Scientists Furious As Indian Education Minister Says Darwin's Theory of Evolution Is a 'Myth'

More than 2,000 scientists have signed an open letter slamming claims by India's Higher Education minister that the scientific community had rejected Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Earlier this week, minister Satyapal Singh called for the theory to be removed from the school curricula.

"Our ancestors have nowhere mentioned that they saw an ape turning into a man. Darwin's theory is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in school and college curricula. Ever since man was seen on Earth, he has always been a man," he said, according to local reports.

The minister, a former Mumbai police chief, reiterated his comments during an interview on TV, where he said: "Darwin's theory is being challenged the world over. Darwinism is a myth. If I'm making a statement I can't make it without a basis. I am a man of science. I have completed my PhD in Chemistry from Delhi University."

Singh's statements angered scientists, who have urged him to rectify his remarks.

"It is factually incorrect to state that the evolutionary principle has been rejected by the scientific community," the open letter reads, according to the Times of India.

"On the contrary, every new discovery adds support to Darwin's insights. There is plentiful and undeniable scientific evidence to the fact that humans and the other great apes and monkeys had a common ancestor."

Satyapal Singh
Former Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh takes the oath during the swearing-in ceremony of new ministers at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on September 3, 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi named a female legislator as India's new defence minister on September 3, the first time a woman has been appointed to the key portfolio overseeing border tensions with China and Pakistan. PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

According to Darwin's theory, species including humans evolved through a process of natural selection, whereby traits that suited the environment or provided an advantage would tend to dominate the gene pool.

In 2016, Turkey announced it would only be teaching the theory of evolution to college students, arguing the subject was too complicated for younger pupils.

The move followed remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who said the theory was "archaic and decayed".

"Scientifically, the theory of evolution is already an archaic and disproven theory. There is no such rule that this theory must be taught. Perhaps it might be brought to the agenda as one of the theories," he said at the time.