Lysenkoism in the Bible

As someone mentioned the other day, the biblical story of Jacob getting spotted sheep by making pregnant sheep look at mottled sticks could be read as support for Lysenkoism:

T. D. Lysenko


[Lysenko] was inclined to enunciations of the wildest voluntarism: “In order to obtain a certain result, You must want to obtain precisely that result; if you want to obtain a certain result, you will obtain it …. I need only such people as will obtain the results I need”. Older scientists were, of course, horrified at such talk, so utterly alien to the habits of mind in which scientific method was grounded.

But Lysenko was the man of the hour, suited as he was to step into the role of the man of the people, the man of the soil, who had come up from humble origins under the revolution and who directed all of his energies into the great tasks of socialist construction. He knew well how to whip up massive peasant support, how to woo journalists, and how to enlist the enthusiasm of party and government officials. He began to be pictured as the model scientist for the new era. He was credited with conscientiously bringing a massive increase in grain yield to the Soviet state, while geneticists idly speculated on eye colour in fruit flies. —Helen Sheehan, “Who Was Lysenko? What Was Lysenkoism?” under subhead “TD Lysenko”

Is anyone else reminded of (Paragraph 1) “The Universe gives you what you ask for” and (Paragraph 2) Sarah Palin?

Lysenko’s career was a tragedy for science in the Soviet Union with dozens if not hundreds of Soviet scientists losing their jobs, being imprisoned, and even being executed for insisting on genetics (not wishes) and scientific research, not slipshod demonstrations and faulty record-keeping, as the basis for successful agriculture.

The author concludes

My own view of what is required in the way of an analysis of Lysenkoism is that it cannot be understood simply as a story of personal opportunism and political terror, nor as a cautionary tale against the dangers of bureaucratic interference in intellectual life or of ideological distortion of science….

What went wrong was that the proper procedures for coming to terms with such complex issues were short-circuited by grasping for easy slogans and simplistic solutions and imposing them by administrative fiat.

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