Bourgeois pseudoscience

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Andrei Bubnov,Wikipedia People's Commissar for Education, executed in 1938
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Bourgeois pseudoscience was an epithet used by the Soviets, especially the Stalinists, to dismiss any science that was inconvenient to their ideology. Whereas bourgeois pseudoscience in the Soviet Union began with Darwinism, Soviet ideology was not inherently opposed to Darwinism, since the Soviets at times taught Darwinism as part of dialectical materialism.[1]:73 The problem was the Modern Synthesis of evolution (1936-1947), which reconciled Mendelian genetics with natural selection.[1]

The concept of bourgeois pseudoscience developed from the fallout of the failed Seventh International Genetics Congress that was to be held in Moscow, and had been approved by the Soviet Politburo in 1937.[1]:58 Simultaneously however, and before the Congress could be organized, the Great Terror (or Great Purge) of 1936-1938 was taking place. Many prominent Soviet geneticists, including all geneticists connected with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and the organizer of the congress died in the purge.[1]:61 Following the purge of the geneticists, Trofim Lysenko (a proletarian agronomist) was appointed as head of the national agricultural academy (VASKhNIL), setting the stage of Soviet Lysenkoism in opposition to Darwinism as official state policy.[1]:61,66 Lysenko was opposed to genetics, considering it a pseudoscience, thus Darwinism also came to be considered a pseudoscience after the field became reconciled with genetics. Initially, Darwinism was referred to as bourgeois science by communists in the 1920s,[1]:24-25 by 1947 Lysenko had written to Stalin, referring to Darwinism as bourgeois pseudoscience.[1]:160

Other natural and social sciences labeled as "bourgeois pseudoscience" included:

Gallery of people purged for genetics[edit]

In addition to Bubnov (above), a few of Soviet geneticists and genetics promoters who were purged during the Great Terror were:[1]:60-61

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Precursor to computing, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, complexity science, and robotics.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Stalinist Science by Nikolai Krementsov (1997) Princeton University Press. ISBN 069102877X.
  2. "'Combating Bourgeois Pseudoscience': A Campaign for National Priorities in Science and Technology and Soviet Higher Education Institutions" by I. V. Sidorchuk (2020) Perspectives of Science and Education, 43(1), 354-365. doi:10.32744/pse.2020.1.25.
  3. Hybridity: Marrism and the Problems of Language of the Imperial Situation by Marina Mogilner (2016) Ab Imperio 2016(1):27-68. doi:10.1353/imp.2016.0023.
  4. "Innovation in Science-The Case of Cybernetics in the Soviet Union" by David Holloway (1974) Science Studies 4(4):299-337.
  5. "Psychology in China: A review dedicated to Li Chen" by Zhong-Ming Wang (1993) Annual Review of Psychology 44:87-116. doi:10.1146/
  6. 6. China by Yeh Hsueh & Benyu Guo (2012) The Oxford Handbook of the History of Psychology: Global Perspectives, edited by David B. Baker (ed.) Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199940424.
  7. "2.1 The Stalinist Social Order: Sociology as Bourgeois Pseudoscience" by Tomás Kolosi & Ivan Szelényi. In: Sociology in Europe, edited by Birgitta Nedelmann et al. (1993) De Gruyter. ISBN 311013845X.
  8. The Anthropology of China: China as Ethnographic and Theoretical Critique by Stephan Feuchtwang & Charlotte Bruckermann (2016) Imperial College Press. ISBN 1783269847.