Talk:Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

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Former featured article candidate Jean-Baptiste Lamarck is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
January 19, 2004 Refreshing brilliant prose Not kept
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Are there any reputable sources of Lamarck's signature? I've found this but I am unsure as to its authenticity. --Hands1236Meme (talk) 01:45, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

A note[edit]

This article duplicates Lamarck, but there is much more information there. I think we may suppress this one. --FvdP 23:14 Nov 28, 2002 (UTC)


A contributor has insisted upon re-introducing this topic as if it were a justification of Lamarkian inheritance. The article referred to does say:

"Epigenetic mechanisms leave DNA sequence unaltered but can affect DNA by preventing the expression of genes. "
"These studies do not demonstrate inheritance between generations"
"To get to the issue of the more extreme variations of soft inheritance, it has to be determined whether the environment can induce an epigenetic change in an organism that can be inherited in subsequent generations. Certainly, nobody has shown that an epigenetically induced beneficial or adaptive change has been inherited."

The sentence under discussion says

"However, in the field of Epigenetics, there is growing evidence that soft inheritance play a part in changing of some organisms DNA and maybe transmitted to later generations."

Which is just what the reference does not say. That is why I reverted the change. Macdonald-ross (talk) 07:22, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

I corrected that wording before you posted, its late and I had to run threw a few different sentences and kept hitting the save instead of the preview: it might help to add some text that these changes are not inherited, but I think that is implied when it says that the DNA is not changed. Hardyplants (talk) 07:27, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
While writing this, text changed to acknowledge that only expression of genes may be altered. I still think it may go too far, because adaptive change was what L. talked about, but have not reverted it. Macdonald-ross (talk) 07:33, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
When Lamarck proposed his ideas of adaptive change, people did not know about inheritance of DNA or a fixed genotype. This is a type of adaptive change but it so far does not seem to be a heritable one in any organisms studied so far. Hardyplants (talk)
I'm happy to leave the text as it is now. I should have been more generous about your re-edit: it was well done, especially as you did it before my little rant. Macdonald-ross (talk) 11:03, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
For what it is worth I agree the current wording is not bad. However, there are reliable sources that suggest that epigenetic inheritance can play a role in adaptation to the environment, and that in some cases this might possibly effect evolution in a Lamarckian fashion. Here are a few I found when discussing this topic in history of evolutionary thought: [1], [2], [3]]. This is all still quite preliminary of course, but it might be Ok to add some wording a long the lines: "Some biologists have gone as far as suggesting that such soft epigenetic inheritance might contribute to adapting phenotypes to environmental conditions in a way reminiscent of Lamarckian evolution." I think sources could be found that would support that. Rusty Cashman (talk) 03:34, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
As an encyclopedia, we should stay out of unresolved current controversies. There is not a single case of an epigenetic effect having any evolutionary consequences: it is all supposition. As for revivifying Lamark, how many times has that been promised and failed? If a significant epigenetic change is demonstrated which is continually heritable, that would be interesting. We could rethink the issue then. Macdonald-ross (talk) 18:08, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I can't quite swallow "As an encyclopedia, we should stay out of unresolved current controversies", which is against the spirit of wikipedia and the letter of WP:WEIGHT, which encourages articles to cover unresolved controversies by summerizing minority viewpoints in the field (without giving the impression they are mainstream or consensus viewpoints). I think that at this point the idea that epigenetic effects may be influencing evolution easily meets the threshold of being a minority rather than a fringe view. However, you may be right that this article is not the right place to go into it. To date most of the speculation about epigenetic mechanisms affecting evolution have focused on environmental stress selectively increasing mutation rates for certain genes, and the idea that a genome may code for multiple versions of the phenotype depending on environementally triggered gene expression with the state of the switches sometimes reflecting the enviromental conditions encountered by parents or grand parents rather than just the environment of the developing organism. Neither of these effects really matches the ideas of Lamarck (and his contemporaries) or those of the neo-Lamarkians, which were much more about use and disuse of organs. Rusty Cashman (talk) 02:42, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Neither epigenetics or soft inheritance belongs in this article.LéVeillé 04:52, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

I second this. Epigenetics has repeatedly been described as Lamarckian, but there is no basis for this at all. No serious work has suggested that environmental effects that bring about epigenetic changes tend to produce changes that are adaptive more often than they produce maladaptive changes. And no role for use or disuse of organs has been suggested by research on epigenetics. So saying that epigenetic changes are a Lamarckian mechanism is simply wrong. (Happy 268th Birthday to Lamarck, though). Felsenst (talk) 12:26, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Geographical note[edit]

'After his father died in 1760, Lamarck bought himself a horse, and rode across the country to join the French army, which was in Germany at the time.' As this is the 1700s, shouldn't Germany be Prussia? (talk) 15:46, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Help on Environmental Determinism page[edit]

Hello Wikipedians,
I am a Columbia University student working on the environmental determinism page. We include a discussion of Lamarck under the "Western imperialism and colonization" subheading. Check it out and add to the talk page if you think his theory is summarized wrongly there. I added our page to the "see also" on this one.
--Sarah Whittenburg (talk) 18:47, 7 May 2016 (UTC)