The following article by the noted American biologist Hermann J. Muller ( 1890-1967) was published in 1934 in the Soviet Union in a book entitled To the Memory of V. I. Lenin. The article appeared in both the English and the Russian languages. The following pages are a complete and unedited reproduction of the English language version in the original publication. At the time it was published, Muller was a senior geneticist of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
The decision to include the article as an appendix was prompted by the realization that to protect Muller from his own philosophical beliefs during the most important part of his scientific career would be to repeat the mistake that has already been made far too often by historians of science. Great scientists, like all great men and women, are human beings whose views are conditioned by their times in very complex ways. In 1934 Muller considered Marxism quite important to his scientific work. Furthermore, it is clear that his Marxism was no short-lived affair. When Muller wrote this article, he was a mature scientist of forty-four years; seven years before, he had presented the paper on the induction of mutations in Drosophila by means of X rays, for which in 1946 he won the Nobel Prize. Furthermore, we know that Muller had been attracted to Marxism for many years, and he believed -- erroneously or not -- that it was a viewpoint relevant not only to politics, but also to science. In this article Muller even maintains that Marxism had influenced his views of biology twenty-four years earlier, at the time of the birth of genetics at Columbia University; he says, "It is interesting to note that in the rise of this so-called ' Morgan school,' better called 'the Drosophila school,' there was a strong direct Marxian influence...." (See p. 462, and the subsequent section where Muller describes Morgan's young students influencing their teacher's research.) Historians of biology are certain to question this interpretation, and may even totally reject it, but it is quite difficult to contradict the fact that
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Publication information: Book title: Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union. Contributors: Loren R. Graham - Author. Publisher: Knopf. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1972. Page number: 451.