Genes, genomes and genealogies discussion
Comments on the article: Genes, genomes and genealogies: the return of scientific racism? Robert Carter Ethnic and racial Studies 2007-07-04
Hiram's review: I am not very impressed with Mr. Carter's discussion. Humans can be grouped in any number of ways by any number of criteria. For social science, human groupings are created as a means of trying to find correlations between groups, or correlations between the grouping criteria and other measurable characteristics of the subjects under study. These group criteria can be constructed as a hypothesis to test a theory of correlation.
The difficulty of most groupings and correlations is that they do not establish a causitive mechanism. Grouping criteria can also be shown to be worthless if they have no correlation with anything. DNA genotyping is merely another type of grouping criteria. The only proof of its usefulness as a grouping criteria will come in the testing of its correlation with other measurements of the subjects under study. It will have the same usefulness of any other measurement criteria, it will be useful to demonstrate some types of correlations, it will be found worthless for other correlations.
There may be one important difference though, and that would be as an actual causitive factor. When the relationship between a genotype and a phenotype can be clearly demonstrated, the probability increases for that genotype being a causitive factor to that phenotype. This raises the question of what exactly is a phenotype. Is criminal behavior a phenotype ? Perhaps a question for the social scientists.