The Disgraceful Episode Of Lysenkoism Brings Us Global Warming Theory

The Disgraceful Episode Of Lysenkoism Brings Us Global Warming Theory
May 1, 2013

Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute, a... (read full bio)

Trofim Lysenko became the Director of the Soviet Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the 1930s under Josef Stalin.  He was an advocate of the theory that characteristics acquired by plants during their lives could be inherited by later generations stemming from the changed plants, which sharply contradicted Mendelian genetics.  As a result, Lysenko became a fierce critic of theories of the then rising modern genetics.

Under Lysenko’s view, for example, grafting branches of one plant species onto another could create new plant hybrids that would be perpetuated by the descendants of the grafted plant.  Or modifications made to seeds would be inherited by later generations stemming from that seed.  Or that plucking all the leaves off of a plant would cause descendants of the plant to be leafless.

Lysenkoism was “politically correct” (a term invented by Lenin) because it was consistent with certain broader Marxist doctrines.  Marxists wanted to believe that heredity had a limited role even among humans, and that human characteristics changed by living under socialism would be inherited by subsequent generations of humans.  Thus would be created the selfless new Soviet man.

Also 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.  Lysenko’s theories also seemed to address in a quick and timely manner the widespread Soviet famines of the time arising from the forced collectivization of agriculture, rather than the much slower changes from scientific experimentation and genetic heredity.

Lysenko was consequently embraced and lionized by the Soviet media propaganda machine.  Scientists who promoted Lysenkoism with faked data and destroyed counterevidence were favored with government funding and official recognition and award.  Lysenko and his followers and media acolytes responded to critics by impugning their motives, and denouncing them as bourgeois fascists resisting the advance of the new modern Marxism.

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.

Those who promote the theory are favored with billions from government grants and neo-Marxist environmentalist largesse, and official recognition and award.  Faked and tampered data and evidence has arisen in favor of the politically correct theory.  Is not man-caused, catastrophic global warming now the only theory allowed to be taught in schools in the West?

Those in positions of scientific authority in the West who have collaborated with this new Lysenkoism because they felt they must be politically correct, and/or because of the money, publicity, and recognition to be gained, have disgraced themselves and the integrity of their institutions, organizations and publications.

The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is supposed to represent the best science of the U.S. government on the issue of global warming.  In January, the USGCRP released the draft of its Third National Climate Assessment Report.  The first duty of the government scientists at the USGCRP is to produce a complete picture of the science of the issue of global warming, which is what the taxpayers are paying them for.  But it didn’t take long for the Cato Institute to do the job of the USGCRP with a devastating line by line rebuttal, The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 2012, by Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. Knappenberger, Robert C. Balling, Mary J. Hutzler & Craig D. Idso.

Check it out for yourself if you dare.  Both publications are written to be accessible by intelligent laymen.  See which one involves climate science and which one involves political science.

All the climate alarmist organizations simply rubber stamp the irregular Assessment Reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  None of them do any original science on the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming.  But the United Nations is a proven, corrupt, power grabbing institution.  The science of their Assessment Reports has been thoroughly rebutted by the hundreds of pages of science in Climate Change Reconsidered, and Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report, both written by dozens of scientists with the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, and published by the Heartland Institute, the international headquarters of the skeptics of the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming.

Again, check it out for yourself.  You don’t have to read every one of the well over a thousand pages of careful science in both volumes to see at least that there is a real scientific debate.

The editors of the once respected journals of Science and Nature have abandoned science for Lysenkoism on this issue as well.  They have become as political as the editorial pages of the New York Times.  They claim their published papers are peer reviewed, but those reviews are conducted on the friends and family plan when it comes to the subject of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming.  There can be no peer review at all when authors refuse to release their data and computer codes for public inspection and attempted reconstruction of reported results by other scientists.  They have been forced to backtrack on recent publications relying on novel, dubious, statistical methodologies not in accordance with established methodologies of complex statistical analysis.

Formerly respected scientific bodies in the U.S. and other western countries have been commandeered by political activist Lysenkoists seizing leadership positions.  They then proceed with politically correct pronouncements on the issue of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming heedless of the views of the membership of actual scientists.  Most of what you see and hear from alarmists regarding global warming can be most accurately described as play acting on the meme of settled science.  The above noted publications demonstrate beyond the point where reasonable people can differ that no actual scientist can claim that the science of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming has been settled or that there is a settled “consensus” that rules out reasonable dissent.

Indeed, 31,487 U.S. scientists (including 9,000 Ph.Ds) with degrees in atmospheric Earth sciences, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science have signed a statement that reads: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” See here.  Some consensus.

Real science, of course, is not a matter of “consensus,” but of reason, with skepticism at its core.

The Decline and Fall of the Theory of Anthropogenic Catastrophic Global Warming

The alarmist claims of the UN’s IPCC are ultimately based not on scientific observations, but on unvalidated climate models and their projections of future global temperatures on assumptions of continued increases in carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the burning and use of fossil fuels.  The alarmists are increasingly in panic because the past projections of the models are increasingly divergent from the accumulating actual temperature records.  Those models are not real science, but made up science.  And no way we are abandoning the industrial revolution as the Sierra Club is hoping based on model fantasies and fairy tales.

The Economist magazine, formerly in lockstep with the Lysenkoists, shocked them with a skeptical article in March that began with this lede:

“OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, ‘the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade. . . .’”

Reality is not complying with the alarmism of the UN’s global warming models, just as it refused to do for Trofim Lysenko.  Remember all that hysteria about melting polar ice caps and the disappearing ice floes for the cute polar bears?  As of the end of March, the Antarctic ice cap was nearly one fourth larger than the average for the last 30 years.  The Arctic ice cap had grown back to within 3% of its 30 year average.  (The formerly declining Arctic ice was due to cyclically warm ocean currents).  Global sea ice was greater than in March, 1980, more than 30 years ago, and also above the average since then.

Remember the alarm about the rising sea level?  Yeah, that has been rising, as it has been since the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago.  Just exactly as it has been, at the same rate.  And anyone you know that has been scared by this alarmist propaganda has been successfully played by whatever media the fool has been relying on.

Murderous recent winters in Europe are killing as well belief in alarmist global warming on the continent.  University of Oklahoma Professor and geophysicist David Deming reported in a recent column,

“The United Kingdom had the coldest March weather in 50 years, and there were more than a thousand record low temperatures in the United States. The Irish meteorological office reported that March “temperatures were the lowest on record nearly everywhere.” Spring snowfall in Europe was also high. In Moscow, the snow depth was the highest in 134 years of observation. In Kiev, authorities had to bring in military vehicles to clear snow from the streets.”

In the Northern Hemisphere, Deming adds, “Snow cover last December was the greatest since satellite monitoring began in 1966.”  That reflects similarly bitter cold winters in North America as well.  Despite claims by global warming Lysenkoists that soon children “won’t know what snow is,” on February 6, 2010, a blizzard covered the northeastern U.S. with 20 to 35 inches of snow.  Three days later another 10 to 20 inches were added.

These developments should have been expected from known indisputable facts.  Carbon dioxide is a natural substance essential to the survival of all life on the planet.  It is effectively oxygen for plants, and without plants there would be no food for animals to survive.  Because of the increased atmospheric CO2 agricultural output is already increasing.

CO2 is also a trace gas in the atmosphere, representing only 0.038% of the total atmosphere, up only 0.008% since 1945.  That tiny proportion of the atmosphere is supposed to produce catastrophic global warming that will end all life on the planet?  The historical proxy record shows CO2 concentrations in the distant history of the earth much, much greater than today.  Yet life survived, and flourished.  Moreover, the basic science of global warming is that the temperature increasing effect of increased CO2 concentrations declines as those concentrations increase.  So stop worrying and enjoy the agricultural abundance in your grocery store.

A tip off regarding reality should have been apparent from the dodgy propaganda involved in changing the labeling of the problem from “global warming” to “climate change.”  Of course, Earth has been experiencing climate change since the first sunrise on the planet.  We are not going to abandon the workers’ paradise of capitalism because climate change will continue.

Another tip off should have been the effective admission by global warming alarmists that they cannot defend their position in public debate.  The day the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming died can be dated from the time that one leading alarmist was foolish enough to debate James Taylor of the Heartland Institute, a video of which can be found on the Heartland website at Heartland.org.

Still another tip off should have been the practice of the alarmist new Lysenkoists to respond to dissenting science with ad hominem attacks.  That apparently reflects poor public schooling that never taught that an ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy, as Aristotle taught more than 2,000 years ago.  My how western science has fallen.

The basic science shows that global temperatures are just not very sensitive to CO2 itself.  Even alarmists will concede that.  Where they get their alarm is with the modeling assumption that the CO2 induced temperature increases will produce positive feedbacks that will sharply increase the overall resulting warming.  The better recent science indicates, however, that instead of positive feedbacks, the naturally stable Earth would enjoy negative feedbacks restoring long term equilibrium and stability to global temperatures.

Then there is the man caused, global warming, fingerprint that the U.N.’s models all showed would result in a hot spot of particularly large temperature increases in the upper troposphere above the tropics.  But the incorruptible, satellite monitored, atmospheric temperature record shows no hot spot.  That is further confirmed by modern weather balloons measuring atmospheric temperatures above the tropics.  No hotspot.  No fingerprint.  No catastrophic, man caused global warming.  QED.

The revival of western science requires that the new Lysenkoism be discredited.  That is going to require quite some work, given the extent of the infestation.

[First published at Forbes]

Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute, a... (read full bio)