Mapping the world's opinions

argument top image

What is "race"? Show more Show less

Race is one way humans classify one another. Race may be based on ancestry, skin color, hair type, or other physical or non-physical features. Yet, views of how humans are classified can differ person-to-person and even country-to-country. Scientists and modern geneticists have begun to find that humans of different "races" may have more in common with one another than they do with humans within the same "race." At the same time, many people look at the racial disparities in education, wealth, and health in the U.S. and conclude that there must be a biological, natural reason why Black Americans and Latinos are less-educated, poorer, or more affected by COVID-19 than White Americans. The debate of "what race is" has important - and perhaps dangerous - implications across society and between individuals.

Race is a social construct Show more Show less

Just by the fact that "race" is defined differently by so many people shows that race is a social definition not based on fixed, biological causes.
< Previous (2 of 3 Positions) Next >

There is no scientific evidence that humans are biologically divided into races

Scientific advances have allowed scientists to better understand human populations and migration.
< Previous (1 of 3 Arguments) Next >


The Argument

The belief that humans are biologically divided into sub-species, which correspond with our definitions of "race" is no longer accepted in the scientific community.[1] All living humans today are of the same biological species. The scientific definition of a biological species is a group of populations that can mate and reproduce successfully within the same group. Since humans of different races can mate and reproduce successfully, all humans are part of the same species. Scientific advances—such as understanding DNA’s double helix structure, Sanger sequencing, and the human genome project—have allowed scientists to better examine our human roots and conclude that "race" is not a viable biological variable in explaining human difference. Rather, geography, human migration, and mutations at the DNA level explain how different people have darker or lighter skin, blue or brown eyes, etc.[2] For example, scientists found that all living humans today are descended from Africa. In the 1900s, the "multi-regionalism" hypothesis—the idea that different races developed from ape-like ancestors in different regions of the world—was used to explain the origin of human races. Population scientists have since debunked the "multi-regionalism" hypothesis. For example, geneticist Brian Sykes (2001) traced mitochondrial DNA sequences from all over the world and found that all modern humans can trace their ancestry to one woman who lived in Africa about 150,000 years ago.[3] Several other studies found that the ancestors of all modern humans came from Africa.[2]

Counter arguments



[P1] Scientific studies describe the physical world as it is.

Rejecting the premises


Further Reading



Explore related arguments

This page was last edited on Monday, 18 May 2020 at 17:01 UTC