Re: Darwin and Lamarck

t (MemeLab@aol.com)
Sat, 24 Apr 1999 14:55:29 EDT

From: <MemeLab@aol.com>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 14:55:29 EDT
Subject: Re: Darwin and Lamarck
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk

In a message dated 4/24/99 11:49:40 AM Central Daylight Time,=20
chrislees@easynet.co.uk writes:

<< "Epigenesis,......,in fact quite ancient in biology, has been
underappreciated in the recent past for ideological reasons
(specifically,
anti-'vitalist' phobias), but it continues to be an indispensable
notion"
=20
from
=20
Anderson, Myrdene (1990); Biology and semiotics; Semiotics in the
Individual
Sciences; VOL. 1 (ed. W. A. Koch), Universit=E4tsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer.
>>

The last time that I heard of research being done on these things, chopping=20
the tails off of rats generation after generation, causes no discernable=20
change in the genotype for shorter tails. Giraffe's don't get genes for=20
longer necks because of any special stretching exercises from one generation=20
to the next. Consistent circumcision generation after generation that occur=
s=20
in some human societies, has not caused corresponding genetic alterations in=20
those societies that code for smaller or non-existent foreskins.

This is what is generally meant by saying that Lamark was wrong. Those idea=
s=20
have proven thoroughly dispensible in biology, and that had nothing to do=20
with alleged ideological phobias. If you are thinking about some other idea=20
as "Lamarkianism" then I would be interested to know what you are talking=20
about.

In fact these examples cited above (rat-tails, giraffe necks, and foreskins)=20
correspond very well with what Blackmore was talking about in cultural terms=
,=20
of copying the instructions vrs. copying the product. This is very clearly=20
the Lamarkianism she had in mind when she was demonstrating how cultural=20
evolution was not Lamarkian as many other people have judged it to be.

-Jake

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