Lamarckian factors and ask for more

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We have then Weismann and Professor Bateson definitely ranged against the position taken in this volume as to a cause or origin or variation and the inheritance of acquired characters. To these we must add the great weight of Sir E. Ray Lankester’s opinion lately given in a reply to Professor Adami that “it is very widely admitted (more correctly “claimed”) that no case of the transmission of what are called acquired characters from parent to offspring has been demonstrated in so far as those higher animals and plants which multiply by means of specialised egg-cells and sperm-cells are concerned.”

It is not necessary to mention more than these “three mighties” of the biological world.

Many others such as Prof. J. Arthur Thomson and Prof. W. K. Brooks, of Johns Hopkins University, are still unconvinced as to evidence, and they have many to support them in their opinion and claim. There is often a tone of weariness, as well as wariness in their remarks on the matter.

In favour of the neo-Lamarckian position, with which stands or falls the suggested cause of variation, there is a growing body of opinion, with the mention of which I conclude this review knowledge transfer.

1. The accomplished writer of Form and Function, Mr. E. S. Russell, says the theory of Lamarck “although it had little influence upon biological thought during and for a long time after the lifetime of its author, is still at the present day a living and developing doctrine.”27

2. Sir Francis Darwin from the Presidential Chair of the British Associa-tion of Science in Dublin in 1908 proclaimed his adherence to the mnemonic theory of heredity, foreshadowed by Samuel Butler and inaugurated by Semon, a condition of which is that acquired characters are inherited. This caused much stir in the camp of “our friends the enemy .”

3. Observations and experiments at variance with germinal selection and its negative presupposi-tion have been rapidly accumulated from the work of botanists and zoologists who were prepared to appeal to the tribunal of natural processes; though Weismann and some of his followers, with some reason, look upon the evidence from plants as a weak link in the chain of evidence QV baby.

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