Three science academies denounce Satyapal Singh’s statement on evolution

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Union minister of state for Human Resource Development Satyapal Sngh’s

In a first in recent times, three science academies in India have taken a stand and issued a statement denouncing Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satyapal Singh’s statement on human evolution.

Two days after Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satyapal Singh claimed that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution of man was “scientifically wrong” and needs to be changed in school and college curriculum, three science academies in India have issued a statement denouncing it. The three academies are the Indian National Science Academy, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Indian Academy of Science.

On January 21, Mr. Singh hardened his stand in the light of criticism by scientists. He told NDTV: “Darwin’s theory is being challenged the world over. Darwinism is a myth. If I’m making a statement I can’t make it without a basis… I am a man of science, I’m not coming from Arts background… I have completed my PhD in Chemistry from Delhi University.”

On January 19, Mr. Singh had said: “Darwin’s theory [of evolution of humans] is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in school and college curriculum. Since the man is seen on Earth he has always been a man. Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man. No books we have read or the tales told to us by our grandparents had such a mention.”

The Academies’ statement

The statement from the three academies states: “The Honourable  Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Shri Satyapal Singh has been quoted as saying that “Nobody, including our ancestors, in writing or orally, have said they saw an ape turning into a man. Darwin’s theory (of evolution of humans) is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in school and college curricula.”

“The three Academies of Science wish to state that there is no scientific basis for the Minister’s statements. Evolutionary theory, to which Darwin made seminal contributions, is well established. There is no scientific dispute about the basic facts of evolution. This is a scientific theory, and one that has made many predictions that have been repeatedly confirmed by experiments and observation. An important insight from evolutionary theory is that all life forms on this planet, including humans and the other apes have evolved from one or a few common ancestral progenitors.

“It would be a retrograde step to remove the teaching of the theory of evolution from school and college curricula or to dilute this by offering non-scientific explanations or myths.

“The theory of evolution by natural selection as propounded by Charles Darwin and developed and extended subsequently has had a major influence on modern biology and medicine, and indeed all of modern science. It is widely supported across the world. See for example.”

Published in The Hindu on January 22, 2018

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