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Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1269129317


From: "Tom Gull" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] OT How many races are there?
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 19:55:17 -0400
References: <mailman.4026.1268867364.12642.genealogy-dna@rootsweb.com><1395B0DF-5C60-4764-A58E-131083F09121@gmail.com><BLU126-DS16A4AF6938701A160AE11892290@phx.gbl><5FA85683-DFAC-43F9-A561-3E02D08D087E@vizachero.com><BLU126-DS13ED0188ABDF0EF766449092290@phx.gbl><SNT131-ds17F88D58C471F6F2F1BF9FBC290@phx.gbl><BLU126-DS773373D330F16C795176392290@phx.gbl><SNT131-ds13977CE9A6ECC0C26570FBBC290@phx.gbl>
In-Reply-To: <SNT131-ds13977CE9A6ECC0C26570FBBC290@phx.gbl>


Another way to look at this: the hypothesis is that we have four races and
we can easily tell which race a person "belongs to" by appearance alone. Is
this a solid hypothesis with top-notch predictive qualities? Would you bet
your life that Emmett Smith's race was "African" only based on his physical
appearance?

If so, you'd die. His recent appearance on TV as a guest having his
ancestry analyzed revealed his DNA is not all African in origin. It's an
admixture, part of the continuum we all participate in. Without knowing the
geographic origins of a person and virtually all of his ancestry in advance,
the predictive hypothesis of "race" would be a very shaky edifice to bet
anything of consequence on. And even if you knew those things, all it takes
is one person with a different DNA background in the ancestry to ruin the
prediction. How valuable is an hypothesis with limited predictive value for
scientifically known reasons?

As time goes on, the predictive quality of this hypothesis is eroding
quickly. The conditions that made it once more effective have changed. And
that change actually started thousands of years ago as people started to
wander around the globe more and interbreed. You just couldn't prove it
because DNA testing wasn't on the horizon. So yes, science has changed our
viewpoint in this area and is continuing to do so. The beliefs held 300
years ago have been proven to be inaccurate at the molecular level, an
artifact of isolation and not even a complete one then. With isolation
disappearing, so is the usefulness and reality of that hypothesis.




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