Afterthought /Re: Hoskins on CM/

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Sun Aug 15 07:57:21 PDT 1999

>There are a few scientists in Australia who have been trying to get their
>theory of inherited acquired characteristics into the big journals.


Darwinian reasoning gives good grounds to be skeptical. As Maynard Smith points out, most changes induced in organisms by the impact of the environment are non adaptive: they are the effects of injury, disease, and ageing. A genetic system euqipped with a mechanism of reverse translation, able to incorportate information about the adult phenotype into the genetic message transmitted to the next generation, would lead to deterioration, not adaptation. However, if there was some way of selecting for transmission of only those phenotypic changes that were adaptive, this would speed up adaptive change. This is in a sense what cultural acheives...if only we were sensible to teach children only those things which we have learnt to be useful, as JMS quips.


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