The Race thread. How many races are there REALLY? Does race even exist?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by TimeTraveler, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. tamara Registered Member

    How many races are there???

    Technically, there is but one race of human....Homo sapien.

    There are many variations of human skin colors, hair textures and colors, nose shapes, heights, etc., among populations and nationalities; but there is no fixed DNA difference that does not average out if cross-bred.

    The concept of race to distinguish groups with different appearances has social consequences, but virtually no genetically notable importance.

    Just like breeding cats!
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  3. DeepThought Banned Banned


    Of course, humans must be forced to breed together because their physical differences are so troubling and frightening to your consumer mindset.

    The only way you can justify your views is by treating white people like animals.

    It's very rare - if ever - to find a sub-Saharan African with blue eyes or straight hair.

    Certain groups display certain features, collectively they are termed a race.

    The term 'human' has always been open to interpretation.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
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  5. Cheyenne Registered Member

    There are many races: Indy, NASCAR, barrel, relay, head to head, bicycle, motocross, etc. etc. What is everyone's obsession with race? I do not even know how umbrellas I would need to stand under to be under the proper 'race' title... but I am sure it is more than one.
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    That's not a race; it's a species. The term "race" is out of favor, but it generally means a subgroup of an animal species below the level of a subspecies. Subspecies are populations separated by geography or some other external force, which have evolved along slightly different genetic paths over many generations, but which still recognize each other as the same if they ever meet, for example not manifesting a preference in the choice of mates. Races may eventually diverge into true subspecies, but given their often-temporary separation, it's just as likely that they will merge after a few generations.

    There were distinct populations of humans in the Paleolithic Era, when travel was limited to walking speed so hybridization across geographical boundaries was rare. But the invention of transportation technology changed all that, starting with boats capable of long-distance voyages, then large herbivores tamed for riding and finally wheeled vehicles and paved roadways to accommodate them. Even in the Bronze Age people traveled long distances between the various civilizations for trade and mere curiosity. The Silk Road, for example, was a major vector for the breakdown of the differences between human "races."

    The full-rigged sailing ship increased the rate and volume of hybridization and extended it to previously isolated regions such as the Western Hemisphere. The motorized vehicles of the Industrial Era destroyed any remaining validity of the term "race" among humans.

    It's ironic (and would be amusing except for the dire consequences) that the so-called human "races" are distinguished primarily by skin color. This is one of the most ephemeral of biological characteristics because it is controlled by only a few genes and is greatly affected by climate.

    In the southern latitudes sunlight is intense and a bare-skinned species like ours needs a lot of melanin in its skin to protect against sunburn and melanoma. Darker-skinned individuals with more melanin will survive longer and outbreed the others.

    But in the northern latitudes sunlight is less common and people need exposure to as much of it as possible in order to manufacture enough vitamin D to survive. Individuals with too much melanin will not live long and their lighter-skinned neighbors will outbreed them.

    The light-skinned Latvians and the dark-skinned Bengalis are both descended from the Eastern branch of the Proto-Indo-European tribe. They are separated by a mere four thousand years of migration in different directions--only about 200 generations!

    Or dogs. By the standards of us dog breeders, all humans are "mongrels."
  8. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    That's the biological definition of "race," yes. It is not the sociological definition, however.

    The validity of the biological definition, yes. But that has very little to do with the sociological definition, which is what people are referring to when they talk about "race" in the context of humans.

    The only irony there is in your obliviousness to the fact that the races in question are social constructs - operating under the sociological definition of "race" - and not biological categories. Biology has fuck-all to do with the sociological question of "race."
  9. universaldistress Extravagantly Introverted ... Valued Senior Member

    This is a simplification, as there are individuals that blend any of the following, but my ignorant mind always separated peoples of this planet into these basic types:

    Aboriginal Australian, Hawaiian (plus pacific islands), South American, North American, Eskimo, European/Arab/Indian, African Negro, African Bushman, Chinese/Japanese etc., Mongolian, . . .

    Not sure about Indonesian peoples, may fit into pacific islands. I am aware my terms are not necessarily the officially recognised (caucasian etc.)

    I love the diversity and differences between people of different countries and continents. We should cherish and respect the differences and learn to integrate our cultures without losing what makes us special.

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