I just finished Stephen Pinker's "The Language Instinct" which was brilliant on several levels. I am fascinated by the early section discussing the nature of grammar within languages and his assertion that this relates to our inherent ability to formulate grammar and to understand it....his thoughts and arguments are broad-ranging and strongly presented, and his writing is pithy and accessible. That said, I felt too much that he was trying to persuade me, rather than thathe was presenting facts for me to examine, which I found somewhat distasteful...he does go against the gigantic Chomsky in places, so maybe he felt compelled to present his arguments strongly...still it is a brilliant book that I will be rereading...this time in sections as well as all the way through.
I will offer you a quote that he has on the final page though.
It is longish, and as a blogger who tends to skim over the quotes in posts, please give this a shot.
Among lay people, race is lamentably salient, but for biologists it is virtually invisible. Eighty-five percent of human genetic variation consists of the differences between one person and another within the same ethnic group, tribe or nation. Another eight percent is between ethnic groups, and a mere seven percent is between "race"s." In other words, the genetic difference between, say, two randomly picked Swedes is about twelve times as large as the genetic difference between the average of Swedes and the average of Apache or Warlpiris. Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza (Human geneticists who noted this fact) suggests that the illusion is the result of an unfortunate coincidence. many of the systemic differences among races are adaptations to climate: melanin protects skin against the tropical sun, eyelid folds insulate eyes from dry cold and snow. But the skin, the part of the body seen by the weather, is also the part of the body seen by others people. Race is, quite literally, skin deep, but to the extent that perceive rs generalize from external to internal differences, nature has duped them into thinking that race is important. The X-Ray vision of the molecular geneticist reveals the unity of our species."
Thank you Misters Pinker, Bodmer and Cavalli-Sforza.