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“The Impossible”
Posted: 15 May 2013 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Yeah, except that human evolution is not only ongoing. In fact it’s speeding up and has been for some time. More people=more variation.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Not quite, George.  As is so usual, there are multiple factors in just about everything, and we have to be careful not ignore or overvalue some of them.  While a larger species population will make it prone to more mutations, there is also the factor of environmental pressure on that species. 

For example, if a lion has a gene mutated to help its T cells block the HIV virus, even though lions aren’t susceptible to HIV, then it won’t change the evolutionary flow of that species. 

A factor in addition to larger human population is environmental pressure.  While we recognize a great many painful situations among humans, we, as a species, do a great deal to reduce those pressures on all of us.  As such, even though there may be more mutations, it means that a greater percent of them will fit in the middle of the value spectrum, that is, will be meaningless to our evolution.
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Lois, your point about brown and blue eyed offspring is correct, but earlier posts listed evidence that two blue eyed parents could occasionally have brown eyed offspring; something most of us has ruled out.
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One of the problems we have with any discussion of evolution, even if we don’t spell it out in our posts, is teleology.  It’s difficult to think in terms of really positive characteristics having occurred from random mutations among a great many in a fairly large population.

High skin pigmentation tends to protect against excess heat (has higher emissivity) while low skin pigmentation tends to reduce loss of heat (lower emissivity).  And the former tends to inhibit vitamin D formation in the skin, while the latter allows it.  However, it wasn’t the case of the mutations occurred TO cause those changes.  Rather, among the millions of mutations members near the equator who happened to get the ones that caused darker skin tended to survive a little more effectively than those with lighter skin.  Obversely, in northern climates those who happened to have a mutation that caused higher skin pigmentation had lower cold resistance and less vitamin D production. 
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Another problem is genotype vs phenotype genetics.  To anyone who observes me, I am obviously quite thoroughly Caucasian.  The small contribution of Iroquois indian is quite hidden.  Similarly, as I related here years ago, a good friend said he had to go to the police station in Detroit to get his sister out of jail because they “knew” a white girl who was with a black male was obviously a prostitute.  My friend was the only one of four children who still had enough dark skin pigmentation to be considered Aftrican-American.  He married a woman from Mexico, and their six children would be identified from observation of their skin pigmentation as from Latino to Caucasian. 

There has been so much inter-area procreation over the many centuries that I think it’s hard to assume any characteristics identified as correlated with any group with any individual.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Occam. - 15 May 2013 11:40 AM

Not quite, George.  As is so usual, there are multiple factors in just about everything, and we have to be careful not ignore or overvalue some of them.  While a larger species population will make it prone to more mutations, there is also the factor of environmental pressure on that species. 

For example, if a lion has a gene mutated to help its T cells block the HIV virus, even though lions aren’t susceptible to HIV, then it won’t change the evolutionary flow of that species. 

A factor in addition to larger human population is environmental pressure.  While we recognize a great many painful situations among humans, we, as a species, do a great deal to reduce those pressures on all of us.  As such, even though there may be more mutations, it means that a greater percent of them will fit in the middle of the value spectrum, that is, will be meaningless to our evolution.
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Lois, your point about brown and blue eyed offspring is correct, but earlier posts listed evidence that two blue eyed parents could occasionally have brown eyed offspring; something most of us has ruled out.

Occam

Right, George’s statement about greater population = greater amount of evolution was a bit simplified.  Perhaps he was trying to be too succinct.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Of course, Occam, variation will not result in selection without change in environment. But as we occupy practically the whole planet, there is enough difference in environmental pressures to choose from. Not only do different cultures offer different environmental conditions, but our never-ending arm race with the germs has been as active as ever. Don’t forget that most people still don’t have access to medicine and clean water and even our society has known these luxuries only for a very short period.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 12:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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“...human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations…”

If this is a true statement, and I suppose it mostly is, it does not negate the fact that human racial classification is an ingrained and ubiquitous part of our behavior as humans.  Recognizing that we do and will (for the foreseeable future) engage in this socially destructive behavior, makes it incumbent on us, IMO, to determine and ameliorate the “destruction” that this part of our behavior results in.  Ironically, this requires attending to racial classifications so as to determine what destructiveness occurs, and to address that “destruction”.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 05:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Damn, people are fast.  I wrote post #47 above, then realized I wanted to add one more point.  I went back to edit so quickly that the program didn’t even note that it was an edit.  I added the two sections starting with “One of the problems we have”, but by the time I finished, I now see that both TimB and George had responded.  The two of you may want to check those sections to comment on them.

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Posted: 15 May 2013 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Occam. - 15 May 2013 05:36 PM

Damn, people are fast.  I wrote post #47 above, then realized I wanted to add one more point.  I went back to edit so quickly that the program didn’t even note that it was an edit.  I added the two sections starting with “One of the problems we have”, but by the time I finished, I now see that both TimB and George had responded.  The two of you may want to check those sections to comment on them.

Occam

Occam, I aknowledge what is, for you, a dissertation on the topic of evolution, in post 47.

As far as your point about persons’ outward characteristics not necessarily denoting actual heritage, it occurs to me that most of the social problems that occur with what we call race may be predominantly a matter of outward characteristics.  I recall the book/movie “Black Like Me”  (nonfiction) about a white man from Dallas, in 1959, who medically altered his skin color, to appear black and then travelled through the South (not changing his name and trying not to change his typical behavior) for 6 weeks. Everyone that he came in contact with, apparently, considered him to be black. He experienced obviously racially motivated scorn from both blacks and whites.

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Posted: 16 May 2013 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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George - 15 May 2013 10:47 AM
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.

Believe it or not, but you did not answer the question, especially not in my formulation:

How many differences make a difference in race, in species, in families? What are their operational, scientifically based definitions?

You and Dawkins are saying that we can place organisms in taxonomies, and that this is useful to do in biology. OK, I have no problem with that. And then Dawkins says that ‘racial characteristics’ can be ‘highly correlated’, and that this is ‘informative’. Right. But none of this answers my question.

For 20 years I migrated from the Netherlands to Switzerland. After a while I noticed that Swiss on average are a bit different. I sometimes was able to recognise a Dutch e.g. at the railway station in the morning, going to work. Now would this mean that Swiss and Dutch are different races? Are Celts, Alemanni, Frisians, Franks, etc different races? Why? Or why not?

400px-Central_Europe_5th_Century.jpg

And one other point: we may be able to discover ‘racial correlations’. But concluding that they have a biological basis is still way to early. Differences in cultural and personal histories and background might also explain these correlations. Unless a common biological causal mechanism for those differences is found, many of your conclusions are premature. I think it is your ‘greediness’ to explain some of the differences (like intelligence and criminal behaviour) between ‘races’ with genetics is the reason that you are accused of racism.

Just to be sure: I do not say that there is no genetic component in intelligence and criminal behaviour. I am saying however that genetics does not explain them restlessly, and deny that we have a scientific basis (yet?) for stating that the genetic differences between races are causally related to intelligence and criminal behaviour, without the detour of the societal environment (i.e. a history of exploitation and discrimination by another ‘race’).

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Posted: 16 May 2013 01:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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I’m sure everyone here has heard of Forensic Science? If biological race does not exist, how can forensic scientists accurately identify skeletal remains, teeth, DNA, hair, by the folk racial categories?

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Posted: 16 May 2013 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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mid atlantic - 16 May 2013 01:48 AM

I’m sure everyone here has heard of Forensic Science? If biological race does not exist, how can forensic scientists accurately identify skeletal remains, teeth, DNA, hair, by the folk racial categories?

Because their genetic traits correlate?

And did I deny somewhere that a black skin is determined by genes?

Explain why you think your argument establishes that ‘races’ are more than our conventional way of grouping individuals.

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Posted: 16 May 2013 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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GdB - 16 May 2013 02:00 AM

Because their genetic traits correlate?

This is it.

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Posted: 16 May 2013 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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GdB - 16 May 2013 02:00 AM

And did I deny somewhere that a black skin is determined by genes?

Not sure if you did or not, I didn’t post anything about that.

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Posted: 16 May 2013 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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mid atlantic - 16 May 2013 02:31 AM
GdB - 16 May 2013 02:00 AM

Because their genetic traits correlate?

This is it.

So how does that relate with the idea that ‘races’ are more than conventional groupings?

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Posted: 16 May 2013 02:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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GdB - 16 May 2013 02:00 AM

Explain why you think your argument establishes that ‘races’ are more than our conventional way of grouping individuals.

They’re not more than that, they are that.

If physical remains can be identified by physiological differences between so called races, then it’s not unreasonable to say that racial differences do exist.

The common view of different races’ appearance might be over simplified, but it works pragmatically enough in forensic science.

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Posted: 16 May 2013 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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GdB - 16 May 2013 02:34 AM
mid atlantic - 16 May 2013 02:31 AM
GdB - 16 May 2013 02:00 AM

Because their genetic traits correlate?

This is it.

So how does that relate with the idea that ‘races’ are more than conventional groupings?

I don’t understand your question. Do you mean sociologically relate or biologically relate?

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