Anti-Disotell: Races exist, Disotell's methodology is flawed

3 posts

First off, I watched the first 5 parts for now.

Here is my first part of argument, this time against Dr. Disotell and the 'race isn't real' crew, who speaks during the first 15-20 minutes:
And here are some conclusions I came to with regards to his whole argument.

Dr. T.R. Disotell's line of argument during the first 3 parts, while employing a large collection of facts, uses pre-Darwinian XVIIth century essentialism of Carl Linnaeus in search of defined borders between races and flawed interpretation of Plato/Aristotle legacy in search of perfect “eidos” for each race.

First off, The core of Dr. Disotell' first part of argument is most notably described in the works of Carl Linnaeus; since XVIIth century, when the divine theory of creation of taxons was still used, it was believed, that all taxons, i.e. race, species, etc. are already a given, created by God, with very strict borders defined, which we simply need to find. These Linnaeus’ species are sometimes called species-individuals . In other words, unlike Darwin's dynamic, evolutionary species, Linnaeus' species are static individual objects.

But since at least late XVIIIth Century , and especially after Darwin, as more and more scientific evidence piled up, scientists began to doubt, that taxons are individual objects ; new idea appeared, an idea, that stated, that taxonomic reality is continual, uninterrupted by any borders , spaces, etc. (see Zuyeva and Rozov’s article ‘The problem of being for a taxon in biological taxonomy’).

Second, The last part of Dr. Disotell's argument - the search for that 'pure' Platonic eidos of a race and the search for a strictly defined set of morphological characters, that each member of a group needs to correspond to, - also fails, since Dr. Disotell fails to explain, exactly how we are supposed to work with the data and said subspecie characters, as if its self-evident.

While in fact, there are at least three methods to do that:

a) via division of observed morphological characters into important and unimportant ones, but here we take all important characters as being equally important (i.e. hair texture is unimportant, but skin tone and skull length are equally important)

b) classify all said characters as equally important, with no unimportant ones (hair texture is as important, as skin tone and as skull length)

c) All characters are important, but some are more important, than the others, since some are more pronounced and widespread, than the others, in other words, we assign abstract 'weight' to each character for each race, depending on how strongly its pronounced in populations of a certain race
(darker skin tone is 2 for Europids, 9 for Negroids, 3 for Asians, light eyes are 8 for Europids, 1 for Negroids, 3 for Asians, epicanthic fold is 9 for Asians, 2 for Europids, 2 for Negroids, etc.)

Among proponents of type C is Doctor of Biological Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences L.N. Vasiljeva, wno noted in her article ' Essentialism in the Problem of Species ' the species problem in classifying all living things may be solved only via creation of a holistic hierarchy of differences between organisms . Holistic hierarchy - something, that is completely amiss in Dr. Disotell's argument.

And his data fits type C perfectly - so what, that a certain gentleman in Asia, may look with regards to some morphological characters, more akin to a European guy, than to another Asian gentlemen, who is on the other side of the specter of the Asian race internal variation? There’s nothing new about the fact, that interindividual variability is always higher, than interspecies and intersubspecies variability. Also, transitionary species and subspecies, as well as certain amount of mestizoes aren't new either.

So what that certain African tribes in Africa have a huge variation of skin hues, skull shapes? There's also nothing new about the fact, that different populations within a race may also have some morphological characters more pronounced than others, but it doesn’t take away their general unity.

To sum things up, Dr. Disotell uses either outdated or flawed concepts to analyze his data and thus arrives to an incorrect conclusion.

This graphic should help:


This graphic should help what?