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Short Introduction to Lysenkoism
(Lysenkoism as a techocult)

by Nikolai Bezroukov

version 0.80

(this is an unpublished manuscript; read at your own risk ;-) content can be changed without notice; standard disclaimer applied)

Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

-Ambrose Bierce

 "...gene is mythical part of living structure which in reactionary theories like Mendelism-Veysmanism-Morganism determines heredity. Soviet scientists under leadership of Academician Lysenko proved scientifically that genes don't exist in the nature."

From Soviet Encyclopedia circa 1950

Abstract

In the late 1940’s Russian scientists had found themselves subjected to the political witch hunting by Stalin's regime. Before that such witch hunting was limited to poets, artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians, who often saw their works assailed by communist officials on the grounds of "ideological impurity" or "bourgeois influence". That time science and scientists became the victim.

In a really Orwellian style genetics, psychologists and cybernetics were fired, exiled and even killed. But the most alarming and often overlooked fact is that Lysenkoism was not an aberration or "excess" but a natural product of Stalinism. Moreover an important observation that the author is trying to communicate by writing this paper is that while the original form was a byproduct of Stalinism, the phenomenon itself is more universal and can be considered as a special, previously unknown flavor of high demand cult. For simplicity we will call if technocult.

This paper tried to show that Lysenkoism was the first successful attempt to transplant high demand religious cults methods into scientific community and should be understood as such.

The main point of this paper is that Lysenkoism is not only about intellectual pogrom, destruction of real science by pseudoscience committed in the name of a particular political agenda and more or less openly supported by the ruling party/government officials. It is also (and probably more important) a self-sustainable cult-like system of distortions, omissions, and lies that are designed to support faulty or fraudulent research of the selected "politically correct" pseudo-scientists. In this sense it's closely related to "cargo cult"  phenomenon that is better known in the Western hemisphere as well as science distortions that are associated with the military-industrial complex.

Introduction

The term "Lysenkoism" denote a very dangerous phenomenon: an effort to suppress and/or outlaw a field of research or opinions when they conflict with a dominant political agenda. Lysenkoism presuppose tight but implicit control of  scientific press and media in general. It practice ruthless elimination of even slightest dissent in press using the methods borrowed from the persecution of religious heretics including modern adaptations of  autodafe.   It was named after Academician Trofim Lysenko who pioneered the use a totalitarian state to suppress all research in genetics for almost three decades(1935-1965). This can be considered an incredible achievement in the age of mass newspapers and radio.

While Lysenkoism relied on the oppressive power of totalitarian state, it had also shown that the real mechanisms of suppression of research can be more subtle and totalitarian power of state while very convenient and efficient for the achievement of particular goals is not really necessary. With the level of influence of the press on society achieved in early XX century, a mere control of  the press channel can produce the effect almost as powerful on "taboo" areas and ideas.

All-in-all Lysenkoism was probably the most successful and horrifying reincarnation of middle-age inquisition practice, but instead of Christianity "communist religion" was used as a hammer to crush opposition (communism can be considered as a unique flavor of Christianity; many prominent communists viewed it as a religious idea.).

Lysenko was just the most "successful" (he and his supporters managed almost completely destroy the Russian genetic school in the name of Marxism) among a broad group of party-sponsored pseudo-scientists/cult-leaders. Several genetics who failed to accept the new cult (i.e. Lysenkoism) were laid off, imprisoned, or even killed by authorities. The triumph of Lysenkoism was not only a demonstration of the intellectual degeneracy of the Stalinism. Paradoxically was also an extraordinary demonstration of the power of applying cult-style methods to scientific community as well as power of cult-style methods in modern organizations in general.

That means that Lysenkoism is not only about intellectual pogrom, destruction of real science by pseudoscience committed in the name of political agendas and more or less openly supported by the ruling party/governmental officials. It is also (and probably more important) a cult-like system of creation of "artificial reality": a system of  distortions, omissions, and lies that are designed to support faulty or fraudulent research of the selected "politically correct" pseudo-scientists. If is also a method that can be used by corporate psychopath to instill absolutely corrupt, distorted practices in their organizations. More benign version of the same basic phenomena is known as  "cargo cult science"   and groupthink. The latter two term are much widely used and are definitly better known in the Western hemisphere. 

The  Lysenkoism is about creation of cult-style scientific establishment that has been hostile to scientific progress and has nothing to do with the scientific method -- it wanted to prosper by serving as the dominant political force. This role of  the cult-style "scientific establishment" in modern science the establishment closely connected to the government is probably the newest social phenomenon closely connected with Lysenkoism.  Lysenkoism as a system includes three major components:

In this sense Lysenkoism is a kind of scientific cancer: in favorable conditions it turns into a growing cult, closely guarded system of pseudo-science beliefs supported by external political forces that gradually expands and strangulate any and all healthy elements in the community. And it can definitely reappear in western societies in a various forms including attempts of unscrupulous researchers with connections to federal government or media to build intellectual empires and via net of supporters control funding, the major publications and university departments. In a way corporate psychopaths practices are often not the different from Lysenkoism and can be called "micro-Lysenkoism". Most psychopaths has pathological compulsive need lying and distorting facts and that also are muster of creation and enforcing distorted reality and keeping their subordinates in fold by using various methods of intimidation. Unfortunately, the use of "Lysenkoism" as an epithet has been degraded by overuse, especially in absurd situations. I propose to restrict "Lysenkoism" to circumstances where a clear case can be made for coercive enforcement of the belief system. 

I find very alarming that Lysenkoism as a historic phenomenon is barely known and largely considered irrelevant in the West. Common view is that it was some obscure historical aberration of the Soviet totalitarian regime. It's not true. Although it was Soviet geneticists who were branded as capitalist stooges and hammered into submission by verious (both open and subtle intimidation and over-control), any Western society faces similar dangers. The cult-style practice and politicization of science (through peer review, granting, etc.), construction of political fractions to protect  interests far from scientific are dangers common to any contemporary societies, not only to the "Soviet imperialism" as Chinese communists used to call this society ;-)

Maintaining integrity in scientific research requires unusual courage these days since the grants are often controlled by the officials who definitely have their interests in obtaining certain results. Even private foundations are strongly biased toward some form of "political correctness"  right or left. Theoretically the quest for funding should not obscure the search for scientific truth, but the problem is that researcher still need to be comply with the "rules of modern science game" to avoid the possibility of being crushed by the scientific establishment.  We probably can not to throw the money-lenders out of the temple. But at least we can understand how the temple was built and how its rituals are maintained.

The critical issue of arriving at a balanced approach to funding for science is being subordinated to issues made to seem urgent by unhealthy alliances of scientists and bureaucrats. Science and the integrity of its practitioners are under attack and, increasingly, legislators and bureaucrats shape the decisions that determine which paths scientific research should take. There is, in addition, a sinister tendency, especially in environmental affairs, toward considering the undertaking of expensive projects that are proposed by some scientists to remedy worst-case formulations of problems before the radical and expensive remedies are proven to be needed. They are viewed seriously though they are based on the advice of opportunistic alarmists in science who leap ahead of what is learned from solid research to encourage support for the expensive remedies they perceive to be necessary. The potential for very great damage to science and society is real.

Lysenkoism as a phenomenon sometimes is articifically limited to social sciences, as you can see from the following quote from Professor Robert Todd Carroll's popular Skeptic's Dictionary:

Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology. The results were predictable: the steady deterioration of Soviet biology. Lysenko's methods were not condemned by the Soviet scientific community until 1965, more than a decade after Stalin's death.

Could something similar happen in the U.S.? Well, some might argue that it already has. First, there is the creationist movement which has tried, and at times been successful, in banning the teaching of evolution in public schools. With Duane Gish leading the way, who knows what would happen if Pat Robertson became President of the United States and Jerry Falwell his secretary of education. Then, of course, there are several well-known and well-financed scientists in America who also seem to be doing science in the name of ideology: not the ideology of fundamentalist Christianity but the ideology of racial superiority. Lysenko was opposed to the use of statistics, but had he been clever enough to see how useful statistics can be in the service of ideology, he might have changed his mind. Had he seen what J. Philippe Rushton, Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, Richard Herrnstein or Charles Murray have done with statistical data to support their ideology of racial superiority, Lysenko might have created a department of Supreme Soviet Statistics and proven with the magic of numbers the superiority of Lamarkism to natural selection and genetics. For these social pseudoscientists have never seen a statistical correlation they couldn't turn into a causal claim fitting their racist ideology. Lysenko might have done the same for his Michurian/Lamarkian ideology. 

But actually it a much broader phenomenon and as you will see from the material presented below it's perfectly applicable to computer science and is actually practiced in various forms by numerous highly placed psychopaths in IT organizations.

Lysenkoism and high-demand cults

The most important idea of this paper is that Lysenkoism has a lot of common ground with so called high demand cults and can be classified as such. A group does not have to be religious to be cultic in behavior. High demand groups can be commercial (companies), political and technological. Be aware, especially if you are a bright, intelligent and idealistic person. The most likely person to be caught up in this type of behavioral system is the one who says “I won’t get caught. It will never happen to me. I am too intelligent for that sort of thing.”

Actually university grounds proved to be the most fertile environment for cults. Robert Lifton described several of them in his book "Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism:" Here are some techniques adapted to the context of Lysenkoism:

The personality of the guru plays special role in the Lysenkoism as in any cult. The psychological make-up of a guru may be generalized as follows:

Researchers identified several techniques of mind control (enforcing conformism). Not all of these features need to be present simultaneously for a mind control regime to be highly effective:

The following harmful effects were identified:

I would like to reiterate that some properties of cults make academic communities especially susceptible. Among them the fact the a cult forms an elitist totalitarian society, that its founder is a charismatic personality that is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable; belief that 'the end justifies the means' in order to solicit funds and recruit people

Press as a political instrument for suppressing opposition

We will use the discussion of open source software as a recent example, but the core question here is not about open source software, it is about the methods intimidation and suppressing decent. Of course Pravda contains classic examples of this art. But translation of relevant pages from newspaper Pravda makes understanding the attacks difficult for Western reader due to obscure jargon used.

Still in certain cases OSS press (especially online new services like Slashdot.org  and to less extent Linuxtoday.com ) are able successfully imitate the methods of official party newspapers in the USSR and serve as Pravda substitute for Western readers (with minor differences in the language and topics ;-) for the purposes of this article. 

Example 1: Example of the direct intimidation type of attack of dissenters (from the review of my article in First Monday which was slightly critical about open source movement . Published Oct 12 1999,  The Record). Please note that the attack launched simultaneously against the author and the magazine that published the article ("pro-bourgeois author" and "pro-bourgeois magazine" if we try to use Bolshevik's  cliché):

In an ill-tempered article Nikolai Bezroukov has mounted a personal attack on Eric Raymond, author of The cathedral and the bazaar and well-known Linux luminary. Raymond is accused of promoting "an over-optimistic and simplistic view of open source, as a variant of socialist (or to be more exact, vulgar Marxist) interpretation of software development". Raymond thinks that's a bit thick, since he professes to be a Libertarian, and Bezroukov's evidence for this surprising claim is thin to the point of being invisible. Raymond, who is an OSS evangelist, has only begun an examination of the open source phenomenon, and he can be prone to make generalisations that are too specific. He assumes that "a wealth surplus" makes it possible for many programmers to live in "a post-scarcity gift culture". To a fair extent this is true in the US, but the fuller facts are that many players live on the bread-line with absolutely minimal income. Raymond's analogy that the cathedral is analogous to the place where traditional, proprietary programming takes place, while the bazaar is where open source software (OSS) development occurs, is very helpful but it was not intended to be a formal, rigorous approach to defining open development processes. Apart from some rather ill-founded remarks, perhaps in the hope of gaining attention, Bezroukov has little to offer in his elementary and rambling attempt to establish that the scientific community is a better paradigm for OSS than the bazaar model. Rather, his attack seems to be motivated by some personal psychological factors centred around his experience (presumably as a scientist in the Soviet Union), as a result of which he declares himself to be against the Marxism that he claims to detect in Raymond's work. In attacking Raymond, Bezroukov makes the mistake of trying to shoot the messenger. He attributes phrases to Raymond that he does not use in his writings, as well as incorrectly paraphrasing his views: this is carelessness of a high order. He brings no credit to First Monday, a soi-disant "peer-reviewed journal on the Internet". If there are in fact any peers involved, they should be dismissed, for they have failed in their responsibility and the journal should apologise for its failure to reach an adequate editorial standard. Bezroukov's arguments were not checked for logic or consistency, nor was the error-infested text sub-edited properly. One suspects that the publisher (it's hard to say "editor") thought that such a pot-boiling attack would gain attention for the webzine: it did, but not to bring any respect. "Like a scientific community, open source inherits some of the same and important problems including Lysenkoism," Bezroukov tells us, and refers to some of the worst excesses of the pseudo-science at the All-Union Institute of Plant Breeding in the 1930s, when Lysenko was able, with Stalin's encouragement, to substitute politics for genetics in plant breeding, with dire results. Bezroukov seriously overstates his case, and leaves one with the feeling that he is making a rather pathetic cry for attention, rather than a serious observation. What is interesting is Bezroukov's motivation for the attack.

... Bezroukov's failure is an attempt to introduce an alternative model that is not credible, or consistent, and without using an appropriate methodology. He also has insufficient understanding of western psychology and the sociology of organisations to establish a more credible alternative. Torvalds 'burn-out' Bezroukov says that "Burnout of OSS leaders like Linus Torvalds is all too common to ignore". Nor does he like the "cult of personality", ignoring the evidence that Torvalds had it thrust upon him and largely shies away from it. The "super-sized ego problems" that Bezroukov claims exist do not appear to be more common than those of the cathedral-style developers. "In a sense, with Linux, Torvalds 'switched camps' and start [sic] playing the role of a political ABM/BTM (anything-but-Microsoft/better-than-Microsoft)-style leader in the course of promoting his idea of 'world domination'," Bezroukov postulates. He has a section about Microsoft, having decided earlier that "Microsoft is important for the open source movement in many ways" - but probably not in the ways that he envisages. He suggests that "every powerful social movement requires an enemy, a target that can be used as a powerful unifying force" and says he is not surprised that a large proportion of Linux and OSS people "hate the 'Evil Empire'", which he sees as "a revolt against Microsoft".

So why did Bezroukov sound off? To have his 15 minute of fame? To get some strokes? Or because he hopes in some unfathomable way to be wooed by Microsoft? He has already received a strong whiff of the grapeshot from Linux devotees. Raymond's response is dismissive, commendably brief, and to the point. There are of course many interesting non-technical issues to examine about OSS, which Bezroukov would be better advised to pursue than to make personal attacks.

Example 2: The letter below (LWN - Back Page) can serve as a sample of the level of critique that was typical for infamous "letters of workers and peasants to the newspaper Pravda": 

Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 03:42:50 -0800 (PST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?J=E9r=F4me_Loisel?= <jloisel@excite.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Nikolai Bezroukov's "papers"

Dear LWN editors,

I have a rather long comment on Nikolai Bezroukov and his articles which I would like to share with you. But first, some (related) personal thoughts.

Many of us do not have the chance to encounter true intellectuals. By intellectuals, I do not mean "highly intelligent people," -- as the word is often used --, but "highly cultured, aware and articulate people," which is a competing, IMHO preferable definition.

I have personnally met very few in person, and certainly do not claim to be one. (Much as most coder do not claim to be a Richard Stallman.) But I now tend to know one when I read one's texts... More than that, I think I have grown to recognize the arrogant and untalented wannabes. And it is my belief that Mr. Bezroukov is one such.

I have tried to read Mr. Bezroukov's texts... But they are not mind-expanding, simply mind-numbing. The man believes that peppering his text with quotes from George Orwell, Mark Twain and Albert Einstein will make him look intelligent, whether or not the quotes have any relevance (most of them don't). The most painful part is the fact he uses the most oft-heard ones, those very ones we are all deathly tired of reading in sigs.

Nikolai Bezroukov also cannot understand plain English. He quotes Eric Raymond as having written: "[...] if Brooks's Law were the whole picture, Linux would be impossible," yet his *first* *main* point resumes itself to:

"One of the most indefensible ideas of CatB is that Brooks' Law is non-applicable in the Internet-based distributed development environment [...]"

Can't he see that this precisely the opposite of what Raymond is contending? One would think that the word "truism" would give him a clue. In the end, Mr. Bezroukov simply does not have the elementary finesse to understand the distinction between "is true but is only one of many factors," (which Raymond is saying) and "is false in such case" (which he is certainly not in the quote!).
 
His "paper" (hey, at least he did not call it a "research paper") is chock-full of inane comments that he does not even try to establish on firm factual or logical ground. A few gems: "To be fair, 'the average quality of software' for the Windows community [...] is also exceptionally high despite weaknesses of the underlying OS." Of course! Whenever I am forced to use a Windows machine, I am thrilled as well by the overall quality of the applications. "Even superficial analysis of the Bugtrack archive confirms that most developers prefer making their own bugs, not fixing bugs of others." Whatever that means... But he goes on: "For accidental contributions to the kernel, the situation can be even worse." Yes... don't you just hate it when people accidentally contributes to the kernel?

Some flaws which I will not elaborate further on: the only facts appearing in this "paper" belong to the "anecdotal evidence" category; Mr. Bezroukov demonstrates very little respect for standard practices such as providing references for quotes; large portions of his "paper" simply elaborate on his opinions (as though we deeply care) without attempting to establish anything; and finally, my dog writes better prose. Proving all of those statements is left as an exercice for the extremely bored reader.

What can I say? Arrogance from the untalented and uninsightful drives me nuts. Link to him if you must, but please do not try to be more complimentary than needed: that text is bottom-of-the-barrel quality, intellectually speaking, and deserves no praise.

Jerome Loisel

While both quotes above are in somewhat specialized field, the general strategy is to substitute reality with a theatrical show, the method which can have its own value in certain context, including political context. In one of his conversations in Berkeley John Kenneth Galbraith's   once observed.

I would like to talk about leadership. How would you compare Reagan to John F. Kennedy? Some of the rhetoric is the same. Some of the presentability via the media is the same. But there are differences. What are they?

The fact that they both are very accomplished masters of television and the importance of television as an instrument of communication, as an instrument of persuasion, including those ghastly commercials, is one of the great, and in some ways devastating, facts of our time.

The difference is that Kennedy had an instinct for the reality. He stayed with the reality, or tried to. He felt obliged to. President Reagan is our first president out of our greatest theatrical tradition, which is Hollywood. And for President Reagan, there is both the script and the reality, and it is the script that he uses. He doesn't feel confined by the reality. He looks at the speech as a script, and then [Press Secretary] Larry Speaks comes along after he has dealt with the script on television or on radio and corrects him, and says, "This is what the reality is." We are a theatrically minded people. We prefer the script, it's always more pleasant than the reality. And the president is a master of the script. If I were the president, I would keep Speaks quiet. I would say to Speaks, "Look, if you're going to a play, if you're in the theater, you don't have to get up after every act and say, 'This is what Macbeth was really like.'"

So all the administration lacks is rock music and they could really be on MTV all day.

I don't think you want to go quite that far but I do say that President Reagan is an accomplished master of the script and doesn't worry, in the manner of somebody out of the theatrical tradition, he isn't appalled when the script improves on the reality.

Because the reality could be cut like a script, like the film on the cutting-room floor.

Well, that's right, but I think President Kennedy stayed more closely with the reality. Those of us who were variously associated with him hoped he would.

He was a Renaissance man really, I mean, witty and intelligent, and he actually read books.

Oh yes, yes indeed. He read books right through the Presidency. I remember going in to see him one day when I was back from India. He handed me a book by John Masters on the revolution in Burma, and he said, "You know, this is the best thing that's been written about that." My goodness, I hadn't been even close to any other books on the more obscure history of economic dissent in Burma. And I carried it along with me on my airplane ride back to India so that I would know as much about that part of the world as the President.

The Anatomy of Academic Lynch Mob

Formally members of the faculty are obligated to show each other “due respect” and “refrain from personal vilification”.  But that's not always the case. Many academics use the safety of tenure for the noble aim of publicly berating and ridiculing a junior colleagues. One of the lessons  is, quite sadly, that junior member of faculty should think twice before voicing opinions contrary to those of swaggering bullies who out-rank them.

Mobbing in academy is far more prevalent that one would assume.  Here is one typical letter (sited from Academic mobbing SIUC's ugly little secret) written by Professor Joan E. Friedenberg:  

Academic mobbing is a form of workplace bullying, an ugly phenomenon that currently affects about 20 million U.S. workers. Mobbing is the single worst threat to worker health and safety, often leading to post-traumatic stress disorder and even suicide. Academic mobbing targets are usually professors who speak out against university policies and practices they believe are unfair. And like bullied children, these professors often differ from their peers in other ways, such as religion, skin color or language.

Unfortunately, mobbing occurs at SIUC. When a foreign-born SIUC professor of Social Work complained that her department chair forged her signature on a document, the chair and his allies ganged up on her by signing a petition to have her removed from the department and unjustly blamed her for a litany of department troubles, harassing her for years. When an aging SIUC professor of Curriculum and Instruction became active in the faculty union and filed grievances against his chair, the chair's allies signed a petition demanding his physical removal from the department. Administrators granted their wish, and he has been subjected to vandalism and numerous humiliations and inconveniences that interfere with his work.

An article by JOHN GRAVOIS at The Chronicle  of Higher Education published 4-14-2006 and titled Mob Rule provides further relevant information on the phenomenon. Dominant ideas attitudes and so on are dominant not without the reason: dissenters/heretics can face consequences even in academia.

In the thousands of mobbing case studies that Leymann carried out, universities were among the most highly represented workplaces. Mr. Westhues, a sociologist at the University of Waterloo, is not surprised.

Max Weber, a founding father of modern sociology, saw bureaucracy as the living embodiment of cool, procedural rationality. In Mr. Westhues's view, mobbing is a pathological undercurrent of irrationality in bureaucracies — a crabby ghost in the machine.

According to Mr. Westhues, mobbing occurs most in institutions where workers have high job security, where there are few objective measures of performance, and where there is frequent tension between loyalty to the institution and loyalty to some higher purpose. In other words, the ghost is alive and well in many academic departments.

Tenure is supposed to protect scholars from outside control, but it does a lousy job of protecting them from one another, Mr. Westhues says.

In the hothouse of a department, disputes can easily cascade from individual disagreement and disapproval to widespread revulsion to a concerted effort to get a colleague removed. "Mobbing is a turning inward," he says. "People lose a sense of purpose and they're at one another's throats."

The purpose of a university, Mr. Westhues contends, is to maintain a spirit of openness, independence of mind, and civil debate. "A university cannot achieve its purpose as a tight ship," he says. When a mobbing occurs, that spirit of openness gets strangled by groupthink, bent on someone's elimination.

The Law of Group Polarization, formulated by Cass R. Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago, says that a bunch of people who agree with each other on some point will, given the chance to get together and talk, come away agreeing more strenuously on a more extreme point. If this tendency has a curdling effect on intellectual debates, it can have a downright menacing effect when the point of agreement is that a particular colleague is a repugnant nutjob.

Calling some departmental mess a mobbing does not imply that the victim is wholly innocent, Mr. Westhues says. But it does imply that the campaign against the target has probably been based on fuzzy and unspecific charges, that it has proceeded with a degree of secrecy, that its timing has been hasty, that its rhetoric has been overheated and overwrought, and that it has been backed by an eerie unanimity.

"One of the most painful experiences in my life," Mr. Westhues says, "has been to go to dismissal hearings where everybody is sitting around a table as if they were embodiments of pure reason." What's really going on in many of those settings, he thinks, is just brutish behavior ratified by procedure.

"What we've got to do is cultivate an academic culture that is aware of the tendencies in us, of the herd instincts inside of us," he says. "We have a tendency, especially us pompous academics, to think we're above all that."

With his mobbing research, Mr. Westhues joins a tradition of thinkers who present an account of some deep-seated impulse as a plea for pluralism and restraint. And while he says it is possible to take mobbing seriously without believing we all have those herd instincts, that belief helps.

"I have a friend who says that there's only two kinds of people in the world," Mr. Westhues says, "those who believe that there's original sin and those who don't."

"I think probably mobbing research as a whole is more on the side of the original-sin folks," he says.

... ... ...

Though no two mobbings are alike, Mr. Westhues often describes a kind of stereotypical pattern for the escalation from storm to full-bore twister.

  1. The first stage of a mobbing, as he outlines it, is a period of increasing social isolation. At this point, if you are the target, you might get left off certain guest lists. Colleagues begin to roll their eyes at you during meetings. You get the sense that more people dislike you than you once thought.
     
  2. The next stage is one of petty harassment. Your administrative requests are repeatedly delayed or misplaced. Your parking space is moved to the outer reaches of the lot. Your classes or meetings get scheduled at odd times.
     
  3. Then matters come to a head — to a "critical incident," as Mr. Westhues calls the third stage. You are accused of making racially or sexually insensitive remarks. A minor charge of plagiarism surfaces against you. A surprise audit shows you have been careless with expense reports. You have an angry outburst in class (perhaps catalyzed by your long walk across the parking lot, your misplaced request, the insanely early/late time of day). A rumor of some impropriety with a student gets traction.

    In the eyes of your colleagues, this "critical incident" demands swift administrative action — and many of them may sign a petition saying so. They may say that the incident confirms what they have always suspected about you. What's more, it makes them wonder aloud what you're really capable of.
     

  4. The next stage is one of adjudication. At this point, the mobbing escalates to the administrative level, where it is either legitimized or stopped short. You may be brought before an ethics tribunal, an ad hoc disciplinary committee, or one of academe's myriad other quasi-judicial bodies. An outside arbitrator may be brought in. Months pass. A decision is handed down.
     
  5. And then, Mr. Westhues says, chances are, you leave. Whether you win or lose the proceeding, whether you are dismissed or fully reinstated, whether it is due to exhaustion, disgust, illness, or (God forbid) suicide, you cut your losses and get out.

Who Gets Mobbed?

Jerry Becker, a 69-year-old professor of mathematics education at Carbondale, is the son of a Minnesota truck driver and holds a doctorate from Stanford University. He is a workaholic. In 27 years of teaching at Carbondale, he has never taken a sabbatical, he says. By his estimate, he brings in "hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars" in grant money to the university, and often gets the highest marks on performance evaluations.

In November 2003, 15 of Mr. Becker's colleagues signed a 12-page complaint against him, charging him with bullying, buttonholing professors to talk about union issues, and multiple other offenses, as well as calling him "toxic" to the work environment. They said they wanted him removed "physically and professionally" from their midst. In response, Mr. Becker spent nearly every evening for more than two months writing a point-by-point rebuttal. The rebuttal persuaded the administration to clear him of all charges. However, just a few months later, Mr. Becker's colleagues submitted yet another complaint, this one containing several charges of sexual harassment. Once again, Mr. Becker successfully rebutted the charges and was exonerated.

But his colleagues still scored a victory: Mr. Becker's office was moved far away from theirs, to a part of campus where no other professors work.

Essentially, Mr. Westhues says, anything that can be a basis for bickering can be a basis for mobbing: race, sex, political difference, cultural difference, intellectual style. Professors with foreign accents, he says, often get mobbed, as do professors who frequently file grievances and "make noise." But perhaps the most common single trait of mobbing targets, he says, is that they excel.

"To calculate the odds of your being mobbed," Mr. Westhues writes in his most comprehensive book on mobbing, The Envy of Excellence: Administrative Mobbing of High-Achieving Professors, "count the ways you show your workmates up: fame, publications, teaching scores, connections, eloquence, wit, writing skills, athletic ability, computer skills, salary, family money, age, class, pedigree, looks, house, clothes, spouse, children, sex appeal. Any one of these will do."

The importance of humor in fighting Lysenkoism

Humor is a powerful weapon against Lysenkoism and it is interesting to note that Slashdot generated several interesting parodies.

Example 1: An parody on zealots attacks (from Suck Daily) It mocks typical of methods of biased coverage:

by CaptBean on Monday December 13, @03:05PM
from the jihad!-jihad! dept.

RabidZelot was one of a bunch to report: "In Richmond, California, this afternoon, this dude said something bad about Linux at the Hilltop Mall near the fountains right after the first showing of Phantom Menace let out. He was last seen heading towards Sears and has a 'Where Do You Want to Go Today?' T-shirt and brown hair. Let us know when you spot him."

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References

  1. The following letter was published in the Globe and Mail (pg. B2) in 1997

    The Politicization of Science

    Dear Editor,

    Re: "World Awash in Junk Science"--by Terence Corcoran--Jun/24-28/97--Globe and Mail

    Terence Corcoran rightly identified the "politicization of science" as causing widespread junk science. When government controls science funding, objectivity gets squashed by political expediency. This is especially true today when politics is driven by power lust and pressure-group warfare, which is caused by the failure to protect individual rights. Those "science projects" that justify more government power get preferential treatment. "Science" reports that "predict" a falling sky or other catastrophe--unless government squashes individual rights--are ideal for this purpose. The trend is towards Nazi-style "science" -- where everything gets tailored to a pre-set, desired conclusion.

    Junk science is responsible for wasting billions of dolllars, thwarting scientific progress, eroding our individual rights and, as Mr. Corcoran indicated regarding malaria (June 28), causing the needless death of millions of people. The crucial value of objectivity in science -- to our health, prosperity, freedom and lives -- cannot be overstated. It's time to kick government out of science.

    Sincerely,

    Glenn Woiceshyn

  2. Skeptic's Dictionary - Lysenkoism by Robert Todd Carroll

    Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology. The results were predictable: the steady deterioration of Soviet biology. Lysenko's methods were not condemned by the Soviet scientific community until 1965, more than a decade after Stalin's death.

    Could something similar happen in the U.S.? Well, some might argue that it already has. First, there is the creationist movement which has tried, and at times been successful, in banning the teaching of evolution in public schools. With Duane Gish leading the way, who knows what would happen if Pat Robertson became President of the United States and Jerry Falwell his secretary of education. Then, of course, there are several well-known and well-financed scientists in America who also seem to be doing science in the name of ideology: not the ideology of fundamentalist Christianity but the ideology of racial superiority. Lysenko was opposed to the use of statistics, but had he been clever enough to see how useful statistics can be in the service of ideology, he might have changed his mind. Had he seen what J. Philippe Rushton, Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, Richard Herrnstein or Charles Murray have done with statistical data to support their ideology of racial superiority, Lysenko might have created a department of Supreme Soviet Statistics and proven with the magic of numbers the superiority of Lamarkism to natural selection and genetics. For these social pseudoscientists have never seen a statistical correlation they couldn't turn into a causal claim fitting their racist ideology. Lysenko might have done the same for his Michurian/Lamarkian ideology. 

  3. Andrew Ross Science Backlash on Technoskeptics

    ... The class interests served and enriched by scientific research have profited from the invocation of such fears, both in the Age of Reason, when empowering themselves against the dictates of absolute monarchs from above, and in today's Age of Expertise, when resisting the democratization of knowledge from below. Asking how and why science - academic, corporate and military - responds only to elite needs and interests provides more persuasive answers for the flourishing of popular faiths in fringe places. For the most part, however, pronouncements about the return of the Dark Ages among the ill-educated masses (the Harvard physicist and co-organizer of "The Flight From Science and Reason," Gerald Holton, refers, for example, to "the Beast that slumbers below") are intended to re-inforce the myth of scientists as a beleaguered and isolated minority of truth-seekers. The disparity between this image and the world of actually existing science is staggering. For well over a century, the Golden Age image of science as a sequestered craftlike pursuit has been undermined by the wholesale proletarianization of scientific labor in commercial production. By far the majority of professional scientists today are industrial workers, producing local, technical knowledge, not publishable research. Research and production science dominates the leading weapons, chemicals, biotechnology, energy and microelectronics industries. Access to basic science is still the driving motor of corporate capitalism, despite the recessionary cutbacks in the scientific work force. And contrary to all the fine talk about the enlightened pursuit of public knowledge, secrecy and competition are the guiding principles of research, whether in the name of national security, corporate profit or professional prestige.

  4. The Present Danger To Science and Society a very good paper by Frederick Seitz ('54) --  a physicist, author and teacher who is president emeritus of Rockefeller University where he served as President from 1968 to 1978.

    Everyone knows that the scientific community faces financial problems at the present time. If that were its only problem, some form of restructuring and allocation of funds, perhaps along lines well tested in Europe and modified in characteristic American ways, might provide solutions that would lead to stability and balance well into the next century. Unfortunately, the situation is more complex, made so by the fact that the scientific establishment has become the object of controversy from both outside and inside its special domain. The most important aspects of the controversy are of a new kind and direct attention away from matters that are sufficiently urgent to be the focus of a great deal of the community's attention.

    The assaults on science from the outside arise from such movements as the ugly form of "political correctness" that has taken root in important portions of our academic community. There are to be found, in addition, certain tendencies toward a home-grown variant of the anti-intellectual Lysenkoism that afflicted science in the Stalinist Soviet Union. So-called fraud cases are being dealt with in new, bureaucratic ways that cut across the traditional methods of arriving at truth in science. From inside the scientific community, meanwhile, there are challenges that go far beyond those that arise from the intense competition for the limited funds that are available to nourish the country's scientific endeavor.

    The critical issue of arriving at a balanced approach to funding for science is being subordinated to issues made to seem urgent by unhealthy alliances of scientists and bureaucrats. Science and the integrity of its practitioners are under attack and, increasingly, legislators and bureaucrats shape the decisions that determine which paths scientific research should take. There is, in addition, a sinister tendency, especially in environmental affairs, toward considering the undertaking of expensive projects that are proposed by some scientists to remedy worst-case formulations of problems before the radical and expensive remedies are proven to be needed. They are viewed seriously though they are based on the advice of opportunistic alarmists in science who leap ahead of what is learned from solid research to encourage support for the expensive remedies they perceive to be necessary. The potential for very great damage to science and society is real.

    ... ... ...

    ...there are those scientists who tend to work, not where some inner drive forces them to, but where the money is -- a not unworthy posture provided scientific integrity is maintained. But maintaining integrity in environmental research requires unusual courage these days since the cash registers controlled by the government and indeed most of the larger private foundations are strongly biased toward a form of political correctness. The discharging of a distinguished scientist from a federal agency tells part of the story.

    Unfortunately, the funds issue, which is of vital interest for the well-being of both science and society, has become subordinated to issues that should not arise in an otherwise healthy environment. Not only is the relevance of science and the integrity of its practitioners under attack, but those who provide support question both the cost of research and the traditional and highly successful methods scientists have used to exploit the fields in which they work. In the meantime, scarce funds are diverted to support work of questionable validity and hypothetical urgency. There is the expressed assurance that bureaucrats know best.

  5. Extract from Marxism and the Philosophy of Science A Critical History Who was Lysenko ?
    What was Lysenkoism ? by Helena Sheehan

    In 1931 and 1932, a number of geneticists were branded as "menshevising idealists" and lost their positions at the Communist Academy. There was increasing pressure to abandon basic research that was unlikely to lead to immediate practical measures that would advance Soviet agriculture and there were strong implications that research in "pure science" was tantamount to sabotage.

    A particularly vicious article that appeared in the influential newspaper Ekonomicheskaya zhizn in 1931 was directed against Academician N.I. Vavilov, founder and president of the Lenin Academy of the Agricultural Sciences, director of its All-Union Institute of Plant Breeding, as well as director of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences. Vavilov was an internationally eminent plant geneticist and an ardent advocate of the unity of science and socialism. The article, which appeared with editorial endorsement, was written by a rather unsuccessful subordinate of Vavilov's, A.K. Kol, who accused Vavilov of a reactionary separation of theory and practice and advised him to stop collecting exotica and to concentrate on plants that could be introduced directly into farm production.

    Unrealisable goals were imposed on Vavilov's All-Union Institute of Plant Breeding in 1931 and in 1934 he was called in by the Council of Peoples Commissars to account for the "separation between theory and practice" in the Lenin Academy of the Agricultural Sciences.

    Lysenko was very much a part of this campaign, stirring up a negative attitude to basic research and virulently demanding immediate practical results. He was capable of the crudest anti-intellectualism, remarking on one occasion: "It is better to know less, but to know just what is necessary for practice." He also was inclined to enunciations of the wildest voluntarism: "In order to obtain a certain result, You must want to obtain precisely that result; if you want to obtain a certain result, you will obtain it.... I need only such people as will obtain the results I need". Older scientists were, of course, horrified at such talk, so utterly alien to the habits of mind in which scientific method was grounded.

    But Lysenko was the man of the hour, suited as he was to step into the role of the man of the people, the man of the soil, who had come up from humble origins under the revolution and who directed all of his energies into the great tasks of socialist construction. He knew well how to whip up massive peasant support, how to woo journalists, and how to enlist the enthusiasm of party and government officials. He began to be pictured as the model scientist for the new era. He was credited with conscientiously bringing a massive increase in grain yield to the Soviet state, while geneticists idly speculated on eye colour in fruit flies.

    Lysenko made the most of this image and became more and more virulent in attacking geneticists and contrasting their "useless scholasticism" with his own great "practical successes." He began to speak of class struggle in science and declared in his speech at the Second All-Union Congress of Shock Collective Farmers in 1935 that "a class enemy is always an enemy whether he is a scientist or not." Stalin, who was present, exclaimed at the end of his speech "Bravo, Comrade Lysenko, bravo."

    Another new stage began for Lysenko in 1935 when, no longer a simple practising agronomist experimenting with a new technique, he came forward as herald of a new biology born out of Soviet agronomic practice. He was assisted in making this leap through his collaboration with Prezent a party member*

  6. Getting Started on Lysenkoism  by Robert M. Young. Looks like a neo-Marxist analysis.

    They go on to provide a very illuminating overview of Lysenkoism under the following headings: its philosophical and scientific claims, the conditions creating it, and its apogee and decline. The concluding sections consider two issues: The first is, 'Did Lysenkoism affect Soviet agriculture?' They provide statistics on wheat yields which show that Lysenkoism does not seem to have affected that crucial crop adversely. On the other hand, one of the most absurd of Lysenko's procedures, 'cluster planting', is estimated to have wasted one billion roubles. Also when Khrushchev was dismissed in 1964, one of the major charges against him was the stagnation of agriculture since 1958, in particular the disastrous results of his Virgin Lands proposal of 1954, which was supported by a scientific memorandum by Academician T. D. Lysenko, who remained its chief scientific adviser.

    ... The following excerpts are offered to whet the reader's appetite:

    This was perhaps the ultimate hidden motor of Lysenkoism, what gave it its strength and guaranteed its support: it had appeared at the right moment in response to a problem and a demand produced by a "technicist" economic conception and practice of the construction of socialism (p. 75).

    This ensemble was not just the fruit of terror and corruption as Joravsky thinks, for example: it was the product of a determinate political line which, having posed the peasant question in unilaterally "technical" terms, had as a result encouraged a new type of social differentiation in the countryside between the "ordinary" kolkhozniks and the experts and technicians whose ideology crystallized around two successive slogans of Stalin's: "technique decides everything", and then ''cadres decide everything". The "agricultural" form of this ideology was "Lysenkoism" (p. 77),

  7. Neo-Lysenkoism, IQ, and the Press by Bernard D. Davis

    In effect, we see here Lysenkoism risen again: an effort to outlaw a field of science because it conflicts with a political dogma. To be sure, the new version is more limited in scope, and it does not use the punitive powers of a totalitarian state, as Trofim Lysenko did in the Soviet Union to suppress all of genetics between 1935 and 1965. But that is not necessary in our system: A chilling atmosphere is quite sufficient to prevent funding agencies, investigators, and graduate students from exploring a taboo area. And such Neo-Lysenkoist politicization of science, from both the left and the right, is likely to grow, as biology increasingly affects our lives--probing the secrets of our genes and our brain, reshaping our image of our origins and our nature, and adding new dimensions to our understanding of social behavior. When ideologically committed scientists try to suppress this knowledge they jeopardize a great deal, for without the ideal of objectivity science loses its strength.

    Because this feature of science is such a precious asset, the crucial lesson to be drawn from the case of Stephen Jay Gould is the danger of propagating political views under the guise of science. Moreover, this end was furthered, wittingly or not, by the many reviewers whose evaluations were virtually projective tests of their political convictions. For these reviews reflected enormous relief: A voice of scientific authority now assures us that biological diversity does not set serious limits to the goal of equality, and so we will not have to wrestle with the painful problem of refining what we mean by equality.

    In scientific journals editors take pains to seek reviewers who can bring true expertise to the evaluation of a book. It is all the more important for editors of literary publications to do likewise, for when a book speaks with scientific authority on a controversial social issue, the innocent lay reader particularly needs protection from propaganda. Science can make a great contribution toward solving our social problems by helping us to base our policies and judgments upon reality, rather than upon wish or conjecture. Because this influence is so powerful it is essential for such contributions to be judged critically, by the standards of science.
     

  8. Cult checklist - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  9. Václav Havel on the Temptations of Political Power
  10. Kirill O. Rossianov - Stalin as Lysenko's Editor Reshaping Political Discourse in Soviet Science
  11. History of Russian and Soviet Science - Syllabus
  12. Revolutionary Utilitarianism: Science and Political Ideology in China 1949- 1976
  13. Ideology and Science
  14. Science and ideology by Edward O. Wilson Vol. 8, Academic Questions, 06-01-1995.  -- A very interesting article about science in general and sociobiology  in particular
  15. Risk of Reliance on Perceived Risk
  16. Stalking the Wild Taboo - Home Page
  17. Antony Flew - The Terrors of Islam
  18. The Skeptic's Dictionary & Guide for the New Millennium
  19. Book Reviews -- Higher Superstition - The academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science by Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt. The Johns Hopkins University Press 1994. A review by James Gerrand.
  20. Andrew Ross Science Backlash on Technoskeptics -- another interesting review
  21. ... The class interests served and enriched by scientific research have profited from the invocation of such fears, both in the Age of Reason, when empowering themselves against the dictates of absolute monarchs from above, and in today's Age of Expertise, when resisting the democratization of knowledge from below. Asking how and why science - academic, corporate and military - responds only to elite needs and interests provides more persuasive answers for the flourishing of popular faiths in fringe places. For the most part, however, pronouncements about the return of the Dark Ages among the ill-educated masses (the Harvard physicist and co-organizer of "The Flight From Science and Reason," Gerald Holton, refers, for example, to "the Beast that slumbers below") are intended to re-inforce the myth of scientists as a beleaguered and isolated minority of truth-seekers. The disparity between this image and the world of actually existing science is staggering. For well over a century, the Golden Age image of science as a sequestered craftlike pursuit has been undermined by the wholesale proletarianization of scientific labor in commercial production. By far the majority of professional scientists today are industrial workers, producing local, technical knowledge, not publishable research. Research and production science dominates the leading weapons, chemicals, biotechnology, energy and microelectronics industries. Access to basic science is still the driving motor of corporate capitalism, despite the recessionary cutbacks in the scientific work force. And contrary to all the fine talk about the enlightened pursuit of public knowledge, secrecy and competition are the guiding principles of research, whether in the name of national security, corporate profit or professional prestige.

    Even in the research university, where the myth of "value-free science" is most in evidence, it is the golden rule of patent protection that increasingly decides when public sharing of scientific information ends and when the principle of product development and monopoly control over profits takes over. In the heyday of the cold war, the national security state benefited directly from the lip service paid to value-free objectivity. (Remember the case, among many others, of the chemist Louis Fieser, who developed napalm, tested it on Harvard's playing fields and wrote up his research in a book innocently titled The Scientific Method.) Today it is more likely to be the biotech company that lines the pockets of molecular biologists in a field notorious for its two-way corporate-academic traffic.

    But the crusaders behind the Science Wars are not about to throw the money-lenders out of the temple. Their wrath is aimed, above all, at those who show how the temple was built and how its rituals are maintained - - the dreaded social constructionists. These include ethnographers like Bruno Latour, who dissect the cultural "belief- systems" of scientists' communities; sociologists of scientific knowledge like the adherents of the Edinburgh school, who expose the interest-driven nature of scientific research; multiculturalists like Donna Haraway and Evelyn Fox Keller, who uncover the gender-laden and racist assumptions built into the Euro-American scientific method; philosophers like Sandra Harding, who favor pro-democracy approaches to objectivity; historians like Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, who show the relationship between science's empirical world view and that of mercantile capitalism; and cultural studies folks like Stanley Aronowitz, who show how the powerful language of science exercises its daily cultural authority in our society.

    ... We live and work today in conditions and environments that demand a critique of technoscience as a matter of course, an exercise of minimal citizenship that will address public anxiety about the safety of everything from the processed food we consume to the steps toward a biologically engineered future that are often described, in popular shorthand, as "tampering with nature." Knowledge about the risks surrounding us is unevenly shared, as a result of class and education, but it belongs to virtually everyone's daily experience. An offshoot, and not a rejection, of Enlightenment rationality, informed technoskepticism has come to replace the irrational fears associated with the term technophobia. Demonizing technology is now a campy part of retro culture, reminiscent of a B-grade sci-fi movie.

    If the critique of science has become a very ordinary activity, science itself has become more and more exclusive. The telecommunications and information-processing industries that have transformed the workplace into a site of knowledge production have also boosted the power and authority of scientific expertise, establishing cyberculture as an international lingua franca of the new elites that is completely unintelligible to the uninitiated (perhaps for the first time since the preliterate, preindustrial age). The rise of a privatized knowledge society does not translate into a scientifically informed citizenry; it creates a hierarchy of technical expertise, and, in particular, releases scientists from public accountability on the grounds that their critics "just don't know enough." But how much do you need to know technically about nuclear fission to conclude that nuclear energy is a socially destructive idea? And what is "irrational" about questioning the manipulation of genetic material? The narrowness of scientific expertise that poorly qualifies its practitioner for the broad exercise of social reason is the same specialist knowledge that guarantees science its immunity to public criticism.

  22. Medieval Sourcebook Inquisition - Introduction

    When medieval people used the word "inquisition," they were referring to a judicial technique, not an organization. There was , in fact, no such thing as "the Inquisition" in the sense of an impersonal organization with a chain of command. Instead there were "inquisitors of heretical depravity," individuals assigned by the pope to inquire into heresy in specific areas. They were called such because they applied a judicial technique known as inquisitio, which could be translated as "inquiry" or "inquest." In this process, which was already widely used by secular rulers (Henry II used it extensively in England in the twelfth century), an official inquirer called for information on a specific subject from anyone who felt he or she had something to offer. This information was treated as confidential. The inquirer, aided by competent consultants, then weighed the evidence and determined whether there was reason for action. This procedure stood in stark contrast to the Roman law practice normally used in ecclesiastical courts, in which, unless the judge could proceed on clear, personal knowledge that the defendant was guilty, judicial process had to be based on an accusation by a third party who was punishable if the accusation was not proved, and in which the defendant could confront witnesses.

    By the end of the thirteenth century most areas of continental Europe had been assigned inquisitors. The overwhelming majority were Franciscans or Dominicans, since members of these two orders were seen as pious, educated and highly mobile. Inquisitors worked in cooperation with the local bishops. Sentence was often passed in the name of both . The overwhelming majority of sentences seem to have consisted of penances like wearing a cross sewn on one's clothes, going on pilgrimage, etc. The inqusitor's goal was not primarily to punish the guilty but to identify them, get them to confess their sins and repent, and restore them to the fold. Only around ten percent or less of the cases resulted in execution, a punishment normally reserved for obstinate heretics (those who refused to repent and be reconciled) and lapsed heretics (those who repented and were reconciled at one time but then fell back into error).

  23. Historical Overview of the Inquisition

    The inquisitiors, or judges of this medieval Inquisition were recruited almost exclusively from the Franscian and Dominican orders. In the early period of the institution, the Inquisitiors rode the circut in search of heretics, but this practice was short lived. The Inquisitors soon acquired the right to summon the suspects from their homes to the Inquisition center. The medieval Inquisition functioned only in a limited way in northern Europe. It was employed most in the south of France and in northern Italy.

    Throughout the Inquisition's history, it was rivaled by local ecclesiastical and secular jurisdictions. No matter how determined, no pope succeeded in establishing complete control of the institution. Medieval kings, princes, bishops, and civil auth orities wavered between acceptance and resistance of the Inquisition. The institution reached its apex in the second half of the 13th century. During this period, the tribunals were almost entirely free from any authority, including that of the pope. Therefore, it was almost impossible to eradicate abuse.

  24. Nos Los Inquisidores
  25. Galileo and the Inquisition
  26. Procedure of the Roman Inquisition
  27. Inquisition
  28. Inquisition Collection at Notre Dame
  29. Modern History Sourcebook Henry C Lea (1829-1909) The Inquisition in 17th-Century Peru Cases of Portuguese Judaizers
  30. Contested Narratives - Telling The Bruderhof Story
  31. Links To Cult Awareness Groups (the major index is The Ex-Cult Archive)
    American Family Foundation

    Steve Hassan's Home Page (Author of Combatting Cult Mind Control)

    ReFOCUS

    Syzygy: Journal of Alternative Religion and Cultures

    Yeakley's The Discipling Dilemma

    Cult Awareness & Information Centre - Australia

  32. Links To Campus Cult Awareness groups

    REVIVE

    Awakened-M.I.T.

  33. Links to groups mentioned in The New York Times article

    "Fringe Religious Groups Plant Temples on the Web" (May 8, 1997)

    Stargate

    Raelian Mother Site

    The Aetherius Society

    Unarius Academy of Sciences

    Summum
     

  34. CHARISMA

    Trait Approach - Charisma has been studied as a trait (Weber, 1947) and as a set of behaviors (House, 1977; House & Baetz, 1979; House & Howell, 1992). The trait approach to charisma looks at qualities such as being visionary, energetic, unconventional, and exemplary (Bass, 1985; Conger, 1989; Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Harvey, 2001; House, 1977). Charismatic leaders are also thought to possess outstanding rhetorical ability (Harvey 2001: 253).

    Theatrical Approach - Most recently charisma is being rethorized as theatrical. What are the behaviors that leaders and followers do to enact attributions of charisma for various audiences (internal and external to the firm)?  For example, Howell and Frost (1989) began to study the ways verbal and non-verbal behaviors can be acted out to lead follows to attribute more or less charisma to leaders.  They trained actors in a lab experiment to verbally and nonverbally exhibit behaviors identified as charismatic versus structuring and considerate (See Behavioral Leadership Study Guide). Charismatic leaders voiced overarching goals, communicated high performance expectations to followers, and exhibited confidences in follower ability to meet those high expectations (Howell & Frost, 1989: 251). In their charismatic character roles, actors were coached to use nonverbal cues such as extended eye contact, using vocal variety, speaking in a relaxed posture, and using animated facial expression. The more structuring and considerate leaderly-characters said the same lines buy with less dynamic non0verbal cues.
     

  35. Thread in Slasdot discussion/Oracle Breakable After All
    The first Slashdot troll post investigation (Score:0, Offtopic)
    by negativekarmanow tm on Wednesday January 16, @05:29PM (#2850660
    (User #518080 Info | http://slashdot.org/ | Last Journal: Wednesday January 16, @08:29PM)

    The last few months I have been doing some research into the trolling phenomenon on slashdot.org. In order to do this as thoroughly as possible, I have written both normal and troll posts, 1st posts, etc., both logged in and anonymously, and I have found these rather shocking results:

    • More moderator points are being used to mod posts down than up. Furthermore, when modding a post up, every moderator seems to follow previous moderators in their choices, even when it's not a particularly interesting or clever post [slashdot.org]. There are a LOT more +5 posts than +3 or +4.
    • Logged in people are modded down faster than anonymous cowards. Presumably these Nazi Moderators think it's more important to burn a user's existing karma, to silence that individual for the future, than to use the moderation system for what it's meant for : identifying "good" and "bad" posts (Notice how nearly all oppressive governments in the past and present do the same thing : marking individuals as bad and untrustworthy because they have conflicting opinions, instead of engaging in a public discussion about these opinions)
    • Once you have a karma of -4 or -5, your posts have a score of -1 by default. When this is the case, no-one bothers to mod you down anymore. This means a logged in user can keep on trolling as much as he (or she) likes, without risking a ban to post on slashdot. When trolling as an anonymous user, every post starts at score 0, and you will be modded down to -1 ON EVERY POST. When you are modded down a certain number of times in 24 hour, you cannot post anymore from your current IP for a day or so. So, for successful trolling, ALWAYS log in.
    • A lot of the modded down posts are actually quite clever [slashdot.org], funny [slashdot.org], etc., and they are only modded down because they are offtopic. Now, on a news site like slashdot, where the number of different topics of discussion can be counted on 1 hand, I must say I quite like the distraction these posts offer. But no, when the topic is yet another minor version change of the Linux kernel [slashdot.org], they only expect ooohs and aaahs about this great feat of engineering. Look at the moderation done in this thread [slashdot.org] to see what I mean.
    • Digging deep into the history of slashdot, I found this poll [slashdot.org], which clearly indicates the vast majority does NOT want the moderation we have here today. 'nuff said.

    Feel free to use this information to your advantage. I thank you for your time.

    Re:The first Slashdot troll post investigation (Score:-1, Offtopic)
    by AnalogBoy on Wednesday January 16, @05:36PM (#2850723) Alter Relationship
    (User #51094 Info | http://slashdot.org/ | Last Journal: Thursday January 17, @11:17PM) I just want to say.. Thank you. I'm sure you'll be modded down as a troll, as /. doesn't like dissenters in the population. They try to keep you silent and impotent.

    I firmly believe once a community reaches a certain size, it has certain duties to perform, to the truth, the absence of sensationalism, and most of all, equality.

    Moderators: I have posted without my +1 bonus. This post is admittedly offtopic. Don't waste your moderation points on a reply. I suggest you use moderation points on parent posts. Its more economical. And remember - mod UP intelligent posts, mod DOWN klerckisms.
    --

    Just because you disagree with me does not make me a Troll, nor does it make my post Flamebait. Re:The first Slashdot troll post investigation (Score:-1, Offtopic)
    by Fitascious on Thursday January 17, @01:17AM (#2852776) Alter Relationship
    (User #127984 Info | http://slashzero.com/) This whole -1 thing is screwed. I worked at Andover.net (now OSDN) back in January and Feburary of 2000. I was a contractor brough on board to help build the Slashdot cage at Exodus, in fact I wrote my name with a magic marker on the bottom of the Quad Zeon VALinux box that probably still runs the main Mysql DB. At the time I thought it was pretty cool to be involved with the whole open source scene...

    You know what I learned? I learned that most of the "Famous" and "Big Names" in the linux scene are attention starved name dropping weenies.

    It after my assignment at Andover.net ended that I realized the whole Open Source movement is over. Done with. There are way to many people with way to much ego. All of the linux people in charge of the project were too busy stroking their ego's and counting their stock options.

    I thank CmdrTaco and all the rest for a good 2 or 3 years of entertaining reading, but times have changed, there is no energy left here. Time to move on, Open source has been assimilated by Corporate Practices. I sincerely feel that all that was good about Slashdot, and to an extent the Linux phenomenon is over. This Thread just ended any hope I had left. Time to bring on the next fad.

    Re:The first Slashdot troll post investigation (Score:-1, Offtopic)
    by AnalogBoy on Thursday January 17, @09:18AM (#2853749) Alter Relationship
    (User #51094 Info | http://slashdot.org/ | Last Journal: Thursday January 17, @11:17PM) I do agree with you on the ego thing. I've met -so many- linux zealots who can't back their claims of superiority with one fact, yet, they hate windows.. for no reason except the stereotypical "It crashes all the time!" and "Microsoft is a Facist Monopoly bent on world domination!". I forgot who said it, but i like him or her: "Open Source; Closed Minds".

    It was a good idea. The problem was the application - Stallmanism ruined the OpenSores image, in my mind. I will never recommend a linux solution where a "Established" solution could take its place. Partially because of technical reasons ; but mostly because i wouldn't want to risk having someone adminning them who's too busy keeping their thumb up their arse to care about the company.

    Slashdot is flawed, fundamentally. Unfortunately, its kind of fun. Screaming 14 year olds, as is said, having pissing contests over l33tness when they wouldnt know the difference between ATDT and ATH0, or SysV and BSD if it got up and shoved a clue by four up their output port. Hey, its better than sitting at work staring at the birds frying in the satellite transmitters on a slow day!
    --

    Just because you disagree with me does not make me a Troll, nor does it make my post Flamebait.

Appendix

Obituary: Trofim Denisovitch Lysenko (The Times 24.11.1976). reproduced from GETTING STARTED ON LYSENKOISM

Professor T. D. Lysenko, the Russian geneticist hailed during the Stalinist era as having produced theories vital to Soviet agriculture, but later denounced as a fraud, died on November 20, (aged 78).

Lysenko was born at Karlovka in the Poltava province of the Ukraine in 1898, the son of a peasant. After graduation in 1921 from the Uman School of Horticulture he went to work at the Belaya Tserkov Selection Station. In 1925 he graduated from the Kiev Agricultural Institute and moved to the Experimental Selection Station in Gandzha — now Kirovabad. In 1929 he became Senior Specialist in the Physiology Section of the Ukranian Institute of Selection and Genetics in Odessa. By 1936 he had become its director.

At the institute he carried out some research on plant physiology which attracted little attention in the scientific world until about 1931 when he published his first works on the phenomenon of vernalization. It had been known for some time that winter varieties of wheat and other plants, which normally fail to bear ears and ripen their grain when sown in spring, will do so if they are exposed to low temperatures, just above freezing point, for varying periods immediately after sprouting. Lysenko extended the knowledge of this phenomenon and built up from it both an elaborate hypothesis on development in plants, which came to be known as the theory of phasic development, and an agricultural method which enabled winter varieties of cereals and other plants to be treated with low temperatures and sown as spring crops. This technique came to be known as the method of vernalization, though why such importance has been attached to the conversion of winter to spring forms, when quite satisfactory spring forms of most crop plants already exist, has never been adequately explained. Be this as it may, much effort and many millions of roubles were expended in applying vernalization to the cereal crops of the Soviet Union. Official accounts of the success of these experiments vary, claims having been made of vast increases in grain yield. Later more critical reports from official sources and from foreign visitors suggest that, except in exceptional circumstances, little advantage has accrued and the yields were in fact often impaired.

Lysenko, however, was undismayed by his critics. In fact he even went as far as to extend his theory. The conversion of winter plants to spring or vice versa could, he claimed, become hereditarily established if carried out under suitable conditions, though the exact conditions were never defined in unambiguous terms.

Here then was a new theory of heredity — or an old one in a new guise. For Lamarck's theory of inheritance amounted to just this — that attributes acquired during the life time of an individual are transmitted to its progeny. Though thousands of experiments carried out by geneticists all over the world have rarely if ever demonstrated any such transmission, Lysenko's views on heredity proved popular with farmers and country folk, who have ever had such ideas close to their hearts, and, what is equally important, to the administrators and politicians; for Lysenko's ideas conformed more closely with Marxist principles of equality than did those of the geneticists who believed, it was said, on an aristocracy based on genes, hence in racialism, fascism, imperialism, colonialism and other dreadful things. Lysenko's ideas also fitted well with those of I. V. Michurin, the veteran fruit breeder who was also an idol of the Soviet People.

However, some of the more enlightened biologists in the Soviet Union attacked Lysenko and his ideas in the early days, one of the most influential being the critic N. I. Vavilov, well known internationally for his studies on the origins of cultivated plants. Between the years 1934, when Lysenko's views on inheritance began to be widely known, and 1948 the voices of the critics were nevertheless gradually silenced. Lysenko was awarded the Order of Lenin and two Stalin prizes, and was nominated Vice Chairman of the Supreme Soviet; in 1938 he was appointed President of the Lenin Academy of Agricultural Science and in 1940 assumed the Directorship of the Institute of Genetics of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Many other honours and appointments followed. The climax of his success came when, on August 26 1948, the Praesidium of the USSR Academy of Science passed a resolution virtually outlawing any biological work that was not based on the teachings of Michurin and Lysenko. Most of his remaining critics recanted at this same meeting. Others were removed from their official positions and some were arrested. This fate had already overtaken N. I. Vavilov in 1940 and nothing more was heard of him until his death in September, 1942. From this time until the death of Stalin in 1953 Lysenko ruled virtually supreme and his influence was felt not only in livestock breeding, animal husbandry and forestry but also in many fields far removed from plant physiology and genetics.

The period in question saw many further developments of Lysenko's theory. Plants of the same species were supposed not to compete with one another, and foresters, as well as farmers, were advised to grow their plants or trees in clusters for mutual aid. Plants were believed to 'assimilate' the environmental condition in which they were grown and intricate systems of 'training' were devised in order to influence the hereditary properties of young seedlings. One of the systems was to graft the seedlings on to another plant belonging to a different variety, species, or even genus and so the old belief in graft hybrids, current in earlier centuries, was revived. The fact that many of them had been shown by cell studies to be chimeras, or cell mixtures, rather than true hybrids, was conveniently ignored by Lysenko, who had a singular capacity for overlooking facts that did not suit him.

(After Stalin's death Lysenko was subject to criticism, investigation, and eventually he was denounced as a fraud by Khrushchev, who ascribed no small part in the responsibility for the Soviet agricultural crisis to Lysenko's influence.)

Nevertheless, Lysenko was to find favour again, and at that with Khrushchev, for his researches into composting and breeding dairy cows with high butter fat, themes both dear to Khrushchev who wanted to raise the USSR's milk output. He regained a substantial measure of his old authority and was only finally forced to quit the Institute of Genetics with the ousting of Khrushchev himself.




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