The Origin of the Species questioned in Indian Government this week

A hot debate has gripped India, after Satyapal Singh, India’s minister for higher education, emphatically stated that Darwin’s theory of evolution is wrong. (This article below published in The English  Guardian, on January 23, 2018)

“India’s minister for higher education has been condemned by scientists for demanding that the theory of evolution be removed from school curricula because no one “ever saw an ape turning into a human being.”

Satyapal Singh stood by his comments on Monday, saying his ministry was ready to host an international conference at which “scientists can come out and say where they stand on the issue.”

“I have a list of around 10 to 15 great scientists of the world who have said there is no evidence to prove that the theory of evolution is correct,” Singh told a crowd at a university in Assam state, adding that Albert Einstein had agreed the theory was “unscientific”.

Singh, who has a postgraduate degree in chemistry from Delhi University, said he was speaking as a “man of science”.

“Darwin’s theory is scientifically wrong,” he said at the weekend. “It needs to change in the school and college curriculum.

human-evolution-simple-chart

“Since man is seen on Earth, he has always been a man. Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, said they ever saw an ape turning into a human being.”

More than 2,000 Indian scientists have signed a petition in response calling Singh’s remarks simplistic, misleading and lacking in any scientific basis.

“It is factually incorrect to state that the evolutionary principle has been rejected by the scientific community,” the statement said. “On the contrary, every new discovery adds support to Darwin’s insights. There is plentiful and undeniable scientific evidence to the fact that humans and the other great apes and monkeys had a common ancestor.”

Singh’s plans for a conference on evolution were slapped down on Tuesday by his superior in the cabinet, Prakash Javadekar, the human resource development minister. “I have asked him to refrain from making such comments,” Javadekar said, according to the Press Trust of India.

“We are not going to fund any event or don’t have any plan for a national seminar to prove Darwin wrong. It is the domain of scientists and we should let them free to continue their efforts for progress of the country.”

Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution nearly 160 years ago, arguing that all species, including humans, evolved over time through a process of natural selection. He argued that humans and apes share a common ancestor who lived more than 7 million years ago, an idea frequently misunderstood to suggest modern apes turned into humans.

Ancient Indian scholars are credited with advances in astronomy and mathematics including the invention of the concept of zero, but religious nationalist figures have been accused in recent years of pushing “ideological science.”

That includes claims by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, that myths from the origin texts of Hinduism include evidence of plastic surgery and genetic science.

YS Rajan, a prominent scientist, said in response to Singh’s comments that Hindu texts such as the Rigveda included lines that explicitly embraced knowledge from across the world. “Nothing in … Bharatiya samskaar [Indian philosophy] would demand rejection of such theory or for that matter any scientific findings,” he wrote on Facebook. “

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54 Responses to The Origin of the Species questioned in Indian Government this week

  1. shantam prem says:

    Other day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Devos to give keynote address to world´s foremost industrial tycoons to invest in India. I am not sure investment will come to India.

    I tried to listen to his speech. Three times I tried, could not listen more than few seconds. Man is so much in love with his own talk, it creates indigestion in the belly, irritation in the senses.

    Most of his ministers are also like this. They speak good classic Hindi and pump pride to the masses by painting India´s ancient treatises as source of modern scientific discoveries.

    Mr. Modi was talking about Amazon, Twitter, Facebook in such a way as if they are ‘Made in India’ products. Once the driverless cars come, most probably Hindu saints will give the example our ancient chariots were also like this!

    • Kavita says:

      Shantam, I am not a fan of watching news nor of Modi/any party, but do see some internet news to just keep myself posted on current happenings. I too could watch Modi’s speech for not more than a minute.

      He sounded like a real guju (Gujarati!) selling sarees (yarn!) to the world. But one thing I felt from the look on his face, seemed like he knows no one really believes him, but none of them have much choice!

  2. Kavita says:

    I am sure some bureaucrat has advised Javdekar for such a statement.

  3. swamishanti says:

    I watched the latest instalment in the Planet of the Apes series, ‘War of the Planet of the Apes’, a couple of nights ago,and I thought it was pretty good.

    ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is a good film, the first one and the one to watch if you haven’t seen any of them.

  4. shantam prem says:

    The way present day India is and the way information technology has evolved, Osho seems to be a man of Innocent Age.

    Just to think him Now speaking the way he spoke would really create fire and fury and unprecedented law and order situation. As I know Osho had always his fingers on the pulse of Indian mind, he would have given different course to Sannyas in the present times.

    One thing is clear, there are plenty of successful Indian gurus all around, they are all offshoots of Hindu values and culture. Mooji too gets his space in India because his too is Hindu stuff. In a way, it soothes Hindu pride.

    Hindus were never so hot-tempered and fundamentalist as they have become during last 15 years. One can see in the photos, Turkey´s President and India´s PM have similar energy and aura, though compared with Turkey, India is far, far better. As majority of Hindus are and will remain forward-looking liberals and democracy is fully robust.

    There are 55-60% chances, during the next general elections in 2019, Mr. Modi and his band will be history.

  5. Lokesh says:

    Declaring man is descended from the apes is being rather unfair to the monkeys. Then again, Terrence Mackenna, upon jacking in to the universal mushroom grid, asked the central intelligence what was going on down on planet earth. The mushroom god said, ‘Things were going fine until the monkeys got out of control.’ I think that is probably true.

  6. Parmartha says:

    As I understand it, homo sapiens is much closer related to the Bonobo and Chimp than apes (common ancestor to the apes about 8 million years ago) and it is the three of us (6 million years ago) that have a common ancestor of more recent times.

    One must admit that Indian politicians don’t look that ‘intelligent’ by their remarks above!

    About homo sapiens – well, my main observation is that they are extremely varied, given those 46 chromosomes that we all are supposed to have…so varied that one might question the validity of genetic markers being useful for species identification…if one wanted to widen the debate!

  7. samarpan says:

    “Although scientists have tried in many ways to disprove the theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin, the theory has such psychological significance that even if it is proved wrong, its significance
    cannot be destroyed.

    Just watch a monkey. He cannot sit in one posture, he cannot sit on one branch. He is continuously chewing this or that, eating this or that -the whole day. From the time he wakes up in the morning till he goes back to sleep, he is chewing something.

    Perhaps man is not yet completely free from his animal heritage — although he walks on two legs, that does not make much difference. As far as I know, monkeys don’t think that you have evolved, developed, gone forward more than them. They laugh at the very idea. They think you have fallen from the trees. And they have substantial reasoning behind it. You are no longer as strong as a monkey; you cannot live in trees, you cannot go on jumping from one tree to another tree for miles. You have lost the beauty of the body that the monkey has. Just because you started walking on two legs…

    Monkeys think, “Poor fellows…those few monkeys can’t make it living in the trees” – because it is a very challenging life, risky, full of danger – “those cowards have got down onto the earth and started walking on two legs! Not only that, to hide their cowardice, they are proposing a theory of evolution!” No monkey agrees with the theory of evolution.”

    Osho, ‘Beyond Enlightenment’, Chapter 9

  8. Kavita says:

    Parmartha, I am guessing you are wanting to discuss to know the origins of mankind.

    I guess not only any politicians but also any human being, however much qualified, would have limited/no scope in such matters, whether Indian or not.

    I remember taking up Anthropology in my student days for the sole reason to find out from how & from where I/we really originated. It was interesting to study but couldn’t find the real answer till today! Probably Anthropology was not the right subject I chose! I don’t like being pessimistic but still do wonder if anyone will be able to find that out.

    Came across this article on my search engine, if anyone interested:
    http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/anthropology/science-neanderthal-genes-modern-human-dna-01734.html

    • Parmartha says:

      Thanks, Kavita.
      Yes, I am! As far as what can be gleaned, genetically the same homo sapiens were around living animal lives for a very long time, before the last 8,000 years, when suddenly something seemed to take off, etc.

      Before that time, his life was short and often brutal, and not so different from so-called wild animals today. I am not closed myself to us being the subject of an interplanetary visit circa 8,000BC, or experiment in which some homo sapiens were selected for some interplanetary implant!

      • satyadeva says:

        Barry Long writes about and explains this very process in ‘The Origins of Man and the Universe’. The idea being that Universal Intelligence (aka ‘God’ etc.) prepared the Earth and the peak of creation, the human body, through evolution over millennia, culminating in the ape-like ‘semi-human’ until the time was right for self-aware intelligence to enter the brain, and human life as we know it to truly begin. (That’s just the gist, as far as I recall, there’s a lot more detail in the book).

        According to this then, it would seem that we’re not an ‘accidental’, random creation but the result of some inscrutable, impersonal cosmic purpose. So no personal Creator (‘God’) implied (sorry, religionists!).

        Furthermore, BL says, we, as Life itself, always ‘were’ (but didn’t ‘exist’, of course) before this ultra-extraordinary process began.

        Another aspect of our being here on Earth worth bearing in mind is that we only perceive it all through the brain. Which might imply that our human ‘reality’, including our perception of the entire universe, is all ultimately brain-created, and consequently might ‘merely’ be some sort of reflection of a greater Reality, towards which we’re all striving, however unconsciously.

        And ‘who’ or what created the human brain?

        In the face of all of which I can only quote the great footballing sage, Jimmy Greaves, who summed it all up with the immortal: “Funny old game, isn’t it?”

        • Lokesh says:

          Great book, SD. Unfortunately, I lent it to someone on Ibiza and they did hot return it, common practice in these parts.

        • swami anand anubodh says:

          SD,
          I can only imagine if ‘Greavsie’ was told that his name has been mentioned in the same online forum post as Barry Long, he would ask: “Barry Long?..Who did he play for?”

      • frank says:

        ‘The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind’, by Julian Jaynes is an interesting book theorising about the growth of `consciousness` (a very specific term in his rap), which could be something like reflective mind/self-awareness.

        The time frame of this certainly works well/coincides with the ‘Axial Age’ when Buddha, Lao Tsu, Mahavira, Zoroaster, Heraclitus and others seem to pop up independently at the same time. The response to this development, helping people start the shift from just obeying orders from gods to figuring it out for themselves: Buddha`s “Be a light unto yourself.”

        That`s something that only makes sense to a person who can reflect on him/herself, implying the ability to imagine and articulate that he has such a thing as ‘a self’ and that he can interact with it and `do` something about it and so on.

        Another thread relates the development of constructed places of worship starting with the burying of the tribal chief’s body in Anatolia about 8000 BC, I think. These were the very first temples – simple mounds where the tribe hung out, got messages from their dead chief. Then, in time their ancestors developed into gods that the people took their orders from unquestioningly, from god-kings.The mounds developed into pyramids and ziggurats as the gatherings of people became larger.

        We just haven`t shaken all that stuff off. Look at the town where you live and bang in the centre is still a building related to some real people who died a while back where people go to talk and listen to an invisible entity, hoping to get some tips!

        That`s why shrines, churches, samadhis etc. are good places to go if you want to meet `tards. Literally.

        What caused all this?
        DNA, DMT, THC, Aliens on a day trip from Lemuria or Sirius, a bad-tempered old Jewish guy, Bhorat etc. etc?

        Dunno.

        • Kavita says:

          Thanx, Frank for bringing this up; “be a light unto oneself” is better any day than groping in the dark & fantasising. My light also says “Dunno”!

  9. shantam prem says:

    I think it was Lokesh who has mentioned this book, ‘Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind’: “It is really a rare book, thrilling and breathtaking.”

    As a disciple, it is a kind of joy to read those books which are not in master´s library, it shows search and evolution continuous.

    It is tragic for humanity when vast number of people think their book has all the answers because it was dictated by God.

    Only to hear such statements and see such people I feel how blessed the monkeys are. Books are books, including Osho´s books. I love books but feel envious with animals because they live without books. It is a paradox, human beings without books remain duffers!

  10. Lokesh says:

    I reckon DNA was seeded on our planet. By accident or on purpose, the jury is still out. It does not require a great stretch of imagination to picture some ancient aliens doing a bit of planet hopping and kicking off a new evolutionary event by leaving DNA on our planet.

    Time is relative. Maybe the aliens have a lifespan of a million years. They haven’t come back recently to check out what curious species have spawned on our planet. Then again, it has been established that psilocybin mushroom spores float through space and are impervious to gamma rays etc. Maybe it rained DNA spores a billion years ago and the party got started.

    We are the new kids on the block. Had we been here longer we would have colonised other planets ages ago as we will do sometime soon or face a complete extinction of our species. One thing has been firmly established, it is highly unlikely that DNA came about by accident, because the chances of that happening are about 17 trillion to one.

    I always loved that George Carlin quip, “Maybe we’re just another failed genetic mutation in an existential cul-de-sac.” Has the ring of truth about it.

    • shantam prem says:

      In this multi-million years mutation of DNA and non-stop change in the mind software, idea of being free from mind seems to be relatively new, maybe 5 to 10 thousand years old.

      That is why from Bandar (monkey) to Buddha jump has not become the widespread norm.

  11. satchit says:

    It’s really nothing new to question Darwin.
    All critics have a religious background and want that there is a creator.
    The most famous these days is Mike Pence, Vice President, U.S.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism

  12. swami anand anubodh says:

    I am a great fan of Richard Dawkins, and as far as I’m concerned if it’s good enough for Richard then it is good enough for me. But this story does raise an interesting issue about Darwin’s theory that I was not aware of.

    Satyapal Singh says he has a list of around 10 to 15 scientists who doubt Darwinism, with a couple of mouse clicks I found a list of over 500 who also have doubts:

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=660

    I don’t believe all these scientists doubt that humans evolved from an apelike creature, there are transitional skeletons in the fossil record and DNA sequencing shows the close relationship, rather it’s the Darwinian claim that natural selection explains the huge diversity of life on Earth – which many feel it does not.

    Unfortunately, evolutionary biology will never receive the huge amount of funding that particle physics or the space programme enjoy – as there is no potential military breakthrough or economic payoff in unearthing yet another bone fragment.

    Satyapal Singh seems to have taken a leaf out of the book of Trump by setting the bar very low for those he is trying to appeal to: “no one ever saw an ape turning into a human being.” (Perhaps a sad reflection on his fellow countrymen), this is effectively saying that if you look at your fingernails and do not see them moving then where in that instance is the proof that they are actually growing?

    Anyway, my money is still on Richard and Charles.

    • Parmartha says:

      Thanks, Anubodh. A good contribution.

      Can you go into a little this statement of yours that natural selection does not explain the huge diversity of life on Earth?

      Any which way, it is a wonderful mystery that life is so teeming on this obscure planet, and in such abundance, when the universe seems so lifeless.

      • satchit says:

        The universe and lifeless? Funny.
        If you ask wikipedia, they say right now we have the technique to watch 50 billion galaxies and there are much more.

        Beam me up, Scotty!

    • shantam prem says:

      Anubodh,
      Has Richard Dawkins ever said something about late Jesus, Buddha etc?

      When billions of people treat few dead people as omnipresent, it cannot be just a hogwash or soothing belief.

      God exists or not is not that much interesting a research; question is, where go the religious founders and do they really listen every call of their faithful ones?

      In my opinion, the ex-Police Commissioner of Mumbai and now minister, Shri Satyapal Singh, should also tell, being man of science, “Are Rama and Krishna are still alive somewhere other than the memories of Hindus?”

      • frank says:

        Shantam, you say:
        “When billions of people treat few dead people as omnipresent, it cannot be just a hogwash or soothing belief.”

        It`s just a very old habit.

  13. preetam says:

    Darwin’s purpose is the interests of the pirate gang which he follows…they would like an Existence without any godliness. He follows hermeticism – for hermeticism the ruling class is also the only representative deity on Earth. Darwin, who normally is a simple scout, reduces Existence into a godless and accidental evolution.

    Perhaps an Idea of Scottish ‘Age of Enlightenment’?

    To me, spirituality has its roots before the first stone and first organism, before the universe manifests.

    • swamishanti says:

      I have spent a considerable time living close to monkeys, Maharashtran monkeys in fact, they used to spend a lot of time sitting on the large windowsills of the huge room I was living in, and we were friendly enough for quite some time until they took the piss one day.

      Anyway, I could see how similar they are in many ways to humans, and observed facial expressions of curiosity, shyness and embarrassment, as well as anger (when I threw a bottle of water over one of them).

      I became very familiar with their daily routine and was woken up every morning at first light by the group jumping onto my roof and running along it from the nearby trees, and then spending most of the day finding food and, as it was the mating season, a couple of hours playing and shagging down in the woods in the afternoon.

      As soon as it got dark it was time for bed for them.

      On one memorable occasion in the afternoon a large male monkey, probably one of the leaders of the group, came onto my verandha and held his hand out and asked me for some of the tangerine that I was eating.

      I obliged, and after he had eaten it he started literally scratching his nuts and then started wanking in front of me.
      Well, it was the mating season after all, so I suppose he must have been feeling horny.

      But humans are also very different to apes. Babies will hold onto things with their feet just as easily as hands when they are first born, but apes have mating seasons whereas humans do not have any programmed times for mating.

      Also, where is our propensity for climbing and jumping in trees?

  14. anand yogi says:

    Perfectly correct, Mr Singh, great and wise scientific supporter of Zorba the Buddha Modi!
    “Nobody has ever seen a monkey turning into a man.”
    Perfectly true!

    The baboons at SannyasNews, despite being exposed to the wisdom of mighty Bhorat for many years, have nevertheless remained simply baboons!
    What more irrefutable proof could there be?

    The theory of evolution is simply a conspiracy by the western mind which is nothing but mind to destroy and discredit the truth of the eternal wisdom of mighty Bhorat!

    Whilst the rest of the world was wallowing in unsattvic ignorance, the ancient sages, rishis and yogis of mighty Bhorat were already making all significant discoveries in every field!

    Flying (Rama/Air Lanka), Plastic surgery(Ganesh), Rocket Surgery, Institutionalised racism (Manu), Publ;ic Toilets (everyone), Swingers clubs (Khajuraho), Knob gags (Shivaling), Psychedelic stoner lit (Upanishads/Soma)…And the concept of zero was also invented by ancient Hindu politicians to express their immeasurable contribution to humanity!

    Do not forget to remember with gratitude the efforts of the wise men of Bhorat who have worked so tirelessly and egolessly to transmit their wisdom to the world, following Osho`s diktat to use all modern technology, so that now in India there are more mobile phones than toilets!

    Yahoo!
    Hari Om!

  15. Parmartha says:

    I have read scientists who I would respect saying that had it not been for that giant thing that dropped on Mexico 66 million years ago and brought the dinosaurs to an end, evolution would have been entirely different, and man unlikely to have evolved. An asteroid just turning up across interstellar space, and wow, the planet takes a totally different direction.

    My common sense side about the last 10 thousand years, is, oddly enough, given present worries about climate change, that since the end of the last ice age climate has been stable compared to much of what the planet has gone through before, and gave time for man to expand into previously glacial regions, and spread the knowledge of farming from the Euphrates at the same time.

    Something exponential went on, but also simply set off by the end of the Ice Age…
    So everything is chance…won’t the advaitists be pleased?

    • swami anand anubodh says:

      Parmartha,

      The feeling that natural selection does not explain the huge diversity of life on Earth is because any ‘scientific theory’ is expected to be able to make testable predictions – which Darwin’s does not. The way in which natural selection moves gets dictated to by the prevailing environmental conditions. This is why Albert Einstein called it “unscientific”.

      Einstein’s General Relativity predicted before they were discovered black holes and gravity waves; if Darwin’s theory was as powerful as GR, then starting at 13 million years ago with an ape-like creature, all five hominids pictured in the graphic shown could be predicted.

      Non-predictability does not mean an idea is wrong, only that the arguments and controversies are destined to drag on.

      • Parmartha says:

        Thanks, Anubodh. Good answer. Appreciated.

      • satchit says:

        Why should it not explain the huge diversity of life?

        Many species have died in the process of evolution. What exists now is much smaller than the peak of an iceberg. I think it’s not possible to grasp the mystery of Nature by the human mind. The mystery is too huge for a mayfly.

  16. shantam prem says:

    Discussion is not complete without mentioning the monkey god, Lord Hanuman.

    I also wonder why none in the Indian media has pointed towards this. It is very much possible minister may have statue or photo of benevolent deity.

  17. Parmartha says:

    Darwin’s apprenticeship was that of a disciple without a master. He showed great resilience, and to me that was admirable. For five years he lived on the small English boat, ‘The Beagle’, travelling virtually around the world, and he would have known the chances of his safe return were maybe slim.

    Throughout, he wrote some very good reflections about the whole of natural life, and the observations the journey evinced. This despite not being a natural sailor and sometimes suffering sea-sickness.

    My feeling is that is what ‘created’ his later character and intellectual strength. At least he seems to me to be a full man, and his origin of the species stuff was not the full tally of his interests in the natural world by any means.

    At least one can say about him, “He was a man”. Something, sadly, I would not choose to say about these backward critics of him in the present day Indian government.

    • shantam prem says:

      Yes, it is an appropriate description about Darwin, “He was a man.”
      Few Britishers of our time not only had some master(s) but were on everyday speaking terms. I won´t like to say about any of them, “Yes, he is a man.”

      MOD:
      WHO DO YOU MEAN, PLEASE, Shantam, Few Britishers OR some master(s)?

      • shantam prem says:

        When I wrote this, my finger was pointed towards the British disciples chosen by dying Osho in Inner Circle. How they sold their voices or have withdrawn.

      • anand yogi says:

        Perfectly correct, Parmartha!
        Charles Darwin was certainly a man!
        And it is indeed tragic, as you say, that he died without meeting a master from the East!

        If he had the good fortune to have met Swami Bhorat, for example, one can only imagine what might have been, to what levels of evolution to which humanity could have reached!

        Darwin was certainly a yogi in his own right!
        Sailing around in a small boat with no distractions other than Roger the cabin boy, his behaviour would have been exemplary in any major ashram!

        Yahoo!
        Hari Om!

        • Tan says:

          Hi Yogi,
          Certainly we have much in common.
          Why don’t you leave Frank boy and come and live with me? XX

    • Tan says:

      My feeling is Darwin was running away from something or somebody!
      Anything were better than home, till death!
      Now, about “he was a man”, maybe his wife could say something about it? :)

      • Parmartha says:

        He waas unmarried at the time of the Beagle trip.
        He did later marry and proved a good father and husband.

      • shantam prem says:

        Tan, you married?

        It was common description for Osho sannyasins, they were running away from something or somebody.

        It may not be true for few or many, I must confess it is true for me.
        Sannyas and exodus to Poona was a window to jump away from many things and many bodies!

    • swami anand anubodh says:

      It’s worth remembering that Alfred Russel Wallace also realised evolution came via natural selection and published slightly before Darwin. Yet for some reason Darwin is known worldwide, while Wallace is lost to obscurity. (Bit like George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley).

  18. sam lucas says:

    Is Darwin’s theory of evolution correct?:

    https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/teen-questions/should-i-believe-in-evolution/

    Also, we look at Darwin’s ideas and theories of natural selection:

    https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102010233

  19. madhu dagmar frantzen says:

    The declaration of some politicians is bad enough, more so some responses re the human species.

    Don´t you disrespect the ´apes´, I ´d say; and maybe some of those who are ´looking´ human, while busy in ´human trafficking´ their own species for business reasons or war reasons or simply in the lust to torture their fellow men and fellow women…some of them by playing ´pimps’ and ´madams´ could visit (if British/ in London but also worldwide) one of the fabulous institutes established by Jane Goodall (UK) or listen to that precious Lady on youtube or otherwise.

    What about it?
    (Instead of bragging about and exaggerating ´human progress´ as a species…´gifted’, as one says, with a good brain/awareness and consciousness as such…).

    Madhu

    Could be a good meditation, I´d say.