The New American

Climate change, COVID-19, and the LGBTQ movement are all modern examples of politicized science. A story from the past serves as a warning to our present course.

William F. Jasper

It was the summer of 1940 and Nikolai Vavilov, along with biologists and geneticists from his staff, was on a botanical expedition to Ukraine to collect plant and seed samples. Considering the political turmoil and Communist Party scheming taking place at the time, it must have been liberating for Vavilov and his fellow scientists to escape the Moscow hothouse and be out in the great outdoors doing what they loved most. He probably didn’t see his arrest coming. The NKVD (predecessor of the Soviet KGB) swooped down on him and “disappeared” him into Stalin’s police-state labyrinth. 

Lysenko in America

“Although it’s impossible to say for sure, Trofim Lysenko probably killed more human beings than any individual scientist in history,” wrote Sam Kean in his piece for The Atlantic. Kean is probably correct, but an awful lot of scientists are following in Lysenko’s footsteps today. In fact, Kean and The Atlantic are cheering them on. In the closing paragraphs of his critique of Lysenkoism, Kean smugly warned of the shades of Lysenko that he perceives among global-warming skeptics, darkly warning that “nearly 60 percent of Republicans attribute global temperature changes to nonhuman causes.” This is far from being a singular example. In recent years, liberal-left “progressives” have taken to expropriating Lysenkoism as a warning against the “anti-science” Neanderthals on the Right, whom they have labeled “climate-change deniers.” 


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