The Instigator
Anarcho-Socialist
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
striatedgs
Con (against)
Winning
2 Points

Race is a Biological and Genetic Construct caused by microevolution and segregation

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
striatedgs
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/6/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 904 times Debate No: 71231
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

Anarcho-Socialist

Pro

Hello. I am arguing in favour of the scientific fact that race is a biological, rather than only a social, construct. Before I start, I must define some basic terms:

Race: A separate group of people within a species that has obvious, heritable phonotypical variations.

Species: A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding.

Social Construct: Social construction is how society groups people and how it privileges certain groups over others.

Biological Construct: A construct that is based on genetics, rather than society.

Gene: A unit of heredity that is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring.

Phenotype: The set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.

Now, an obvious question that might be raised is: "What races are there then, and how are they classified?" My answer would be as follows: "There are 3 major races, which can be further divided into several sub races. They are classified by phenotypes such as skin colour.

P1: Races exist biologically, not only socially
P2: Races originated through microevolution, specialization, and segregation over millions of years.
P3: IQ and crime are partially genetic.
C: The notion that races do not exist biologically and are equal mentally and/or physically is illogical.

In order to have this debate, we must argue under the assumption that evolution is correct.

Rules:
1. Any forfeit will result in an automatic 7-point deduction.
2. Keep a sense of civility (No cussing, name calling, etc)
3. Must cite sources
4. All arguments must be based on science rather than personal opinion.
striatedgs

Con

Round 1: Con

What does it mean to define race biologically and genetically?

1. Defining race biologically:


The Wikipedia article on race as a term of biological classification (http://en.wikipedia.org...) says the following:

1. "Race is an informal taxonomic rank,"
2. "Races may be distinct phenotypic populations, or they may be defined in other ways,"
3. "Races are defined according to any identifiable characteristic, and also by gene frequencies."
4. "Race differences are relative, not absolute."

Which I interpret to mean:

(1.) There is no accepted standard in biology on how to designate races.
(2.) The criteria used to designate biological races is not necessarily genetic (e.g. the article mentions physiological and ecological races).
(3.) Members of a race do not even need to share an "identifiable characteristic;" merely, the likelihood of having a characteristic is sufficient.
(4.) How other species are classified into races is irrelevant to understanding how to classify human races.

2. Defining race genetically:

Consider the following argument:

P1. Historically, race has been based on skin color.
P2. Skin color is based on genetics.
C. Therefore, historically, race has been based on genetics.

If this is true, then the claim that race is a genetic construct is a commonplace.
If this is false, then a genetic construction of race implies more than just "obvious, heritable phenotypical variations."

3. What should be meant by a biological and genetic construction of race:

1. The biological and genetic definitions of race are currently too broad, such that virtually any theory of human races could be considered biological and genetic.
2. Consequently, a biological and genetic construction of race should be understood in terms of biology and genetics at a fundamental level, and not in the terms that professional biologists and geneticists today use.
3. That is to say, ideally, race, like any other taxonomic rank, should signify a minimum level of dissimilarity which exists between its members and the members of another race within the same species, and this degree of dissimilarity should be the same no matter which species is in question, or, for that matter which domain, kingdom, phylum, etc.
4. (For example, all organisms within a common domain should be at least 95% dissimilar with any organism from a different domain, kingdoms 90%, phyla 85%, etc.)
5. Additionally, each member of a race (or species, or genus, or family, etc.) should share a common ancestral group with every other member of that race, which members of other races of the same species (or genus, or family, or order, etc.) do not share.

4. What the minimum level of dissimilarity for race should be:

1. A racial classification should include more than just obvious, heritable phenotypical variations.
2. It should include many obvious, heritable phenotypical variations, and substantial ones at that.
3. Supposing that "race" is the level of classification just below species, it should have an equal degree of dissimilarity to species as species does to genus, as genus does to family, as family does to order, and so on.
4. It should not jump all the way from "can reproduce together" (i.e. the definition of species) to "has some heritable phenotypical trait in common."

5. What the minimum level of dissimilarity for human races should be:

Based on the notion that phenotypical differences between races of whatever species should be both numerous and substantial, both heritable physical as well as mental differences should be apparent.

6. Does race as it is defined socially meet this threshold?:

1. Firstly, I do believe that some biological classification would fit the social classification of race that currently exists, since members of each social race appear to have a common ancestral group, as well as a certain degree of similarity as evidenced by skin color and facial structure.
2. Additionally, I believe that in addition to obvious physical differences there are also obvious mental differences between races (specifically, mental differences as can be inferred from different behavioral proclivities).
3. Ultimately, however, I do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the mental differences observed between social races are attributable to heredity and not to the environment.
4. (I intend to be more specific in future rounds as to the nature of racial differences and why I don't think these differences merit social races also being denominated biological races.)

And thanks to Anarcho-Socialist for the debate.










Debate Round No. 1
Anarcho-Socialist

Pro

Anarcho-Socialist forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Anarcho-Socialist

Pro

Extremely sorry about the last round my computer is not working properly. I suppose that this does mean that you win since I broke my own rules, but I shall attempt to finish the debate with dignity nonetheless.

"(1.) There is no accepted standard in biology on how to designate races.
(2.) The criteria used to designate biological races is not necessarily genetic (e.g. the article mentions physiological and ecological races).
(3.) Members of a race do not even need to share an "identifiable characteristic;" merely, the likelihood of having a characteristic is sufficient.
(4.) How other species are classified into races is irrelevant to understanding how to classify human races."

Argument one: "There is no accepted standard in biology on how to designate races."
There is indeed a standard on how to classify races biologically. This Wikipedia article has several pictures of how anthropologists classify race, with the three races being as follows: 1: Caucasoids, who currently inhabit Europe, some of the Middle East, and North Africa. 2: The Mongoloid race, which includes those peoples of East Asia, East Russia, Central Asia, Alaska, and by extension the Native Americans. 3: The Negroid race, which includes people of Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, possibly India, and the Polynesian Islands. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Scientists have classified these races based on traits such as skin colour, average cranial capacity, brain size, brain weight, facial structure, skull structure, and the chance of disease.

Argument two: "The criteria used to designate biological races is not necessarily genetic (e.g. the article mentions physiological and ecological races)."

I went to the Wikipedia page. The article that you presented was not specifically referring to human races, but races as a taxonomic group, so therefore this argument is technically invalid because we are referring to human races, but since I did not specify which species we would be debating, I will concede victory to this specific argument. That was my fault. Just to now clarify, we are debating over human (Homo Sapien Sapien) races.

Argument 3:
"Races are defined according to any identifiable characteristic, and also by gene frequencies."
"Which I interpret to mean:"
"Members of a race do not even need to share an "identifiable characteristic;" merely, the likelihood of having a characteristic is sufficient."
I am afraid that you have contradicted yourself by stating that races ARE defined by identifiable characteristics, then stating that they are not.

I would agree that how we classify other species is irrelevant specifically to homo sapiens.

"Consider the following argument:

P1. Historically, race has been based on skin color.
P2. Skin color is based on genetics.
C. Therefore, historically, race has been based on genetics.

If this is true, then the claim that race is a genetic construct is a commonplace.
If this is false, then a genetic construction of race implies more than just 'obvious, heritable phenotypical variations.' "

Yes, historically, race has been primarily based on skin colour, and skin colour is determined by heritable genes, which relates to genetics, and genetics is a integral part of biology, so therefore historically, race is a biological and genetic construct, meaning that races do indeed exist biologically and genetically.

"The biological and genetic definitions of race are currently too broad, such that virtually any theory of human races could be considered biological and genetic. "

I have already defined race as groups of a species that have heritable phenotypical variations. Any other theories concerning race besides the before mentioned theory would be referring to sub-races, which is below race, but above ethnicity. Some examples of are the Germanic peoples of Germany, Scandinavia, and England, the Celtic peoples of Ireland and Great Britain, the Slavic peoples of Russia and Ukraine, the Balts of the Baltic Sea region, the Mediterraneans of Southern Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal, and the Finnic peoples of Finland.

"Consequently, a biological and genetic construction of race should be understood in terms of biology and genetics at a fundamental level, and not in the terms that professional biologists and geneticists today use."

See argument above.

"3. That is to say, ideally, race, like any other taxonomic rank, should signify a minimum level of dissimilarity which exists between its members and the members of another race within the same species, and this degree of dissimilarity should be the same no matter which species is in question, or, for that matter which domain, kingdom, phylum, etc.
4. (For example, all organisms within a common domain should be at least 95% dissimilar with any organism from a different domain, kingdoms 90%, phyla 85%, etc.)"

This is indeed a hard argument to refute. Remember that races are required to be of the same species as other races. As such they can interbreed with each other. This has been going on for thousands of years, decreasing genetic diversity and leading to a more homogenized human species.

"Additionally, each member of a race (or species, or genus, or family, etc.) should share a common ancestral group with every other member of that race, which members of other races of the same species (or genus, or family, or order, etc.) do not share."

Members of the Negroid race have been directly linked to homo erectus, and are the direct descendants of them. Caucasoids and Mongoloids however, went northward and came into contact with neanderthals, interbreeded with them, and continued to evolve for several million more years or so. Thus, Negroids are direct descendants of homo erectus, while Caucasoids and Mongoloids are related to homo erectus, as all humans must share a common ancestor, they are directly descended from the Neanderthals.

"1. A racial classification should include more than just obvious, heritable phenotypical variations.
2. It should include many obvious, heritable phenotypical variations, and substantial ones at that. "

There are many, such as skin colour, facial features, bone structure, brain size, brain weight, and more.

" It should not jump all the way from "can reproduce together" (i.e. the definition of species) to "has some heritable phenotypical trait in common.""

Then what should it be?

"Based on the notion that phenotypical differences between races of whatever species should be both numerous and substantial, both heritable physical as well as mental differences should be apparent."

There is evidence that each of the races have different average mental capabilities. One common way this is measured is through IQ. A counter argument would claim that this is because of environment. But this does not explain why even lower class Asians have a higher average IQ than upper class Whites. I will post my source for this in the comments later because the link is not working for the debate.

"3. Ultimately, however, I do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the mental differences observed between social races are attributable to heredity and not to the environment."

So then you admit that physical races are biolocigally and scientifically viable, but not mental races. See the argument above.
striatedgs

Con

Round 3: Con

0.1. Pro's last entry was structured into responses to quotes of mine from my last entry.

0.2. In this entry, I will be responding to most of these responses, and I hope that Pro will let me know if he would like me to respond to any that I don't.

0.3. Also, I would like to request that voters for this debate do not take into consideration the first rule for this debate ("1. Any forfeit will result in an automatic 7-point deduction) when voting.

1. Response #1

1.1. Original quote:

1.1.1. "(1.) There is no accepted standard in biology on how to designate races."

1.2. My summary of Pro's response to this:


1.2.1. There are indeed standards in race, such as skin color, facial structure, brain size, and susceptibility to various diseases.

1.3. My response:

1.3.1. As Pro states in response to the 2nd quote, the source that I'm interpreting in the above quote (http://en.wikipedia.org...) is not about human racial classification specifically, but about race as a biological classification in general.

1.3.2. That is to say, I am not saying that the set of races in each particular species does not have any criteria by which its set of races are distinguished, but rather that these criteria exist on an ad hoc basis, (i.e., that there is no official overall criteria to determine what these criteria should be).


2. Response #2

2.1.
Original quote:

2.1.1. "(2.) The criteria used to designate biological races is not necessarily genetic (e.g. the article mentions physiological and ecological races."

2.2. My summary of Pro's response to this:

2.2.1. This debate is about human races specifically, and therefore this information is irrelevant.

2.3.
My response:


2.3.1. I agree, this is a debate specifically about human races, but it is also, per the title of this debate, a debate about a specific kind of human races, namely, human races as "biological and genetic construct[s]" .

2.3.2. Therefore, it is not irrelevant to this debate how race is defined as a biological classification in general, but of central importance.

3. Response #3

3.1.
Original quote:

3.1.1. "Races are defined according to any identifiable characteristic, and also by gene frequencies."
"Which I interpret to mean:"
"Members of a race do not even need to share an "identifiable characteristic;" merely, the likelihood of having a characteristic is sufficient."


3.2. Pro's response to this:

3.2.1. "I am afraid that you have contradicted yourself by stating that races ARE defined by identifiable characteristics, then stating that they are not."

3.3. My response:

3.3.1. Note: The quote from Wikipedia says "...by gene frequencies", and not simply, "by genes", or "genetically".:

3.3.2. That is, when considering whether a specific population of a species should be considered a distinct race, when "gene frequencies" are used, merely the existence of a gene held frequently in the population is sufficient, hence, "...merely, the likelihood of having a characteristic is sufficient."

4. Response #4

4.1.
Original quote:

4.1.1. "Consider the following argument:

P1. Historically, race has been based on skin color.
P2. Skin color is based on genetics.
C. Therefore, historically, race has been based on genetics.

If this is true, then the claim that race is a genetic construct is a commonplace.
If this is false, then a genetic construction of race implies more than just 'obvious, heritable phenotypical variations.' "


4.2. My summary of Pro's response to this:

4.2.1. P1-P2-C is true, and the argument works for biological constructions of human races, too.

4.3. My response:

4.3.1. Pro claims to agree with P1-P2-C, and goes on to say that this argument would work for biological races as well, but then says nothing about the second half of the argument, namely, that if P1-P2-C were true, then the claim that race is a genetic construct would be a commonplace.

4.3.2. That it is a commonplace is, in my experience, far from the case, and this therefore implies to me that, in the minds of a large number of people,

4.3.4. "...a genetic construction of race implies more than just "obvious, heritable phenotypical variations."

4.3.5. For example, suppose that, rather than skin color, conventional human races had been historically based on any other random "obvious, heritable phenotypical variation" (e.g. hair color, eye color, height, or cleft chin).

4.3.6. Would P1-P2-C still work?

4.3.7. If no, then the argument is not valid (i.e. it relies on premises other than the ones stated).

5. Response #5

5.1.
Original quote:

5.1.1. "The biological and genetic definitions of race are currently too broad, such that virtually any theory of human races could be considered biological and genetic."

5.2. My summary of Pro's response to this:

5.2.1. Any other definition of race than the original one given by Pro ("A separate group of people within a species that has obvious, heritable phenotypical variations") refers to subraces.

5.3. My response:

5.3.1. Suppose that humans had never left Africa.

5.3.2. Would biological and genetic human races still exist?

5.3.3. ...for surely, "separate group[s] of people within a species that ha[ve] obvious, heritable phenotypical variations" would still exist?

5.3.4. Perhaps you would say that these would be subraces, but on what basis would you call them "subraces" rather than just "races"?

5.3.5. Now suppose that, in addition to never leaving Africa, the human population had never grown past 100 (e.g. once the human population first got to 100, each human couple lived to sexual maturity and had only two kids).

5.3.6. Would even subraces exist then?

5.3.7. This, I believe, explains the purpose for the original quote of this section, namely, that some "minimum level of dissimilarity" should be required when defining race biologically.

6. Response #6

6.1.
Original quote:

6.1.1. "3. That is to say, ideally, race, like any other taxonomic rank, should signify a minimum level of dissimilarity which exists between its members and the members of another race within the same species, and this degree of dissimilarity should be the same no matter which species is in question, or, for that matter which domain, kingdom, phylum, etc."

6.2. My summary of Pro's response to this:


6.7.2.1. This is hard to refute, but remember that races have interbred, homogenizing the species.

6.3. My response:


6.3.1. Pro says this is hard to refute, but this quote encapsulates the two main points that Pro has attempted to make refute thus far, namely:

6.3.1.1. A biological classification of race in general, not specific to humans, is relevant (Response #2)

6.3.1.2. Race can not be biologically defined simply as "A separate group of people within a species that has obvious, heritable phenotypical variations" (Response #1, #4, and #5).

6.3.2. Also, if the above definition is accepted, no caveat for interbreeding is necessary; either a population meets a minimum level of dissimilarity, or it doesn't, and over time a population that once met the minimum level of dissimilarity may no longer.

7. Response #7

7.1.
Original quote:

7.1.1. "Additionally, each member of a race (or species, or genus, or family, etc.) should share a common ancestral group with every other member of that race, which members of other races of the same species (or genus, or family, or order, etc.) do not share."

7.2. My summary of Pro's response to this:


7.2.1. The 3 proposed races meet this requirement.

7.3. My response:


7.3.1. I will not dispute the lineages Pro provides here, as I think the focus of our debate is on whether biological classifications of races should require a minimum level of dissimilarity, and if so, whether conventional human races meet that requirement.

7.3.2. However, I would like to note that neither mainstream biology nor Pro make this ancestry requirement, and therefore, any unrelated group of individuals who share any "obvious, heritable phenotypical variations" (e.g. like being dwarfs or redheads) could be considered separate races by their definitions.

8. Response #8

8.1. Original quote:

8.1.1. "Based on the notion that phenotypical differences between races of whatever species should be both numerous and substantial, both heritable physical as well as mental differences should be apparent."

8.2. Pro's response to this:


8.2.1. "There is evidence that each of the races have different average mental capabilities. One common way this is measured is through IQ. A counter argument would claim that this is because of environment. But this does not explain why even lower class Asians have a higher average IQ than upper class Whites. I will post my source for this in the comments later because the link is not working for the debate.

8.3. My response:


8.3.1. In my opening round, I claimed that I believe that mental differences exist between races; specifically, mental differences as can be inferred from "differing behavioral proclivities".

8.3.2. For example, in my experience, Asians kids I've known growing up have had invariably strict parents, who hold success in school in the highest regard, monitor and interfere in all aspects of their child's upbringing, and leave their child with pretty much no choice but to excel academically, whether they're genetically pre-disposed to or not.

8.3.3. Higher class white kids, on the other hand, sometimes also have very pushy parents, but in my experience, much more often have very lenient parents, who allow their kids a large degree of personal freedom in their upbringing, which they often devote predominantly to non-academic activities.

8.3.4. These "differing behavioral proclivities" (ie very roughly speaking, "stereotypes") can I think provide an explanation for how Pro's example of lower class Asians outperforming higher class Whites could be due to the environment, in that insofar as I think we can all agree that family has a significant influence on academic success, and that this influence is environmental, even though it's from their parents.

8.3.5. I hope to discuss this issue in greater detail in future rounds.

Debate Round No. 3
Anarcho-Socialist

Pro

Anarcho-Socialist forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Anarcho-Socialist

Pro

Anarcho-Socialist forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Anarcho-Socialist 2 years ago
Anarcho-Socialist
Well I am.
Posted by Aithlin 2 years ago
Aithlin
I find it quite hard to believe that one can simultaneously be an anarcho-socialist and a race realist.
Posted by Anarcho-Socialist 2 years ago
Anarcho-Socialist
Hey sorry about that last round my computers acting up.
Posted by Anarcho-Socialist 2 years ago
Anarcho-Socialist
I believe in macroevolution and I normally just say evolution but I have to clarify for creationists. I consider mongoloids to be one race, which includes East and Central Asians and Indians.
Posted by JP_Hatecraft 2 years ago
JP_Hatecraft
Was three major races a typo on your part, or are you smashing all Asians into one race?
Posted by Fkkize 2 years ago
Fkkize
Someone using the term "microevolution" and being in favor of science...now I have seen everything.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
Anarcho-SocialiststriatedgsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by YoshiBoy13 2 years ago
YoshiBoy13
Anarcho-SocialiststriatedgsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Double forfeit COMBO! Massive damage! (battery running low, can't actually read the arguments. just noticed the ff)