Sunday, December 27, 2009

10 Ṭeveth and selective breeding

Greetings.

Jewish date:  10 Ṭeveth 5770 (Parashath Wayḥi).

Today’s holidays:  The Fast of Ṭeveth (Judaism), Feast of the Holy Family (Roman Catholicism), Ashurah (Islam).

Worthy cause of the day:  “Don't Let Consumer Electronics Fuel the Congo Conflict - The Petition Site”.

Topic 1:  “The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet on OU.ORG”, which gives some basic information on today’s Jewish holiday.  10 Ṭeveth is part of a set of holidays commemorating the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other sad events.  Noted especially is that the point of fasting is as a means towards repentance; fasting coupled with irrelevant or contradictory activities misses the point.

Topic 2:  “Nice Rats, Nasty Rats: Maybe It’s All in the Genes”.  This article describes experiments in Siberia on domestication started in 1959 by Dmitri K. Belyaev.  Belyaev worked with silver foxes.  In less that 40 years the foxes had been bred into tame, very doglike animals.  This rapid rate of change through selective breeding has also been replicated in rats.  That selective pressure can operate so quickly to produce such dramatic results should be a warning to those who deny the power of evolution.  One of the claims frequently made by creationists is that huge changes are impossible.  But humans have tampered with every animal and plant we have domesticated, sometimes dramatically.  Dogs are domesticated wolves, but one would not recognize many dog breeds as such at first glance; indeed, many dog breeds are so different from each other, e.g, chihuahua and Saint Bernard, that they could easily be mistaken for separate species.  If humans have such power over other creatures through use of selective breeding, imagine what a god could do.

Peace, and have an easy fast.

Aaron
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