Andrei Sakharov and Trofim Lysenko

Readers may have wondered yesterday how a theoretical physicist like Andrei Sakharov came to know anything at all about genetics. In 1930, Soviet biology had fallen under the spell of Trofim Lysenko, who had no time for either genetics or mathematics, and who was enthusiastically supported by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet press. Lysenko was to remain in control of Soviet biology for nearly 35 years, until he finally was ousted in 1964.

In this circumstance, when Soviet theoretical physicists began to become concerned about the genetic impact of nuclear weapons,  they had to set up their own secretive biological unit under the leadership of Igor Tamm, one of Sakharov’s mentors and colleagues.

tamm

It was in this manner that Andrei Sakharov began to learn about Western advances in genetics. Eventually, it was partly through the efforts of Sakharov and Tamm that Lysenko’s stranglehold on Soviet biology was eventually broken.

Lysenko’s rise had occurred outside mainstream biology. From a review of Lysenko and the Tragedy of Soviet Science:

Lysenko was an poorly educated agronomist who happened to have been in the right place at the right time: In the ’30s, “Pravda” wrote him up as a pioneering scientist. Recognizing that newspapers and popular support could fuel his rise to the top of Soviet society, he set about making a name for himself as a scientist in non-academic journals and periodicals. His peasant upbringing and miraculous findings–never empirically proven or duplicated–made him a star proletarian scientist, the kind needed to bring about true Communism.

Forbes:

Under Lysenko’s view, for example, grafting branches of one plant species onto another could create new plant hybrids that would be perpetuated by the descendants of the grafted plant. Or modifications made to seeds would be inherited by later generations stemming from that seed. Or that plucking all the leaves off of a plant would cause descendants of the plant to be leafless.

Lysenkoism was “politically correct” (a term invented by Lenin) because it was consistent with certain broader Marxist doctrines. Marxists wanted to believe that heredity had a limited role even among humans, and that human characteristics changed by living under socialism would be inherited by subsequent generations of humans. Thus would be created the selfless new Soviet man.

Also Lysenko himself arose from a peasant background and developed his theories from practical applications rather than controlled scientific experiments. This fit the Marxist propaganda of the time holding that brilliant industrial innovations would arise from the working classes through practical applications. Lysenko’s theories also seemed to address in a quick and timely manner the widespread Soviet famines of the time arising from the forced collectivization of agriculture, rather than the much slower changes from scientific experimentation and genetic heredity.

Lysenko was consequently embraced and lionized by the Soviet media propaganda machine. Scientists who promoted Lysenkoism with faked data and destroyed counterevidence were favored with government funding and official recognition and award. Lysenko and his followers and media acolytes responded to critics by impugning their motives, and denouncing them as bourgeois fascists resisting the advance of the new modern Marxism.

The V.I. Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced on August 7, 1948 that thenceforth Lysenkoism would be taught as the only correct theory. All Soviet scientists were required to denounce any work that contradicted Lysenkoism. Ultimately, Soviet geneticists resisting Lysenkoism were imprisoned and even executed. Lysenkoism was abandoned for the correct modern science of Mendelian genetics only as late as 1964.

The Forbes article from which these quotes are taken continues:

This same practice of Lysenkoism has long been under way in western science in regard to the politically correct theory of man caused, catastrophic, global warming.  That theory serves the political fashions of the day in promoting vastly increased government powers and control over the private economy.  Advocates of the theory are lionized in the dominant Democrat party controlled media in the U.S., and in leftist controlled media in other countries.  Critics of the theory are denounced as “deniers,” and even still bourgeois fascists, with their motives impugned.

Those who promote the theory are favored with billions from government grants and neo-Marxist environmentalist largesse, and official recognition and award.  Faked and tampered data and evidence has arisen in favor of the politically correct theory.  Is not man-caused, catastrophic global warming now the only theory allowed to be taught in schools in the West?

Might not exactly the same be true of the War on Smoking and the rise of Lifestyle Medicine? It is even more politically correct than Global Warming theory. And it also promotes vastly increased government power and control over the private economy (and private behaviour). Those who promote the theory are favoured with millions in government grants. Much of the evidence for it is faked or tampered. And no alternative theory gets any consideration.

Might it not be that the tobacco hypothesis for the cause of lung cancer was adopted not because it was scientifically valid (it was strongly contested by statisticians like R.A. Fisher), but because it conformed with the political preferences of its supporters. Richard Doll was a Communist, and although Bradford Hill was not, it was Doll who was to become the principal proponent of the new doctrine. Perhaps the idea, advanced by two virtual non-mathematicians, that lung cancer could be prevented simply by stopping smoking had a similar attraction as Lysenko’s idea that new hybrids could be created simply by grafting branches onto plants, or that rye could be transformed into wheat and wheat into barley.

If so, the West may have far outdone Lysenko, whose doctrines held sway for a mere 35 years, with antismoking and lifestyle doctrines which have held sway for almost twice that duration. And the ‘selfless new Soviet man’ may have met his match in the equally selfless non-smoking modern Western man.

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20 Responses to Andrei Sakharov and Trofim Lysenko

  1. beobrigitte says:

    Scientists who promoted Lysenkoism with faked data and destroyed counterevidence were favored with government funding and official recognition and award.
    This somehow does ring a bell. The Sovjets’ disadvantage was that there was no rich people to feed Lysenko.
    The West has a lot of (non-scientifically qualified) rich people who fall for propaganda..
    In the meantime, are we, THE WEST heading for:
    ?”Camp14: total control.”

  2. waltc says:

    Smokingscot: see my reply to your yesterday’s reply, one down.

    • smokingscot says:

      Read and understood Walt.

      Got me to wondering what the world might be like if the original people of Diego Garcia, US, Canada, Australia, NZ, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, the Leeward and Windward as well as Surinam and so on all had access to bomb making kit around the time Europe decided to plant their flag, fill it with an alien culture, rules and people.

  3. margo says:

    (Roobedoo – I’m still not getting Frank’s blog on my email inbox. Unsubscribing and then subscribing again hasn’t worked.)

  4. Frank Davis says:

    I had an email from Sheila Martin which she asked me to pass on:

    https://www.gofundme.com/g5b6bu3n

    I am seeking to overturn the St. Louis City smoking ban by challenging its unfair casino exemption in court. I am seeking a return of free choice to all “over 21” establishments in St. Louis City.

    The St. Louis City Board of Aldermen was only willing to impose a smoking ban on bars if the Lumiere Casino remained exempt. I want to ask a court to order the Board of Alderman to treat all adult establishments in St. Louis City equally under the law. If a rich casino can allow smoking, so can a little bar. I believe such an order would result in a return of free choice to all “over 21” entertainment establishments in St. Louis City.

    Small bars and their patrons are rallying to raise the funds necessary, but anything you can contribute would be hugely appreciated! All money contributed will only be spent on the legal defense of St. Louis City bars.

    Please contact Bill Hannegan for any further information!

    keepsaintlouisfree@gmail.com

    • The Blocked Dwarf says:

      A worthy and no doubt noble cause but I fear it may backfire, the upshot will no doubt be that will treated equally under the law and smoking banned in the casino too. But never let it be said there was a windmill I wasn’t prepared to tilt at….i’ve even ‘tweeted’ it (i think that’s what i did anyways…not really sure about this twatter nonsense…).

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Apr 28, 2013 @ 08:00 AM 51,090 views

    The Disgraceful Episode Of Lysenkoism Brings Us Global Warming Theory

    Trofim Lysenko became the Director of the Soviet Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the 1930s under Josef Stalin. He was an advocate of the theory that characteristics acquired by plants during their lives could be inherited by later generations stemming from the changed plants, which sharply contradicted Mendelian genetics. As a result, Lysenko became a fierce critic of theories of the then rising modern genetics.

    Under Lysenko’s view, for example, grafting branches of one plant species onto another could create new plant hybrids that would be perpetuated by the descendants of the grafted plant. Or modifications made to seeds would be inherited by later generations stemming from that seed. Or that plucking all the leaves off of a plant would cause descendants of the plant to be leafless.

    Lysenkoism was “politically correct” (a term invented by Lenin) because it was consistent with certain broader Marxist doctrines. Marxists wanted to believe that heredity had a limited role even among humans, and that human characteristics changed by living under socialism would be inherited by subsequent generations of humans. Thus would be created the selfless new Soviet man.

    Also Lysenko himself arose from a peasant background and developed his theories from practical applications rather than controlled scientific experiments. This fit the Marxist propaganda of the time holding that brilliant industrial innovations would arise from the working classes through practical applications. Lysenko’s theories also seemed to address in a quick and timely manner the widespread Soviet famines of the time arising from the forced collectivization of agriculture, rather than the much slower changes from scientific experimentation and genetic heredity.

    Lysenko was consequently embraced and lionized by the Soviet media propaganda machine. Scientists who promoted Lysenkoism with faked data and destroyed counterevidence were favored with government funding and official recognition and award. Lysenko and his followers and media acolytes responded to critics by impugning their motives, and denouncing them as bourgeois fascists resisting the advance of the new modern Marxism.

    The V.I. Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced on August 7, 1948 that thenceforth Lysenkoism would be taught as the only correct theory. All Soviet scientists were required to denounce any work that contradicted Lysenkoism. Ultimately, Soviet geneticists resisting Lysenkoism were imprisoned and even executed. Lysenkoism was abandoned for the correct modern science of Mendelian genetics only as late as 1964.

    The Theory of Man Caused Catastrophic Global Warming

    This same practice of Lysenkoism has long been under way in western science in regard to the politically correct theory of man caused, catastrophic, global warming. That theory serves the political fashions of the day in promoting vastly increased government powers and control over the private economy. Advocates of the theory are lionized in the dominant Democrat party controlled media in the U.S., and in leftist controlled media in other countries. Critics of the theory are denounced as “deniers,” and even still bourgeois fascists, with their motives impugned.

    Those who promote the theory are favored with billions from government grants and neo-Marxist environmentalist largesse, and official recognition and award. Faked and tampered data and evidence has arisen in favor of the politically correct theory. Is not man-caused, catastrophic global warming now the only theory allowed to be taught in schools in the West?

    Those in positions of scientific authority in the West who have collaborated with this new Lysenkoism because they felt they must be politically correct, and/or because of the money, publicity, and recognition to be gained, have disgraced themselves and the integrity of their institutions, organizations and publications.

    The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is supposed to represent the best science of the U.S. government on the issue of global warming. In January, the USGCRP released the draft of its Third National Climate Assessment Report. The first duty of the government scientists at the USGCRP is to produce a complete picture of the science of the issue of global warming, which is what the taxpayers are paying them for. But it didn’t take long for the Cato Institute to do the job of the USGCRP with a devastating line by line rebuttal, The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 2012, by Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. Knappenberger, Robert C. Balling, Mary J. Hutzler & Craig D. Idso.

    Check it out for yourself if you dare. Both publications are written to be accessible by intelligent laymen. See which one involves climate science and which one involves political science.

    All the climate alarmist organizations simply rubber stamp the irregular Assessment Reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). None of them do any original science on the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming. But the United Nations is a proven, corrupt, power grabbing institution. The science of their Assessment Reports has been thoroughly rebutted by the hundreds of pages of science in Climate Change Reconsidered, and Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report, both written by dozens of scientists with the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, and published by the Heartland Institute, the international headquarters of the skeptics of the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming.

    Again, check it out for yourself. You don’t have to read every one of the well over a thousand pages of careful science in both volumes to see at least that there is a real scientific debate.

    The editors of the once respected journals of Science and Nature have abandoned science for Lysenkoism on this issue as well. They have become as political as the editorial pages of the New York Times. They claim their published papers are peer reviewed, but those reviews are conducted on the friends and family plan when it comes to the subject of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming. There can be no peer review at all when authors refuse to release their data and computer codes for public inspection and attempted reconstruction of reported results by other scientists. They have been forced to backtrack on recent publications relying on novel, dubious, statistical methodologies not in accordance with established methodologies of complex statistical analysis.

    Formerly respected scientific bodies in the U.S. and other western countries have been commandeered by political activist Lysenkoists seizing leadership positions. They then proceed with politically correct pronouncements on the issue of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming heedless of the views of the membership of actual scientists. Most of what you see and hear from alarmists regarding global warming can be most accurately described as play acting on the meme of settled science. The above noted publications demonstrate beyond the point where reasonable people can differ that no actual scientist can claim that the science of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming has been settled or that there is a settled “consensus” that rules out reasonable dissent.

    Indeed, 31,487 U.S. scientists (including 9,000 Ph.Ds) with degrees in atmospheric Earth sciences, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science have signed a statement that reads: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” See here. Some consensus.

    Real science, of course, is not a matter of “consensus,” but of reason, with skepticism at its core.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2013/04/28/the-disgraceful-episode-of-lysenkoism-brings-us-global-warming-theory/

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    You might want to jump in here an article on Audrey

    http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/now/politics/216869-smokers-rights-activist

    • The Blocked Dwarf says:

      Good read and a brave lady, shame the author/publisher felt the need to add the links to the Tobacco Control Industry lobby groups and Third Reich pseudo-science spouters at the bottom.

      NY Quits…and why quits?

    • nisakiman says:

      I love Audrey! She is a real Trojan! What she does, single-handedly in New York is an example to us all. I might not agree with her approach every time, but I’m full of admiration and respect for her honesty and tenacity.

      Would that there were more like her.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

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