Main Lamarck Was Right Discussion

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08:51:15 AM Dec 10th 2013
edited by
Holy crap, but that Ranma is example is one Wall of Text.

I chopped out a lot of extraneous narrative material to just leave the elements relevent to this trope. Changed:

  • A late manga story arc of Ranma ½ introduces the Musk Dynasty, who use magic to bring about this precise effect and are one part Villain of the Week to one part Wacky Wayside Tribe. Generations ago, the Musk's ancestors were a group of martial artists who wanted to become the greatest masters of the various "Animal Styles" of Kung Fu. So, they settled in a valley near Jusenkyō, crafted two magical items to enable or disable Shapeshifter Mode Lock, and took to capturing animals, cursing them in the Spring of Drowned Girl, locking them in that form, and having kids with them to ensure that the children would gain the traits of their moms' original species and thus be natural masters of the related style. It seems to have worked; Herb, a dragon-blooded, is an incredibly powerful ki user, the tiger-blooded Lime is a Mighty Glacier and wolf-blooded Mint is a Fragile Speedster. However, it also seems to have done a number on their mental abilities, which may be why that Herb says they gave up the practice some time ago. While the sheer misogyny of their lifestyle may be partially to blame (Musk boys are taken from their mothers once they're weaned and don't have any contact with the opposite sex until it's time for them to marry), Mint and Lime are dimwitted and girl-obsessed, to the point of openly fantasizing about holding hands with girls, touching or seeing breasts, and grabbing girls in the middle of the street to try and make these dreams come true. And Herb, though generally smarter, was still dumb enough to take the Locking Ladle with him to Jusenkyō; when he turned a monkey into a girl to be able to see what a woman's body looked like before he got married. Even though he only intended to have the monkey-girl around for a few moments and just let her run off afterwards. Naturally, this gets him a Gender Bender curse and stuck in female form to boot, forcing him/her to come to Japan to get it fixed.


  • A manga only story arc of Ranma ½ introduces the Musk Dynasty, who use magic to bring about this precise effect. Generations ago, the Musk's ancestors wanted to become the greatest masters of the various "Animal Styles" of Kung Fu. So they settled in a valley near Jusenkyō, captured animals, cursing them in the Spring of Drowned Girl, locking them in that form, and having kids with them to pass the animal traits on to the children. It seems to have worked; Herb, a dragon-blooded, is an incredibly powerful ki user, the tiger-blooded Lime is a Mighty Glacier and wolf-blooded Mint is a Fragile Speedster.

Suggestions welcome as how how to reduce it down to something a bit more Clear, Concise, Witty
02:28:32 PM Oct 29th 2013
The Discworld examples, as a rule - these are played for laughs and/or lampshaded - this should be, I believe, mentioned on the page.
09:45:17 PM Nov 4th 2011
Everything in the Folklore section looks much more like a "Just So" Story. As for the rest, how does this differ from Superpower Genetics?
05:43:27 PM Oct 29th 2011
The majority of the examples posted have no idea what they are talking about. the examples are all over the place. Not that they are factually wrong perhaps, but just are not what this page is actually about. Maybe it just isn't phrased well in the trope introduction?
05:31:22 AM Aug 2nd 2011
edited by Mith4
"Runs rampant in the 4th book of Twilight. Try not to think about it too hard."

Really? Where? I think this example needs to be more specific. I'm sure I didn't see any Lamarckian inheritance in that book.
05:10:31 AM Aug 2nd 2011
Someone changed
  • Some creationists wrongfully assume that men have one less pair of ribs than the women do, because God took a rib from Adam to create Eve.

  • Genesis suggests that men have one less rib the women is because God took a rib from Adam to create Eve.

I disagree with that. The bible never makes any claim about men having one less rib than woman, it just says Adam had one removed. It's only (some) modern creationists who draw the conclusion that all men are missing a rib. I suggest changing it back.
08:12:15 PM Dec 2nd 2010
Took out:
  • In the chapter where Goku fetches Dende to be the new guardian of the earth, Goku explicitly tells Gohan that they don't need to train anymore for the Cell Games and that he should stay and hang out with Dende. That's when Goten was conceived. Gohan wasn't home and I'm sure Goku wouldn't want to traumatize his son or make anyone uncomfortable with his and Chi-Chi's intimacy. So Gohan catches up with Dende while Goku does a very different kind of catching up with Chi-Chi to leave behind another kid.
From the DBZ example. Not relevant. Plus it made me uncomfortable and traumatized me.
03:11:34 PM Aug 5th 2010
Hey guys, pardon my Frankish, but what the FUCK is this trope about???

The Laconic version says this: Inheriting characteristics other than body traits.

While the main trope page itself seem to suggest, without saying it directly, is that the trope is about acquired traits, i.e. traits with no genetic basis (acquired after birth, as a result of injury, training, or superheropower-inducing accident like radioactive spiders), being passed on to offspring.

This also fits with the actual name of, you know, Lamarck. It's what he guessed wrong about (e.g. giraffes training their neck muscles to stretch better to be able to reach leaves on higher branches, and this training being passed on to their offspring).

Nothing about it being only physical traits. Mental traits can be genetic too, being caused by factors in the brain (neuro-structure, neuro-chemistry). Magical talent is also, in some settings, genetic.

Which means that MANY of the examples on the main page do not fit this trope at all.

Can we please get a clear and unambiguous definition of the trope, followed by a thorough cleansing of all the examples that does not fit the new and clear definition?

03:44:36 PM Aug 5th 2010
If there are examples that could be caused by real world genetics, go ahead and delete them. This trope is about mice who have their tails cut off then giving birth to tailless mice. Or a ninja having a child who knows martial arts from birth.

If something happens to a parent that would not alter their genes, like training, memories or artificial limbs, and yet their children have that training, memory, or cybernetics, then that is a valid example.
03:04:32 PM Sep 19th 2010
•In Frankenstein Frankenstein destroys the "bride" he created for the monster because he fears what might happen if they reproduced.

I once wrote a fan-fic of Xena: Warrior Princess meets Frankenstein'sMonster. The finale was Frankenstein, Igor, Herman and Lily sitting around the breakfast table and Herman noticing the Flaw In The Plan. "Dad, you and Igor built me out of graveyard bits and then you and Igor built Lily out of graveyard bits to be my bride. Dad, I can't marry my sister. Our babies might be monsters.!"
12:06:13 PM Oct 24th 2010
Genetics are one source of aptitude, possibly the most important source, and so it is often perfectly realistic that people with high specific skills have children that can quickly learn those skills, thus also ending up very good in those same specific skills, even as young adults, without it being the least bit justified to invoke Lamarck.

Yet there are a lot of such examples in the trope page, and also some that seem as if they're put there because genetics in the story in question works in a way that the troper writing the entry finds to be offensive to his or her ideology, even though the example does not violate factual knowledge of real-world genetic science.

And my point is, there are MANY such wrong examples on the page for this trope, with the main reason being that the trope is not clearly defined, leaving plenty of room for people to interpret it as they wish, and add hobbyhorse examples, without this (necessarily) being ill will on their behalf; the trope's definition needs to be cleaned up and made starker and clearer, and the many, many wrong examples need to be deleted.

Sometimes if a trope is badly explained, one can infer what it is by reading the examples. I often do this (combined with reading the Laconic version if there is one), because either the trope definitions are badly written or else they just don't mesh with the way I think (even though the concept of tropes itself meshes well with my brain - I'm a huge fan of this website), but that approach does NOT work if over half the trope examples are woefully incorrect.

Another thing we need to look into is whether the trope is about how real-world genetics work, or if it is to some extent all right for authors to have their own beliefs about genetics as long as those beliefs are at least somewhat reasonable. For insance, Mary Shelley wrote in the early 19th century (or late 18th; I forget). Two electrically animated flesh golems reproducing is a lot less sensible in a story written today than in a story written 200 year ago,

Should this trope make allowance for such things? A bit of allowance? Or a lot? Or none at all? I don't have an opinion on this, as of now, but it's a question that needs to be answered.

I'm extremely new here. If this was Wikipedia, I'd be totally bold and delete all examples and let people re-add one by one (then cull the bad re-adds every few days), but I'm too new to dare to be so bold, and deleting all the examples won't do much good anyway (it would look like vandalism), as long as the initial definition paragraphs remain flawed, and I can't rewrite those.

— Peter
01:09:33 PM Oct 24th 2010
Peter, if you think the trope description is flawed and want to fix it or even just get some feedback, you can make a post in the Trope Repair Shop: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/conversations.php?topic=renames

Do not delete all examples, that would (rightfully) be called vandalism. You can go through and delete any examples that do not fit the trope. Make your edit reason say "see discussion page" so that people know you're not a vandal, and start a new topic saying you did a major clean-up and explain your reasoning. Most tropers will thank you for cleaning up such a cluttered page. If someone thinks you were too harsh deleting a specific example, they can discuss it here before re-adding it so we avoid edit warring.

Your example about Mary Shelley is an example of Science Marches On, something that was considered scientifically valid in its day but is now known to be inaccurate. I don't think this trope should make allowances for it, but that's something you can bring up in TRS.

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