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Thread: "Classifying Humans into Races the Biggest Mistake in History of Science"

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    "Classifying Humans into Races the Biggest Mistake in History of Science"

    Science is one of the most remarkable inventions of humankind. It has been a source of inspiration and understanding, lifted the veil of ignorance and superstition, been a catalyst for social change and economic growth, and saved countless lives.

    Yet, history also shows us that its been a mixed blessing. Some discoveries have done far more harm than good. And there’s one mistake you will never read about in those internet lists of the all-time biggest blunders of science.

    The worst error in the history of science was undoubtedly classifying humans into the different races.

    Race theory stands alone as biggest mistake

    Now, there are some big contenders for this dubious honour. Massive blunders like the invention of nuclear weapons, fossil fuels, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), leaded petrol and DDT. And tenuous theories and dubious discoveries like luminiferous aether, the expanding earth, vitalism, blank slate theory, phrenology, and Piltown Man, to name just a few.

    But race theory stands out among all of them because it has wreaked untold misery and been used to justify barbaric acts of colonialism, slavery and even genocide. Even today it’s still used to explain social inequality, and continues to inspire the rise of the far right across the globe.

    Take for example the controversy that surrounded Nicholas Wade’s 2014 book, A Troublesome Inheritance, if you doubt for a moment the resonance race still has for some people.

    The human races were invented by anthropologists like Johann Friedrich Blumenbach back in the 18th century in an attempt to categorise new groups of people being encountered and exploited as part of an ever expanding European colonialism.

    From the very beginning, the arbitrary and subjective nature of race categories was widely acknowledged. Most of the time races were justified on the grounds of cultural or language differences between groups of people rather than biological ones.

    Their existence was taken as a given right up until the 20th century when anthropologists were busy writing about races as a biological explanation for differences in psychology, including intelligence, and educational and socioeconomic outcomes between groups of people.

    Are races still valid?

    Yet, there always was a great deal of unease about race and a widely held belief that racial categories were in practice extraordinarily difficult to apply.

    One famous critic of racial theory was the American anthropologist Ashley Montagu who wrote in 1941:

    “The omelette called ‘race’ has no existence outside the statistical frying pan in which it has been reduced by the heat of the anthropological imagination.”

    If race still resonates today publicly and politically, what do scientists think about it? Do anthropologists in particular believe that races are still valid?

    A new survey of more than 3,000 anthropologists by Jennifer Wagner of the Geisinger Health System and her team has recently been published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and it offers some valuable insights into their views and beliefs.

    The people surveyed were members of the American Anthropological Association, the largest professional body of anthropologists in the world.

    They were asked to respond to 53 statements about race covering topics like whether races are real, if they are determined by biology, whether races should play a role in medicine, the role of race and ancestry in commercial genetic testing, and if the term race should continue to be used at all.

    Most revealing was the response to the statement, “The human population may be subdivided into biological races”, with 86 per cent of respondents strongly disagreeing or disagreeing.

    To the statement, “Racial categories are determined by biology”, 88 per cent strongly disagreed or disagreed. And, “Most anthropologists believe that humans may be subdivided into biological races”, 85 per cent of respondents strongly disagreed or disagreed.

    We can take from this that there is a clear consensus among anthropologists that races aren’t real, that they don’t reflect biological reality, and that most anthropologists don’t believe there is a place for race categories in science.

    But buried within the survey results were some troubling findings like that anthropologists from privileged groups—in the US context ‘white’ males and females—were more likely to accept race as valid than non-privileged groups.

    These privileged scientists represent 75 per cent of the anthropologists surveyed. Their power and influence reaches right across the field. They are the main people determining what research is done, who gets funding, they are training the next generation of anthropologists, and are the public face of the field as well as the experts whose opinion is sought on issues like race.

    Long-held views need to be challenged

    The take home message is clear. Like everyone else, anthropologists are far from immune to unconscious bias, especially the effects of social status and culture in shaping our beliefs on issues like race.

    Ironically perhaps, we anthropologists need, as a discipline, to work a lot harder at challenging our own deeply held and culturally embedded views, as well as on giving a greater voice to those scientists from historically non-privileged groups.

    Still, the survey makes a very powerful statement. It is a resounding rejection of race by those scientists whose discipline invented the system of racial classification itself.

    It also marks the near universal acceptance by anthropologist of decades of genetic evidence showing that human variation can’t be pigeonholed into categories called races.

    Stepping out of my ivory tower, I can’t see the political class or broader community adopting such a strong view against race any time soon.
    https://www.amren.com/news/2016/12/c...story-science/

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    What a load of nonsense! People can and will persist in believing things that are palpably false if it suits their needs. A 4 foot tall man could convince himself that he was of average height. That delusion would be strongly tested every time he had to flip a light switch and found he needed to stand on a stool to do it. Yet if he was crazy enough he could still hold to the delusion that he was averagely tall.

    However, the amount of cognitive dissonance that begins to creep into these kinds of worldviews tend to render them rather unconvincing to outside observers. For instance I wonder how many of those who believe race doesn't exist still think "white people" are responsible for everything wrong in the world?

    Biological race exists in a number of important ways.

    For instance if someone is mixed race, their chances of receiving an organ transplant should they need one are almost nil.

    There are also genetic medical conditions that occur only in some races and not in others. Northern europeans don't get sickle cell anemia for instance.

    There is even at least one heart drug which is approved only for use in those of African descent.

    So to say that biological race doesn't exist is a palpable nonsense which if persisted in, would end up costing lives due to medical malpractice.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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    The discussion in the comments section of the original article is fun. A bunch of idiots are throwing around words that would substitute the word, and the whole concept of, "superior" so that it emotionally pleases them.
    Lieber tot als Sklave!

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    Scientist: — The races do not exist! The races do not exist!
    Mob: — Burning into the ground!



    This is from Van Helsing movie when Dr. Viktor Frankenstein creates the monster and the village people want kill him.




    Seriously, in the ages of normality (f.e. Ancient Greeks, Mediaeval Saracens, Chinese, Japanese) the religion and the politics do not influence on Science. This is a real European invention what has started with Constantinus and Theodosius whos destroyed the Ancient Hellenistic Civilisation and the other non-Christian religions. This followed the Dark Mediaeval European witch-burning, the Great Inquisition, the Church Index of the forbidden books. In the 20th century side by side the slowly die Christianity, the Totalitarian Dictatorships told to the scienstist what they wanted read and hear from them. Who did not believe the Hitlerist or the Communist future that was minimum "mental ill" or simply a dead in a concentration camp in Poland or Siberia.

    Nowadays the slowly die Euro-Athlantic American Empire plays the same game like as the late Romans, the Church, Hitler or Stalin. They feel that the power slowly disappeares from their hands and now they dropped the mask of the liberty and they want get the power in all cost. This is obiviously that the American Empire want a racial mixed population what it can more easily controll than the network of racially diverse national states. There are always scientists whos would sell own soul to the Satan for higher scientific post or money. The scientist of the Sovietunion or Hitler's Empire just made the same. However this distorted idea of destroy of the races is an idea of a weaker and weaker power what want hold on anything. The Romans or the Church did the same, now where is the Romans? Where is the Church in Europe? The Christianity is a religion of the Thirld World, not European nowadays.The successor of the Roman Empire, Italy is state with many ethnically and culturally different part what just the iron fist of the central Goverment can hold together like as Lombardy, South-Italy and Sicily.

    So, the races were, the races are, the races will be. The empires of this planet always have the end with own rise, glory, tyranny, scientific/religious madness and fall. One of my best teacher said once that "God do not like the great empires". If we see the history, it seems true.

    "Remember that, even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God, you cannot say, "But I was told by others to do thus,"or that virtue "was not convenient at the time." This will not suffice."
    /King Baldwin IV in the Kingdom of Heaven/

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    Race theory may have been abused but its still real nonetheless, and recognised by most of the world. (China, Indonesia, Russia etc.) If you want to offend "race deniers" just call races subspecies: the geographical races meet the criteria. Arguments like "no one can demonstrate a fixed number of races" have no place in biotaxonomy.

    The AAA has no credibility nowadays. They removed the word "science" from their public statement. However in the 19th Century physial anthropology and its taxonomy moved apart from "normal" zoology as a discipline. There is a story to be told there, the "outsideness" of physical anthropology is not just an assault by Cultural Marxists. And humans are self-domesticated as known by Fischer in Germany and Boas in the States. A good part of human racial (populational) differences are at the level of dog landraces not subspecies. But no one thinks all dogs are the same.

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