Quote# 141886

India outcry after scientists claim ancient Hindus invented stem cell research

The organisers of a major Indian science conference said they were concerned by speakers citing religious texts and ideas at the event

The organisers of a major Indian science conference distanced themselves on Sunday from speakers who used the prestigious event to dismiss Einstein’s discoveries and claim ancient Hindus invented stem cell research.

The Indian Scientific Congress Association expressed “serious concern” as the unorthodox remarks aired by prominent academics at its annual conference attracted condemnation and ridicule.

The distinguished gathering of Indian researchers and scientists, which was held over the weekend, hosts Nobel laureates, but in recent years has seen Hindu faith-based theories edging onto the agenda.

At this year’s congress, the head of a southern Indian university cited an ancient Hindu text as proof that stem cell research was discovered on the subcontinent thousands of years ago.

“We had 100 Kauravas from one mother because of stem cell and test tube technology,” said G. Nageshwar Rao, vice chancellor at Andhra University, referring to a story from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Rao, who was addressing school children and scientists at the event, also said a demon king from another centuries-old Hindu epic had two dozen aircraft and a network of landing strips in modern-day Sri Lanka.

“Hindu Lord Vishnu used guided missiles known as ‘Vishnu Chakra’ and chased moving targets,” added the professor of inorganic chemistry.

Event organisers tried to hose down the remarks, saying it was “unfortunate” the prestigious event had been derailed by controversy.

“We don’t subscribe to their views and distance ourselves from their comments. This is unfortunate,” said Premendu P Mathur, general secretary of Indian Scientific Congress Association.

“There is a serious concern about such kind of utterances by responsible people.”

Another speaker, a scientist from a university in southern Tamil Nadu state, also raised eyebrows by questioning the breakthroughs of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

India is no stranger to prominent figures citing ancient Hindu texts like the Puranas and Vedas as ironclad evidence of the country’s technological prowess.

India’s minister for higher education Satyapal Singh last year said Darwin’s theory of evolution was wrong, and vowed to change the national school curriculum to reflect that.
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The minister hails from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules 17 of India’s 29 states and territories outright or through alliances.

BJP leader and prime minister Narendra Modi in 2015 pointed to Hindu scriptures as proof that plastic surgery existed in ancient India.

Science minister Harsh Vardhan last year said ancient Greeks took credit from India for early mathematical principles and misquoted Stephen Hawking as praising the Vedas for discoveries greater than Einstein’s theory of relativity.

The Breakthrough Science Society, an Indian-based educational charity, said it was “astounded and even horrified” at the remarks made at an academic summit.

“Puranic verses and epics are poetic, enjoyable, contain moral elements and [are] rich in imagination but [are] not scientifically constructed or validated theories,” the group said in a statement Sunday.

“Such a hallowed assembly of scientists has been misused to make false and chauvinistic claims about ancient India.”

G. Nageshwar Rao and others, The Guardian 8 Comments [1/7/2019 5:31:59 AM]
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"Rao, who was addressing school children and scientists at the event, also said a demon king from another centuries-old Hindu epic had two dozen aircraft and a network of landing strips in modern-day Sri Lanka. "

Why didn't he bomb the Muslims of that time, who had only camels and swords?
Not quite believing this.

1/7/2019 5:38:03 AM

Doubting Thomas

Meh, it's no different from Christian fundies claiming that all scientific discoveries ever made can be found in the bible.

1/7/2019 6:45:22 AM

Anon-e-moose

The "British Medical Journal" and "The Lancet" - especially their peer reviewers - would like a word with you.

Next you'll be saying that Cricket is an Indian invention. Chapter & verse in the "Mahabharata", Rig Vedas etc detailing the precise rules of the game or GTFO.

1/7/2019 7:33:52 AM

Kanna

Same advice I'd give Christian fundies here: believe whatever you like but keep it out of your children's education unless for some perverse reason you really want them to remain in ignorance and poverty.

What kind of a parent are you?

1/7/2019 10:11:15 AM

Skyknight

Is there anything Rao et al. don’t think was prefigured in the Vedas?

1/7/2019 10:45:14 AM

Anon-e-moose

@Skyknight

Is there anything Rao et al. don’t think was prefigured in the Vedas?


Almost unknown outside of certain universities until the hit manga "RG Veda" in 1989: the first bestseller of the mangaka collective consisting of four women in Japan.

CLAMP says 'You're Welcome', Rao.

You may now proceed to show us in that which CLAMP adapted - as well as the "Mahabharata" - how a girl with a key staff saved the world with some magic cards. Also the word 'Nintendo', before you claim a plumber with an Italian accent which became such a massive worldwide cultural phenomenon as one of yours.

1/7/2019 11:33:25 AM

checkmate

“Such a hallowed assembly of scientists has been misused to make false and chauvinistic claims about ancient India.”


Right! Especially since we all know that it was white British Jesus who invented all that stuff. That was before he dictated the KJV.

1/7/2019 2:07:22 PM

Glandu

@Kanna : my wife follows your advice. She's as creationist as Ken Ham...but still wants our children to learn the best possible science for their future. I don't complain.

1/11/2019 12:28:38 PM

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