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Pondering the universe


The myth of race

Racial discrimination is based upon the idea that there are distinct races. However, the sequencing of the human genome showed that there are no genetic markers that definitively identify race.

A popular classification of races was:
#RaceTypical characteristics
1CaucasionWhiter skin, lighter coloured hair
2MongoloidYellower skin, straight black hair, epicanthic fold over the eyes
3NegroidDark skin, thick black hair

Given that there is no genetic markers for race, how can there have been such distinct characteristics that the above classification was used? Since these groups tend to belong to particular latitudes, the characteristics may have arisen as the long-term adaptation to the climate of those latitudes. Certainly, dark skin colour, due to UV-blocking pigmentation, would seem to be the natural adaptation to an excess of sunlight in tropical areas over many generations, in that those with dark skin were more likely to survive to produce resilient offspring.

But the idea of race was not just limited to three groups, but to sub-groups of these, with Jews being a particularly identified one. However, the Nazis had to rely upon them self-identifying as Jewish, or being descended from those who did, which indicates that that their so-called racial identification was based more on culture than any physical characteristics.

So could culture contribute to particular physical chartacteristics? That could occur if offsrping with the desired characteristics occur often enough to make it feasable, but then those without them would need to be eliminated, either by outright killing, or preventing them breeding. Such discrimination could easily be enforced by religio-socio-political practices.

Due to the lack of definitive genetic indicators, race has been complicated by being defined as a profile of characteristics, making distinguishing between them requiring statistical inference. However, modern access to worldwide transport has meant that people have many more opportunities to interbreed, diluting racial profiles further. In fact, it would take only seven generations of optimal genetic diversity to breed out any particular profile to be less than 1%. Modern lifestyles mean that the earth will be filled with a mongrel humanity within 200 years, if we survive until then.

Some people have decreed that their race is superior, and thus needs to be kept pure. However, as a mechanism for identifying races, race-specific genetic markers would have been far superior. That the current mechanism is easily corruptible/malleable, suggests that containment is an impossible goal, but that dissemination is facilitated, as new useful characteristics can be spread more easily. This makes more sense from an evolutionary perspective, whether guided or ad-hoc. In fact, the current mechanism is the most democratic, because the decisions of each of us are integral to the process.

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