Climate, Congress and the TeaParty Lysenkos

April 29, 2013


The latest example of climate denial boobery from the rich trove at Forbes and WattsUpWithThat, is Peter Ferrara’s new piece that compares climate science to Lysenkoism.

Trofim Lysenko, you’ll remember, was a Russian scientist in the Stalin era, whose theories of genetics were embraced as official government science because they were ‘consistent with certain broader Marxist doctrines”.  His story is the cautionary tale of what happens when government mandated political directives override careful scientific process.

Ferrara writes: “Lysenko himself arose from a peasant background and developed his theories from practical applications rather than controlled scientific experiments.  This fit the Marxist propaganda of the time holding that brilliant industrial innovations would arise from the working classes through practical applications.”

You know, sort of like the way George Bush trusted his gut, not those crazy left wing journalists, scientists, academics, and military leaders obsessed with facts and all that gobbledegook..

The V.I. Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced on August 7, 1948 that thenceforth Lysenkoism would be taught as the only correct theory.  All Soviet scientists were required to denounce any work that contradicted Lysenkoism.  Ultimately, Soviet geneticists resisting Lysenkoism were imprisoned and even executed.  Lysenkoism was abandoned for the correct modern science of Mendelian genetics only as late as 1964.

The Theory of Man Caused Catastrophic Global Warming 

This same practice of Lysenkoism has long been under way in western science in regard to the politically correct theory of man caused, catastrophic, global warming.  That theory serves the political fashions of the day in promoting vastly increased government powers and control over the private economy.  Advocates of the theory are lionized in the dominant Democrat party controlled media in the U.S., and in leftist controlled media in other countries.  Critics of the theory are denounced as “deniers,” and even still bourgeois fascists, with their motives impugned.

And it’s weird that he says that about motives, because I was about to mention that Mr Ferrara has a history of writing stuff  that just happens to favor the positions of wealthy and powerful people, for money, according to Business Week:

Peter Ferrara, a senior policy adviser at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation, says he, too, took money from (well known lobbyist Jack) Abramoff to write op-ed pieces boosting the lobbyist’s clients.

Jack Abramoff, of course, was convicted of mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion.  No problem for Ferrara – he’d do it all again.

“I do that all the time,” Ferrara says. “I’ve done that in the past, and I’ll do it in the future.”

Anyway, so it’s richly entertaining to read today that Rep. Lamar Smith, climate denier and new chair of the House of Representatives science committee,  “has drafted a bill that, in effect, would replace peer review at the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a set of funding criteria chosen by Congress.”


The legislation, being worked up by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), represents the latest—and bluntest—attack on NSF by congressional Republicans seeking to halt what they believe is frivolous and wasteful research being funded in the social sciences. Last month, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) successfully attached language to a 2013 spending bill that prohibits NSF from funding any political science research for the rest of the fiscal year unless its director certifies that it pertains to economic development or national security. Smith’s draft bill, called the “High Quality Research Act,” would apply similar language to NSF’s entire research portfolio across all the disciplines that it supports.


Rep. Smith has made it clear that among the areas of research he finds objectionable, is climate science.  Not long ago he castigated television networks for not giving enough attention to the gigantic nothing-burger known as climate-gate.

Scholars and Rogues:

But ask yourself this – do you want any one political party defining what science qualifies as “in the interests of the United States?” Do you want Congress or the President deciding what is or is not “the finest quality” instead of intellectual peers via the process of peer-review? Do you want the NSF to refuse funding to a single researcher just because the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) or the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) or the National Weather Service (NWS) is funding research on the same topic?

Taking climate research as an example, I don’t want President Obama cutting off Roy Spencer’s global temperature research because the USGCRP is funding similar research. Similarly, I don’t want a Republican representative from Texas refusing to fund the UGSCRP just because its climate disruption findings are politically annoying, while Spencer’s are more ideologically in-line with the Republican Party.

The basic idea of Rep. Smith’s law is that decisions about where to allocate scientific research money should be made not by scientists, but by right thinking people like Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Rep. Smith’s colleague on the Science, Space and Technology Committee Rep. Paul (“science is lies from the pit of hell”) Broun –

Ferrara’s piece was already being savagely dismembered in comments even before the news about Tea Party science guidelines.  As with so much of what is written and spoken by the looney science denial right wing, “Pot Meet Kettle” is the operative principle, but rarely does it play out with such rich chronological precision.

12 Responses to “Climate, Congress and the TeaParty Lysenkos”

  1. […] I’ve reported on the recent moves by the Republican dominated House Science Committee to let politicians, not scientists decide on fertile areas of study. […]

  2. Ryan Gainey Says:

    While the Lysenko thread is pretty funny, I think you are missing some comedy gold in their new “consensus disproves theories” argument.

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