The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Australia's Chief Scientist Compares Trump to Stalin
The Trump administration has incited a war on science that "defies logic" and resembles the censorship enforced by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, Australia's chief scientist, Alan Finkel, said Monday.
Warning that "science is literally under attack," Finkel stated, "It will almost certainly cause long-term harm." He recounted the consequences under Stalin when the scientific method, based on facts and evidence, was suppressed by politics:
Soviet agricultural science was held back for decades because of the ideology of Trofim Lysenko, who was a proponent of Lamarckism. Stalin loved Lysenko's conflation of science and Soviet philosophy, and used his limitless power to ensure that Lysenko's unscientific ideas prevailed. Lysenko believed that successive generations of crops could be improved by exposing them to the right environment, and so too could successive generations of Soviet citizens be improved by exposing them to the right ideology. So while Western scientists embraced evolution and genetics, Russian scientists who thought the same were sent to the gulag. Western crops flourished. Russian crops failed.
Finkel has extensive experience as an engineer, educator, neuroscientist and entrepreneur. In 1983 he founded the California-based Axon Instruments, and in 2004 he became a director of its acquiring company, NASDAQ-listed Molecular Devices (MDCC).
"Today, the catch-cry of scientists must be frank and fearless advice, no matter the opinion of political commissars stationed at the U.S. EPA," he said. He expressed gratitude for the freedom of speech he's been granted in Australia.
One of the first measures the Trump administration took was to restrict scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from speaking to the public or releasing information before it gets reviewed by political appointees. Soon after, a Twitter account appeared in response to the censorship. Alt U.S. EPA calls itself the "Satirical 'Resistance' team of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
In 2017 the Thomas fire raged through 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, California, leaving in its wake a blackened expanse of land, burned vegetation, and more than 1,000 destroyed buildings.
By Danielle Nierenberg and Katherine Walla
As the holiday season ramps up for many across the world, Food Tank is highlighting 15 children's books that will introduce young eaters, growers and innovators to the world of food and agriculture. Authors and organizations are working to show children the importance — and fun — of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, growing their own produce, and giving food to others in need.