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    To preface this, I'm not a troll nor is this a discussion to incite hatred or bigotry towards Jews or any other group. I'm just trying to understand, for intellectual purposes, why Jews are considered an ethnic group.

    So, correct me if I'm wrong, but how are Jews considered genetically distinct if there has been mass movement in and out of the religion since it's inception? Surely any unique characteristics in their genome would be tainted by outbreeding. Coupled with the fact that there was a brief but important switch from matrilineal descent to patrilineal descent (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaite_Judaism) in a vast community of Jews for centuries, it is difficult to grasp how there could be anything genetically unique enough in their genome to categorise Jews as an ethnicity?

    Just as a final note, I think it's also important to consider how we define an ethnicity, Along with that, it'd be important to establish a benchmark for genetic distinctiveness. I'm not currently aware of one, but heralding Jews as an ethnic group without a definition of what exactly qualifies as an ethnic group, and how we can identify one using (population) genetics is essentially lying. I understand the need to protect a community, but intellectual dishonesty isn't needed.
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    I would refer to them as Jewish people rather than Jews if I were you.
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    ethnically Jewish
    religiously Jewish

    perhaps

    perhaps they only bred and reproduced within group, so their gene pool was isolated from others, and gene pools of others were isolated from them?
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    There's no 'objective' delimitation of ethnicity because objectively it doesn't exist. Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats form different ethnic groups despite cultural and genetic similarities, while African-Americans form one single ethnic group despite deriving ancestries from the huge genetic and cultural variations that exist across Africa. Ethnicity is intersubjective.
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    (Original post by Akamega)
    To preface this, I'm not a troll nor is this a discussion to incite hatred or bigotry towards Jews or any other group. I'm just trying to understand, for intellectual purposes, why Jews are considered an ethnic group.

    So, correct me if I'm wrong, but how are Jews considered genetically distinct if there has been mass movement in and out of the religion since it's inception? Surely any unique characteristics in their genome would be tainted by outbreeding. Coupled with the fact that there was a brief but important switch from matrilineal descent to patrilineal descent (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaite_Judaism) in a vast community of Jews for centuries, it is difficult to grasp how there could be anything genetically unique enough in their genome to categorise Jews as an ethnicity?

    Just as a final note, I think it's also important to consider how we define an ethnicity, Along with that, it'd be important to establish a benchmark for genetic distinctiveness. I'm not currently aware of one, but heralding Jews as an ethnic group without a definition of what exactly qualifies as an ethnic group, and how we can identify one using (population) genetics is essentially lying. I understand the need to protect a community, but intellectual dishonesty isn't needed.
    Because they've identified as a race longer than pretty much every other extant race has existed.

    (Original post by tanyapotter)
    I would refer to them as Jewish people rather than Jews if I were you.
    They're Jews. If you don't like it, you're the one with the problem.
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    There hasn't been mass movement in and out of the religion since it's inception. They to this day, usually marry Jews and historically when religion was more important and Jews were persecuted, it was even more the case.

    There are clearly Jewish characteristics just by looking at people. You can test for Jewish ancestry using gene tests.

    Of course there is a spectrum, some Jews will show more typically Jewish genes than others. But this spectrum exists for all ethnic groups. How do you define a black person genetically? Any definition will be arbitrary.

    The difference between an adult and a child biologically is a spectrum and defining an age is arbitrary. However, there is no question there are physical differences between adults and children.
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    (Original post by Tootles)
    Because they've identified as a race longer than pretty much every other extant race has existed.

    They're Jews. If you don't like it, you're the one with the problem.
    Well race is not a biological construct, it's purely sociological. Ethnicity is a little bit more complicated, because ancestry and genetic homogeneity plays a role in it's definition.

    (Original post by anarchism101)
    There's no 'objective' delimitation of ethnicity because objectively it doesn't exist. Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats form different ethnic groups despite cultural and genetic similarities, while African-Americans form one single ethnic group despite deriving ancestries from the huge genetic and cultural variations that exist across Africa. Ethnicity is intersubjective.

    Well then what stops other communities that are culturally and genetically diverse coming together and creating new ethnicities? On a tangent, we often hear about how Islam can be attacked because it isn't an ethnicity, so what is stopping an incredibly genetically diverse group of people defining themselves as a new ethnicity? It's far too difficult to control unless there is some biological basis of relatedness/distinctiveness that groups can use to ascertain whether they are or are not part of a genetically distinct group.

    It would not be problematic if a biological/genetic case for Jewishness wasn't purported by pretty much every political figure in Israel, but it has.

    (Original post by XcitingStuart)
    ethnically Jewish
    religiously Jewish

    perhaps

    perhaps they only bred and reproduced within group, so their gene pool was isolated from others, and gene pools of others were isolated from them?
    This is precisely my point, mass exodus in and out of Judaism since it's creation would mean that there would be outbreeding. Outbreeding would mean that their gene pool wasn't/isn't isolated. The switch between matrilineal and patrilineal descent would mean that genetic distinctiveness on the Y and X chromosome could not accumulate because it would've been essentially 'diluted' (without complicating things).
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    (Original post by Sternumator)
    There hasn't been mass movement in and out of the religion since it's inception. They to this day, usually marry Jews and historically when religion was more important and Jews were persecuted, it was even more the case.

    There are clearly Jewish characteristics just by looking at people. You can test for Jewish ancestry using gene tests.

    Of course there is a spectrum, some Jews will show more typically Jewish genes than others. But this spectrum exists for all ethnic groups. How do you define a black person genetically? Any definition will be arbitrary.

    The difference between an adult and a child biologically is a spectrum and defining an age is arbitrary. However, there is no question there are physical differences between adults and children.
    We can debate what mass movement is, but a good example is during the Spanish Inquisition where hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to convert to Christianity and assimilate. Even well before the Spanish Inquisition there are records of Jews being forced to convert in Europe during the High Middle Ages. Theres scholarly opinion that during the Caliphate that Jews were pressured into conversion due to the inequality and punishment at the hands of the Muslims, the pogroms in Czarist Russia and Communism in the Soviet Union also played a role in mass conversions. I think all of these satisfy mass movement out of Judaism, and of course there is probably a similar case for movement into the religion since there are 22.9 million Jews today.

    There really isn't distinct Jewish characteristics considering there are groups of Jews originating from Europe (Ashkenazi), those with Middle Eastern ancestry and those with even African ancestry. They're an incredibly diverse group of people, at least, phenotypically.

    My point is, there are no quintessentially Jewish genes. Many of the genes that may have high frequencies in some Jewish communities are often mirrored in non-Jewish communities around the world. As for black people, there are many ethnic groups in Africa that have not migrated from the area for thousands of years. Jews are slightly different in that they have been mass migrations spanning large geographical distances and comprise of unrelated communities, that look different, have different cultures etc, but still bizarrely are considered part of the same ethnic group.

    As for your last point, if one describes a community as distinct from another genetically, then how can it be a continuum? I mean data rarely is both continuous and discontinuous. I'm not sure I fully understand your last point.
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    Yes, ethnically Jewish, religiously Judaic iirc.
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    (Original post by Akamega)
    We can debate what mass movement is, but a good example is during the Spanish Inquisition where hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to convert to Christianity and assimilate. Even well before the Spanish Inquisition there are records of Jews being forced to convert in Europe during the High Middle Ages. Theres scholarly opinion that during the Caliphate that Jews were pressured into conversion due to the inequality and punishment at the hands of the Muslims, the pogroms in Czarist Russia and Communism in the Soviet Union also played a role in mass conversions. I think all of these satisfy mass movement out of Judaism, and of course there is probably a similar case for movement into the religion since there are 22.9 million Jews today.

    There really isn't distinct Jewish characteristics considering there are groups of Jews originating from Europe (Ashkenazi), those with Middle Eastern ancestry and those with even African ancestry. They're an incredibly diverse group of people, at least, phenotypically.

    My point is, there are no quintessentially Jewish genes. Many of the genes that may have high frequencies in some Jewish communities are often mirrored in non-Jewish communities around the world. As for black people, there are many ethnic groups in Africa that have not migrated from the area for thousands of years. Jews are slightly different in that they have been mass migrations spanning large geographical distances and comprise of unrelated communities, that look different, have different cultures etc, but still bizarrely are considered part of the same ethnic group.

    As for your last point, if one describes a community as distinct from another genetically, then how can it be a continuum? I mean data rarely is both continuous and discontinuous. I'm not sure I fully understand your last point.
    I accept that some have moved out of the religion but people moving out doesn't genetically affect the Jews who didn't. And until may be the last 100 years, people didn't move into Judaism in any significant numbers. Not in Europe or the Middle East anyway, I'm not sure about Africa.

    Of course descents of those who moved out of Judaism will have Jewish genes reflecting that ancestry. But they will display fewer Jew genes. That's what I mean when I say it is a spectrum.

    Of course there are a variety of Jews and could define an ethnic group widely or narrowly but they do share cultural similarities and genetic similarities compared to say a chinese person.

    Like someone else said, African America is considered an ethnic group and obviously they have genetic differences compared to white people. But there is still genetic diversity and cultural diversity in Africa from where they originate.

    And to repeat about a my spectrum point. There are many shades of black. At what point to you define it as black genetically? You can't really.
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    (Original post by Akamega)
    Well race is not a biological construct, it's purely sociological. Ethnicity is a little bit more complicated, because ancestry and genetic homogeneity plays a role in it's definition.




    Well then what stops other communities that are culturally and genetically diverse coming together and creating new ethnicities? On a tangent, we often hear about how Islam can be attacked because it isn't an ethnicity, so what is stopping an incredibly genetically diverse group of people defining themselves as a new ethnicity? It's far too difficult to control unless there is some biological basis of relatedness/distinctiveness that groups can use to ascertain whether they are or are not part of a genetically distinct group.

    It would not be problematic if a biological/genetic case for Jewishness wasn't purported by pretty much every political figure in Israel, but it has.



    This is precisely my point, mass exodus in and out of Judaism since it's creation would mean that there would be outbreeding. Outbreeding would mean that their gene pool wasn't/isn't isolated. The switch between matrilineal and patrilineal descent would mean that genetic distinctiveness on the Y and X chromosome could not accumulate because it would've been essentially 'diluted' (without complicating things).
    You've missed my point.

    You're conflating the religiously Jewish (Judaism) with the ethnically Jewish.

    The "mass exodus" in and out of Judaism isn't applicable when we're talking about the ethnicity, because you're there talking about religion.
 
 
 
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