Scientists go ape after Indian minister dubs Darwin theory ‘wrong’
Three Indian science academies have rebuked the country’s human resource development minister after he questioned Darwin theory, saying that no one ever saw “a man turning into an ape.”
Satyapal Singh caused quite a stir last week after challenging Charles Darwin’s evolution theory as “scientifically wrong.”
“Since man is seen on Earth, he has always been a man,” claimed the minister, who has a PhD in chemistry. Given that “nobody saw a man turning into an ape,” Singh suggested a change in the curriculum.
The scientific community didn’t find his arguments appealing, and said there was “no scientific basis” behind Singh’s claims. “Evolutionary theory, to which Darwin made seminal contributions, is well established. There is no scientific dispute about the basic facts of evolution,” the joint statement reads. It would be “a retrograde step to remove the teaching” of Darwin’s theory, which has been “confirmed by experiments and observations.”
More than 3,000 scientists and “scientist oriented members of public” also spoke up against the “overly simplistic and misleading representation of evolution” in an online petition, calling on Singh to retract his remarks, according to NDTV.
The minister has remained adamant, however. "I absolutely stand by my comment that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is not scientific. There is hardly any evidence to substantiate the theory,” he reiterated on Monday, citing “great scientists of the world.” Singh even suggested that his ministry would sponsor a global conference “to decide what is true and factual and that must be taught in schools and colleges."
Meanwhile, Singh doesn’t stand alone in his disbelief of the theory, first set out in the 1859 book ‘On the Origin of Species’, in which Darwin argues that organisms evolve through natural selection.
According to last year’s Pew Research Center survey, some 34 percent of US adults said that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, while four in ten residents in several Latin American countries shared their views.