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This question has been closed as off topic. This apparently because it is about a synthesis of real-world theories

However, there are many other questions (such as this) which are similar syntheses of real things, which have been quite well received

I have been asked to provide some sort of worldbuilding context, but this makes no sense: Firstly, many similar questions are permitted with no context to speak of, and secondly adding this context is simply impossible; How can you make a specific scenario that is directly relevant to the general laws of biology?

What are the rules supposed to be here?

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We solve problems about the rules of your world. We don't indulge in debates about the rules of other worlds, which is what it looks like you are asking in that question:

Many Science-Fiction worlds, whether or not by design, have their aliens arise by what seems to be a form of Lamarckism. While this is all well and good, these same worlds also make use of a lot of genetics and DNA

This presents a contradiction.

You are not asking about your world, you are just talking about the alleged contradictions of the many Sci-fi worlds.

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    $\begingroup$ If you read to the end, it clearly asks if the contradiction can be solved (i.e. for use in a world to be built) $\endgroup$ Jan 15 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing You've not addressed the part in L.Dutch's answer: "We solve problems about the rules of your world." - you've not specified anything about your world, just posited hypotheticals about (unspecified) other worlds. I would link to a similar question a while ago about hypothetical physics applicable to nothing specific, but it got deleted as not about worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ Jan 15 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ @ARogueAnt. I didn't specify the world because it's not meant to apply to a single specific world. It seems reasonable, at least if you think, that there are a lot of worldbuilders who'd have an interest in this extremely common sci-fi trope $\endgroup$ Jan 15 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ If you don't specify a world, or a singular creature/environment to put it another way - how can you expect a specific answer, and how can a "best answer" be identified? It's a general hypothetical with insufficient background parameters to elicit a meaningful generalisable result, it's difficult for me to see how that could be helpful to anyone, certainly not you as you're not building a world that it relates to. @IchthysKing $\endgroup$ Jan 15 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ @IchthysKing "it asks if the contradiction can be solved". The answer is "yes". Is that satisfying? No. Why not? Because there's no context. When the questions are without context, so are the answers. If you take it to the next step, 'how can it be solved?', the answer is "however the Author sees fit". Answerers then become authors of your story, instead of leaving that to you. Context in the question indicates 'how the Author sees fit', so that answerers have boundaries to work within to address 'why' it can be solved in the ways the answerers suggest. $\endgroup$
    – Harthag
    Jan 18 at 16:14
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Of Course They Can

Obviously, queries about fictional sciences and fictional theories can be asked here. There's one currently floating in the phlogistated aether about gaseous adhesives. It has a similar problem to your query: insufficient context.

This was my comment to your original question:

Fictional science questions are terribly interesting! I like this one because my own worldbuilding melds Lamarckian and Darwinian (-esque) systems of evolution. But @ARogueAnt. brings up a good point. The reason this question wouldn't count as worldbuilding because, as it stands, it's essentially a real world question. You're just asking a hypothetical. This is the germ of a worldbuilding query: for it to be really answerable here, we'd need context. Background and underlying nature of the fictional world. acceptance criteria based on assumptions you've devised and the like.

The answer to your hypothetical is, obviously, "yes". I've done it, and I'm pretty sure others have as well. The problem is not, as you asked in the discussion, where exactly in the real world do we find Lamarckism and Genetics coexisting; but rather it ought to have been how can this harmonisation be implemented within (a generic) fictional world?

Ultimately, as is too often the case, you kind of shoot your own otherwise great questions down through poor execution or ill chosen words. The question got closed for not being about worldbuilding. It's a real world question because you're basically asking a couple of blokes to wax hypothetical on a topic. It might also have been closed for being too broad / lacking focus. Simply put, I didn't answer your question because there are too many equally valid answers. Questions that allow for a nearly infinite range of valid answers aren't a good fit for SE.

This is why context is so important! You don't need to specify a particular world with a list of 10,452 parameters; but you do need to give us some boundaries and some criteria to work with.

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It would have helped if you actually identified the problem you wanted solved.

For the record, I upvoted the question. In my view, this question is exactly what this site is supposed to be about: coming up with rules and systems for fictional worlds.

Grossly mischaracterizing Lamarckism was unhelpful. Any answer to the question would have to include of a basic introduction to what Lamarckism is about; but this introduction would have been in direct contradiction with the question, which goes on a completely useless discussion of pipes and fluids. The answer would then of course be vulnerable to being considered invalid, because would not answer the question as written.

That being said, the real question would have been how to harmonize an inheritance system based on a genetic code with the inheritance of acquired characters, which is the actual core of Lamarckism. But the actual question did not focus of the real question and instead veered off into the bizarre, focusing on a hypothetical and highly speculative specific mechanism for the inheritance of acquired characters.

If you already have a specific mechanism for the inheritance of acquired characters, then why are you asking the question?

I couldn't even find a reason to answer the question, because (1) I was put off by the unsalavageable mischaracterization of what Lamarkism is about, and (2) there was nothing to answer except that yes, if you have a working mechanism for the inheritance of acquired characters then Lamarck's model of natural evolution will indeed work.

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  • $\begingroup$ In fact, from the help center, "General guidelines for all questions: [questions] Must be specific and answerable: What problem are you trying to solve?" $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jan 24 at 23:59
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Basic analysis of the question

I think some potential issue is hidden behind this "off-topic" closure reason. If I were to take one reason to close, that would actually be lack of details or/and opinion-based.

Why is this? As A Rogue Ant said, we don't really know how answers will get to be reviewed. When you build your own world, it's easier to do this, as you put natural constraints to the questions through both existing world rules and themes. As you asked about "any sci-fi world", we can't rely on this and therefore we're stuck on equally viable answers, none being better without direction. I guess you should add a way to scale answers to make the question more viable and more lively first and foremost 🐶.

The issue of the "other sci-fi worlds"

I don't agree that this question is off-topic. Indeed, we just asked if "it was ok to ask questions that don't have specific worldbuilding use", whose lone positive answer got a nice positive +5 vote at the time of writing, no downvote and no comment telling that it is wrong. The choice of this closure is contradictory to this accepted answer.

Disregarding the above, if I was asked a way to make a flat Earth representation (Theory A) while keeping some principles of newtonian physics (Theory B), answers could perfectly be used to build a world... With a flat Earth and some newtonian physics :).

Can this kind of question be asked on other SEs?

The proposal to ask it on another science.SE is sadly not a really good option; It would be closed since -normally- scientists don't smash seemingly incompatible theories together to make it work, adding or changing 'observations' if needed; They're more like smashing theories together to check if it can work, according to observations. And it is when they don't create new theories and predictions, according to known data and without creating them.

Ichtys, even if they don't sentenced exactly "how to make it happen", asked if there is "any way to make it happen", hoping a way could be found. Therefore it looks more like the speech of an artist creating something with purpose rather than a scientist wondering how the world works :).

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually, your hypothetical question about flat earth plus newtonian physics, as stated in your answer (without additional context), might also be closed as off topic. If you specified, in the question, things like which specific aspects of newtonian physics were to be kept, and structural information about the flat earth, etc., that would provide the context to avoid that closure. Similarly, if context were provided regarding which aspects of Lamarckism and Genetics were required to be kept, and which were optional, and for what purpose, the OP's original question might have avoided closure $\endgroup$
    – Harthag
    Jan 18 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Harthag I can't fledge out a full question for the sake of keeping it short. However, and contrary to a recent meta-question about comparing bullets, the closure reason should not have been off-topic. It's very misleading, since there are clear worldbuilding elements which goes beyond "I'm building a world". This can make people think such questions are forbidden while -as you said- more context and constraints would be enough to keep it here. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 23 at 23:57
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This question should be welcomed as a creative exercise in constructing the philosophical background of a scenario. We should have done great things with it as is - as per my comment, I was ready to try.

That said, it could at least be argued that this one really did run afoul of ground rules rather than being closed for being excessively creative or for touching on sensitive political issues that have long overshadowed Western genetics. The question asks about any possible combination of two vaguely defined real-world theories, without laying markers concerning which way you want to go. It's a question about "many worlds" rather than one world. Now it is fun for me to talk about pol theta, methylation and miRNAs, but I did sort of ignore the "fluid" bit, because it seems incidental in my mind. And while having a wide-ranging creative session would be satisfying, having the close voters go after hundreds of Lamarck-related threads as "duplicates" of this one would be frustrating.

Give us an organism, with a history to explain. (Why do I have a feeling it will be a fish?) Tell us what is known about its evolutionary history, and its DNA, and perhaps your in-world researchers' theories, and ask us how to explain that. The "close votes" are an unnecessary, unjustifiable pox on this site, but they should be opposed on more favorable ground.

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In addition to the answers that have been provided:

Stack Exchange is not a discussion forum.

The Help Center is clear about questions: they must be specific and solve a real, existing, and definable problem. Had you tried to explain how you tried to harmonize Lamarckism with the systems of Genetics, why you weren't able to do it, what specific help you needed to continue your efforts, and why you were doing it (e.g., your expectations, goals, etc), then the question would have been entirely on-topic.

You didn't do any of that. You just threw a topic into the ring and expected a discussion to commence.

Which is specifically off-topic.

Having said all that, we are flexible when it comes to just how specific a question must be because this is a creative site and some questions simply can't be narrowed down without help. But we're not willing to open the floodgates, which is why we have the Sandbox, The Factory Floor, and why we've drawn lines in the sand such as our distaste for High Concept Questions.

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Interesting science philosophy question

You asked about a merger of two stages of development of a science, 150 years apart. That is a difficult one, certainly in this case. Lamarckism (evolution equals improval) got falsified by natural selection (evolution equals chance) , which was again confirmed by genetics. When would science maintain, or suddenly accept claims falsified by Darwin, 50 years and 150 years later ?

I would have put this answer, if I would have had the chance to do so. I could not.

Bad luck, there is a WB close reason

To be honest I didn't see many connections with WB either. There was a close reason. I did not vtc along, because I found the question interesting and I was curious if more answers would arrive. So I am a bad bad bad SE moderator.

Closures sometimes proceed very quickly

I wonder why this kind of question should be closed within the hour.. I would say leave things in peace for say 12 hours, we are not in some zero-sum game, where the rest of the forum "quality" would be damaged by this kind of questions. When the user has 1000ths of points (like Ichtis has) and the question has a certain standing, is that so difficult ?

Couldn't this be reformulated, in some way ?

My above argument is only valid on Earth. For WB, "changing proven rules of our world" instead of inventing new rules for a new world always sets you back.. there are several SE forums that would welcome your question like https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/

Edit proposal

Now suppose you'd have a world where two advanced intelligent species adhere either paradigm "Lamarckism" or "Genetics", because (...) Maybe they'll have to find a compromise some day, for some reason (...) that has to do with the planet ? or the species ?

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    $\begingroup$ "I would say leave things in peace for say 12 hours" - this could generate unhelpful answers, preventing the question from being edited to be on-topic lest the existing answers become invalidated. "Couldn't this be reformulated, in some way ? Suppose you'd have a world ....." - there could be an edit to provide worldbuilding context, it was suggested to the OP many many times, but the OP resisted doing that. $\endgroup$ Jan 17 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ Edit is a good idea. I could give it a try ? if @IchtusKing agrees... see above the proposal. I've changed the last paragraph of this answer to be less specific (don't answer) $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jan 17 at 21:49
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The answer to your question is in the question itself.

Context is the heart of worldbuilding.

"adding this context is simply impossible" > Any question where this is the case, should be closed as it is not a world building question without it.

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  • $\begingroup$ So, contexting back : "Adding this context is impossible; (Indeed) how can you make a specific scenario that is directly relevant to the general laws of biology?" Do you mean that inventing or meddling general laws, namely of biology -or in general- is not worldbuilding? $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 18 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena No, I don't mean that inventing or meddling general laws is not world building. My answer is about worldbuilding 'questions', not worldbuilding itself. There is a significant difference between "...not a worldbuilding question..." and "...not worldbuilding...". the goal of the site is to help you build your world, not to tell your story.(emphasis mine) Without context, answerers are either building the world FOR the asker, or just telling stories. Either way, it makes the questions off-topic for closure. $\endgroup$
    – Harthag
    Jan 18 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ I think we're missing something here; If it's about worldbuilding, how can it not be a worldbuilding question? I believe you meant "valid worldbuilding question for this site" (toooo long :p). But then and then... If someone is facing an issue in building those general laws (that supposedly cannot have context, or can they?), aren't they already building their world? I mean, they have a worldbuilding goal they cannot reach. And others who might not reach it alone, either. That's what bothers me now. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 18 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ That 'world building goal' would be the context. If they have one, and state it, the problem is solved and the question becomes valid again. The example question, as it stands, doesn't state any world building goal, which is the entire problem of the question, which caused it to be closed $\endgroup$
    – Harthag
    Jan 18 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ Should get back to the definition of worldbuilding goal and context then, since the goal seems pretty clear in the example : Give some consistency to a world where both evolution theories are happening (like other sci-fi worlds). Now, to say that alone is a context... Yes, to some extent, though it's not what Ichtys or you was thinking about when using the terms, I guess ^^'. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Jan 18 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena The goal you stated in your comment is inferred, not stated in the actual question itself anywhere. So what might seem clear to you, will not be clear to everyone reading the question. In addition, even if such a goal were stated, I believe the question would then still be closable, but as 'too broad' or 'opinion based'(as your answer mentioned), rather than 'off-topic'. But as the question stands, it doesn't even include that much. $\endgroup$
    – Harthag
    Jan 18 at 18:15

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