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“The Impossible”
Posted: 15 May 2013 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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The vitamin D in milk comes by adding the vitamin, otherwise known as “fortification”. I don’t believe this began until the late 1930s.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Additional (!) vitamin D is fortified. Cow’s milk still does contain vitamin D. But it doesn’t really matter. What matters to what we are discussing here is that different genes in Europeans and Africans are responsible for lactose tolerance.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Here is the passage from Dawkins’s Ancestor’s Tale on the acceptance of the usefulness of race:

The African, who was the only black person there – and he really was black, unlike many “African-Americans” – happened to be wearing a red tie. He finished his self-introduction by laughingly saying, “You can easily remember me. I am the one with the red tie.” He was genially mocking the way people bend over backwards to pretend not to notice racial differences. I think there was a Monty Python sketch along the same lines. Nevertheless, we can’t write off the genetic evidence which suggests, all appearances to the contrary, we are an usually uniform species. What is the resolution to the apparent conflict between appearance and measured reality?

It is genuinely true that, if you measure the total variation in the human species and then partition it into a between-race component and a within-race component, the between-race component is a very small fraction of the total. Most of the variation among humans can be found within races as well as between them. Only a small admixture of extra variation distinguishes races from each other. That is all correct. What is not correct is the inferene that race is therefore a meaningless concept. This point has been clearly made by the distinguished Cambridge geneticist A.W.F. Edwards in a recent paper “Human genetic diversity: Lewontin’s fallacy.” R.C. Lewontin is an equally distinguished Cambridge (Mass.) geneticist, known for the strength of his political convictions and his weakness for dragging them into science at every possibile opportunity. Lewontin’s view of race has become near-universal orthodoxy in scientific circles. He wrote, in a famous paper of 1972:

It is clear that our perception of relatively large differences between human races and subgroups, as compared to the variation within these groups, is indeed a biased perception and that, based on randomly chosen genetic differences, human races and populations are remarkably similar to each other, with the largest part by far of human variation being accounted for by the differences between individuals.

This is, of course, exactly the point I accepted above, not surprisingly since what I wrote was largely based on Lewontin. But see how Lewontin goes on:

Human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations. Since such racial classification is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxnomic significance either, no justification can be offered for its continuance.

We can all happily agree that human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations. That is one reason why I object to ticking boxes on forms and why I object to positive discrimination in job selection. But that doesn’t mean that race is of “virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance.” This is Edwards’s point, and he reasons as follows. However small the racial partition of total variation may be, if such racial characteristics as there are highly correlated with other racial characteristics, they are by definition informative, and therefore of taxonomic significance.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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I don’t believe cow’s milk naturally contains enough vitamin D for it to have been meaningful in the human diet, pre-fortification. This is why governments undertook to fortify milk in the middle of the last century.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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George - 15 May 2013 04:44 AM

Race can be identified by genes which are only shared by a certain group. For example, both whites and Asians have white skin, but in each race a different gene is responsible for this trait. The same goes for, say, lactose tolerance. Europeans and some Africans can drink milk, but again, different genes in each race made this possible. When you group all these traits together, the difference becomes obvious, just like it does with the breeds of dogs. Of course, most of dog breeds exist due to artificial selection where humans differ because of natural selection. But one think is certain: if evolution is true, then races must exist as the environmental pressures haven’t been the same for all races.

Again, take the lactose tolerance as an example. The environmental pressure responsible for lactose tolerance in Europeans was probably the lack of vitamin D, found in milk, whereas in Africa the advantage of being able to consume milk was due to the availability of an additional source of liquid. Different environmental pressures, different genes, different races.

I remember Dawkins (among many others) offered an explanation on the nature of races in his Ancestor’s Tales but it has been a while since I read it, so I’ll have to go back to look for it (tonight) if you are interested. I know Coyne also believes that races are a valuable classification of different groups of people.

Lactose intolerance has to do with the environment and evolution, not genes.  There is nothing in the genes that establishes race.  The idea of race is a human construct.  There is nothing physical that determines race. It all depends on our perception, nothing else.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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dougsmith - 15 May 2013 08:24 AM

I don’t believe cow’s milk naturally contains enough vitamin D for it to have been meaningful in the human diet, pre-fortification. This is why governments undertook to fortify milk in the middle of the last century.

It may not be meaningful now, but it could have been at one point in the past. And again, what the pressure was is a mere speculation at this point and doesn’t really matter much to what we are taking about here. What does matter is that the two races differ genetically in lactose tolerance.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Lois - 15 May 2013 08:33 AM

Lactose intolerance has to do with the environment and evolution, not genes.

question

Lois - 15 May 2013 08:33 AM

There is nothing in the genes that establishes race.  The idea of race is a human construct.  There is nothing physical that determines race. It all depends on our perception, nothing else.

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Are you okay?

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Posted: 15 May 2013 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I remember Dawkins (among many others) offered an explanation on the nature of races in his Ancestor’s Tales but it has been a while since I read it, so I’ll have to go back to look for it (tonight) if you are interested. I know Coyne also believes that races are a valuable classification of different groups of people.

George, have you read Ian Tattersall’s book “Race, Debunking a Scientific Myth”? If so, then how does it differ from Dawkins and Coyne’s findings? I just finished Coyne’ book and read the “Ancestor’s Tale (a fantastic journey back through genetic history) last year. For that matter have you read any of Tattersall’s books? If so, what’s your opinion of his research?


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Posted: 15 May 2013 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Lactose intolerance has to do with the environment and evolution, not genes.  There is nothing in the genes that establishes race.  The idea of race is a human construct.  There is nothing physical that determines race. It all depends on our perception, nothing else.

Lois, have you read the two books that George refers to in his post? If you haven’t your opinion will do a 180 when you finish them and if you have then WTH?


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Posted: 15 May 2013 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 15 May 2013 08:48 AM

I remember Dawkins (among many others) offered an explanation on the nature of races in his Ancestor’s Tales but it has been a while since I read it, so I’ll have to go back to look for it (tonight) if you are interested. I know Coyne also believes that races are a valuable classification of different groups of people.

George, have you read Ian Tattersall’s book “Race, Debunking a Scientific Myth”? If so, then how does it differ from Dawkins and Coyne’s findings? I just finished Coyne’ book and read the “Ancestor’s Tale (a fantastic journey back through genetic history) last year. For that matter have you read any of Tattersall’s books? If so, what’s your opinion of his research?


Cap’t Jack

No, I haven’t read it. It looks pretty stupid. Anytime I hear anybody say something like “50,000 or 60,000 years is a blink of an eye from an evolutionary perspective,” implying that it’s safe to ignore what had actually happen within that period, I quickly lose interest. If you are done reading Zuk’s “Paleofantasy” I assume you know what I mean.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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No, I haven’t read it. It looks pretty stupid. Anytime I hear anybody say something like “50,000 or 60,000 years is a blink of an eye from an evolutionary perspective,” implying that it’s safe to ignore what had actually happen within that period, I quickly lose interest. If you are done reading Zuk’s “Paleofantasy” I assume you know what I mean.

I did. That’s why I asked if you’d read the book. I apparently read the same review you did and the generalization popped out.But he could be alluding to the Out of Africa theory ca. 55,000 ya though. I’m not familiar with his books and may read one out of curiosity and see how he stacks up against Stringer and Zuk.


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Posted: 15 May 2013 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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I wouldn’t waste my time. I mean, do you really need to read something based on the assumption that 3000 generations are insignificant in evolutionary terms? You could see in Zuk’s book that a lot less (A LOT LESS!) time is often enough for a significant evolutionary change.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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George - 15 May 2013 08:40 AM
Lois - 15 May 2013 08:33 AM

Lactose intolerance has to do with the environment and evolution, not genes.

question

Lois - 15 May 2013 08:33 AM

There is nothing in the genes that establishes race.  The idea of race is a human construct.  There is nothing physical that determines race. It all depends on our perception, nothing else.

question

Are you okay?


If you doubt it, explain what you think determines race.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Lois - 15 May 2013 10:40 AM

If you doubt it, explain what you think determines race.

I already answered that in my post # 30. But you don’t need to take my word for it. Why not ask an expert? Read my post #33 with Dawkins’s excerpt on race from his Ancestor’s Tale.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I wouldn’t waste my time. I mean, do you really need to read something based on the assumption that 3000 generations are insignificant in evolutionary terms? You could see in Zuk’s book that a lot less (A LOT LESS!) time is often enough for a significant evolutionary change.

In reference to lactose tolerance I see your point. Of course Zuk refers to several other changes in a relatively short time also proving that evolution is ongoing among humans. I’m curious to read what Tattersall says about human evolution in general so I’ll probably put at least one of his books on the pile anyway. If it stinks then I’m only out a few bucks and some extra time.

Cap’t Jack

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