The Dawn of Medical Lysenkoism

Lysenko promoted the Marxist idea that the environment alone shapes plants and animals. Put them in the proper setting and expose them to the right stimuli, he declared, and you can remake them to an almost infinite degree.

We should be aware of Lysenko because it is crucially important to understand how the ideological perversion of science, especially the biological sciences, can lead to catastrophes.

Lysenkoism was a pseudoscientific belief system associated with Soviet plant breeder Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898–1976). Lysenko rejected nearly a century of advances in genetics, the study of inherited characteristics in living things. His influence on science and agriculture in the Soviet Union in the 1930s through the early 1950s illustrates the disastrous consequences that may ensue when politics and ideology interfere with science. Lysenkoism became the Soviet government’s official program and had major effects on government policies. It worsened food shortages in the Soviet Union, and real scientists were imprisoned for disagreeing with it. Some were killed.

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