IISER Pune’s mid-term paper questions minister Satyapal Singh’s argument to Darwin’s theory of evolution | pune news | Hindustan Times
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IISER Pune’s mid-term paper questions minister Satyapal Singh’s argument to Darwin’s theory of evolution

For a matter of two marks, students of the Evolution course at IISER, were asked, “The minister of state for Human Resource Development [MHRD] in India recently claimed that the Darwinian theory of evolution is wrong because “Nobody, including our ancestors, in writing or orally, have said they saw an ape turning into a man”. What is wrong with this argument? NOTE: This question is NOT asking why biologists believe evolution to be correct. It is asking why the quoted argument cannot be correct in terms of disproving the Darwinian theory of evolution.”

pune Updated: Feb 22, 2018 22:42 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
IISER Pune,question paper,Minister of State for Human Resource Development minister Satyapal Singh
IISER, Pashan.(HT PHOTO)

In an attempt to titillate critical thinking among its students, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune on February 20 posed a rather unexpected question during the mid-semester examinations. The question was aimed at interrogating the recent comment by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development ministerSatyapal Singh on Darwin’s theory of evolution being wrong.

For a matter of two marks, students of the Evolution course at IISER, were asked,“The minister of state for Human Resource Development [MHRD] in India recently claimed that the Darwinian theory of evolution is wrong because “Nobody, including our ancestors, in writing or orally, have said they saw an ape turning into a man”. What is wrong with this argument? NOTE: This question is NOT asking why biologists believe evolution to be correct. It is asking why the quoted argument cannot be correct in terms of disproving the Darwinian theory of evolution.”

When confirmed with the students, most appreciated the institute’s attempt.“Since it is not a stereotypical theoretical question, we always appreciate this attempt. Students don't need to just mug up and vomit, but truly think when it comes to such questions. Such a question, despite the marks, interrogatesall the skepticism regarding evolution for which we have abundant proof.It not a dig on Satyapal Singh but what common people think about evolution, ” said Integrated PhD (Int-PhD) student, Rashmi Nandlal Rai.

Singh had made the comment on January 19 stating Darwin’s theory of evolution invalid. “Since the man is seen on Earth, he has always been a man. Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man,” he had said to an audience in Aurangabad. This comment was followed by a threat to remove the study of evolution from school syllabus and a call to dispense the theory and discuss its flaws through a formal conference. He was even supported byRam Madhav,national secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

However, in order to remove doubts around the theory and dispel the ministers’ claims, scientists and academicians from across the nation had celebrated the Darwin Week which started from February 12.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 22:41 IST