Lamarck Remark


A working hypothesis is that a meta-stage thinker may be resolve to recognize a formal-stage quandry even before formal-stage experts in the field of the quandry can.  The best example of this is Piaget's assertion of the partial validity of Larmarckian views in evolution. 


Larmarck maintained that characteristics acquired during an animal's lifetime could be inherited.  This contrasts with the prevailing interpretation of Darwin that all inheritance is from a genome that is insulated from environmental interaction except for the forces of natural selection on the ability of an animal to reproduce.


Piaget saw in the Larmarck versus Darwin debate a parallel to the nature versus nurture debate in psychology.  Piaget's answer to the latter debate is that both opposing views were incomplete.  The truth lay in the interaction between nature and nurture.  Piaget argued that a similar interaction would prevail in evolutionary theory.


Piaget's statements were ridiculed by a Nobel Prize winning geneticist, Jacques Monod.  He made references to competent geneticists, from which class he clearly excluded Piaget.  Piaget actually responded to Monod's criticism.


While I was in graduate school in the early 1970s, I wrote a paper called "Piaget, Darwin, and Skinner".  This paper accidently became my Master's thesis, but that is another story.  I approached a young biology professor, a Dr. Blood to see if he would supervise my exploration of this issue.  He first was helpful and described mechanisms by which the genome could in fact respond to the environment.  However, he later dropped me in favor of other priorities.


I was in Barnes & Noble  Bookstore yesterday.  I saw a book called "Lamarck's Signature".  My recollection is that a group of Australian geneticists are asserting a neo-Lamarckian position for immunological acquisitions.  They also seem to suggest that the neo-Lamarckian framework might extend beyond this area.  I also found no mention of Piaget in the index.  Nonetheless, there appears to be a confirmation of Piaget's bold foray into evolutionary theory, and thus a confirmation of the effectiveness of meta-stage thinking.

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