Several scientists have expressed worries that pseudoscience would actually reduce the prestige of Indian achievements.

news Controversy Monday, February 22, 2021 - 18:16

Several scientists and scientific forums have criticised the University Grants Commission (UGC) after it sent circulars to universities across the county for an online voluntary national-level exam called ‘Kamdhenu Gau Vigyan Prachar Prasar Exam’, to test students’ knowledge on “cow science”. The Rastriya Kamadhenu Aayog (RKA) has labelled this event under “vigyan prachar”, dissemination of science. Forums have said that the UGC has chosen to not differentiate science from quackery.

The Breakthrough Science Society, a non-profit science organisation, said in a statement, “Education should give knowledge and awareness to be able to question tall claims, such as the Indian cow’s ‘special powers to absorb the sun’s energy… leading to more nourishing milk’. For an education agency, specifically vested with the responsibility of dissemination of modern education in the country, to prostrate itself before blatant attempts at promotion of specific ideology is a dangerous sign, and does not bode well for the education and science in the country.”

RKA was set up by the Union Government under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying to encourage conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny.

Breakthrough Science Society’s statement further added, “Instead of promoting scientific temper in education, the UGC, in asking institutions under it to attempt to gather evidence for the tall claims being spouted in the RKA’s “study material”, and thus asking educational institutions under its care to embrace pseudoscience, has chosen to forget its raison d’etre.”

Several scientists have expressed worries that pseudoscience would actually reduce the prestige of indian achievements and also prevent us from being proud of what we actually need to be proud of.

Speaking to TNM, scientist and senior professor at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics Jayanth Murthy said, “If some private charity wants to conduct these exams it is not wrong. But the UGC being a government body asking universities to conduct them to promote a particular agenda is wrong. Science works by proposing a theory and trying to prove it, but now what they are doing is that they state an idea without any theory as to how something could work except miracles.. The danger with this approach (of glorifying pseudoscience) is that there is much for us to be proud of our past like Aryabhata when he added the ‘0’ and so many others. All this does is make one disbelieve all this real glory of our past and be proud of all the wrong things.”

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