Live and Let Live

“Originated as a breeding theory, Dosage could be described more accurately as a pedigree classification technique in its latest form.”

“As stated at the outset, contemporary Dosage is simply a pedigree classification technique. It is not, as some have claimed, a breeding theory.”

Racehorse Breeding Theories, pages 191 and 232.

So dosage is NOT a breeding theory after all???? That actually makes sense if the statements above were sincere. Alas, their sincerity needs to be questioned.

Suppose I had a “pedigree classification technique” that was NOT a breeding theory. I was asked to contribute a chapter on this technique to a book about breeding theories. My proper response would have been, “No, thank you. Your book is all about breeding theories. Dosage is NOT a breeding theory. Therefore, contributing such a chapter would not be appropriate.”

Needless to say, a chapter on dosage was contributed to this book, 46 pages’ worth, the second-longest chapter in the whole book. The fact that a chapter was contributed to this book argues that it is considered a breeding theory, at least by most people.

The authors of dosage basically want to have their cake and eat it too. When dosage is criticized as a breeding theory, they whine and say it is NOT really a breeding theory. You accept that statement at face value and turn your back, and lo and behold, the same authors are prattling on about dosage as if it IS a breeding theory.

Let us accept at face value the statement that dosage is NOT a breeding theory. If you accept that statement, which actually makes sense, dosage itself becomes a lot less objectionable.

If dosage is not a breeding theory, then it has nothing to say about methods of attempting to breed a better racehorse. Breeding theories, by definition, are methods of attempting to breed a better racehorse.

Furthermore, if dosage is not a breeding theory, then it has nothing to say about individual racehorses. It is a “pedigree classification technique” that concerns itself only with populations of racehorses, not with individual racehorses. It has nothing to say about the Kentucky Derby, for example, and which nags are most likely to win that race.

Dosage used the Kentucky Derby to popularize itself, starting around 1981. Back then you did not hear anyone saying that dosage is NOT a breeding theory. All you heard was which nags had the “proper numbers” to win that race. Which makes dosage very much a breeding theory, since the Kentucky Derby is still the most cherished race in the USA.

Lately you do not hear very much at all about dosage in connection to the Kentucky Derby. That is a step in the right direction.

What I would like to hear from dosage “gurus” is a unanimous public confession that dosage is NOT a breeding theory. That it has nothing to say about individual racehorses. That it has nothing to say about methods of breeding a better racehorse. That it is about populations ONLY. And that dosage should not be subverted or misapplied as a breeding theory.

So far I have not heard such a unanimous public confession, only a sentence or two in a 46-page chapter in a book on breeding theories. Which tends to substantiate the view that “gurus” of dosage want it to be considered a breeding theory. Or at the very least, that “gurus” of dosage are mealy-mouthed hypocrites who want to have their cake and eat it too.

Should such a unanimous public confession ever be forthcoming, my quarrel with dosage would be greatly mitigated. It would still be stupid and out of touch with genetics. But it would be a “pedigree classification technique” concerned with populations only (and NOT individuals) and nothing more.

As long as dosage forsakes any and all claims to being a breeding theory, I am willing to live and let live. But needless to say, I am not exactly holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

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