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Science: Hostile, Revolting

2 minute read

Baffling to most U. S. scientists are the tempests in a tea glass that hiss up from time to time among Soviet scientists. For in Stalinist Russia science is under the sway of political philosophy, and Soviet political philosophy is a religion—complete with scriptures (the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin), a living prophet, heresies, an Inquisition—and a God. The God—or, more exactly, the Holy Ghost—is the principle of dialectical materialism, which in Marxist eyes explains the working of the world, the whole of human history. In the U. S. S. R. practically all the biological sciences, including anthropology, must conform to this principle. Lately Soviet scientists have made a special effort to straighten out the kinks of genetic theory (explanations of the heredity mechanism in the germ cells) along lines of Marxist rectitude (TIME, June 26).

Up to now, astronomers in bourgeois democracies have not suspected that there might be a political cast to the curvature of space and the size of the universe. Last week, however, the U. S. journal Science reprinted parts of a fiery resolution recently adopted by the Kremlin’s official astronomers, subsequently published in the Astronomical Journal of the Soviet Union: “Modern bourgeois cosmogony is in a state of deep ideological confusion resulting from its refusal to accept the only true dialectic-materialistic concept, namely, the infinity of the universe with respect to space as well as time.*

“The hostile work of the agents of Fascism, who at one time managed to penetrate to leading positions in certain astronomical and other institutions as well as in che press, has led to revolting propaganda of counter-revolutionary bourgeois ideology in the literature [of cosmology].

“The few existing Soviet materialistic works on problems of cosmology have remained in isolation and have been suppressed by enemies of the people, until recently.

“The exposé of the enemies of the Soviet people makes necessary the development of a new Soviet materialistic cosmology. Already there are a few pioneer Soviet specialists in this subject. . . .”

* Albert Einstein, No. 1 proponent of the finite or closed universe, some years ago changed his mind, now says he is not sure whether the universe is finite or infinite.

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