Heidi "Lysenko" Cullen

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

One of the darkest chapters of scientific history occurred in the Soviet Union, when the state decided to dictate scientific doctrine in the field of biology. Specifically, the state actively suppressed biologists in the field of genetics. From the Skeptic's Dictionary (which, regrettably, could stand to be less apologetic for and more skeptical toward Marxism and of the leftist assumption that capitalism is based on religion):

When the rest of the scientific world were pursuing the ideas of Mendel and developing the new science of genetics, Russia led the way in the effort to prevent the new science from being developed in the Soviet Union. Thus, while the rest of the scientific world could not conceive of understanding evolution without genetics, the Soviet Union used its political power to make sure that none of their scientists would advocate a genetic role in evolution.

It was due to [Trofim Denisovich] Lysenko's efforts that many real scientists, those who were geneticists or who rejected Lamarckism in favor of natural selection, were sent to the gulags or simply disappeared from the USSR. Lysenko rose to dominance at a 1948 conference in Russia where he delivered a passionate address denouncing Mendelian thought as "reactionary and decadent" and declared such thinkers to be "enemies of the Soviet people" (Gardner 1957). He also announced that his speech had been approved by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Scientists either groveled, writing public letters confessing the errors of their way and the righteousness of the wisdom of the Party, or they were dismissed. Some were sent to labor camps. Some were never heard from again.

Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology. The results were predictable: the steady deterioration of Soviet biology. Lysenko's methods were not condemned by the Soviet scientific community until 1965, more than a decade after Stalin's death. [bold added]
There are those who are working feverishly to bring back this state of affairs, and I am barely exaggerating. Replace "Larmarckism" with "anthropogenic global warming" and the communists with the Democrats, including their stooges in the news media.

And Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel wants to make history, I guess, as the first woman to reprise (via Matt Drudge) Lysenko's famous role.
The Weather Channel's most prominent climatologist is advocating that broadcast meteorologists be stripped of their scientific certification if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming. This latest call to silence skeptics follows a year (2006) in which skeptics were compared to "Holocaust Deniers" and Nuremberg-style war crimes trials were advocated by several climate alarmists.


Cullen's call for decertification of TV weatherman who do not agree with her global warming assessment follows a year (2006) in which the media, Hollywood and environmentalists tried their hardest to demonize scientific skeptics of manmade global warming. Scott Pelley, CBS News 60 Minutes correspondent, compared skeptics of global warming to "Holocaust deniers" and former Vice President turned foreign lobbyist Al Gore has repeatedly referred to skeptics as "global warming deniers." See: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.Facts&ContentRecord_id=A4017645-DE27-43D7-8C37-8FF923FD73F8 http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=E58DFF04-5A65-42A4-9F82-87381DE894CD


In addition, Cullen's December 17, 2006 episode of "The Climate Code" TV show, featured a columnist who openly called for Nuremberg-style Trials for climate skeptics. Cullen featured Grist Magazine's Dave Roberts as an eco-expert opining on energy issues, with no mention of his public call to institute what amounts to the death penalty for scientists who express skepticism about global warming. See: http://epw.senate.gov/fact.cfm?party=rep&id=264568

Cullen's call for suppressing scientific dissent comes at a time when many skeptical scientists affiliated with Universities have essentially been silenced over fears of loss of tenure and the withdrawal of research grant money. The United Nations Inner Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process has also steadily pushed scientists away who hold inconvenient skeptical views and reject the alarmist conclusions presented in the IPCC's summary for policymakers. See: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_
Regrettably, there's much more. Notably, the private funding of some scientific research that reaches conclusions Heidi Cullen doesn't like is used as "evidence" that it must be biased.

And this last is even after history has shown us just how "biased" government intrusion into science can be! We are seeing it again, starting with the Big Lie that only government funding can guarantee unbiased research!

-- CAV


1-20-06: Added hyperlink to The Skeptic's Dictionary entry to "Lysenkoism".


Anonymous said...

Nice analysis. Government funding of research = government control of research. That is one reason why I oppose funding for stem cell research or any other type of research. I care about the quality of the product of scientific inquiry, which is to make truthful discoveries based on evidence. For that reason, I am opposed to all forms of government research. Politicization and mediocrity undercut the value of any research funded by government. At the extreme, free inquiry is shut down and Lysenkoism takes over. Given how extensive government funding of research is, we are close to that already. Scary.

Especially with an issue like global warming, which threatens to seriously undercut our standard of living if all of the rules required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are imposed. In all areas, we need honest scientists (and good philosophy!), but this is one area where it is especially needed.

Gus Van Horn said...

What really blows my mind about this episode is that in playing out this historical parallel, the New Lysenkoites are drawing a false historical parallel in likening their opponents to Nazis.

As a scientist, let me say that you don't know the half of how bad government funding is for scientific research. Even without blatant attempts like these to dictate scientific consensus, such control adversely affects many other aspects of the profession.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gus, I'm glad you blogged this (It's always a delight to read the Objectivist perspective on stories like this). I was about to write you an notify you of the horror.

This might be a bit off-topic, but sometimes I really wonder who is our worst enemy: the beard-sportin' savages from overseas, or the suit-wearing barbarians who run the universities and media, i.e.: those who want to murder us, or those who want to destroy our will/capacity to defend ourselves.

If present trends continue, the end-result of the actions of both is our return to some sort of dark age.

Another interesting thing to note is that Anthropogenic Global Warmers and their ilk are not exactly blameless as to our current problem with the Jihadists: the "green" energy policies that they enacted are the cause of our much vilified dependence on foreign oil -- which gives countries like Saudi Arabia the ability to breed death-worshippers and fund their aggressions against the West.

Returning to topic here, I have another interesting question: If Global Warmers really do believe that there is no controversy or dissent, and only "consensus" over the issue, why do they want to take such drastic measures as CENSORSHIP to silence what is, by their own acknowledgment, NON-ESISTANT? Why on Earth do these people fear debate so much?

/end rant.

P.S: here's another story that might be of interest to you.

Gus Van Horn said...

Your "off-topic" comments are actually quite relevant.

(1) The barbarians in suits posing as Westerners are far worse. They do the intellectual spade work (i.e., undermining our culture) that makes the obvious barbarians able to threaten us at all. Islam minus leftist academia equals zero.

(2) On top of their making us more dependent on the Saudis et al., they are making it harder for us to become independent of them, all the while making our energy situation even more dire.

The blatant contradiction of claiming to be indisputably right while censoring the opposing view shows that the brighter of the Greens know on some level that they cannot win an actual argument, and yet also that they think they can get away with doing this due to the fact that they have both created an atmosphere of panic and successfully framed this "crisis" as a morality play with industrial civilization and its supporters cast as villains. And we'd better act fast to stop them. (And they complain about hawks "stirring things up" concerning the war!)

Also, do not forget the subjectivist philosophy of the left. They feel that they are right and there is no such thing as objective reality anyway, so what of it if they destroy science? They feel contempt for reason and know that they have to defeat the rational. This is what is happening.

Finally, thanks for that link on China. I have also heard comments to the effect that we have been slowly repositioning our navy to be better able to react to China.

Anonymous said...


LOL, I can't believe I put that in all caps. I think I need a spell-checker in my browser.

Oh, and on China, you may be even more on the spot about academia and the Greens being our worst enemies.

These people not only undermine the West's struggle against the Jihadists, but also in the case of the US (I'm not sure about Europe)they also specifically undermine the ability of the military to prepare for a potential conflict with such countries as China, e.g.: by stopping or delaying naval military exercises because of potential harm to whales!

Gus Van Horn said...

When you consider it, Ayn Rand's comment to the effect that military battles are gunfire to the nuclear war of ideological conflict, really makes sense in this context.

We could have long ago taken care of the Middle East -- but it's building nuclear warheads with Russian help right under our noses.

And if China had even succeeded in remaining Communist until now, it would either be a non-threat or we'd be a lot better-prepared for it.

All this, courtesy of the left, and without a real shot being fired. And yet most people think that it is a waste of time to study and discuss abstract philosphical ideas.

Anonymous said...

Came upon your blog by random Googling.

All government funding of science is hampered my mediocrity... except for that funding that produced atomic weaponry, right? That seemed to be a pretty impressive feat--on a rigid time schedule no less, and I assume you're a fan of that kind of science, the foreign-person-annhilating kind, right?

You get out of the country much, do you? Hmm. Thanks a lot from the rest of us.

Your fear of Stalinization of corporate-controlled media is pretty funny.

Thanks for hating beard-wearing people. That's real productive.

Thanks for distrusting universities too. Back in the last dark age, it was the monks who harbored all the light and thought lost to the rest of the population. And they really, really wanted to hurt us all, didn't they, those evil little knowledge-loving, Latin-speaking monks.

You do know that the people you defend care nothing for you, right? You're standing up for Exxon Mobile, Richard Nixon, and Carl Rove. Very admirable. And brave too. So brave.

Gus Van Horn said...

After stroking my beard (See graphic at top of page.) and chuckling at the Freudian slip, "my mediocrity", all I care to say to the above random rant is to address the comment on development of nuclear weaponry.

Since the military is a legitimate function of the government (e.g., to protect us from foreign aggressors like Imperial Japan and the Soviet Union), a degree of government funding of such research is legitimate, so long as the scientists are left free to work independently and to communicate their results (with the exception of those that could endanger American security). Government funding with minimal government involvement is key. This was a big part, I am sure of how the bomb was developed successfully in America, and not by the Soviet Union, which had to steal its technology from the West.

See also East Minus West Equals Zero.