Posted: Jun 24, 2017 11:54 pm
by lpetrich
DavidMcC wrote:
KeenIdiot wrote:I've met a few hardliners defenders, noticed the old electric universe Hypothesis crowd has been growing some and Velikovsky is popular with them.

That's bad news for science, if they acquire any political clout, that is. :nono:

Pseudosciences vary in politicization, with some advocates being very political and others not.

Creationists are very political, while vitalists are not, even though vitalists can make similar sorts of arguments.


The advocates of Hanns Hoerbiger's Welteislehre (WEL: Cosmic Ice Theory) were very political, using pressure tactics to get people to accept their theory. They'd sometimes heckle astronomers' meetings with "Out with astronomical orthodoxy! Give us Hoerbiger!" As the Nazis rose to power in Germany, WEL advocates associated themselves with it, saying things like

"Our Nordic ancestors grew strong in ice and snow; belief in the Cosmic Ice is consequently the natural heritage of Nordic Man."
"Just as it needed a child of Austrian culture--Hitler!--to put the Jewish politicians in their place, so it needed an Austrian to cleanse the world of Jewish science."
"The Fuehrer, by his very life, has proved how much a so-called 'amateur' can be superior to self-styled professionals; it needed another 'amateur' to give us a complete understanding of the Universe."
The Nazi government eventually felt compelled to issue a statement saying that one could be a good Nazi without believing in the WEL.

After the Nazis were defeated, the WEL's advocates dropped out, but they reappeared in the 1950's and 1960's, and then dropped out again. This is despite their being able to claim Velikovsky-style vindication from the large amounts of ice in the outer Solar System.


Then there is Lysenkoism. Trofim Lysenko was a breeder of crop plants and a quack geneticist who claimed that his experimental treatments could alter crop plants' heredity. He claimed that he could produce higher-performing crop plants much more easily than mainstream biologists could, and he got the support of Soviet Communist Party officials, including Joseph Stalin himself. After several years of struggle by Lysenkoites against mainstream biologists, Lysenkoism was made official dogma in 1948. He made a speech, Soviet Biology, and you can see what he was thinking. He ridiculed the notion of a hereditary substance as Mendelist Weismannist Morganist idealism, and he advocated the inheritance of acquired characteristics.

Lysenkoism was devastating for Soviet biological research, even before its 1948 triumph. Several notable biologists were executed or sent to prison camps, like the eminent biologist Nikolai Vavilov. He is notable for proposing "Vavilov zones" of plant domestication, zones where the nearest wild relatives of domestic species live, and where the domestic species have the most variety.

After Stalin died in 1953, mainstream biology gradually recovered, and by the 1960's Lysenkoism was gone.