Re: Lamarck references

Ton Maas (
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 08:07:10 +0100

Message-Id: <v03102806b0aaaf88701b@[]>
In-Reply-To: <>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 08:07:10 +0100
From: Ton Maas <>
Subject: Re: Lamarck references

>Dear All,
>I am not sure if this message camer through before. If it did I
>apologize for sending it again:
>I am looking for references as early as possible where people refer
>to memetic or cultural evolution as lamarckain, or 'kind of
>lamarckian and so on.

For what it's worth, it may well have been Gregory Bateson who put Lamarck
back on the map. Already in 1963 he wrote an article (The Role of Somatic
Change in Evolution, in "Evolution" 17: 529-39), which contained a notion
he elaborated again in 1979 (in two sections section of his book "Mind and
Nature, a Necessary Unity" - entitled "The Lamarckian Errors" and "Use and
disuse" ), namely that whereas Lamarck's proposition that environmental
impact could directly affect the genes of the single individual, is indeed
untrue, a similar proposition of next-higher logical type *is* true,
namely: that the environment does have direct impact on the gene pool of
the *population*. With this statement Bateson made clear that Lamarckian
evolution is prevented only by the Weissmannian barrier, which operates on
the individual level of biological reproduction.

In "Mind and Nature" Bateson also draws a parallel between Lamarckian
inheritance and communication: "Cross species communication is *always* a
sequence of contexts of learning in which each species is continually being
corrected as to the nature of the previous context. In other words, the
metarelations between particular signals may be confused, but understanding
may emerge again as true at the next more abstract level."


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