Iain: The bottom line is you reject any form of determinism! I bet you
reject the psychology of Carl Jung too! :) I don't buy this "PC"
anti-deterministic, "it's a small world", we are one big happy family, stuff!
I also mentioned John R. Baker's book "Race" (1974) is that *too* early too?
On Sat, 3 Feb 1996, I Banks wrote:
> Sorry for the mass of repetition, but:
> > > That's where all the problems lie; there is massive confusion about
> > > these concepts because they are difficult to define. As it is,
> > > ethnicity as a concept was adopted in the 1950s and 1960s
> > > into anthropology as a direct substitute for race when such notions
> > > became rather uncomfortable to deal with.
> > Uncomfortable for whom Iain? The *PC* crowd?
> This was somewhat before PC was invented as a concept. The point is
> that anthropologists felt uncomfortable with the term "race" after
> the Second World War and so tried to get away from anything which
> might suggest that human being had their behaviour pre-set by their
> > > Race itself is a spurious
> > > concept which cannot be proved scientifically.
> > Iain, I think Carleton Coon's answer in "The Races of Europe" still
> > applies as much today as it did then...see the general introduction
> > section under "Theory and Principles of the Concept of Race" page #3.
> > "The concept of race is general one, and any attempt to chain it down to a
> > more specific meaning represents a too rigid attempt at taxonomy."
> As has been said many times before, there is only one race in the
> world, the human race. If you would care to read some of the current
> research in genetics rather than the work of Dr Coon from some years
> ago, you will see that the current findings are that genetic markers
> cut across population groups and that the races which "common sense"
> might indicate, cannot be determined genetically.
> > > In terms of the relationship between ethnicity and culture, what else
> > >would you define ethnicity as?
> > Maybe a natural breeding group? :D
> This is an interesting idea, although incorrect in terms of being a
> "natural" breeding group. It is certainly possible that ethnic groups
> act as breeding groups, if you want to take that rather mechanistic
> view of human social behaviour. However, this still does not address
> the issue of what ethnicity actually is. It has no meaning if taken
> as blood descent, because then it can only apply to blood relations
> within families. If it means being a part of a cultural group and
> following particular social and religious practices, then it has much
> more meaning. The other major identifier is language: nothing marks
> an outsider quicker than the fact that they speak differently. This
> can apply to things as low-key as family name, where outsiders can be
> identified because their surname doesn't match those of the group.
> There has been a lot of mention on the list of late about the
> different parts of people's ancestries having an effect on their
> perceptions and behaviour. Do you really think that if you had no
> information about Celtic ancestors in your family history that you
> would nonetheless feel that Celtic-ness coming through? Of course you
> wouldn't. What constitutes Celtic behaviour anyway? Does anybody out
> there still believe all that guff about hot tempers, love of life,
> mystical foresights etc etc? It's rubbish. Scots are no different as
> people than anybody else; cultural elements have an effect, nothing
> more. What determines whether you're a jakie or a jeelie-heid is
> whether you live on a crap estate, whether you can get a job which
> engages you, whether the people who assess your job applications are
> bigots or not. What determines whether you are a soor-faced,
> miserable git or an uptight, guilt-ridden drama lover is your
> Sorry to everyone else about the rant here, but I do get tired with
> the constant return to questions of "race", like dogs return to their
> vomit. It is something I feel rather strongly about. Anyway, enough
> of that, Scotland have just beaten the French in the 5 nations, so
> it's time to go and have five minutes of nationalism down the pub.
> Iain Banks