Anti-Darwin comments in India outrage scientists
Thousands of scientists in India have signed an online petition protesting against comments by a higher-education minister who last week publicly questioned the scientific validity of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and called for changes in educational curricula.
The incident continued to simmer when Indian science minister Harsh Vardhan, a medical doctor, declined to comment on his colleague’s remarks at a press conference on 24 January. Vardhan said he had not studied Darwin’s theory since he was a student and so wasn’t qualified to discuss it.
The original comments were made by Satyapal Singh, a junior minister for human-resource development who oversees university education. On 20 January, he told reporters at a conference on ancient Hindu texts in Aurangabad that Darwin’s theory of evolution of humans “is scientifically wrong”. Singh added that “nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man”. Two days later, he proposed holding an international seminar on the subject.