Why was H. J. Muller an effective tool in effort to exaggerate danger of radiation?
H. J. Muller’s page on Wikipedia begins with the following introduction:
Hermann Joseph Muller (December 21, 1890 – April 5, 1967) was an American geneticist, educator, and Nobel laureate best known for his work on the physiological and genetic effects of radiation (mutagenesis), as well as his outspoken political beliefs. Muller frequently warned of long-term dangers of radioactive fallout from nuclear war and nuclear testing, which resulted in greater public scrutiny of these practices.Hermann Joseph Muller on Wikipedia
That article leaves out some important historical background.
In the summer of 1945, H. J. Muller was in deep financial difficulty. He had burned many bridges during his career. He had a young wife, an infant daughter, and a notice in hand that he would be losing his job. He was 56 years old and had not accumulated any savings. He had moved around too much and worked in too many temporary positions to have vested in any pensions.
His only real hope was his long term relationship with patrons from the Rockefeller Foundation (RF), especially Frank Hanson, the Associate Director of Natural Sciences. Hanson had studied radiation genetics with Muller at the University of Texas in 1927. He joined the RF staff in 1930 as an administrator of fellowship programs in Europe.
The RF began supporting Muller’s research and intervening in his job searches soon thereafter. Muller’s biographer, Elof Axel Carlson, attributes the RF patronage to Hanson’s appreciation of Muller’s collegiality when they worked together in Texas.
Another plausible explanation is that the RF recognized they might have a future use for Muller and his radiation effects research.
Atomic energy as threat to hydrocarbon market
Conventional narratives about the introduction of atomic energy often begin by talking about the explosive revelations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. But leaders in the Hydrocarbon Economy were warned about the threat atomic energy posed to their businesses at least 15 years earlier.
The Rockefellers and the foundation that they endowed with stocks and bonds derived from the Standard Oil trust were key leaders in the global hydrocarbon industry.
In 1930, Sir Arthur Eddington, a renowned astrophysicist, warned the World Energy Council that someday, mankind would harness what he called “sub-atomic energy”. He expected this energy source of the stars to quickly replace the “delicacies” of coal and oil. (Natural gas was a bit player in 1930.)
Eddington and his colleagues in astrophysics had determined that the universe didn’t get its power from burning combustible fuels like coal and oil. Instead, the stars that had been intensely emitting light and heat for billions of years had to be fueled from energy stored inside atomic nuclei.
Since it would be difficult to compete with such a powerful, dense fuel source, a different tactic was necessary. Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) was a known propaganda tool. The Rockefeller family were world experts in propaganda and are recognized as the beneficiaries of some of its earliest campaigns.
Does coincidence explain why Muller, a scientist who had identified a potentially worrisome characteristic of atomic radiation, began getting support and career interventions from the Rockefeller Foundation during the same year that Eddington gave a speech warning about the possibility that “delicacies like coal and oil” might someday be replaced by atomic energy?
Arranging a job for Muller in 1945
In the fall of 1944, just two months after his daughter’s birth, Muller’s boss notified him that his wartime job as a teacher at Amherst College would end in June 1945. There was no place for Muller as permanent faculty began returning from wartime assignments.
Even though he had not enjoyed teaching undergraduates, Muller was deeply concerned. After making several inquiries and appeals to friends, he almost gave up hope of finding a suitable job in academia.
He talked about leaving academia for the business world. That prospect worried his wife, Thea. She was reasonably confident that someone would hire Muller as a researcher or professor, but she didn’t think he would succeed as a businessman starting with no experience at age 54.
As had happened at several other transitional points in Muller’s career, patrons from the RF intervened in Muller’s job search. They made an arrangement with Indiana University to provide a recurring grant large enough to pay Muller’s salary and to provide him with laboratory space. The grant was large enough to cover the cost of several graduate students.
Even though Muller had a decent reputation as an experimental biologist, he also had a reputation as a poor teacher of undergrads, a challenging political history, and an irritating habit of claiming scientific priority to the point of alienating current and former colleagues.
Despite reservations, Indiana University agreed to the RF’s offer and hired Muller starting in the fall of 1945. (Ref for previous 4 paragraphs: Carlson, Elof A. “Genes, Radiation and Society: The Life and Work of H. J. Muller”, 1981, Cornell University Press, pp 284-288)
Here is how the Rockefeller Foundation’s 1945 annual report explained its decision to give IU a grant of $95,500 over a six year period.
Professor Muller, who joined the staff of Indiana University in July 1945, is generally recognized as one of the leading geneticists of the world. In 1927, while at the University of Texas, Professor Muller demonstrated that X-rays produce mutations or heritable variations in Drosophila flies.
By this method the mutation rate could be speeded up to 150 times the natural rate, and entirely new forms could be created. With the assistance of a Guggenheim fellowship, Professor Muller introduced his irradiation techniques to European workers, and later, at the invitation of the Russian Government, became an investigator in the laboratories of the Russian Academy of Science, where he trained a group of young Russian scientists in modern theories and methods of genetics research.From Rockefeller Foundation Annual Report, 1945 p. 159
Leaders at Indiana University realized what a good deal they had made when Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize a little more than a year after he joined the faculty at IU.
It’s possible that the Rockefeller Foundation, with its worldwide network of science funding organizations and grateful scientists who had received research grants and fellowships from the Foundation, played a role in the Prize selection process.
Planting and nurturing seeds of doubt regarding radiation tolerance
Through the end of World War II, the prevailing model of radiation health effects was a threshold model in which doses below a certain level were presumed to be harmless. The generally accepted view was that humans could tolerate a certain amount of radiation and recover from any effects that it might have. International radiation protection advisory bodies established a “tolerance dose” with a ten fold safety margin below the first signs of measurable harm.
Adherence to tolerance dose limits did an effective job of protecting the tens of thousands of workers exposed to radioactive materials as a result of their work with the Manhattan Project. Keeping doses below the limits wasn’t too difficult as long as workers were properly trained and equipment was properly designed.
But Muller actively pushed a radically different model. He claimed during his Nobel Prize speech that his research proved there wasn’t any threshold. Muller wanted the world to accept his assertion that every dose of radiation, down to a single gamma ray, posed a threat to mankind’s genetic heritage.
They leave, we believe, no escape from the conclusion that there is no threshold dose, and that the individual mutations result from individual “hits”, producing genetic effects in their immediate neighborhood.H. J. Muller, Nobel Prize speech Medicine or Physiology 1946.
Since he wasn’t much of a teacher anyway, Muller’s Indiana University bosses gave him plenty of time to travel and participate in various radiation protection committees. Muller’s grant money from the RF paid for the trips. In addition to promoting his University and its genetics program, he took advantage of his prestige to repeatedly advance his no-threshold model.
The Nobel Prize also helped him obtain speaking gigs and made him a quotable source in various media outlets, especially including the New York Times. That “paper of record” reached an influential audience. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher, was a Rockefeller Foundation trustee from 1939-1957.
Convincingly replacing tolerance dose with a no threshold model
The period from December 1953 through the summer of 1954 was a heady time for atomic energy development. During that period, President Eisenhower announced his “Atoms for Peace Program”, began the Shippingport Nuclear Power demonstration plant and initiated a revision of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 to enable the development of a commercial nuclear power industry.
Perhaps stimulated by that progress, in the summer of 1954 the Rockefeller Foundation contracted with the National Academy of Sciences to perform a review of the biological effects of atomic radiation.
Since the effort to discredit the Atomic Energy Commission and its weapons testing program had already begun in earnest, the RF’s request was framed and promoted as seeking an independent review of the science associated with radiation exposure.
The Genetics Sub-Committee received special attention; the RF nominated Warren Weaver, a mathematician who had been directing the RF’s natural sciences research programs for more than 20 years, to be the committee’s chairman.
With Muller’s confident, assertive thought leadership and the help of Weaver’s patient and skillful consensus (pg. 506-507) building, the Genetics Committee produced a sufficiently scary report claiming that “from a genetics perspective” all doses of radiation are harmful.
That report was released on June 12, 1956. It was reprinted in full in the June 13, 1956 issue of the New York Times along with a front page, top right column headline that shouted “SCIENTISTS TERM RADIATION A PERIL TO FUTURE OF MAN.”
A slightly modified version of the report was published in the June issue of Science magazine.
After the first summary report was published in 1956, there was virtual editorial unanimity in the nation’s newspapers that “the report should be read in its entirety to be appreciated” and that it deserved the close attention of all concerned citizens.From National Academy of Sciences biographical memoir of Warren Weaver p. 507
In 1956, after the NAS report on the Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation established the “no safe dose” assertion as the genetic consensus model, the RF gave Indiana University another big grant.
During 1956 The Rockefeller Foundation made nine grants totaling $991,000 for research in genetics. Four were made in the United States, the largest, $350,000, to Indiana University for the work of Professors H , J. Muller, T. M . Sonneborn, and R, E. Cleland.From Rockefeller Foundation Annual Report, 1956 p. 28
That one was sufficient to keep paying Muller for the rest of his life; $350K went much further in 1956 than it does today. He was 66 at the time the grant was made. The RF stopped funding genetics research at Indiana University after Muller was no longer there.
Note: This post was substantially revised for clarity and better references on Feb 26, 2020.
Sources: A major source of detailed information on Muller’s life is “Genes, Radiation and Society: The life and work of H. J. Muller” written by Elof Axel Carlson. Carlson was a student and a fan of H. J. Muller. His spin on the facts included above is a bit different, but he did an excellent job of teasing out the details. Dr. Ed Calabrese has published an informative, incredibly well documented series of papers on H. J. Muller’s influence on the Genetics Committee report. Grant information is derived from the Rockefeller Foundation annual reports, especially those for 1945 and 1956.
I guess this quote kind of fits your article:
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
– Upton Sinclair –
Zero is a very low number.
What is most insidious about all this is that LNT does have a firm scientific basis… the smooth probabilistic line of radioactive decay and its interaction with cells and DNA WILL occur right down to zero. But attaching it directly to risk is to bring into being a fantasy world where cellular repair mechanisms do not exist at all.
Life is dominated by these repair mechanisms, depends on them. You could even suggest that without background radiation evolutionary pressure to fine tune cellular repair might have subsided until life became too fragile to survive any kind of shock. There is also the suggestion of hormesis. But even that is disingenuous, for in our modern world the confirmed cancer danger from chemical exposure far eclipses anything save the worst radioactive accidents. So it’s no surprise when those who make bank from carcinogens take you aside and whisper, “Let’s talk about radiation instead.”
It is *dangerous* and *irresponsible* to marginalize nuclear energy because it represents the only true way to achieve a sustainable high-energy modern civilization in perpetuity, with among other things, ever-improving health care, good food and drinkable water. The other options (frankly) involve people dying, perhaps horribly.
Consider profiling some small-time operators in our time such as Arnie Gundersen who punched his meal ticket for awhile by claiming that everything was inexplicably on fire and Fukushima would trigger the extinction of mankind. These people also need some (er,) more balanced public exposure aside from the zillions of Google results of them spewing their trash unchallenged.
“It is *dangerous* and *irresponsible* to marginalize nuclear energy because it represents the only true way to achieve a sustainable high-energy modern civilization in perpetuity…”
And yet today’s twitterverse is alive with a Scienceletter, Concerns of young protesters are justified, signed by the usually respected suspects, that continues to do precisely that:
Here, the discerning observer might argue that indeed, “cessation of subsidies for climate-damaging actions” might include elimination and avoidance of massive directed investment in renewable energy, which effectively locks — and has locked — us into reliance upon the very fossil fuels the authors fervently wish we eschew.
No mention is made of nuclear, one way or the other. By avoiding the subject, the letter engages in #metooism that assiduously avoids responsibility for education and leadership. Our youth deserve better.
How do we deliver?
Perhaps you overlook the paucity of effective repair mechanisms in germ cells. Animal data: https://academic.oup.com/biolreprod/article/67/3/854/2683526. Human data: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6498/ab17fc/meta. Another obvious possibility is interference of external radiation and/or internal emitters with epigenetic processes, causing damage whereby ‘repair’ is not an option: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/gepi.20662.
To me, the smoking gun is the dose rate ranges Muller studied. He irradiated flies at doses in the range of 10000, 20000, 30000 mSv. These are all LETHAL doses.
Even the lowest dose studied, 10000 mSv, would kill an average adult human. Yes, KILL.
Now, it is more than a bit of a stretch to claim there is no dose threshold when all you’ve looked at is LETHAL doses.
It would be similar to giving the flies a whole bottle of wine, which obviously kills all the flies, and then go on to claim that “there must not be a safe dose for wine”. And subsequently proceed with the recommendation that we ban wine from the stores!
It is the kind of thing that would get an apprentice lab worker fired. Muller got the Nobel Prize for it.
Since the Nobel Prize committee are not fools, the only sad conclusion is that they’re on the take.
When the highest levels of scientific prestige is corrupt, who can we trust?
A useful repeat of Muller’s studies would be to take two groups of flies, one control and another irradiated group. Give the irradiated group 10 mSv of dose once a week. Then let the flies live out their normal lives and see how old they get. Put their deaths in a graph. I’m betting the irradiated flies live substantially longer. The experiment could be repeated then with mice and then chimps.
The experiment was already done with male Sprague-Dawley rats, and reported in the 1958 UNSCEAR report (see pages 30-31, beginning with the paragraph numbered 14). There is a very striking increase in lifespan for rats irradiated with 0.8 r/day of Co-60 gamma rays.
You’re not going to get the budget to do the experiment with chimps. Not only are they far too expensive, you’re not going to live long enough to get the results of the experiment as their median lifespan is well over 30 years.
Good find! That’s the sort of experiment we need. Only 22 animals though. It’d have to be repeated with a larger population, and probably a bit smaller dose. 0.8 Roentgen/day is 7.5 mSv/day – close to 3 Sieverts/year. That’s way higher than even the worst imaginable nuclear accident.
The data on the Co-60 irradiated Beagle dogs also was a bit on the high dose side – 3 mSv/day. 10 mSv/week or a 1 mSv/day or something would be a more reasonable dose to study. Also because (according to Jerry Cutler) this range is where the hormetic effect peaks so maximum positive effect should be shown. Raising the political impact of such an experiment. Especially if done in a big famous lab by famous scientists. Then publish results in the journal Science.
Probably right about the chimps. Bit too heroic. But perhaps a shorter experiment can be planned, say 10 years, where doctors periodically look for solid cancers and leukemia incidence in the chimps.
For pete’s sake, that study is older than I am and I’ve been broadcasting it for years. Including here.
It’s a start, and should be easy enough to replicate.
Why not a range of doses, and 300 animals per dose rate per ambient temperature? Let’s see what the hormesis curve looks like. Let’s also do biological studies of things like radiation tolerance of tissue samples and testing of the Hayflick limit.
Well, isn’t that the point? If you could come back 3 weeks after “the worst imaginable nuclear accident” and the radiation would literally be harmless to you, doesn’t that completely kill the argument against nuclear power?
Something else that should be done along with a new rat study is a study on rhesus macaques. It should have a similar range of dose rates. It would take far too long to do total mortality studies before we’d have to make decisions on the results, but they reach sexual maturity at about age 8 and details like cancer, morbidity and mutation rates should be available by that time. Tissue tests of characteristics like the Hayflick limit are applicable also. If the closest available analogue of humans turns out to tolerate radiation levels once considered deadly and are still healthy, it’s the last nail in the anti-nuclear coffin.
Ideally the experiment should have included both sexes and they should have been allowed to breed. Funding was likely an issue but it would have been nice to have a multi generation experiment.
Imagine this. Imagine mice / rats experiments show no negative health effects at 1 Sv / year, or even 10 Sv / year of constant ionizing radiation from an external cesium or strontium source. With that basis, imagine running the same experiment but with chimps. You don’t need to wait for the end of their natural lives if you can reach extreme accumulated doses where the cancer risk becomes unbelievably large according to LNT.
I don’t know if 10 Sv / year is safe. It might be. It might not be. I don’t know where the limit is, and I haven’t fully read all of the relevant literature. However, odds seem good that 1 Sv / year is safe. Assume we had 10 years, so a lifetime accumulated dose of 10 Sv. How many individual animals would we need to conclusively disprove linear no-threshold? Now assume we only had 1 year, and consequently only 1 Sv of lifetime accumulated dose. How many individual animals would we need then?
I don’t think we have to imagine that. 0.8 rad/day is about 290 rad/yr, roughly 2.9 Sv/yr. If there’s no prospect of 10 Sv/yr exposures from anything, there’s no reason to test at such levels. Or do you have something else to prove? Other evidence suggests that the hormesis curve for humans peaks around 700 mSv/yr.
Chimps are both extremely expensive and highly intelligent creatures. The ethics of using them as medical test subjects are difficult. Rhesus macaques are acceptable, chimps are borderline at best.
If I was put in charge of the research project (and I’m way unqualified for that job) and had a healthy budget secure for at least a couple of decades, I would run parallel experiments at multiple dose rates (including controls) with animals like (a) lab rats (re-running the 1950’s experiment, but with a much greater population and more varied dose rates), (b) beagles (which don’t tend to live very long, so the experiment could be terminated in 10-12 years or so) and (c) the aforementioned rhesus macaques. I might do several generations of rats and measure both the morbidity/mortality and mutation rates. I’d take thousands of biological samples, both doing tests immediately and saving some to follow up on questions raised by the results.
I can’t imagine this costing more than perhaps $10 million, but the wealth of information it would yield would be of incalculable value.
It’s already disproven. Cell damage from a high prompt dose is radically reduced by previous exposure to a lower, “priming” dose. That alone kills LNT.
Not nearly enough time for latent effects to manifest as carcinomas. Some things just require patience.
I think you’re missing my point.
I think that there’s many people who are sympathetic to LNT (not myself, but some people), who could be persuaded if we show them exceptionally clear evidence that LNT is false. It seems to me
The point where there will be biggest disagreement between LNT predictions and reality is in the area of very high lifetime accumulated dose from a constant-level dose rate over many years. LNT predicts that the health effects from 100 Sv should be the same no matter if it’s an acute dose vs delivered over 10 years. Whereas, we could actually do that experiment, and if the results of the experiment are “no measurable genetic damage after 10 years of constant-rate external exposure of 10 Sv / year”, then even the most hardcore LNT proponents would have to revisit their position, IMO.
Once China has its mass production assembly lines set up for a huge offensive to export nuclear reactors, I predict China will do such a study. It is the ABCs of capitalism. Will such a study facilitate a massive market expansion and profits for them? If they don’t do so, will Rosatom or someone else do so, and get the benefits? Will it help China to win international trade competition and extend its geopolitical influence, for example, for access to raw materials? We in the US/EU remain stuck in quick sand of anti-nuclear interests. These forces are in power. The US/EUs “Sputnik Moment 2.0” is nigh.
Like E-P said, there’s no need to look at 10 Sv doses because they cannot be generated even in worst-possible nuclear accidents.
This was my initial comment about Muller – he looked at 10, 20 30 Sv dose ranges to conclude that there is no threshold – even though these were prepostrously large doses that would kill a human.
We need to take a functional approach – what is the worst possible accident with limiting conditions, say total cooling failure, no evacuation. (bit worse than Fukushima). Then use that dose on a controlled double blind animal experiment to see how long they live. If mice live much longer when given almost 3 Sv/year compared to control group, then that is a major hint. But 3 Sv/year is far greater than the worst credible accident dose even for people that live close to a nuclear plant. Getting even 1 Sv/year is extremely difficult, requiring a big reactor, combination of really bad weather pattern, complete cooling failure, containment failure etc. The worst affected areas around Fukushima were around 0.2 Sv/year early on, and well below 0.1 Sv/year today.
Dose rate is actually more important than dose. It’s a major scientific and political blunder that this is not understood or communicated, even among supposed professionals in the field. Bomb survivors with prompt radiation dosage are not a good basis for estimating the hazards of an accident at a nuclear plant. Dose rates are orders of magnitude different. It is a blunder on the level of, “someone took 1000 aspirin pills and died, therefore taking 1 aspiring a day for 3 years will kill you”.
A step in the right direction would be for people to stop using these per year dose rates. It makes about as much sense as how many aspirin pills in a year. A per week standard would be more reasonable resolution.
I’m pretty sure you underestimate the potential scope of radiation accidents. Not all uses of radiation are in well shielded and engineered nuclear power plants with multiple layers of protection.
It doesn’t take very long, for example, for an unshielded radiography source to produce 10 Sv to an unknowing bystander if proper safety precautions are ignored.
Again, I’m not dealing with functional requirements. I’m talking about the rhetorical war that we need to win with the public that LNT is false. That’s why I think we should run this experiment which has (dubious) value for real functional requirements. If we could spend 10 years, a modicum of money (relatively speaking), with rats or macaques, and show that 100 Sv total dose over 10 years at a constant dose-rate produces no ill-effects, then surely any support of LNT would completely collapse in the face of this insurmountable evidence. Surely this is right? Or am I being too naive?
EL: right. The problem is that 10 Sv per year is well above hormetic dose levels, even for daily spread out dosing. Almost certain you will see reduced life expectancy in just about any mammal at these doses.
We know high doses are harmful. There is no need to test this. Its just cruel and pointless to test mammals at these doses.
what is needed is dose rate studies on mammals in the hormetic range and well above the kind of doses seen at say Fukushima. Something like 1 or 2 mSv/day. Definately under 1 Sv/year. It should be low dose rate but high dose since that will stand LNT on its head and quell fears of low dose rate chronic radiation such as may occur in a beyond design basis nuclear powerplant accident.
1- My point was simply that w should find the biggest dose rate that has no negative health effects, and run that experiment, to finally shut up the LNT defenders once and for all.
2- From what little I know, I might would guess that 10 Sv / year constant-rate external exposure is actually safe. That’s only about 27 mSv / day. It’s far from clear to me that this level is actually harmful. It may well be. I don’t know. On what basis do you suspect that this level actually is harmful? Just your general background knowledge of such things? If you could point me towards specific scientific evidence which suggests that this dose rate is harmful, I would be most curious.
PS: From the recent MIT mice / rat study, it appears that 1 Sv / year constant dose rate external exposure is likely safe.
I have wondered about training people that live in areas of high background radiation as first responders in the event of a nuclear accident. This saber rattling against Iran makes no sense to me.
I encourage reading “Radiation and Reason” by Wade Allison. Written after a career at Oxford University in health physics.
Re radiology risks. Of course, but the issue is people are afraid of nuclear power plants because of small doses of radiation that could occur from accidents. So people use this as an argument to not use nuclear power: it’s the “if things go wrong they go REAL wrong with nuclear power”.
To my knowledge no one uses radiology sources or hazards of radiology as an excuse to not build nuclear powerplants.
In any case, it’s not like we are talking about consumer electronics here – these are professional devices handled by professionals. Truth is most stuff in a hospital is pretty dangerous to inviduals if mishandled. A syringe and some salt water can definately kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing (or if you do but you’r one of those nurse-assassins we hear about in the movies).
It’s not well known to many in the nuclear power field, but there has been a long running effort to scare people about radiation in medicine as well.
Look up “Image Gently” to start to get a feel for the fact that fear mongers have been active in all aspects of beneficial use of radiation.
There have been many incidents where people were “overexposed” to radiography or radiotherapy sources (I’ve seen some up to 100 curies of Co-60 for radiography of large steam generator welds). Of course these were the result of theft, dumb radiographers “forgetting” to bring their meters to make sure the source was back in the shield pig or “lucky” individuals finding something “cool looking” at an abandoned hospital in Brazil.
When a radiography source comes on site at my plant we control the hell out of it even though its falls under their license. We simply do not trust those cowboys. Now imagine the fact that the same 100 curie Co-60 source being used at your normal run of the mill construction site……
The ONLY time I’m worried about radiation at my plant is when we have scheduled radiography commencing.
If terrorists really want to make a “dirty” bomb…..they aint gonna get the material from a Nuclear Power Plant. It would be incredibly easier to obtain it from hospitals, radiographers or food irradiation plants (which have sources that make the ones used for radiography looks like a banana)
Engineer-Poet: I believe you are quite qualified to administer those lab tests.
In fact, when I come to power, I shall make you my Minister of Energy, Transportation, Engineering, Vernacular Poetry, and Health Physics.
An unusual and busy office, perhaps, but I’m trying to combine ministries in an effort to reduce the government deficit, you see.
I’d give you a pre-acceptance of the job offer, but I’m not sure how a stint in the government of the Republic of Moronica would look on my resumé.
The president of the American Council on Renewable Energy just lied in his recent letter to The New York Times. Someone ought to counter it.
See this for a claim of scientific misconduct on a similar issue. The alleged health risk is again cancer, but the alleged cause is something else.
Is anyone else here suspicious as to how H. J. Muller in 1942 (who would then have been 53 years old) came to have a wife of an age suitable to bear a child (how old was she exactly by the way)?
IIRC any mother-to-be over 35 is considered a geriatric pregnancy even now, and thus would certainly have been considered so in 1942, while it is normally considered dodgy for a man to be in a sexual relationship with a woman less than half his own age plus 7 years (33 years old for H. J. Muller in 1942). And that also begs the question of how a man with no financial assets would have been able to marry a much younger woman like that…
Could the marriage and pregnancy themselves have been engineered as part of the Rockefeller conspiracy, in order to create a stooge desperate enough to be manipulated?
It seems more likely to me that part of the reason he moved around so much is that he wouldn’t keep his hands off his students. The young wife could be easily explained as one he finally got pregnant.
It would be interesting to compare the marriage license date and birth certificate for the first child.
Impossible. H. J. and Thea Muller were married in May, 1939. Helen J. Muller, their daughter, was born in August 1944, more than 5 years later.
Muller had a previous marriage with many difficulties that ended in divorce in 1935. He chose to remain single for a number of years before falling in love with Thea, who had already completed her medical studies before meeting “Joe”.
So just a very may/december match with no salacious undertones…
Thank you for bringing the facts, Rod.
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