do so in a very faint degree; in other words, that acquired modifications are barely if at all inherited, in the correct sense of that word.?? This seems to class both Romanes and Galton on the side of Weismann in the controversy. Burbank, however, says that ?acquired characters are transmitted, or I know nothing of plant life.?
A. H. Bradford, Heredity, 19, 20 illustrates the opposing views: ?Human life is not a clear stream flowing from the mountains, receiving in its varied course something from a thousand rills and rivulets on the surface and in the soil so that it is no longer pure as at the first. To this view of Darwin and Spencer, Weismann and Haeckel oppose the view that human life is rather a stream flowing underground from the mountains to the sea and rising now and then in fountains, some of which are saline, some sulfuric, and some tinctured with iron. The differences are due entirely to the soil passed through in breaking forth to the surface, the mother-stream down and beneath all the salt, sulfur and iron flowing on toward the sea substantially unchanged. If Darwin is correct, then we must change individuals in order to change their posterity. If Weismann is correct, then we must change environment in order that better individuals may be born. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit but that which is born of spirit tainted by corruption of the flesh is still tainted.?
The conclusion best warranted by science seems to be that of Wallace, in the Forum, August, 1590. There is always a tendency to transmit acquired characters but that only those that affect the blood and nervous system, like drunkenness and syphilis, overcome the fixed habit of the organism and make themselves permanent. Applying this principle now to the connection of Adam with the race, we regard the sin of Adam as a radical one, comparable only to the act of faith, which merges the soul in Christ. It was a turning away of the whole being from the light and love of God and a setting of the face toward darkness and death. Every subsequent act was an act in the same direction but an act, which manifested, not altered, the nature. This first act of sin deprived the nature of all moral sustenance and growth except so far as the still immanent God counteracted the inherent tendencies to evil. Adam?s posterity inherited his corrupt nature, but they do not inherit any subsequently acquired characters, neither those of their first father or of their immediate ancestors.
Bascom, Comparative Psychology, chap. VII ? ?Modifications, however great, like artificial disablement, that do not work into physiological structure, do not transmit themselves. The more conscious and voluntary our acquisitions are, the less are they transmitted by inheritance.? Shaler, Interpretation of Nature, 88 ? ?Heredity and individual action may
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