Published: 10th August 2017
Marching for Science: Stop propagating imaginary theories, fund science research instead, say scientists in the city
Scientists and others in the city protested against the rising wave of unscientific beliefs and religious bigotry in the country and also spoke about the dwindling governmental funds for research
If Donald Trump's dissing of climate change set off the March for Science across the cities in the US, India's recent overly enthusiastic claims about cow urine's healing powers and aeroplanes first capturing Indian skies set off India's own Science March.
Chennai's science population took to Besant Nagar's Elliot's Beach to speak up against these recent false claims made by various politicians in India. Breakthrough Science, the main organisers of the event brought together various science groups across the city including from universities like IIT, CLRI, Loyola and others.
"In some places abroad, it has been suggested that students be taught creationism instead of evolution, so many years of science down the drain. And in our country, we are making all these statements from saying we first thought up the idea of an aeroplane. They're sitting up in their ivory towers and making these claims without even understanding science, this serves to impart a pseudo-legitimacy to such ideas," said Uma Ramachandran, President, Breakthrough Science.
In our country, we are making all these statements from saying we first thought up the idea of an aeroplane. They're sitting up in their ivory towers and making these claims without even understanding science, this serves to impart a pseudo-legitimacy to such ideas
Uma Ramachandran, President, Breakthrough Science
Ramachandran said that it is dangerous to have such theories floating around without having any scientific basis or substantial evidence.
Almost 300 people participated in the march which was a pleasant surprise, Ramachandran said. But a lot of the people were also there demanding an increase in funding for science studies and research.
"Even premier institutions in the country are cutting funding for science. Scientists of government laboratories are being asked to generate 30% of their basic salary by selling their inventions. How will the scientific community be able to survive this way?" Questioned Ramachandran.
All for science: A few people at the event
Another major worry for science students is the drastically increasing fees every year, "There seems to be no limit to how much the fees can be hiked. Already very few students are able to afford higher science education, if it continues to be the same way then we will have no students at all. Research funding also is so low, how will scientists be able to run their lives?" said George Joseph, secretary, Breakthrough.
There are four major demands of the campaign- Allot at least 3% of GDP to scientific and technological research, stop propagation of unscientific obscurantist ideas and religious intolerance, introduce a truly scientific and secular education policy where the education system would impart only those ideas that are supported by scientific evidence and all governmental policies should be based on evidence-based science.
While the rest of the world marched on April 22, on the occasion of Earth day, Indians marched on August 9- the day of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing, a day when science failed the world. "Science should never be misused, it can only lead to disaster," added Ramachandran.