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Scientists protest the NCERT’s decision to eliminate Darwin’s theory of evolution

Removal of Darwin’s theory of evolution by NCERT

Darwin’s theory of evolution: More than 1800 scientists, educators, and scientific enthusiasts in India have criticized the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for their decision to eliminate Darwin’s theory of evolution from science textbooks for classes 9 and 10.

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NCERT claimed the removal was part of their syllabus rationalization effort following the Covid-19 outbreak, but the scientific community argues that the omission of Darwin’s theory is a “travesty of education” and will hinder students’ critical thinking abilities. This is not the first time significant scientific or historical information has been removed from curriculum, sparking concerns and objections from concerned parties.

Who is Charles Darwin?

Charles Darwin’s role in establishing the idea of evolution has earned him the title “father of evolution.” His theory aided in dispelling all of the prevailing, antiquated notions that the emergence of distinct species was a result of a supernatural occurrence or an act of God. The origin of new species was explained more logically by Darwin’s evolutionary theory of natural selection. Natural selection holds that different species developed from a single species as a result of adaptation to the environment’s shifting conditions.

Darwin’s theory of evolution:

Over two decades, English naturalist Charles Darwin meticulously studied nature, delving into animal distribution and the correlations between living and extinct creatures. Through his groundbreaking research, Darwin uncovered that many present-day animals not only share similarities with each other, but also with species that existed millions of years ago, many of which are now extinct. His extensive findings earned him the title of the father of evolution, as his theory of natural selection presented a more logical and rational explanation for the formation of new species. Darwin’s scientific breakthroughs helped to discredit old, supernatural beliefs, proving that the adaptation of species to their changing environment leads to the creation of new, distinct beings stemming from one original species.

Interesting facts about Darwin and his theory of evolution:

  • One reason why Darwin’s inquiry into the practice of human inbreeding was shunned was due to its implicit critique of the royal family, given that Queen Victoria herself had wed her cousin.
  • To avoid Alfred Wallace from getting all the credit for the natural selection theory, Darwin had to publicize his own ideas concurrently.
  • There are those who speculate that Darwin’s frequent bouts of sicknesses may have been primarily psychological since his symptoms would often exacerbate with stress.
  • Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin’s grandfather, was a physician who talked about transmutation – which is essentially evolution – leading to Erasmus’s disgrace and discredit. This caused a sense of trepidation in Charles about the possibility of being publicly reprimanded, causing him to be slow in publishing his works.

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 Previous Removals of Chapter by NCERT:

  • Previously, historians objected to the removal of significant events such as the Mughal rule and the Gujarat Riots 2002 from history textbooks. NCERT was also criticized for not informing the removal of these topics.
  • In a recent open statement, historians stated that deleting chapters or sections from textbooks is problematic as it deprives learners of valuable content and undermines pedagogical values required to equip them to face present and future challenges.
  • In response, the school education regulator defended the “minor removals” in the curriculum, stating that these deletions were not included in the official list of deletions announced last year. The reason for this is to avoid confusion among teachers and students.