Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is there such a thing as different races in the human species? Or are we just one race – the human race?

I found this article: The K9 Comparison—What Dogs Tell Us About Humans

The article describes a scientist Dr Freedman who himself is in a bi-racial marriage, perform tests on different dog breeds to determine the effect of breed on behaviour.

Dog breeds provide the classic case study of within-species differentiation. Those who would dismiss race and race differences regularly point out that DNA differences between races are minimal. But, as Vincent Sarich demonstrated in Race: The Reality of Human Differences (pp. 170 – 173) human racial differences in morphology are greater than in any non-domesticated species. They are around ten times the difference between the sexes within each race and larger than the differences that distinguish the two species of chimpanzee. Despite minimal genetic differences, human physical racial differences are clearly observable.

(Studies show that humans share 98.4% of genetic information with Chimpanzees, so it only takes a little to change phenotypical differences in nature).

He submitted the paper on racial differences in neonate behavior to Science, the most prestigious scientific journal in the U.S. It had published his study behavioral differences in pups of different dog breeds without any problem or controversy. The paper on race differences, however, was rejected by a split vote of the reviewers. Interesting!

Freedman then submitted it to Nature, the British analogue to Science. It again received a split decision from the judges. Fortunately, the editor broke the deadlock by casting his deciding vote in favor of publication. [Behavioural Differences between Chinese–American and European–American Newborns D. G. Freedman & Nina Chinn Freedman, Nature December 20, 1969]

The following are the interesting scientific points to note to suggest there are different races, with different characteristics inherent in their genes.

New born babies were studied by neurologists using a maneuver called the "defense reaction", the baby's nose was briefly pressed with a cloth, forcing him to breathe with his mouth. Most Caucasian and black babies fight the maneuver by immediately turning away or swiping at the cloth with their hands. Not surprisingly, this is listed in Western pediatric textbooks as the normal, expected response.

But not so for the average Chinese babies in the study. They simply lay on their back, breathing from the mouth, "accepting" the cloth without a fight.

There were other more subtle differences. While both Chinese and Caucasian infants would start to cry at about the same point in the examination, especially when they were being undressed, Chinese babies stopped crying immediately, while Caucasian babies quieted only gradually.
The conclusions found that white babies started to cry more easily, and once they started, they were more difficult to console. Chinese babies adapted to almost any position in which they were placed. When placed face down in their cribs, they tended to keep their faces buried in the sheets rather than immediately turning to one side, as did the Whites.

Another scientific field that recognises racial difference is pharmacogenetics for example, the study of genetic differences in the tolerance and effectiveness of medicinal drugs. African American patients, on average, do not benefit as much as whites from ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) inhibitors, a standard treatment for heart failure. This is probably because of race differences in nitric oxide, which is produced by the cells that line our blood vessels and dampens contraction of the muscle cells, relaxing the vessels and lowering blood pressure. Blacks are more likely than whites to have nitric oxide insufficiency. Why, no one currently knows.

I would like to see this study conducted on children from bi-racial parents where the offspring are “pure” in their appearance of either being black/ asian/white to see if the mixed offspring will give the same response.

For example the image is of the “Hodgson twins” , where both the parents are bi-racial. They have twin daughters, one appears traditionally “black” while the other, with blonde hair and blue eyes appears “white”. To have one white offspring and one black offspring as twins is statisically a 1 in a million chance!

I’d like to see the results of the study done on these sorts of children, and the effects of mixed-race.

Genetics – interesting, no?


Scott Hughes said...

I think race is a social construct. People who's ancestors were from the Northern-most parts of Africa are probably more genetically similar to people from the Southern-most parts of Europe than to the most people from Africa. Races were created by arbitrary dividing up humans from each region (i.e. drawing imaginary borders), but there is no genetic divide big enough to warrant a racial distinction.

Alex said...

Race being a social construct is an idea where everyone is equal. Radical egalitarianism is just another name for communism. There are differences in genetics (as listed in the post) to suggest that there are differences not just genetically, but also in behaviour. The idea that race is a social construct has gained popularity in secular humanist circles as a method of combating racism. In the end, it denies people their ancestry and their heratige by forcing us into one big "the same" melting pot. We are different, there are races, we just need to make sure it is not an excuse for racism and hatred.

Scientifically the evidence for different race exists, the fact is, the original journal Science refused to publish the findings because of political repurcussions.

This is NOT how science is supposed to operate.

There are different races, and we are all different. But it isn't a bad thing, it's only a positive thing.

We keep hearing how wonderful diversity is. If we are afraid to discuss the idea of race and we afraid of difference, then obviously multiculturalism isn't good and it doesn't work. There is a catch 22 here if you stop and think about it.

Race exists, it's not something to be afraid of, it's only a wonderful thing!

blackstone said...

The hodgin twins thing is amazing. i remember seeing that.

but alex what you said doesn't really make sense. how many races are there? is chinese a race? is african american a race ? is it a race different from native africans?is a south african different race from a north african and he different from an east african? are all east africans the same race then?etc,etc.

Alex said...

Hi Blackstone,

I saw the Hodgins twins in creation magazine a year ago, and I came across this article about the dog species and the two articles conflicted. Since then, I've been doing some further research onto the race issue. It seems to polarize the community.

This website is particularly brilliant in support of different races, and includes ‘hard core’ scientific evidence to back up what is being said. I approve of this website because I don’t believe the guy is racist, but seems to approach the issue from an anti-This perfect day , one race hegemony perspective.

In terms of one specific question, are African American Blacks the same as African Blacks the answer is No! I read somewhere on this forum,
that African Americans (about 70%) have mixed European ancestry to some degree. I guess that makes you mulattos? I don’t know if you find this term offensive, as it was a term used by people to describe their racial history on the forum. It appears as though they don’t like the “One drop colour rule”, which is where if they are half black half white, people just consider them full black. I was under the impression it wasn’t a racial epithet. If it is, I apologise without equivocation to anyone who finds it offensive.

Further to this, the hodgsin twin article describes that for two mulattos or mixed race parents to give birth to a full black or full white child it is statistically equal to 1 in 10,000. My own prejudice had me believe that a full black child would be more likely due to dominate genetics! How wrong I was!

I found this article incredibly interesting and should answer your questions about – is Chinese a race?

I assume being African American, you are most interested in your ancestry. The article lists the different African racial groups. To be honest, I was AMAZED at how many there actually are!

I. Capoid or Khoisanid Subspecies of southern Africa
A. Khoid (Hottentot) race
B. Sanid (Bushmen) race

II. Congoid Subspecies of sub-Saharan Africa
A. Central Congoid race (Geographic center and origin in the Congo river basin)
1. Palaecongoid subrace (the Congo river basin: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Angola)
2. Sudanid subrace (western Africa: Niger, Mali, Senegal, Guinea)
3. Nilotid subrace (southern Sudan; the ancient Nubians were of this subrace)
4. Kafrid or Bantid subrace (east and south Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Natal)
B. Bambutid race (African Pygmies)
C. Aethiopid race (Ethiopia, Somalia; hybridized with Caucasoids)

The greatest percentage of genetic difference between any of the races in the world is .176% between Nigerians and Australian Aborigines! Considering they are both Black in appearance, I would have naively thought them to be similar races. Extraordinary!!

Anonymous said...

A forced kindness deserves no thanks.