The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Is Race a meme?  (Read 4462 times)

Offline Tarmacvic

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Is Race a meme?
« on: 13/11/2007 20:11:14 »
Is there any proof that there is such a thing as Race? Is the concept of race an Idea Virus? Could Epigentics play a stronger role in our understanding of how culture actually perpetuates the myth of Race?



 

blakestyger

  • Guest
Is Race a meme?
« Reply #1 on: 18/04/2008 16:32:51 »
I think the question should be  - is there such a thing as a meme?
I think it's just Dawkins being silly and trying to muscle in on the evolution debate and get a name like Darwin.
 

Offline Tarmacvic

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Is Race a meme?
« Reply #2 on: 18/04/2008 18:45:50 »
From the lack of responses, it looks to me like its one of those verboten subjects that no one wants to discuss seriously. I had no ulterior motives in posting the question(s). OK, possibly one: to eliminate a meme with a meme? I have read in several science articles that some geneticists question the existence of race. One was related to the zebra fish study.

As far as the existence of memes, I guess it's all a matter of semantics..

You may remove my post if you prefer since it is not being addressed.  :)
 

Offline Supercryptid

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 606
    • View Profile
    • http://www.angelfire.com/sc2/Trunko
Is Race a meme?
« Reply #3 on: 18/04/2008 19:17:05 »
In order for one to say whether or not race exists, one must define what race exactly is. As far as I know, there are no hard-edged boundaries that seperate the characteristics of one race from those of another. It's kind of like creating a boundary on the color wheel that says "blue ends here and green begins here". Such a technique doesn't fully appreciate the various hues of blue-green that exist between blue and green.

Some people that study human skeletal structure seem to have worked out a system that roughly classifies people into different races based on their skeletal characteristics. I've heard, however, that the system they use would categorize some people who believe that they are of one race as being in a different race. I still believe that race is a matter of degrees of difference rather than rigid cut-off points. To sum it up: I believe that race is a subjective term. You can be "blacker" or "whiter", but I don't think you can be solidly black or solidly white for the simple reason that there is no fool-proof, generally agreed upon test that can be used to establish it.

Take note, however, that "true" race doesn't have to exist in order for racism to exist. All that is required for racism is the perception of race. If you can draw boundaries in your mind that seperate "us" from "them", then that's all that's needed.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Is Race a meme?
« Reply #4 on: 20/04/2008 05:05:31 »
The term 'race' in humans is equivalent to the term 'breed' when applied to dogs or other animals.  Clearly, there is not the effort in thorough-breeding humans as there is in thorough-breeding domestic animals, hence there is no definition of what an archetypal human breed should be, hence we are all mongrels to some extent.  There is also the problem of defining what a 'race' or 'breed' or humans are.  With dogs, you have official bodies that define physical characteristics that define one breed or another, but the actual definitions are essentially arbitrary points on a continuum (as has been indicated with issues of race above).

In European terms (and similarly in the USA and Australasia) race normally refers to skin colour, but there are many parameters that can define race, and there is no reason to assume that everybody who shares a particular skin colour is of the same race.  The only thing you need to define race is a set of commonly inherited traits, and a relatively isolated breeding population.  As such, any tribal community that does not commonly breed outside of its own tribe can become a 'race' or 'breed'.

Within the European context, there are historically variations in physique between people of Mediterranean background and those of Scandinavian background (although the Finnish/Suomi people are different again) can be considered to be different races.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Is Race a meme?
« Reply #4 on: 20/04/2008 05:05:31 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums