But there’s a major factual problem which I mentioned when it came out, and, which some friends on Facebook have been griping about. I’ll quote the section where the error is clearest:Not just the New Yorker.…Conceptually, a key element of classical Darwinian evolution is that genes do not retain an organism’s experiences in a permanently heritable manner. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, in the early nineteenth century, had supposed that when an antelope strained its neck to reach a tree its efforts were somehow passed down and its progeny evolved into giraffes. Darwin discredited that model….It is true that in Neo-Darwinian evolution, the modern synthesis, which crystallized in the second quarter of the 20th century, genes do not retain an organism’s experiences in a permanently heritable manner. But this is not true for Charles Darwin’s theories, which most people would term a “classical Darwinian” evolutionary theory.
For some reason, the Darwin idolizers frequently stress that he proved Lamarck wrong about heredity. This is misguided for a couple of reasons.
First, they are usually eager to convince you of some leftist-atheist-evolutionist-naturalist-humanist agenda, but they could make essentially the same points if Lamarckianism were true.
Second, Darwin was a Lamarkian, as a comment explains:
Darwin’s On the Origin of Species proposed natural selection as the main mechanism for development of species, but did not rule out a variant of Lamarckism as a supplementary mechanism. Darwin called his Lamarckian hypothesis pangenesis, and explained it in the final chapter of his book The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication (1868), after describing numerous examples to demonstrate what he considered to be the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Pangenesis, which he emphasised was a hypothesis, was based on the idea that somatic cells would, in response to environmental stimulation (use and disuse), throw off ‘gemmules’ or ‘pangenes’ which travelled around the body (though not necessarily in the bloodstream). These pangenes were microscopic particles that supposedly contained information about the characteristics of their parent cell, and Darwin believed that they eventually accumulated in the germ cells where they could pass on to the next generation the newly acquired characteristics of the parents. Darwin’s half-cousin, Francis Galton, carried out experiments on rabbits, with Darwin’s cooperation, in which he transfused the blood of one variety of rabbit into another variety in the expectation that its offspring would show some characteristics of the first. They did not, and Galton declared that he had disproved Darwin’s hypothesis of pangenesis, but Darwin objected, in a letter to the scientific journal Nature, that he had done nothing of the sort, since he had never mentioned blood in his writings. He pointed out that he regarded pangenesis as occurring in Protozoa and plants, which have no blood. (wiki-Lamarckism)Here is more criticism of the New Yorker and part 2.
I have heard people say that the New Yorker employs rigorous fact checkers, but I don't think that they try to check that the science is right. It is a literary magazine, and they check literary matters.