Dec 13, 2018

Indian academia is fighting a toxic mix of nationalism and pseudoscience

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It’s a problem that has many academics here worried. As India becomes increasingly polarised, coordinated efforts to popularise pseudoscientific theories, and to aggrandise the nation’s own scientific past, have begun to gain ground, they say. It’s a worrying mash-up of nationalism, religion, and scientific bunkum that appears to be an increasingly easy sell—and one that leaves the population both misinformed and perennially at odds with itself. “That is why our leaders and scientists talk about how evolution is wrong,” said Aniket Sule, an astrophysicist and colleague of Karandikar at HBCSE, “or how Indians were first to invent plane or atomic theory, or how cow worship is scientific.”

A wave of superstitions is being promoted as legitimate science.

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