Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Fiction of Racial Types

Alice C. Linsley

"The classification into races has proved to be a futile exercise for reasons that were already clear to Darwin. Human races are still extremely unstable entities in the hands of modern taxonomists, who define from 3 to 60 or more races (Garn 1971). To some extent, this latitude depends on the personal preference of taxonomists, who may choose to be "lumpers" or "splitters." Although there is no doubt that there is only one human species, there are clearly no objective reasons for stopping at any particular level of taxonomic splitting." From Cavalli-Sforza, (1994) The History and Geography of Human Genes, p. 19.

In fact, the analysis of human genetics reveals that racial classifications are arbitrary, not based on genetic data which reveals that "all populations or population clusters overlap when single genes are considered, and in almost all populations, all alleles are present but in different frequencies. No single gene is therefore sufficient for classifying human populations into systematic categories." (op. cit.)

Racial stereotyping hinders reconciliation efforts. Instead of focusing on our common origins and common humanity, it focuses on the superficial distinction between black/dark and white/pale. This problematic approach cannot be corrected as long as Evangelicals deny the great antiquity of human existence on earth and the great diversity that existed from the beginning. 

Modern genetics has forced scientists to rethink the popular notion of racial types. The idea of races based on stereotypical physical features misrepresents the great genetic diversity of humans. It tends to reinforce racism when, in reality, all humans have common ancestry in Africa. Anyone who has received a report on their DNA ancestry will have noted that they have a genetic heritage from MtDNA Macro-haplogroup L, at the root of the human phylogenetic tree. This map shows the point of origin of that genetic heritage.

Anthropologists and geneticists recognize that the greatest genetic diversity is and always has been found in African populations. Populations farther from Africa tend to have the least genetic diversity.

Anthropological evidence suggests that the range of skin and eye color existed from the beginning in Africa. Even today it is not uncommon for babies born from the same parents to show different features associated with "racial" types. Here are images of unusual, but not rare, features associated with "African" stereotypes.

San (Bushmen) of Botswana

Petrie's study of images on ancient Egyptian monuments suggested that the Egyptians and other Nilotes were genetically mixed. This confirmed what had been discovered by the 1828 Franco-Italian expedition to Egypt led by Jean-Francois Champollion and Ippolito Rosellini.

Above is a detail from one of Rosellini's drawings showing both black and red Nubian warriors who were taken captive by the Egyptians under Rameses II (1279-1213 BC).

The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship was at Nekhen on the Nile (3800 BC). The Nekhen News (p. 7) reports, "The vast majority of hair samples discovered at Nekhen were cynotrichous (Caucasian) in type as opposed to heliotrichous (Negroid)."

One of the more intriguing discoveries at Nekhen was the recovery of an almost complete beard in association with the red headed man in Burial no. 79. The presence of long wavy natural red hair and a full beard suggests that this individual may be of the same ethnicity as the red head ruler known as Ur-David (shown right) buried in a pyramid in the Tarim Valley of China.


  1. I recently read an article that located the Garden of Eden somewhere around the Okavango Delta in Northern Botswana.

  2. The biblical description places Eden as a vast well-watered region that extended between the source of the Nile in Ethiopia where the Pishon and Gihon form a V, to the Tigris and Euphrates. The place of the V is called Ha'Vilah in Genesis.


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