Re: [xmca] Lamarckian

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Fri Oct 26 2007 - 01:10:04 PDT

Mark, have a read of Merlin Donald's "Origins of the Modern Mind" for
thoughts on the place of tools in Darwinism.
At 03:55 PM 26/10/2007 +0900, you wrote:
>I discovered a very small yet, very enlightening piece of information
>today while reading Cultural Psychology A Once and Future Discipline. In
>Chapter 7 p. 178 part 2, Cole writes that Phylogenetic (Darwinism) change
>and cultural-historical (Lamarckian) change occur at different rates.
>I graduated from York University in Toronto, Canada with two degrees, in
>Chemistry and in Biology, specializing in genetics and biochemistry. I am
>no stranger to Darwinism, and I was not a fan of Lamarckian. My thinking
>at that time was that natural selection 'survival of the fittest' or as
>Gould wrote, 'the survival of the most adapted' was based on Darwin's
>theory of evolution and our creation of tools such as computers was to
>compensate for our own inability to genetically pass on our own acquired
>knowledge. Lamarckian theories to us geneticists was nothing more to us
>than a disproved theory that acquired knowledge could be passed on
>genetically. We all knew that the study of our ancestry through genetics
>could be done by examining the development of the fetus as it passes
>through the various stages of growth. Each stage of growth represented the
>past of our genetics.
>This of course brings into arguments such as the recent comments from the
>discoverer of the DNA helix, as Gould points out in his book Before Darwin
>(sorry the date of that book escapes me at this point), one of the quotes
>is in Cole's book p.18. There were actually 2 quotes in Gould's book about
>the genetic history of the races and they were both on opposite ends of
>the spectrum.
>My initial reaction to Cole's comment on p. 179 was one of surprise, since
>I had never thought that of Lamarck in that light. It cleared up the
>cultural-historical picture for me. But on the other hand, that the change
>between genetic and cultural-historical occur at different rates is of
>course true, but unlike other species, we can produce the tools to
>genetically share our DNA's information (i.e. our research, our thinking).
>It's hard to imagine if one influences the other vs if one is a result of
>the other. I would think that the sum of the genetic make up of our being
>- influences the tools we make to extend our DNA outward in the Lamarckian
>sense. How we use those tools culturally I don't think has any bearing on
>our genetic development (at least not in the short term). Phylogenetic
>change has directly influenced our cultural-historical changes, but I
>think the tools that have had the most effect on our development are the
>ones which have allowed collaboration to occur. I think Lamarckian may
>have more influence on what happens next culturally. And at a much faster
>rate. Our external DNA is becoming more complicated!
>Am I on the right track here? If so, I think I'm beginning to understand
>Vygotsky just a little bit more.
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
mobile 0409 358 651

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Received on Fri Oct 26 01:18 PDT 2007

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