Re: Genetic knowledge

Michael Bauser (
24 Aug 1995 00:43:38 -0400

In article <>,
Severen Scott <> wrote:
> On Wed, 16 Aug 1995, Andrew Fidler wrote:
> > The following quote is from the Bible:
> > "Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with diverse kind, thou shalt not sow
> > thy field with mingled seed"
> > Does anyone out there know:
> > Where in the Bible this quote is from?
> That's from the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:19. This is the chapter
> where God gives commandments to Moses, to deliver to the people. It's
> full of good advice regarding planting and reaping; perhaps the result of
> a long oral tradition.
> > Any other examples of quotes that indicate some understanding of genetics in
> > older non-Western cultures.
> Whether it shows an understanding of genetics is something else. The
> next line reads:

Hey, it does shows a very simple understanding of one simple genetic
principle -- if you want to minimize changes in a gene pool, don't mix
it with another gene pool. They don't have to have written textbooks to
know something. The don't have to systemize knowledge for it to be
accurate or useful. (Hell, they don't even have to call it `genetics'.)
Sciences do not spring fully-formed out of people's heads.

> ": neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee."
> It sounds more like "we've tried this, and we get bad results, so don't
> do it."

Hey, how were they supposed to get knowledge of genetics without trying
some gene-mixing (cross-breeding and all that)? Mendel didn't exactly
come up with his principles by meditating on them or anything. No doubt
he was aware of Leviticus when he did his research (he was a monk,
afterall) -- that passage would have effectively been part of the pre-
existing research in the field.

Do not disparage serendipitous discovery of useful information. Accidents
are very important to science.

Michael Bauser <> 42 07 30 N, 83 08 30 W
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