Scientists up in arms to keep pseudo science out of ISC 2020

Updated: Jan 03, 2020, 07:47 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Want the tradition of making unfounded claims, started in 2015, to end as Bengaluru hosts 107th edition of Indian Science congress

No unscientific claims, please," scientists appeal to the organisers of the 107th edition of the Indian Science Congress, starting today in Bengaluru. They started a campaign in the hope to end the tradition of making unfounded claims on the platform provided to promote the cause of science.

Several unfounded claims have been made in the past few years, like, the statement by G Nageshwar Rao, then the vice-chancellor of the Andhra University, that "Kauravas were born because of stem cell research and test tube baby technology". He had also claimed that there were guided missiles, aircrafts and several airports in ancient times.

A digital statement titled, 'No unscientific claims on Indian Science Congress (ISC) 2020, Please', was circulated among scientists and was digitally signed by over 250 scientists. It was on Thursday night submitted to Dr K S Rangappa, general president of the ISC Association (ISCA).

Dr. Aniket Sule, scientist at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, said, "Following the subsequent outpour of anguish from the science community, the ISCA had last year promised there will be no such statements in the future. More so, last year, we were criticised for 'complaining' after the event, so this time we took a step in advance." He added, "Unscientific statements at ISC wasn't just made in 2019, it started in 2015. This is our way of putting an end to the spread of unscientific information".

The statement by scientists reads, "We wish to remind you of the rather unwarranted and unpleasant publicity that the past few ISCs have received due to the unscientific claims made by a few speakers. Most of these claims were made, shockingly enough, in the Children Science Congress section of ISC 2019 where the audience largely comprised of teachers and young students."

The ISC 2020 is being held at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, and will conclude on January 7. The theme of this year's ISC is — Science & Technology: Rural Development.

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