History has the habit of creating heroes and anti-heroes, and so Darwin triumphed while
Lamarck bore the brunt of ridicule and obscurity. The reason is that the theories of the two
men are logically diametrically opposed. Darwin’s theory is natural selection, and selection
entails a separation of the organism from its environment. The organism is thus conceptually
closed off from its experience, leading logically to Weismann’s barrier and the central
dogma of the genetic paradigm, which is reductionistic in intent and in actuality. Lamarck’s
theory, on the other hand, is of transformation arising from the organism’s own experience
of the environment. It requires a conception of the organism as open to the environment —
which it actually is — and invites us to examine the dynamics of transformation, as well as
mechanisms whereby the transformation could become ‘internalized’. Hence it leads
logically to the epigenetic approach, which embraces the same holistic, systems thinking that
Lamarck exemplifies (Burkhardt, 1977).
Mae Wan Ho, Evolution, in Comparative Psychology, a Handbook, (G. Greenberg and M. M. Haraway, eds.), pp. 107-119, Garland Publishing, 1998.