Carrying forward the argument from the last piece on the anti-science cult of Marxists, churches suppressed science because not many discoveries had come their way and they always wanted to preserve orthodoxy. But the persecution of science by Marx and his followers was indeed a troubling revelation for me as they always portray themselves to be rationalists. They have always been trying to safeguard the prophecy of Marx, by using “Science” as a tool. Their objective has always been to use “Science” as a prop rather than being objective about it. They dyed in wool to bend science based on the concrete theory of dialectical materialism.
While “Marxism” had become vogue, Physics was under new developments. Classical Mechanics had a challenge from Modern Physics. And the time saw the war between Newtonian and pro-Einstein notions. Marx had gone but on the ground was Lenin who was set to bring a new perceptive to deal with science.
Lenin saw that “dialectical materialism” was losing its ground because of Modern Physics development. He goes on to pass judgments on the physicists of that time which is very well documented in his own book, “Materialism and Empirio-criticism”. Pierre Duhem a physicist, a philosopher of science mentions in his book “The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory,” that “the laws of ‘physics’ are neither true nor false but approximate” because they are “symbolic” picturing the reality “ in a more or less precise, a more or less detailed manner.”
He then faces harsh criticism from Lenin as he thought it to be the beginning of the falsity (Materialism and Empirio-criticism, pg 311). On the other hand, Duhem’s idea appeared as the core of the problem which modern physicists would work upon. This becomes evident from the statement made by Louis de Broglie, one of the founding fathers of modern Physics. He considered Duhem’s work as, “a beautiful and great work where physicists of today can still find numerous topics worthy of reflection and study,” (Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem, p.433).
But of all, Mach has been brutally criticised by Lenin in his book, “Materialism and Empirio-criticism”. Somehow Mach’s idea of electrons, protons being related to the human mind, disappointed Lenin a lot. Lenin was indeed dogmatic to safeguard the prophecy of his prophet Marx. As per A.V. Vasil’ev, a mathematician at Kazan University, Mach’s idea influenced what Einstein went on to discover (Einstein and Soviet Ideology by Alexander Vucinich, p.16). It gives an idea clear enough of what Lenin was up to.
Lenin saw “Modern Physics” as anti-growth. He has expressed it quite well in his book “Materialism and Empirio-criticism” (p.312-3). In Marxist opinions of that period, the clash between Newtonian Physics and Modern Physics appeared no different than a clash between growth and dogmas although a rationalist would argue that the truth was otherwise. Lenin was trying his best to see that his prophet Marx’s Theory does not suffer at all and that is exactly what all Marxists would do when in power. It is not about “Science” or “Truth” but a cherry-picking of the thing called “studies” under the “banner of science” that could suffice their theory. This becomes quite evident from Lenin’s book “On Culture and Cultural Revolution“. He mentions on page 35 that “Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true.” Does the assertion not appear like “Kalima”? Their veil of being rationalist, anti-religion makes them more dangerous than any religion on the planet.
The Marxists once in power at the Soviet had all sorts of problems with Einstein. The ideas and theories of Einstein appeared anti-Marxism to them for non-confirmatory to dialectic-materialism (Einstein and Soviet Ideology, p. 18-19). Lenin’s “Materialism and empirio-criticism” had become a tool to judge science and pass censorship regarding what is “Science”.
A.K.Timiriazev & A.A.Maksimov Timiriazev were the most influential scientists in the Communist Academy of the Social Sciences. They were the most active member of the editorial board of the Marxist theoretical journal, “Under the Banner of Marxism.” Timiriazev, found Einstein’s theories falling “far below the norm” and required “strict verification”. Lenin goes on to write in “On the Significance of Militant Materialism” that Timiriazev’s article on Einstein made Lenin hopeful that modern natural scientists will defend and preach against idealism and skepticism.
A lot can be said about the brawl of Marxism with scientific developments. I’ll conclude about the same in the second part of this essay with even more interesting revelations about why even during World War, the powerful USSR was reluctant to use Nuclear Power.
(Aabhas Maldahiyar is an author and columnist)
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