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I Guess I'm uncertain where the line is
I see what you're saying; the reason I put this in the "ass-magic" category was solely because you had mentioned not only fantasy things like vampires and whatnot, but also things that seemed to break with conventional scientific theory, like faster than light travel.
I'm certain that if you talked to a Richard Dawkins or any established evolutionary biologist, they would find the idea of animals modifying their own germ-line DNA in order to garner and advantage just as implausible, theoretical exercise or no. After all, if it were possible for animals to do such a thing at all, why would it only occur every so often? Natural selection would favor not just the characteristics that such creatures had opted to pass on to their offspring, but also the ability to modify the germ-line to increase advantages. In other words, if such a thing were actually favored by natural selection, then we would all pretty much be capable of it by now.
I'll grant you this isn't exactly in the land of vampire sparkes or god-channeling peanut brittle. I just thought it might be in the same category as faster than light travel, in terms of where it would stand with hard science.
But again, I myself am no professional evolutionary biologist; so it could be that I'm just talking out of my ass.
The nonass-magic constraint is really interesting to think about, though. For instance, I like Orson Scott Card's Ender series a lot more when he actually holds his characters to the hard constraint of relativistic effects than when he just decides to (in a really ass-magic fashion) take the easy out and invent faster than light travel.