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Are the Effects of Use and Disuse Inherited?
An Examination of the View Held by Spencer and Darwin

written by "Ball, W. P. (William Platt)"
...strengthened muscle at a subsequent period; the bird in the meanwhile drawing upon its surplus energy, aided (as I would suggest) by the strengthening effect of increased use in the individual. Seeing that artificial selection of complicated variations has modified animals in many points either simultaneously or by slow steps, as with otter-sheep, fancy pigeons, &c. (many of the characters thus obtained being clearly independent of use and disuse), natural selection must be credited with similar powers,[22] and Mr. Wallace concludes that Mr. Spencer's insuperable difficulty is "wholly imaginary." The extract concerning a somewhat similar "class of difficulties," which Mr. Spencer quotes from his Principles of Biology, is faulty in its reasoning,[9] though legitimate in its conclusion concerning the increasing difficulty of evolution in proportion with the increasing number and complexity of faculties to be evolved. But this increasing difficulty of complex evolution is only overcome by some favourably-varying individuals and species—not by all. And as the difficulty[23] increases we find neglect and decay of the less-needed faculties—as with domesticated animals and civilized men, who lose in one direction while they gain in another. The increasing difficulty of complex evolution by natural selection is no proof whatever of use-inheritance[10] except to those who confound difficulty with impossibility. ALLEGED RUINOUS EFFECTS OF NATURAL SELECTION. Mr. Spencer further contends that natural selection, by unduly developing specially advantageous modifications without the necessary but complex secondary modifications, would render the constitution[24] of a variety "unworkable" (p. 23). But this seems hardly feasible, seeing that natural selection must continually favour the most workable constitutions, and will only preserve organisms in proportion as they combine general workableness with the special modifi...

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