The Real Genetic vs. Lysenko Controversy

- nothing more/less. A summary.

first posted 990713
minor clerical change y10418

Copyright 1999 by TL
Posted by permission of TL

TL invites comments and information from others who know about either T.D. Lysenko's career or his personal life. The E-mail address is

IN SHORT: The Three Main Bones of Contention regarding the things TD Lysenko REALLY said (these are given in greater detail elsewhere):

One technical point: back when Lysenko talked about (what we NOW call) cytoplasm - he literally did not use that word and neither did the geneticists. The word they used to refer to ANYTHING that was not the nucleus of the cell was "living protoplasm." They could see little granules fleeting by in the microscope, or corpuscles floating by. They used THESE words. Of course, when I read this, I realize they are all talking about the cytoplasm; so some of those granules Lysenko mentioned DID INDEED carry important factors involved in heredity. Geneticists did claim it was all in the nucleus, not outside the nucleus at all. Also, it was chemists that discovered nucleic acics, NOT the geneticists. Geneticists talked of factors or elements of heredity: genes. Mitochondria also has genes, but they are not human genes, they are bacterial DNA!, yet they drive ALL OUR metabolism. These mitochondria are NOT in the nucleus of the cell! This is a technicality over which some might quibble.

1. Geneticists insisted that heredity was carried forth exclusively by what is inside the nucleus of a cell (chromosomes) and that the rest of what is in the cytoplasm of the cell was just junk. This was called the "Chromosome Theory of Heredity." Lysenko did deny the THEORY, but he never denied the importance of chromosomes. DNA was not known of in the 1930's. Lysenko did NOT dispute that heredity was carried forth by chromosomes, but he insisted that the WHOLE of the cell, CYTOPLASM and all, was involved in the heredity process. Lysenko did NOT reject the importance of CHROMOSOMES, he even counted doubling of chromosomes in plants (as did geneticists). What he objected to was the dogma that "heredity was SOLELY contained in the chromosome." He turned out to be right: a lot of factors of heredity are in the cytoplasm of cells, not located in the nucleus! Geneticists claimed it was ALL contained in the chromosomes which are IN the nucleus. Lysenko disagreed, he was right. Ergo, the geneticists were excessively dogmatic in insisting they were right and declaring this that and the other. The disovery of DNA doesn't change this: Mitochondrial DNA, having the DNA of a bacterium, is in the CYTOPLASM of cells, not in nucleus. Without that, the rest wouldn't even work! For Mitochondria and how the discovery of how this evolved and works, see Lynn Margulis's works.

2. Geneticists insisted on pure bred lines and claimed these were the best. Lysenko insisted on occasionally mixing the pure lines with wild varieties or else the pure lines would degenerate. Lysenko was 100% right about this. The head geneticist, Vavilov, admitted he was right, but the real battle over this carried on outside of plant breeding, in the realm of racist politics. Prior to this claim, backed by actions with plants, the geneticists had not yet reached the phase where they went "nuts" over what Lysenko said. This claim made them go nuts.

3. Geneticists insisted that there is strict competition in the survival of the fittest, between species and within one species. Lysenko disagreed with this whole idea of "within one species" (intraspecific) competition and showed that this idea justifies Western Imperialism and exploitation of others by a ruling class (the fittest in the game of survival). He turned out to be right with Margulis topping the cake: she's a Nobel Prize winner. It even turns out that there is far less competition between species than had been theorized before. This phase got the geneticists to claim Lysenko was anti-Darwin and the battle raged on anew.

Lysenko NEVER said that variations occur, changes in heredity occur, due to "use" and "disuse" of various organs. He NEVER said that. He was not a Larmarckian, knew what Larmarckism was, explained it and explained why it was wrong! He said changes were due to assimilation and dissimilation and focused on the metabolism and natural selection. Today, "assimilation" is known about and called GENETIC assimilation. Yet one doesn't have to know what a gene is to understand the assimilation. This last thing is part of the dung-heap of nonsense put into Lysenko's mouth by his enemies. They un-explain what he said, they MAKE IT into something stupid and then call it Larmarckian.

The rest of the nonsense they claim Lysenko said is either pure lies or they take puns and jokes he made and pretend he was serious. Another dung-heap of slanders they throw at Lysenko have to do with the NKVD.

What Lysenko was actually saying is very complex. What the geneticists wanted was something very simple-minded and Mendelian. Well, things are not simple and MOST things do not abide by the Mendelian 3:1 at all. What Lysenko discovered about vernalization was not known before and has turned out to be VERY important, it was not simple at all. Cold slows growth of a plant, but it makes the plant vernalize which then sets off a new DEVELOPMENT in the plant; ergo vernalization can't be growth: it's development which is something different. He used a very high reasoning on this. His phasic theory of development was also very heavy, not simple at all. Those who mock it out or try to ridicule him did NOT understand it at all, they are simple-minded and stupid. And they are liars that have only the desire to ridicule this man BECAUSE he was strongly Marxist and Stalinist.

This is delved into further in related postings.

One other thing, those MORON genetics advocates would accuse TD Lysenko of imagining that "if you train a horse to run, it's offspring will be able to also run," as if to imply that Lysenko thought that the mere training of the horse would be passed down to its offspring. They make it sound that way. Then, as if we are all morons too, they go on to tell us that you have to "breed" horses that run good. DUH, that's exactly what Lysenko WAS DOING, eg, with cows, and mostly with plants. In case no one noticed: this IS manipulation of the ENVIRONMENT and of nature. It is DIRECTLY manipulating it. It doesn't matter if the "technical explanation" of what you are doing is genetic or not. Two plants that normally would NOT be in the same environment or breed with each other: TAKE THEM and BREED THEM. This IS manipulation of the environment: trying to get a result that is beneficial to man. That is what Lysenko was DOing, it was what Michurin SAID to do: practical things like this. Vernalization was also a direct manipulation of the environment - but the genetic theorists demanded that Lysenko provide them with a THEORY about why and how vernalization works. UGH. It turns out that the explanation involves EPI-genetic inheritance which was only JUST RECENTLY discovered. Today, geneticists would try to deceive people into believing that "crossing genes of a cat with those of a dog" is the same as animal breeding since both involve "genes blending." HOLD ON. It's NOT the same. The products of such genetic manipulation, not having evolved thru a long series of mutations in nature and BY NATURAL MEANS, would not be FIT to exist in ANY environment: because if they were fit or NATURALLY able to blend or be blended directly by animal breeders, we'd SEE cat/dogs as a type of animal right now. Dogs and cats are NOT cross-fertile. But they can be MADE to cross thru genetic manipulation and bioengineering. So what good is this for man?

One of the most IMPORTANT things PRO MAN is Preventive Medicine which is only a baby science in the capitalist countries. Preventive Medicine threatens PROFITS made by doctors and hospitals (including the American Cancer Society) from the SICKNESSES of people. They'd be out of business if people were able to PREVENT most sicknesses! That's what the Marxists have said. MORONS don't seem to grasp it. WHY NOT? What do THEY PAY for health insurance or for doctor's visits or visits to specialists, or a hospital stay of one day? That should give them an "in the flesh" clue, but it doesn't.

Lysenko, prior to 1936, never contrived for power. But in 1936 he arose against the geneticists, and they rose up against him also, even trying to involve the Central Committee when Vavilov was the pet of the party. This was due exclusively to the Lysenko group GETTING practical results and needing funding for practical tools coming up against the genetic or Vavilov group that was trying to divert funding to their side for theoretical research, Vavilov himself having written so huge an amount of literature that NO ONE in one lifetime could have read it - with NOT ONE THING in there being put to practical use. Vavilov was criticized by the OGPU in the late 1920's for doing this, collecting seeds and doing NOTHING with them; it is also known that some of the samples Vavilov paid for in Soviet gold and brought back were samples that the Czarist Russians sold TO foreigners from whom Vavilov got these "new" samples. He was criticized for this, but not jailed or put on trial. This was never disputed, not even in 1948. It was also well known in the USSR! Lysenko's group had RESULTS, the geneticists had nothing but theories. In the TDL-NKVD expose we tried to show just what it is genetics HAS given us (nothing), but herein is another bombshell.

First off: Yarovizatsya (Lysenko's own journal), 1937, No 2, p. 15 states: "The discussion here is about securing the further development of geneticists from the point of view of development, securing the development of genetics as a science in place of converting genetics into a service of Goebbles. Only this will make it possible to convert such science into the highest stage which, at the moment, is in its primary stages of development. Only this will make is possible for our geneticists to earn respect of all the progressive scientists in the world. For the sake of clarity we repeat that Darwinism is not against genetics. Darwinism is for genetics. Darwinism is not against genetics but Darwinism is against fascist distortion of genetics and the fascist utilization of genetics in its political aims that are detrimental to the progress of humanity."

There is it, from the horse's mouth. It refutes the LIES told about Lysenko.

Now, for the bombshell: during Khrushchev's time Lysenko proposed that the funds allotted for the development of the virgin soil be used instead in the traditional Russian regions towards the fertilization of soil and thus the increase of crop production; the development of the virgin soil was to be left for grazing purposes of livestock until such time as concrete agrotechnical methods could be developed for these regions. HE WARNED that the Khrushchev adventurism would yield several crops and then would result in soil erosion and dust storms! It was precisely for this reason that he was dismissed from his office as president of VASHKhNIL. And what he said would happen to the virgin soil - is exactly what happened! Letter to Khrushchev from Lysenko was gotten from archives tho it is well known that Lysenko was always dead set against any kind of corn crops. There is no corn belt in the USSR.

Zhores Medvedev, however, in his scathing book of bullshit, wrote that geneticists began an open struggle against Lysenko and that they wrote about 300 letters against him. There is no mention in Medvedev's book about Lysenko being against Khrushchev's adventures to upturn the virgin soil and that it was precisely this that had predetermined the "courage" of the geneticists, as Medvedev would have it. He lies by omission of VITAL information. And just WHO was it that was in favor of Khrushchev's virgin soil adventure that ruined the land? Why, one of them is well known for it! Shmalthausen, together with Zavadovski, Zhukovsky and others - notably those that got into trouble after Lysenko was given power to do his practical works in 1948! So then, as soon as these formerly denounced geneticists got the upper hand, they went in with Khrushchev on the virgin soil and corn and popcorn program that ruined the land! Medvedev DOES NOT mention this, or, ha ha ha, GIVE THEM CREDIT for it.

There are those who call themselves scientists that produce nothing and that come up with bogus adventures (such as the cytoplasmic sterility corn fiasco in Texas for which not one geneticist got punished but for which many farmers and their children lost their homes and livelihoods). These types of scientists do NOT produce material wealth or betterment of material being. Instead, they loot it and stick it in their heads and in their books and publications for others of their kind, lice, to read and fawn over. Before Stalin's death, before Beria's assassination, before Lysenko's dismissal and later retirement, the government undertook measures of sorts to FORCE this army of lice to mentally create some kind of wealth to compensate for people's losses. The Vavilov victory (of sorts) only freed the "scholars" from performing practical undertakings. Yes, the "world" agrees (including the capitalist world which was out to bury the USSR from the start), they all agree that these parasites are "scholars" "promoting science." And it appears that there are many FOOLS that were in government after Stalin. The government gave them a livelihood but did they really serve science? Well, they surely determined "what science is supposed to be." Ahem.

You see, the kolkhoz director would be punished if he produced roses instead of wheat. The worker was punished if he produced waste and not a working product. But these scientific scholarly parasites insisted that, in science, negative results are results nonetheless, despite being of NO benefit to anyone! But was it a LOSS to anyone? YES! It costs a LOT to produce such experiments, negative or not! The titles were awarded NOT to those who benefitted from the scientist's results (which would make sense) but on the scientists themselves. Another masterpiece of state idiocy. That's like paying a fortune for a car that doesn't work: oh, it's STILL a car, duh.

Why did Lysenko rise? It's easy to explain: he produced EATABLE results, lots and lots of it. Why did he fall in 1956? Because he was dead set against Khrushchev's corn/popcorn-virgin soil idiocy. Sure, Khrushchev ran to him again later when the disaster was obvious, but it was too late. One can not, no one has figured out how to, FIX destroyed, eroded land.

Lysenko's problem was that he had to increase numbers as well as meet deadlines. This was a problem that seemed unachievable to the petrified Vavilov. Lysenko tried to solve the problem because its solution was essential to the people. No one was able to fulfill quotas 100%, but agricultural productivity under Lysenko grew steadily and these were his priorities: to increase production of grain and livestock. His priorities were NOT to simultaneously increase scientific accountability and conferences. Because he DID do what he set out to do (as shown by Richard Lewontin's statistics) he rose.

One must remember also, the theory of genetics back then, the fact that the "gene" was almost a hypnotic entity like the soul. "Something" may carry heredity forth, but the exactness and methods were unknown and there is STILL debate on this today with L. Margulies turning the whole Darwinian paradigm on its head with her proofs. One must remember the hysteria over the concept of pure lines (read pure races) and this was not just in Hitler's Germany. The only things that really DO work along Mendelian lines of 3:1 are DISEASES! Genes that are deleterious work that way. Technically, there IS a gene for a smooth pea; but there is NO gene for a wrinkled pea. What produces the wrinkled pea is a MISSING GENE. Mendel set out to disprove Darwin; few know this tho there is LOTS of literature about it in technical journals. It should be obvious to anyone that GRASPS what evolution really IS that nothing is immutable - if it were, there'd be no evolution (which is what Mendel tried to prove). Botanists, above all, know that this 3:1 doesn't work out. Kamin, among others, proved Mendel was a fraud!

Most recent rehash of the whole Mendel fiasco (only Mendel, no one else) can be found in the article:
"Mendel's Opposition to Evolution and to Darwin" by B. E. Bishop in the JOURNAL OF HEREDITY, 1996; 87; 205-213. 0022-1503/96/$5.00

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