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to the beginning of the race. And in that line there are influences for
good and evil, awaiting favorable environment for awakening into new
life unless restrained by the will of the individual.
As Shute says: "There will come a time when the fertilized ovum will
have a highly complex nucleus composed of many different ancestral
groups of hereditary units. One often hears the expression that a child
is a chip of the old block; but this is only a very partial truth, for
the child is pre-eminently a composite chip of many old blocks." And
Luther Burbank has well said: "Heredity means much; but what is
heredity? Not some hideous ancestral spectre, forever crossing the path
of a human being. Heredity is simply the sum of all the environments of
all past generations on the responsive ever-moving life-forces."
Transmission of Acquired Characteristics.
One of the great disputes of biology is that concerning the question of
whether or not parents may transmit to their offspring their personal
"acquired characteristics" as well as those inherited from their line of
ancestors. One side of the controversy points to the observed cases of
children and grandchildren resembling each other, physically, mentally,
and morally, in acquired characteristics; but the other side explains
these facts as due to environment rather than to heredity.
The best authorities seem to favor a middle-view, holding that acquired
characteristics may be and are transmitted as "tendencies" in the
offspring. Thus as each succeeding generation manifests the acquired
tendency, it adds a cumulative force to the family heredity. At the same
time they hold that "environment" is needed to "draw out" the inherited
"tendency." For instance, a child born with evil tendencies, and placed
in an evil environment, will most likely manifest evil conduct. The same
child, if placed in a good environment, will not have the evil
tendencies "drawn out" by the environment, and will probably not
manifest evil conduct. The same rule applies to the child drawn with
good "tendencies." In short, it is held that heredity and environment
tend to balance each other--the "something within" is called out (or not
called out) by the "something without." The life of the individual is
held to be a continuous action and reaction between heredity and
environment, and both of these elements must be taken into consideration
when we think of the subject.
Shute says: "As influencing a man's life and character, which is the
strongest factor, heredity or environment?" In our opinion, as the
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