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From: "Raymond Whritenour" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] OT How many races are there?
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 16:42:48 -0400
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Probably true, but a social construct pretty much agreed upon by the scientists who do this genetic research--much the same way as scientists tell us how many planets there are in our solar system, where Pluto is the "Greenland." But, they don't call any of the thousands of asteroids circling about the Sun a planet!

Ray Whritenour
----- Original Message -----
From: Vincent Vizachero<mailto:>
To: <mailto:>
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2010 7:16 AM
Subject: Re: [DNA] OT How many races are there?


The point I took away from John's post is that the definitions and
accepted boundaries of continents are a social construct, much like
the definitions and boundaries of genetic clusters. People draw the
boundaries where they think they should be. You think there are five
or six "races", so that's how you draw up the system. You think
Greenland should be a continent but not Cuba, so that's how you draw
up the system.

Wikipedia illustrates this, showing the different number of continents
as a function of political necessity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continent#Number_of_continents<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continent#Number_of_continents>;

In the end, when people are drawing up definitions to suit their
preconceptions the definitions are scientifically arbitrary. That's
the DNA-related lesson to take away from this, I think.

VV


On Mar 17, 2010, at 9:39 PM, Raymond Whritenour 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!


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