From email@example.com Sat Jun 1 21:12:43 PDT 1996 Article: 30611 of alt.politics.white-power Path: nizkor.almanac.bc.ca!news.island.net!news.bctel.net!newsfeed.direct.ca!news.emf.net!imci3!newsfeed.internetmci.com!torn!hone!informer1.cis.McMaster.CA!usenet From: Laura Finsten
Newsgroups: alt.politics.white-power Subject: Re: Some Quotations about the Race Question Date: 31 May 1996 20:32:51 GMT Organization: McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (NewServer) Lines: 64 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org.McMaster.CA> References: <email@example.com.McMaster.CA> NNTP-Posting-Host: mac-finsten-l1.socsci.mcmaster.ca Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit X-Mailer: Mozilla 1.1N (Macintosh; I; PPC) X-URL: news:firstname.lastname@example.org.McMaster.CA In fact, what you did bugs me so much I'm posting my response here, too. Laura Finsten wrote: >email@example.com (Ole Kreiberg) wrote: Kreiberg: Please let me quote the American scientist Carleton S Coon, (now retired I guess) Professor of Anthropology at Harvard and at the University of Pennsylvania, curator of ethnology at the University Museum in Philadelphia, past President of the American Association of Physical Anthropology. In the course of writing his The Story of Man, which has been translated into at least eight languages, he said: Me: Although I'm not absolutely certain of this, I think that Carleton Coon may now be dead (according to bibliographic information he was born in 1904). Kreiberg: "More serious are the activities of the academic debunkers and soft- pedalers who operate inside anthropology itself. Basing their ideas on the concept of the brotherhood of man, certain writers, who are mostly social anthropologists, consider it immoral to study race, and produce book after book exposing it as a "myth". Their argument is that because the study of race once gave ammunition to racial fascists, we should pretend that races do not exist.... These writers are not physical anthropologists, but the public does not know the difference." Me: Coon's reference to "certain writers" is the bastion of an academic coward, I'm afraid to say. Who are they, so that readers may investigate their academic credentials for themselves, read the criticisms of Coon's ideas for themselves, and draw conclusions for themselves? Coon is in part correct that not all of his critics were physical anthropologists. Among the most vocal was a biologist who specialised in the study of genetics and (micro)evolution. To suggest that such a biologist lacks the knowledge and scholarly skills to criticise Coon's theory of human evolution is disingenuous, at best. And although Coon does not say so, there were *many* critics of his theory of human evolution (which entailed the racial superiority of "whites") who *were* physical anthropologists, including Sherwood Washburn and Ashley Montagu, both of whom were very vocal in the *scientific* criticisms of Coon's argument. It is also noteworthy that, today, most introductions to human evolution still include discussion of Coon's basic argument about the evolution of modern humans, i.e., that Homo sapiens emerged from Homo erectus in a number of different parts of the world, rather than in a single location. This idea, however, is not well-supported by the accumulating fossil and biochemical (mitochondrial DNA) evidence. Given the lack of support, it is no small wonder that Coon's corollary argument about the earlier emergence of "whites"/Europeans and their alleged superiority does not merit serious discussion. [text deleted] From firstname.lastname@example.org Sat Jun 8 07:34:03 PDT 1996 Article: 21853 of alt.politics.nationalism.white Path: nizkor.almanac.bc.ca!news.island.net!news.bctel.net!news2.bctel.net!imci2!imci3!newsfeed.internetmci.com!torn!hone!informer1.cis.McMaster.CA!usenet From: Laura Finsten Newsgroups: alt.politics.nationalism.white Subject: Re: Some Quotations about the Race Question Date: 7 Jun 1996 15:34:56 GMT Organization: McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (NewServer) Lines: 150 Message-ID: <email@example.com.McMaster.CA> References: <firstname.lastname@example.org.McMaster.CA> NNTP-Posting-Host: mac-finsten-l1.socsci.mcmaster.ca Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit X-Mailer: Mozilla 1.1N (Macintosh; I; PPC) X-URL: news:ajtinOev10C5065yn@login.dknet.dk email@example.com (Ole Kreiberg) wrote: >In article <firstname.lastname@example.org.McMaster.CA>, Laura Finsten wrote: >>In fact, what you did bugs me so much I'm posting my response here, >>too. >>Laura Finsten wrote: >> And although Coon does not say so, there were *many* critics of his >> theory of human evolution (which entailed the racial superiority of >> "whites") who *were* physical anthropologists, including Sherwood >> Washburn and Ashley Montagu, both of whom were very vocal in the >> *scientific* criticisms of Coon's argument. >Hm Ashly Montagu (born Israel Ehrenberg) says the following on >page 66 in "The Anatonomy on controversy, part two": Oh, well, that explains everything!!! Coon resigned as president of the AAPA, because he did not have the support of the organisation. The organisation did not consist entirely, or even predominantly, of Jews, Mr. Strom. There were no *physical anthropologists* speaking out vocally in support of Coon's theory of racial origins, and that ought to say a lot about the quality of the theory. Instead you chose to focus on the race/ethnicity of one of the individuals who was vocal in his criticisms. Now why is that, Mr. Strom? >"It is a fact that such recognitions [statistical results] cannot have >any meaning of this simple reason that all men by virtue of their >human nature have the right to be given every opportunity to fulfil >themselves. No results neither from the scientific anthropology, the >ethnology nor from psychological tests can by no means have influence >on this principle which is a ethical principle" >(I have translated the above English from a German translation. I am sorry >that I could not find the original one). > He admits that his arguments are rather based on ethics than pure science. I'll try to find time to check out the statement. But where is the evidence, Mr. Strom? Have you read the empirical and logical critiques of Coon's theory of racial origins? >> It is also noteworthy that, today, most introductions to human >> evolution still include discussion of Coon's basic argument about >> the evolution of modern humans, i.e., that Homo sapiens emerged from >> Homo erectus in a number of different parts of the world, rather than >> in a single location. This idea, however, is not well-supported by >> the accumulating fossil and biochemical (mitochondrial DNA) evidence. >> Given the lack of support, it is no small wonder that Coon's corollary >> argument about the earlier emergence of "whites"/Europeans and their >> alleged superiority does not merit serious discussion. >Carleton S. Coon wrote in 1962 (The Origins Of Races) p.18: >" I am making these statements not for any political or social purpose but >merely to show that, were it not for the mechanism cited above, men would >not be black, white, yellow, or brown. We would all be light khaki, for >there has been enough gene flow the clinal* regions of the world during the >last half millions yaers to have homogenized us all had that been the >evolutionary scheme of things, and had it not been advantageous to each of >the geographical races for it to retain, for the most part, the adaptive >elements in its genetic status quo. What "mechanisms cited above"? You see, if I am reading this paragraph correctly, a major flaw in Coon's reasoning here seems to be that all traits change at the same rate and in concert with one another. And yet the present evidence for earlier hominid evolution clearly indicates that this simply is not true. Superficial traits that confer a clear adapative advantage in a particular environmental setting, and are simple dominant- recessive traits, can change relatively rapidly, over a small number of generations. Coon is in fact partly correct here - skin colour does indeed show a "clinal distribution", generally speaking grading from lightest to the north to darkest in the south of the eastern hemisphere. This does indeed suggest that populations grade into one another (and they do so in other, less superficial traits, as well), and that there are no clear cut boundaries between "races". However, Coon is wrong in assuming that population movements and mixing should have resulted in a homogenous "khaki"-coloured mass of humans if all humans share the same immediate evolutionary ancestor. He is also wrong about the "half million years" for homogenisation. All the present evidence suggests that Homo sapiens sapiens have been around for less than half that time. > This status quo entails not only the variations in bones and teeth that >are evident in fossil man, and those of the surface features of living men, >like skin, hair, lips, and ears, by which we can distinguish races almost >at a glance, but also subtler differences seen only on the dissecting table >or through the eyepieces of microscopes. Races differ in the extent and >manner in which the fine subcutaneous muscles of the lips and cheeks have >become differentiated from the parent mammalian muscle body; in the chemical >composition of hair and of bodily secretions, including milk; in the ways >in which different endocrines: in certain details of the nervous system, >as, for example, how far down in the lumbar vertebrae the neural canal >extends; and in the capacity of individuals to tolerate crowding and >stress. Coon argued that he could identify five "races" of Homo erectus, and that the five (not four, not six) "races" of modern humans each evolved independently out of the five groups of this earlier species. And, surprise surprise, Coon argued that the line that produced "whites" underwent this transition before the others, so "whites" are "more evolved" than are other races. I don't think that there is a single living palaeoanthropologist who would support Coon's claim that such identifications are possible on the basis of fossil materials (it is tremendously difficult with recent skeletons). And as I have already said, there is no empirical support for his evolutionary argument. All of the existing evidence suggests that Homo sapiens emerged first in Africa. What are you going to say about that, Mr. Strom? Biochemical evidence doesn't support Coon, the additional fossil evidence that has accumulated since Coon wrote this does not support him, and our much improved understanding of human biological variation (skeletal and otherwise) does not support him. ALL populations are variable, that variation does indeed have a geographic component in humans just as it does in other species. But among humans, populations differ more >from one another than the groups lumped together as "races" do. Biologically, they are bogus categories based on a couple of superficial traits. > In studying racial differences in living men, physical anthropologists >are now relying less and less on anthropometry and more and more on >research in blood groups, hemoglobins, and other biochemical features. >This is all to the good because the inheritance of these newly discovered >characteristics can be accurately determined. In them, racial differences >have been found, differences just as the better known and much less >controversial than the latter in an increasingly race-conscious world. To >me, at least, it is encouraging to know that biochemistry divides us into >the same subspecies that we have long recognized on the basis of other >criteria" Well you know, Mr. Strom, when Coon was writing, biochemical genetic work was in its infancy. More than 30 years of accumulated data, and new and improved techniques for collecting and analysing genetic data, contradict Coon's conclusion. Would you care to address that? >*A cline is defined as "a region of racial transition, a frontier-in-depth >within which a subspecies [or what is commonly called a race] grades into >another through intermediate forms", More recent definitions of clinal distributions don't assume that "race" is a necessary part of them, in keeping with our present understanding of variation among humans. For example, Stephen Molnar defines a clinal distribution as "trac[ing] the geographical range of phenotypic or genetic characteristics of our species" ("Human Variation", 3rd ed., 1992, Prentice Hall, p.344). The focus on geography, something that Mr. "Ourobouros" Stone appears to have tremendous difficulty with, is in keeping with contemporary biological concepts of species, subspecies, and populations.
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