10 People Who Single-handedly Damaged the Progress of Humanity

by Binupriya Tomy3 years ago

6 Robert Maxwell 

He suggested that scientific publications should be a business. This led to many scientists not being able to publish what they experimented with due to the exorbitant fees. To avoid these fees, the scientists had to choose to publish their journals in non-commercial journals which had less reach. 

Robert Maxwell
Robert Maxwell(Image to the left), Image is used for representational purposes only. Image credits: Eamonn McCabe via Theguardian, Shutterstock

It is a known fact that the staggering expense of publishing a scientific experiment is bad for science. The idea was put forward by one of the most notorious tycoons, Britain-Robert Maxwell. He expanded the business of scientific publishing to an unimaginable scale with this revolutionary idea. 

As a result, organizations like the British Chemical Society had a months-long backlog of articles waiting for publishing. Science was at a stage of unprecedented growth, and at that point when the business was established. Collaborating and getting your scientific work on a bigger stage was new at this point, and Robert Maxwell had that market cornered. 

By the end of the 1960s, commercial publishing was a status-quo. Maxwell established the high impacts a publishing press can have over other scientists around the world. Scientists constantly questioned this hugely profiting business.

But the librarians and universities had already fallen for the trap and started paying for subscriptions. The movement led many scientific experiments to go dark just because they were available online free of cost with not enough reach. (Source)


7 Andrew Wakefield 

Wakefield and his colleagues published the infamous paper named “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children.” It started the anti-vaccine movement because of a man who was a little too confident in his hypothesis. 

Andrew Wakefield
Andrew Wakefield,  Image credit: Shutterstock

In the 1980s and 1990s several groups formed in many countries questioning the credibility of using vaccines. It started because of the fraudulent work on 12 children carried out by Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues because they developed a non-existent connection between the MMR vaccine that is used against measles and mumps with autism. 

His name was struck off the medical registry for misconduct. Wakefield still continues to defend his actions and conclusions. In 1998 Lancet paper published several stories of Wakefield’s work that were not strong methodologically. This misinformation, as viewed by other doctors, is the riskiest factor while we deal with a pandemic. 

It was found and reported in the journal that published his work that it had unresolved conflicts. They were also criticized for subjecting minors to unwarranted procedures. Many epidemiological studies later found that there is no effect in taking the MMR vaccine connected with autism. (Source)


8 Trofim Lysenko

A Soviet biologist went against the teachings of Gregor Mendel and tried to reinvent agricultural practices by telling farmers to put seeds very close believing that plants of the same species will not compete for nutrients. His theories lead to the death of millions of farmers and later lead to the Great Chinese Famine. 

Trofim Lysenko
Trofim Lysenko, Image. to the right is used for representational purposes only. Image credits: thefamouspeople, CRS Photo/Shutterstock

Trofim Lysenko’s research prolonged famine that killed millions of humans in the Soviet Union. He condemned millions of people to starvation through his bogus agricultural studies. Officials put him in charge of Soviet agriculture in the 1930s. Lysenko promoted Marxist ideas that the environment alone shapes plants and animals. 

One of his ideas was to sprout crops at different times of the year by soaking them in freezing water. He promised to boost crop production and convert empty spaces into farmlands and orange tree plantations in Siberia. He also tried modernizing agriculture by forcing millions to join state-run farms. 

He asked farmers to sow seeds very close to each other according to his “law of the life of species,” which stated plants from the same species do not compete with one another.

He also asked farmers to stop using fertilizers and pesticides. Everything grew according to his ideologies either died or rotted. Communist China followed these ideas in the 1950s, which resulted in much bigger famines. (Source)


9 Mao Zedong

Mao’s dream was to make China a superpower. He had great propaganda for the country, but his relations with the Soviet Union eventually led to war, and his plans failed, which led to forced labor, and, the Great Famine that followed which was a major setback for a superpower like China. 

Mao Zedong
Image credits: Hung Chung Chih/Shutterstock, Attila JANDI/Shutterstock

Mao’s five-year plan for making China a superpower started in 1953. He did not merely follow it but tried to leap ahead of it without considering the human impact. Because of this rush, major flaws in the plan went unnoticed and the breakdown in the plan started. 

Mao teamed up with Stalin, but eventually, their relationship was resented by Mao because he did not enjoy being a junior partner to Stalin. After Stalin’s death, Mao deviated from the true path of communism. A Chinese-Soviet split happened and led to border clashes and mass human slaughter. 

All this led to the death of an estimated 500,000 people. He himself wasn’t expecting such a drastic event to occur, and he panicked. He began promising people that everyone will be equal and everybody will have the benefits of high quality of life. The result was a disaster. Harvests failed and the Great Famine followed. (Source)


10 Genghis Khan

Khan was one of the most famous conquerors in history. He dealt with enormous destruction commanding Mongolian warriors. His force affected a greater part of the Eurasian continent. Many people were slaughtered and many tortured.

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan Statue. Image credit: François Philipp/flickr

Genghis Khan came to power by uniting nomadic people. He launched Mongol invasions after proclaiming himself to power.

Modern, as well as contemporary sources, say that his conquests resulted in the destruction of the human race on an unprecedented scale. It caused a major demographic change and a decline in the population. The major reasons behind this are the mass destruction and famines. 

An estimate of four million civilians and forty to sixty million non-civilians lost their lives as a consequence of the military campaigns.

He was considered a liberator by the Renaissance and Kingdom of Qocho because of the cultural spread, science, and technological advancements by the Mongol Empire.

Invasions and large-scale slaughters continued to happen by his descendants even after his death in 1227. As a result, the empire has quite a fearsome reputation in history. (Source)

Also Read:
10 Interesting but Lesser-known Events From History

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