Re: [xmca] Lamarckian

From: David Cross <davidcross who-is-at>
Date: Fri Oct 26 2007 - 04:51:29 PDT

Merlin's book is terrific. I am now finishing Steve Taylor's "The
Fall" ... has anyone read it? I find it extraordinary, and relevant
to MCA.


"What sad times we are living in!
   It is easier to disintegrate an atom than a prejudice".

        Albert Einstein

On Oct 26, 2007, at 3:58 AM, <> wrote:

> I will look this one up!
> Thanks Andy
> Mark
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andy Blunden" <>
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
> Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 5:10 PM
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Lamarckian
>> Mark, have a read of Merlin Donald's "Origins of the Modern Mind"
>> for thoughts on the place of tools in Darwinism.
>> Andy
>> 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.
>>> Mark
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
>> Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380
>> 9435, mobile 0409 358 651
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Received on Fri Oct 26 04:58 PDT 2007

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