Alleging that several statements made at the ongoing International Conference, hosted by the Regional Institute of Education (RIE), are pseudo-scientific, a group of 12 academics has expressed opposition to the organisers through a letter. Titled “Emerging Trends and Innovations in School Sciences”, the conference was inaugurated on Wednesday on RIE campus in Bhopal.
As part of two sessions on “Ancient scientific knowledge in recent perspectives”, several speakers made a number of questionable claims, the letter stated. Some of the claims mentioned by the academics are: “Vedic knowledge does not need scientific scrutiny. It is correct because our grandparents have taught us that”, “Sindoor helps in balancing blood pressure and stress”; “Gomutra is an anti-biotic”; “water falling towards the rising sun is good for the eyes”and “Doing ‘pradakshina’ of the tulsi plant has a cooling impact on the body, thus improving immune system.”
The letter states that the organisers had been warned beforehand about the suspicious nature of the titles of the sessions through an email and requested to vet the sessions. “Sadly, all our warnings fell on deaf ears and organisers did not take any steps to stop these talks from happening. Even during the session when several members of the audience questioned the claims, the session chair and other guests tried to cover the speakers and made excuses for them,” states the letter.
“We, the science educators and rational thinkers, reject all these names and condemn them,” the letter states, asking the organisers to take necessary action and denounce these talks. The letter has been signed by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Scientist Dr Aniket Sule, professor Soumitro Banerjee of Breakthrough Science Society, S Krishnaswamy of All India People’s Science Network, and TISS professors T Jayaraman and Tejal Kanitkar, among others.
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