Final Project

In the webinar, I would say that Fuente’s won the debate. I believe Prof. Fuentes is more successful in his argument due to his use of specific information, but also continually mentioning Mr. Wade’s vague, non-specific arguments (“three or five or seven, depending on where you are in the book”).
Wade’s argument stems from using the Structure program to analyze genetic code in individuals. When using this program, and asking it to cluster into a certain number of groups. His argument is that, when asking the program to cluster genes into five groups (which would reflect longstanding, western ideas of race) it will provide results that reflect traditional ideas of race. These clusters that have the same genes Wade believes, lead to social behaviors via evolution. Thus East Asians accept certain power structures, while English populations have a “willingness to save and delay gratification,” while Africans are more ‘tribal’. However, he dramatically weakens his argument by admitting that he picks five clusters as it is most convenient, not because it is most accurate or reflective of his argument. He also admits throughout his book that it could be broken down to three or seven (which Fuentes drills home repeatedly) and that six is inconvenient as it would suggest that the Kalish people of Pakistan are a separate race, and he dismisses this idea out of hand (most likely because no one has suggested they are different unique race, and it would screw up the long standing narrative of races and continents being linked together).
Strength-wise, Fuentes makes very good points about genetic variation within continents being greater that those between different continents. Fuentes also points out that Wade avoids defining anything: not the number of races, how to define race, what specifically in those genes marks race, nothing is specified. Wade has made big claims yet those claims are left unclear and ill-defined.
Jennifer Raff’s piece discussing the studies which Wade uses as well as the Structure program provides valuable insight into where Wade is drawing his information from. This paper may provide the most straightforward argument against Wade as it points out basic problems in his premise, there is no interpretation need.
The greatest weakness of Fuentes argument would be his description of how genes are not the only way that informs human behavior. This is probably from his not being a geneticist and their complex nature.
As for Wade’s arguments, which I find weak at best, his use of the Structure program and knowledge of it (coinciding with our collective ignorance of it) provides a number of colorful graphs that suggest something. What works best for Wade is really dependent on his audience’s ignorance of genetic studies and the Structure program, allowing him to pick and choose which information he presents and can make a compelling argument.

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