Ian has a degree in statistics and epidemeology from Queen's University (Ontario, Canada) and he now works in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada). He has a blog called The Crommunist Manifesto on Freethought Blogs. His blog deals mostly with racism issues.
Here's a video of a recent talk he gave in Vancouver (Part 1 of 5).
I really enjoyed Ian's presentation except for one small comment he made. He said something like, "There's no meaningful distinction between human races." When I asked him about this after his talk, he seemed to defend the proposition that human races don't exist. The comments on his blog suggest that we could have a productive discussion about the meaning of the word "race." See: #Eschaton2012: some additional reflections where he says ...
The thesis statement of my talk: that skepticism can and should be applied to the topic of race, seemed to strike the crowd as pretty non-controversial, which was nice. The lion’s share of the questions in the subsequent panel went to me, suggesting to me that the topic of race is one that is underexplored but sorely wanted within the skeptical/freethinking movement. There was an exchange with Larry Moran after my talk was over that I anticipate will turn into a brief back-and-forth between our two blogs as we sort out the biological underpinning of race and what those mean in the real world.My position is that the term "race" is used frequently to describe sub-populations of species, or groups that have been genetically isolated from each other1 for many generations. By this definition, races exist in humans just as they do in many other species.
The genetic evidence shows clearly that Africans form a distinctive, but somewhat polyphyletic, group that differs from the people living outside of Africa. Amongst the non-Africans, we recognize two major sub-groups; Europeans and Asians. I see no reason why these major sub-populations don't qualify as races in the biological sense. lease read: Do Human Races Exist?.
I don't think that denying the existence of races is going to make racism go away. Nor do I think that accepting the existence of biological races is going to foster racism.
1. Genetically isolated does NOT mean there's no gene flow between the groups. Is there was none, they would be different species. Please don't use the silly argument that the existence of hybrids disproves the concept of human races.