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Remembering Trofim Lysenko

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From Paul Greenberg at Jewish World Review:

It was back in 1928, just after another five-year plan had proven a five-year bust, that Trofim Lysenko first came to the grateful attention of the Party by borrowing an old trick of the simplest Russian peasants: Make winter wheat sprout in the spring by exposing its seeds to the cold. They’d been doing it for centuries, but Comrade Lysenko gave that traditional technique a new and scientific-sounding name, vernalization, and made it sound like a scientific breakthrough. He backed it all up with charts, graphs and illustrations as neat as those double hockey sticks the climate-changers used to impress the gullible in our own time. But like them, Lysenko was just practicing politics, not science. Much like those who believe that if hundreds of political appointees endorse climate change, it must be real. As if scientific truth were determined by majority vote. More.

See also: Trofim Lysenko (1898-1976):

The Soviet chiefs began to support Lysenko during the agricultural crisis of the 1930s. On the basis of rather crude and unsubstantiated experiments, Lysenko promised greater, more rapid, and less costly increases in crop yields than other biologists believed possible. Under Stalin, Lysenko became director of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. (1940–65) and president of the then powerful V.I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences. By 1948, when education and research in standard genetics were virtually outlawed, some geneticists had suffered secret arrest and death of undisclosed causes.

When things get scary enough, they don’t have to be true.

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