The Nature of Race: the Genealogy of the Concept and the Biological Construct’s Contemporaneous Utility is a peer-reviewed, novella-length study on the existence of race. It was written by John Fuerst, who I believe is a colleague of Emil Kierkegaard. The book is 169 pages long (excluding references) and contains a lot of technical information, but is still pretty layman-friendly. It deals with the history of the ‘race’ concept, what a ‘race’ is and is not, race vs ‘clines’ and ‘clusters,’ the idea that race is “arbitrary,” traditional race concepts, scientific consensus, race as subspecies, race and intelligence, and more. It also counters various “scientific” and “moral” arguments against the existence of race.

Here’s the study’s Conclusion:

In the West, at least, thinking in terms of human natural divisions or biological races is stigmatized. It is frequently held that recognizing such divisions is “unscientific” or “illogical.” In this essay, it has been shown that this position is untenable. It has been demonstrated that there is a coherent, operationalizable concept of race which has been remarkably stable across time and which underlies and integrates a plethora of local definitions. Today, this concept makes sense of a type of biological variation not made sense of by other common biological scientific ones and so plays an epistemic role akin to that it played when it was developed in the 1700s.

The numerous logical and empirical critiques of the race concept and of specific racial
classifications were patiently dissected. Most were found to be void of content; none were found
to be even remotely compelling. The critiques were largely grounded in misreadings of the
concept and of the literature elaborating it. Ultimately, such arguments represent social
destructions, since, the Linnaean perspective being false, there is in fact something in nature
which “race” describes.

It was noted that critiques of the race concept are largely motivated by moral-egalitarian
concerns. Despite the socially and epistemically problematic dimension of scientific moralism,
arguments grounded in it were entertained. These were found to be troubled, given ordinary
moral sensibilities. More generally, what was dubbed the “anti-racial worldview” was also found
to be morally problematic.

And yet such arguments are incessantly made and put forth with great zeal. This suggests that
deep sociopolitical factors might be promoting them. Indeed, a number of anthropologists who
have studied the topic have deduced the same; they have just interpreted such kinds of factors as
underwriting the construction not destruction of the concept. If the analysis here is correct, the
politics of the destruction of the race concept would be a fruitful area of exploration. Specifically,
the degree to which criticism of the race concept is promoted by macro-sociopolitical agendas
related to the multicultural and international projects needs to be explored in depth.

And here’s the Abstract:

Racial constructionists, anti-naturalists, and anti-realists have challenged users of the biological race concept to provide and defend, from the perspective of biology, biological philosophy, and ethics, a biologically informed concept of race. In this paper, an onto epistemology of biology is developed. What it is, by this, to be “biological real” and “biologically meaningful” and to represent a “biological natural division” is explained. Early 18th century race concepts are discussed in detail and are shown to be both sensible and not greatly dissimilar to modern concepts. A general biological race concept (GBRC) is developed. It is explained what the GBRC does and does not entail and how this concept unifies the plethora of specific ones, past and present. Other race concepts as developed in the philosophical literature are discussed in relation to the GBRC. The sense in which races are both real and natural is explained. Racial essentialism of the relational sort is shown to be coherent. Next, the GBRC is discussed in relation to anthropological discourse. Traditional human racial classifications are defended from common criticisms: historical incoherence, arbitrariness, cluster discordance, etc. Whether or not these traditional human races could qualify as taxa subspecies – or even species – is considered. It is argued that they could qualify as taxa subspecies by liberal readings of conventional standards. Further, it is pointed out that some species concepts potentially allow certain human populations to be designated as species. It is explained why, by conventional population genetic and statistical standards, genetic differences between major human racial groups are at least moderate. Behavioral genetic differences associated with human races are discussed in general and in specific. The matter of race differences in cognitive ability is briefly considered. Finally, the race concept is defended from various criticisms. First, logical and empirical critiques are dissected. These include: biological scientific, sociological, ontological, onto-epistemological, semantic, and teleological arguments. None are found to have any merit. Second, moral-based arguments are investigated in context to a general ethical frame and are counter-critiqued. Racial inequality, racial nepotism, and the “Racial Worldview” are discussed. What is dubbed the Anti-Racial Worldview is rejected on both empirical and moral grounds. Finally, an area of future investigation – the politics of the destruction of the race concept – is pointed to.