibrosis.  You have to realize how much data he left out.  In the whole world, there are roughly 70,000 cases of cystic fibrosis, 30,000 of which are in the US.  Using simplified napkin math, roughly 97.5% of the white population in the US has perfectly normal CTFR genes, which means they aren’t carriers of the mutation which causes the disease.  Using his ratio of cases between “racial” groups, that means that 99.5% of black people are also not carriers.

Cystic fibrosis is not a unique disease though, and by that I mean it isn’t caused by a single genetic mutation.  There are actually 1700 different mutations of the same gene, all of which result in the same disease.  In the entire course of human history, that gene has mutated 1700 times, resulting in different lineages.  That means that each mutation on average represents less than 0.00147% of the white population.

Do you think that something that describes 0.00147% of the white population is a good way to characterize the other 99.99953% of the population?

This is the problem with making genetic claims about large populations.

Also, we can identify which genes modify skin color and eyes, but we don’t know which genes control height (even though we have reason to believe height has genetic correlation r-value of .8)  We understand which genes influence intelligence even less than we know about height.

Seriously, the more you guys talk about race and genetics, the more obvious it becomes you don’t understand anything about genetics.

The point is that we accept genetics except when it gets in the way of identity politics. 

 

 
 
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