On evolution: statement by three Indian science academies
IASc, INSA and NASI
The Hon. 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 Science Academies of India 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 http://www.nas.edu/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
Centre for Ecological Sciences and Centre for Contemporary Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka 560 012, India.
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067
Sabyasachi Sanyal, Saman Habib, Ritu Trivedi, K.V. Sashidhara, Kishor Mohanan and Amit Misra
CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow 226031
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune 411008
Raghavendra Gadagkar, Hari Sridhar
Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012