Lamarck and Darwin

Jim Jaszewski ab975 at
Tue Jun 27 05:24:50 MDT 1995

On Fri, 23 Jun 1995, Lisa Rogers wrote:

> I think the Lamarckian answer might have been "well, we're not
> talking about cosmetic changes.  It has to be something useful,
> adaptive, in order for it to affect one's descendants."  The typical
> example I've heard is that of a blacksmith, who is very large and
> muscular.  He gets that way from practice.  Since he uses his muscles
> all his life, this muscularity somehow (no mechanism suggested)
> somehow becomes inheritable.  Therefore, he will have muscular sons,
> who of course are well-suited to the blacksmiths' profession.

	Indeed, if no mechanism is found, then Lamarckism is bunkum.

	However, if it hasn't been made clear here, let me point out that
the effects would be VERY small, cumulative over generations. If we don't
have e.g. 20-30(?) generations of hereditary blacksmiths, then it
certainly would seem that it'd be lost in the 'noise'...

	I don't think there have been more than a few generations of such
specialized occupations being passed down among related humans in the
entire history of this planet.

	I myself have always been curious, though, of the effects of
agriculture on human physiology. Even MORE so, I've been curious of the
effects on our genetic make-up of the discovery of Fire..!!


   Jim Jaszewski   <jazz at>

   WWW homepage:   <>


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