people within a nation or tribe," Lewontin concluded._

This finding is perfectly in line with the expectation that most of the genetic variation in each race would be the same as that of the ancestral human gene pool from which it was drawn. But the question then arose as to whether the extent of the difference between races was large or small. Lewontin argued that the difference was so trivial that racial classification had no genetic significance or justification.

Many biologists have chosen to go along with his interpretation, and this position has been followed, even taken to extremes, by the major social science organizations in the United States. According to the American Sociological Association, race apparently does not even have a biological foundation, since it is a "social construct." The association's official statement on race warns that "Although racial categories are legitimate subjects of empirical sociological investigation, it is important to recognize the danger of contributing to the popular conception of race as biological"237

The American Anthropological Association also dismisses the idea that biological differences can be recognized between races: "In the United States both scholars and the general public have been conditioned to viewing human races as natural and separate divisions within the human species based on visible physical differences," the AAA statement says. But since physical traits vary smoothly across the globe, and are not correlated with one another, "these facts render any attempt to establish lines of division among biological populations both arbitrary and subjective"238

But people can now be objectively assigned to their continent of origin, in other words to their race, by genetic markers such as those used by Feldman. And Lewontin's characterization of the differences he had found as trivial was as much a political as a scientific opinion. The degree of differentiation he had measured in the human population was similar to other estimates that put the value of global Fst as between 10 and 15%. Sewall Wright, one of the three founders of population genetics and the inventor of the Fst measure, commented that "if racial differences this large were seen in another species, they would be called

Was this article helpful?

0 0
The Power Of Charisma

The Power Of Charisma

You knowthere's something about you I like. I can't put my finger on it and it's not just the fact that you will download this ebook but there's something about you that makes you attractive.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment