IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

Re. brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

Dan Holzman holzman at panix.com
Thu Oct 3 22:48:33 EST 2002

In article <8r7n9.14860$Kg4.1403015 at news20.bellglobal.com>,
Parse Tree <parsetree at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> >>
>> The biological basis for different skin colour is the amount of
>> melanin in one's skin cells.  There is no melanin content, however,
>> above which one is "Black" and below which one is "White."  There are
>> "Black" people with lighter skin than mine.  There are "Black" people
>> with blonde hair and blue eyes.
>I have never met any, or heard about this.  Is this like the Chinese girls
>with green eyes in Big Trouble in Little China?  You do know they were
>wearing coloured contacts, right?

Nothing like Chinese girls with green eyes.  

The definition of "Black" is "anyone with a Black ancestor."  Someone
with seven German great grandparents and one African great grandparent
is most likely going to be of the phenotype I described above, but
their passport until very recently would have read "Black" and their
birth certificate would have said "Octaroon."    Alternately, someone
with two Black parents, each of whom have White ancestors, has a
non-zero chance of manifesting this phenotype.

Along similar lines, there is a maximum number of generations back one
can trace an American Indian ancestor to be considered one by the
government.  I think it's one's great grandparent, but I'm uncertain.
That means that the child of an American Indian would be classified as
not an American Indian by the BIA.  

Around the turn of the century, Syrians were of the "Arabic" race, and
therefore not permitted to immigrate to the US.  Some Syrians
challenged this in court and over the course of several years, Syrians
went back and forth between being "White" and "Arabic."

In each case, what race one is a member of is defined by legislation
or court ruling.  There's no actual science behind any of this.

>> Similarly, there is no metric for facial structure (or any other
>> biological feature) that can be used to accurately categorize people
>> into "races."
>These are visual cues.  There is no reason that things could not be properly
>categorized.  The problem is simply that it has no importance, and that it
>is not PC.

These things are categorized all the time.  There's simply no
scientific basis for the categories.  Scientists tried for years to
categorize these things.  Everything they've thought of to use to
categorize these things has turned out not to work.

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net