The Soviet Era's Deadliest Scientist Is Regaining Popularity in Russia


#1

Trofim Lysenko’s spurious research prolonged famines that killed millions. So why is a fringe movement praising his legacy?

What happens when ideology and pseudoscience trump sound science? When science becomes entangled with politics and even the church gets involved? Oftentimes it can be just silly (think of the Ark Encounter), but occasionally it can be deadly! This article serves as a cautionary tale for us today:

The Soviet Era’s Deadliest Scientist Is Regaining Popularity in Russia


(Thanh Chung) #2

I don’t know how science worked in the Soviet Union, but didn’t Soviet scientists favored Lamarckism or something over Darwinism?


#3

You can find out by reading the article.


(Phil) #4

Interesting article. Learned a lot that I never knew, so thank you. The last of the article struck a cord with me as I was at a conference at our church talking about pornography and its effect on men. A really good conference for the most part, but somewhat soured when they put up pictures of “brain scans” of chronic porn users that had no resemblance to any legitimate brain scans I have ever seen, and talked of how epigenetics prove that porn users transmit defective genes and their kids have brain damage due to the porn the fathers watch. It was a good example of how good intentions do not justify falsehoods, and in fact can ruin the message desired.
Back to epigenetics, it is just an example of how legitimate science can be twisted to pseudoscience and bad stuff can follow.


#5

Did you speak up? Or just grit your teeth? I assume you were out-numbered. Porn does have terrible effects on children but not in the way your presenters imagine.


(Phil) #6

I did not say anything, since the overall message was good, and speaking up to critique the video would be akin to standing up in church and saying, “Come on guys, porn is not that bad.” So call me chicken and fry me up. I will probably mention it on the side sometime to my pastor who set up the program, if I can find an appropriate time. The subject of truth and how we look the other way in Christianity at times is a troubling one, however, both when confronted with sin, and when liberties are taken with truth in arguments, no matter how good the intentions.

Have to admit, around here there is usually no shortage of opinions on setting us straight when we stray from the path!


#7

Try writing a letter, which is less confrontational. Explain first what you found truthful in the presentation.


(Thanh Chung) #8

I guess Lysenkoism is similar to Lamarckism if I’m not mistaken. Back when there were politically progressive Fundamentalists like William Jennings Bryan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, their dislike of evolution seemed to overlap to some extent with that of the early Communists (they associated Darwinism with imperialism, militarism, racism, etc.).

Nowadays, although Fundamentalists are politically different to Bryan, they are still hostile to Darwinian evolution but now associated it with different things. I guess this shift shows how their views of science change as their ideological views change over time.


(George Brooks) #9

I see what you did there… you sneaky girl…