Scientific community expresses concern over 'attacks on critical thinking'

New Delhi: In the last four years, there have been efforts to actively propagate pseudoscience and anti-scinece perceptions, D Raghunandan of All India Peoples Science Network said, while expressing concern over attacks on critical thinking in educational institutes like JNU.

Speaking at a panel discussion on 'Science Movements in India' in the presence of Professor M Jagadesh Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor, Raghunandan said, "There are attacks on critical thinking which is core to the idea of scientific temper. This is happening in institutes of higher learning like JNU, IIT-Madras and Bombay. This will not help either in the task of promoting scientific temper or critical thinking." Kumar, who chaired the event, said, "Scientists and science as such has somehow become isolated. A hierarchical power structure has been created, classifying someone who is not a scientist as 'others'. These others are also called amateurs, lay men." The only way of knowledge transfer is through developing things and later telling people about how it was developed, however this view is not shared by certain scientists, he said.

There are efforts to actively propagate pseudoscience, anto-scien'e perceptions and in the last four years we have seen this happening more often, said Raghunandan, referring to the controversy during the recent Indian Science Congress. There is lot of talk about rewriting textbooks in pursuit of various agendas, but not enough has been done in terms of actually working on books required to teach science and social science in higher institutions, he added.

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