Sunday, July 15, 2018

First Fruits, Prime Fruits

One of the precepts of Judeo-Christian tradition is that we must sacrifice "First Fruit, Prime Fruits" of our fields and labors. This precept was first enunciated in Leviticus 23 which is in the Old or Jewish Testaments.

The 40,000 foot flyover is that God expects us to have our priorities straight.  We must give to God first.  He also does not want produce heading for the compost pile, it must be our best effort.

A 20,000 foot flyover might ask, "What advantages might there be for the people?"  After all, God does not need prime lambs and goats.  He can raise them up out of dust with the snap of his fingers.

Genetic drift
I expect that the pastoral peoples of 2000 BC had a pretty good, basic understanding of genetics.   The problem with a basic understanding is that you can get into trouble over several generations if you don't comprehend the subtleties.
Suffolk sheep have been selected for large size and "meat".  They tend to throw single births because the breeders inadvertently selected for single births.

For example: Suppose you always choose the biggest ram lamb to use as your stud.  Invariably, the biggest ram will be the oldest ram lamb and it will be a "single" birth rather than a twin.

The primitive sheep-holder does not have the tools to be able to handicap the lambs for age or single-vs-twins.  Two things happen over multiple generations.  The lambing season migrates to earlier in the year when the weather is inclement and the lambing percentage drops.   That is a recipe for disaster in a brittle climate.

The entire lamb crop can be wiped out by a single winter weather event when lambing occurs too early in the spring.
Finn sheep come from a very hostile climate with very long winters.  The breeders selected for multiple births.

And twinning means that the sheep-holder can respond more aggressively to drought.  He can cull more aggressively to match his flock size to the forage base and still have the ability to quickly expand the flock when the rain pattern becomes more favorable.  A landrace of sheep that has only single births will rebound very slowly and the sheepholder must keep virtually every ewe, greatly eliminating his ability to select for traits like finer wool or longer wool or heavier fleeces.

Sacrificing the First Fruit (ram), Prime Fruit to God greatly slows the genetic drift over the generations.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.