Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Sociology Argument: Race= Valid Means of Classifying

  1. Oct 20, 2005 #1
    The last couple days in Sociology have been very argumentative. Here's why

    Why Race Exists As a Valid Means of Classification

    We humans have created a device to help classify and recognize the physical differences between living organisms. This identification system was created in order to help us recognize more specific referrals (both mentally and socially.). A general rule of writing is that when more details are contained in a text, a more specific, recognizable image will result.
    In order to fully understand the concept of race and subspecies, one must grasp the construct in which these definitions are contained. This system of creature classification is known as taxology. Taxology is defined as:

    ‘The theories and techniques of naming, describing, and classifying organisms. The taxonomic hierarchy is, from top to bottom: kingdom, phylum (for animals) or division (for plants and fungi), class, order, family, genus, species, subspecies.’ (www.hyperdictionary.com)

    Now to better analogize, let us inverse identify a creature via this structural hierarchy of systematic identification. Our subject will be the Chihuahua:

    · 1st, we must define the organism’s subspecies, which is ‘Chihuahua’ (a subspecies is a taxonomic subdivision of a species consisting of an interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms.).
    · 2nd, we must identify the organism’s species, ‘C. Lupus’ (Canis Lupus). Remember, a species is ‘taxonomic group whose members can interbreed’. (www.dictionary.com)
    · 3rd, the organism’s genus must be identified. In the case of the Chihuahua, the organism’s genus. In the case of the Chihuahua, the genus is ‘Canis’.
    · 4th, we must establish the family which the organism is a part of. The Chihuahua is part of the ‘Canidae’ family.
    · 5th, we place the organism in a certain order. The Chihuahua belongs to the order, ‘Carnivora’.
    · 6th, we determine the class, which is ‘mammalia’.
    · 7th, the Chihuahua is identified as belonging to a much larger phylum, the Chordates.

    So if we were to compare a Chihuahua’s taxonomic record to that of the Great Dane, we would see something like this:

    Note that both the Chihuahua and the Great Dane are of the same species, yet they are subdivided according to their subspecies. If you’ll remember, a subspecies is a taxonomic subdivision of a species consisting of an interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms. So let us dissect that definition and reconstruct it in layman’s terms. ‘A species consisting of an interbreeding’ (this means that different subspecies of the same species are capable of breeding with each other, and may produce fertile offspring), ‘usually geographically isolated population’ (this translates into the certain subspecies developing significantly different traits due to adaptations aquired through their geographical location. Isolated infers that said subspecies was seperated from other subspecies, barring gene exchange [making it so that the subspecies may not mate with other various subspecies], ensuring the success of a separate, yet extremely similar form of the species.)

    While I think most of this is true (a friend of mine made this in response to my teacher thinking there isn't race classification), it's mostly the title that bothers me (what are we classifying, even?), and thinking that there are decisive biological distinctions between races.

    I have read the 3 part discover articles on race (not that I really remember much) and it seems that it disagrees with the posted document.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Race is being used in science to distinguish populations (with biological differences) within the same species. For instance race has been used to differentiate fungi of the same species, which exhibit different mechanisms of pathogenicity to overcome a plant's resistance.
    http://pnw-ag.wsu.edu/smallgrains/Stripe Rust.html
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook