Week 7 Final Project Post

If this webinar were a debate it would be hard to choose a winner. It is difficult to say that either Wade or Fuentes was correct and the other was wrong when there is still very little clear evidence on the subject. However, I do believe that Fuentes made stronger arguments and was able to make Wade dance around his evidence. It is important to note, and Wade was clear to point this out as well, that scientists are afraid to talk about race because they fear that their careers could be destroyed if they come across as racist. For this reason, Fuentes began this “debate” with an immediate advantage. The argument that I find most convincing is the point that Fuentes makes about human populations being much lower in diversity than what the standard is to be considered separate. I understood this as a way of saying that the differences in genetics between races is not statistically significant enough to consider them biologically different. However, using the term diversity can take away from the strength of this argument. Diversity is a very noticeable thing. I can walk into a classroom and see hundreds of differences amongst the students. Fuentes’ use of the word diversity to describe invisible genetic variations takes away from his strongest argument. The argument that I found least convincing was Wades use of the Structure program to divide genetic data into clusters. If there were significant differences in the genetic data, then there would be no need to input a specific number of clusters for the program to sort in to. The program would be able to distinguish these differences and separate the populations or “races” accordingly. The strength to this argument is that the groups that were determined by the structure program followed the “social” definition of race. When most people think about race they refer to African, Caucasian, Asian, etc. If the program was able to find enough genetic variation in populations to sort them into these same categories, then there may be some connection between “social” and “biological” race. Even after watching this webinar I am still unclear as to which side I fall on. While I rely on science to determine what is factual, I don’t think that there is enough evidence from Wade’s side to confirm anything as fact. Similarly, Fuentes makes his points by proving Wade wrong as opposed to backing his arguments with facts of his own. Ultimately time and research will determine who, if anyone, wins this debate.

Leave a Reply