On the occasion of National Science Day, Junior Union minister for education, Satyapal Singh, who questioned Darwin's theory of evolution, was invited to be the chief guest at an event being organised by two of India's top science academies, the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), in New Delhi on February 28.
Satyapal Singh to be the chief guest on National Science day
National Science day is celebrated on February 28 to commemorate the discovery of Raman effect by Indian physicist CV Raman.
Satyapal Singh was invited to be the chief guest at an event organised to mark this occasion. This event was organised by India's two elite science academies, the National Science Academy (INSA) and the Indian Academy of Science (IAS), in New Delhi.
Singh, in January, made a controversial remark, calling the Darwinian theory of evolution to be "scientifically wrong." This remark was met with a lot of criticism from the scientific community.
In this event, Singh will be addressing a gathering of scientists and students. This event will also have a discussion on "Why evolution is central to both biology and our lives." Although Singh will not be participating in the discussion, he will deliver the inaugural address.
Speaking to The Times of India Avinash Khare, convener of National Science Day at INSA, said that both science & technology minister Harsh Vardhan and Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar were unavailable. He also added that INSA has nothing to do with what he said in the past. He said, "Anyone is free to question any past theory. Anyone is free to have his or her own view. The minister will just deliver his speech. He won't take part in any talk or discussion on the occasion."
Notably, in the past, after Singh had called Darwin's theory scientifically wrong, these two academies along with National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, had issued a joint statement on behalf of the scientific community of India criticising Singh's statement saying that it had no scientific basis. The joint statement said, "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 observations." The joint statement also called Singh's suggestion to remove Darwin's theory from school and college curriculum as a "retrograde step".
Controversial remarks by Singh in the past
The former IPS officer in January had called the theory of evolution by Darwin "scientifically wrong". He said, "From the time we have been hearing stories from our grandparents, ever since books were written, until today, nobody has, either in a story or in writing, said he went somewhere into a jungle and saw an ape turn into a man.Darwin's theory is scientifically wrong. Since man came to Earth, he has always been a man, and will always be a man".
This is not the only isolated incident where Singh has made such remarks. Reportedly, the minutes of the meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the government's highest advisory body for policymaking in education, held on January 15 and 16 revealed that Singh claimed that mantras codified the laws of motion much before Isaac Newton. The minutes of meeting reportedly quoted him as saying, There are mantras which codified 'laws of motion' much before it was discovered by the Newton. Hence it is essential that traditional knowledge must be incorporated into our curriculum."
According to Hindustan Times, he also said that the Vaastu compliance of educational buildings was important for the purpose of learning.