Scientific American by Michael J. Term Paper

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Using humans as guinea pigs in a study of what happens to the body when syphilis is left untreated borders on the viciousness of some of Nazi Germany's "human experiments" on innocent Jews.

Meanwhile, Satel goes on to point out that notwithstanding the DNA evidence of biological similarities, there are dramatic differences in how medicine views ethnic differences, and there lies the controversy which is one of the main themes of her article.

To wit, Canadian Eskimos have a "variant form of a liver enzyme" that causes the Eskimo to be vulnerable to tuberculosis bacteria; and African-American woman have a higher incidence of breast cancer prior to reaching 35 years of age than Caucasian women do. Yes, we're almost all the same but our bodies react very differently to disease. The other themes that come through Satel's research: worries about categorizing people based on ancestry notwithstanding, identifying a person's ethnicity though DNA (hair samples, blood, semen in crime cases) has social value; two, a tiny DNA difference can invite an enormous biological difference; and three, good science must ignore "groundless accusations of racism" when research devoted to health issues specific to ethnicity and ancestry.

Henry E. Hale of Indiana University ("Explaining Ethnicity") writes in 2004 that nothing "close to a consensus" has emerged among scholars as to how to treat the concept of "ethnicity." Those who put forward theories about "ethnicity" divide it into "primordialism" and "constructivism" - but neither category is helpful and in fact the two "actually obscure some of the most important questions," Hale continues. In short, Hale is saying that ethnicity should be thought of within psychological scholarship, not just biology, sociology, political science and anthropology.

Meanwhile, in his essay "The idiom of ethnicity," Michael Banton writes that in terms of political / social realities, "no group defines itself" in terms of "ethnicity.
" Banton writes that an attempt was made in 1935 (by Sir Julian Huxley and a.C. Haddon) "to clear up" the confusion between issues of "race, culture and nation"; hence, they wrote that "it is very desirable that the term race as applied to human groups should be dropped from the vocabulary of science." This material was presented by Banton no doubt in the sense of showing that the debate over "race" and "ethnicity" is not a new one.

What Banton explains ("Rational Choice Theories [Theories of Ethnicity]") with reference to approaching the issues of race and ethnicity (Banton, 1995) is that he falls back on "rational choice theory"; and the two main propositions of rational choice theory are: one, groups are created based on "physical and cultural groups" in order to set up inclusion and exclusion in that group; and two, when "groups interact, processes of change affect their boundaries" in ways that are determined by the "form and intensity of competition."

In conclusion, the work of Banton and Hale, and the essays of Bamshad / Olson and Satel give the reader plenty of ideas from which to cull out the meaning of "race" and "ethnicity." The bottom line is, there really is no "race" per se; the world is made up of cultural groups based on their own attraction and relationship to others of like cultures.

Works Cited

Banton, Michael. (1995). Rational Choice Theories (Theories of Ethnicity). American

Behavioral Scientist, 38(3), 478-498.

Banton, Michael. (2000). The Idiom of Ethnicity (Debate). Journal of Ethnic and Migration

Studies, 26(3), 535-543.

Bamshad, Michael J., & Olson, Steve E. (2003). Does Race Exist? Scientific American, Retrieved 14 Jan. 2007 at

Hale, Henry E. (2004). Explaining Ethnicity. Comparative Political Studies. 37(4), 458.

Satel, Sally. (2001). Medicine's Race Problem. Policy Review, Hoover Institution. Retrieved 15….....

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