The Science of Race
Last fall I was listening to the podcast of Radiolab, which is one of my favorite podcasts because Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich make science fun and engaging.
So, anyway, they had a show on race where they discussed the science behind race and the fact that race has no scientific basis because race it’s socially constructed.
But then I pick up February’s Discover magazine where an article makes the case that man has evolved into different races and has some genetic basis.
“These variations are well known to forensic anthropologists,” Hawks says as he points them out: In Europeans, the cheekbones slant backward, the eye sockets are shaped like aviator glasses, and the nose bridge is high. Asians have cheekbones facing more forward, very round orbits, and a very low nose bridge. Australians have thicker skulls and the biggest teeth, on average, of any population today. “It beats me how leading biologists could look at the fossil record and conclude that human evolution came to a standstill 50,000 years ago,” Hawks says.
…Scanning genomes in the haplotype map for these clues, the researchers discovered that 7 percent of human genes fit the profile of a recent adaptation, with most of the change happening from 40,000 years ago to the present. As predicted, these apparent adaptations occurred at a rate that jumped almost exponentially in prevalence as the human population exploded. To rule out the prevailing view—that our evolution has proceeded at a steady rate all along—the scientists ran an additional check. They performed a computer simulation to see what would have happened if humans had evolved at modern rates ever since we diverged from chimpanzees 6 million years ago. The steady-state test led to a nonsensical result: The difference between the two species today would be 160 times greater than it actually is. To Moyzis and the others, the results confirmed that human evolution had only recently hit the accelerator
So, I’m confused.
I want to believe that there is not a genetic reason for race, thus making us all equal but then I also have always had a problem with it because my eyes told me that it has to be a reason.
I’ll have to ponder this one out some more.