Exchanges on Marxism and ecology

bernie wool bernard.wool at
Wed Oct 20 15:15:38 MDT 1999

It's worth also remembering that scientists versed in 'dialectical materialism.
included Lysencko and Beloussov, who respectively engineered the almost compete
disappearence of genetics in the Soviet Union and contributed to the failure of
collective agriculture and mass starvation, and set back Soviet Earth Sciences by
many decades because of a similar proscription of ideas of a dynamic planet
continually in change.  The former SU and Eastern bloc countries became ecological
wastelands through the willful failure to accept ideas in ecology.

I think that Charles has things the wrong way around in "Who says dialectical
materialism hasn't produced results in natural science ?".  Philosophy abstracts at a
general level from the empirical advance of knowledge of the world and people.  It
may be predictive in a general way, but the fact that, for instance, confirmation by
experiment of Einstein's relativity helped contribute to the development of Marxism
(well, it should have done, but we see very little discussion of that among Marxists)
does not prove the opposite.  Einstein was not a Marxist, and the same goes for
virtually every scientist.  This is not surprising, for the same process of
alienation goes on in science and technology as it does throughout a society
dominated by capital.  The problem, as I see it, is not a failure to deploy
'dialectical materialism' in science, but that science is chained and distorted by


Charles Brown wrote:

> >>> Louis Proyect <lnp3 at> 10/19/99 09:17PM >>>
> 1) John Bellamy Foster replying to Michael Perelman's query whether ecology
> existed prior to the 1850's:
> >From the standpoint of today the three greatest ecological
> discoveries all came from the Marxist theorists and Soviet scientists: the
> idea of the biosphere, the discovery of the original centers of agriculture
> and the sources of germplasm, and the theory of the origins of life.  It was
> the Oparin/Haldane theory of the origin of life that provided the foundation
> for Rachel Carson's most comprehensive ecological statement.
> (((((((((((
> CB: Who says dialectical materialism hasn't produced results in natural science ?
> CB

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