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From: John Lerch <>
Subject: [DNA] re OT race
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 8:43:13 -0700


Although I think the division into races stupid, I'm going to play a bit of devil's advocate.
re John C's comment about Greenland and Antarctica--allegedly a continent has some number of different climatologic zones and allegedly Antarctica meets that measure and Greenland does not. (Devil's devil's advocate: I might add that Puerto Rico (and by extension) most of the major Caribbean islands such as Cuba might ; a friend of mine reported that Puerto Rico's mountain range divides the island into at least 2 zones for sure.)
By analogy with climate zones, race might be correlated with areas in which alleles for some obvious physical characteristics which have incomplete dominance predominate. IOW I haven't seen any sign of discussion of dominance/recessive in the discussion of race.
Having played devil's advocate, I return to my comment in my other post. Race was just a division that people made up to "explain" why others were more the savages than they were. Now it's just a device to sell dvds. (I.E. "my tribe really like this artist." or "my tribe really likes these shoes" etc.)
Unscientific note added in proof. It seems to me that the wanderers into foreign territory ( the Jim Bridgers etc.) were much less likely to encounter hostility than the settlers. IMO it wasn't because the settlers were permanent; it was because the wanderers were anti-tribal. (The premise probably not completely recognized by the author of "Dancing with Wolves". (Of course the Costner character incurred the wrath of his tribe for rejecting their tribality.))

Raymond wrote
Someone might wonder whether or not Greenland is a continent. But, who would
wonder the same thing about Cuba? When you get past the five major
biogeographical groups which have been distinguished, you don't find any sixth
subdivision analagous, in size, to a Greenland!

Ray Whritenour
----- Original Message -----
From: John Chandler<>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 8:53 PM
Subject: Re: [DNA] OT How many races are there?


Vince wrote:

> Every cluster is a subcluster of something else. And vice-versa.

I think this is a good time to introduce an analogy. Consider islands
and continents. It is purely arbitrary to consider Greenland an
island and Antarctica a continent, and purely whacky to consider
Europe as a separate continent from Asia, but not India. Chunks of
land come in all sizes and all degrees of separation from other chunks
of land, and in fact the chunks shift around on time scales of
millions of years. Similarly, genetic clusters come in all sizes and
degrees of separation and can change over time.

John Chandler


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