1. This is a position known as Lamarckianism, the belief that acquired characteristics can be inherited, a belief not overthrown in the scientific community until the belated discovery of the significance of Gregor Mendel's experiments on genetic inheritance. So Beecher was relying upon the best scientific understanding of her day in asserting that the mother passed on to her offspring delibilities acquired by her due to lack of exercise, tight clothing, and bad air.