Reproduction from homosexuality...

From: bivalve (
Date: Fri Jan 17 2003 - 15:38:09 EST

  • Next message: Michael Roberts: "Re: Test Questions"

    I wrote
    >>... Genesis 1-2. However, reproduction is not mentioned until
    >>chapter 3; companionship is the reason given in chapter 2. <<

    Rich replied: >Yes, but can't you make an inference?<

    Reviewing Genesis, I was wrong to claim that reproduction is not
    mentioned before chapter 3, as there is the command to be fruitful
    and multiply in chapter 1. However, humans are given additional
    responsibilities, and the emphasis is on them. Reproduction is a
    responsibility, but not the chief one.

    Rich; >The absolute basis of Abraham's covenant with God was the
    avoidance of infanticide (sacrificing to Moloch) which decreased
    births. I suggest that is why anything that decreased births in the
    view of the patriarchs was morally wrong. <

    No, the absolute basis of Abrahamís covenant with God was Godís grace
    in offering it to Abraham. Abrahamís part in carrying out the
    covenant included circumcision and obedience.

    I presume that you are using decreased birth broadly to include
    survival, as killing children does not directly decrease birth rate.
    However, even increasing the birth rate itself is not seen as
    inherently good for the patriarchs. All polygamy that receives any
    discussion (we are not told anything about Keturah) causes problems.
    Abrahamís attempt to increase his birth rate through Hagar is wrong,
    Esauís first two wives have no recorded positive features, and
    Jacobís polygamy produces constant rivalry. If God really put a
    premium on birth rate, would He have started His people with an
    elderly infertile couple?

    Rich: >If you read Herodotus, the character of ancient war was
    genetic. When you lost, your finest males were castrated or murdered
    and your finest females were put in concubinage. The effect of such
    policies is to decrease quantity and quality births in the conquered.

    However, the character of Israelite war was supposed to be religious.
    The criteria for judgment, both within and outside Israel, were
    theological views and moral actions, not intelligence or physical

    Rich: >forgive the =3D20s. I copied and pasted from Word: <
    Such garbling also depends on the sending and receiving email
    programs, as well as the server. I often paste from Word but have
    not noticed the same problem. Hopefully I have correctly edited them
    out; however, some punctuation marks were also affected, and I am not
    entirely certain about the exact reading of your comment on religious
    parties in Israel.

    Rich: >... Central to God's covenant with Abraham is this fact that
    Abraham and his descendants will no longer practice infanticide.<

    Is there any evidence that they used to do so? Certainly later
    Canaanite, Ammonite, and apostate Israelite practices involved
    sacrificing children, but was it actually a practice in Ur or Haran?
    The point of the call to sacrifice Isaac is total commitment to God.
    Human sacrifice is indeed rejected in the Law, but it does not seem
    to have represented a serious threat to population size at any point.
    The large-scale human sacrifices that I know of (Aztecs, etc.) were
    generally prisoners. Thus, human sacrifice can have a eugenic
    function, and rejecting it is not necessarily an example of greater
    evolutionary success.

    Rich: >The effect on Jewish history is dramatic because a prolific
    population is necessarily expansionist. When Abraham first arrives in
    the Philistine town of Gerar, Abimelech its king welcomes him but
    years later Abrahamís son Isaac, now a grown man with children of his
    own, is no longer welcome in Gerar. Why the reversal? Abrahamís
    descendants are greatly multiplying. The Bible tells us Isaac sowed
    seed in that land, and that year he reaped a hundredfold. Isaacís
    household has grown so rapidly (and presumably seized so many local
    niches from the indigenous people) the displaced and alarmed
    Philistines envy him.<

    The Philistines under a previous Abimelech (possibly a title rather
    than a family name) and Abraham had their conflicts too. Isaac only
    had two children and is thus not a convincing poster child for
    multiplying. In both cases, it is the amount of possessions
    (especially livestock), rather than the immediate family size, that
    led to the conflict, with the additional factor of cowardly
    dishonesty. The efforts by Abraham and Isaac to protect themselves
    at risk to their wives could have appeared to be the safest way to
    survive and reproduce later, but these efforts are condemned as
    dishonest and faithless.

    Rich: > 4-500 years later, the reproductive success of the Jewish
    people causes conflict with the Egyptians who notice that the
    Israelites are fruitful and prolific; they increase in numbers and
    become very powerful, so that the country is overrun by
    them...Religious parties make up about 25% of the Israeli electorate
    (Shahak & Mezvinsky 1999,8) - a percentage that is sure to increase
    because of their high fertility. <

    However, this often includes converts. Again, the emphasis is not on
    evolutionary merit, but theological merit. In the case of living in
    Egypt, probably a large component of miscellaneous slaves joined
    them, initially due to social factors (cf. the mixing of all those
    labeled as colored in past segregated societies) and then for the
    opportunity to escape.

         Dr. David Campbell
         Old Seashells
         University of Alabama
         Biodiversity & Systematics
         Dept. Biological Sciences
         Box 870345
         Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA

    That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted
    Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at
    Droitgate Spa

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