NEW DELHI: The principal scientific advisor to the government, K Vijay Raghavan, has termed as "scientifically untenable" the Andhra University vice-chancellor G Nageshwar Rao's claims, made at the Indian Science Congress, that the Kauravas were test tube babies.
He also said the government has no role in deciding the speakers or the agenda of the event. The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) does not have a filter and the government "rightly has no role in the matter", he said.
"Once a speaker is chosen, there is no censorship on what the person actually speaks."
Vijay Raghavan said the chancellor of the Andhra University should file a formal complaint against Vice-Chancellor Rao.
"Scientists say what they say, and if they talk nonsense, they will feel the heat from the community. It is indeed unfortunate that a sitting Vice-Chancellor of a great state university, a biologist to boot, says something that is scientifically completely untenable," Vijay Raghavan said in a blog.
On Friday, Rao in his presentation at the ISC in Jalandhar had made several "preposterous" claims: Kauravas were test-tube babies, Dashavtar gave a better logic than Darwin's Theory of Evolution, Ravan had 24 aircraft and several airports and Ram and Vishnu used guided missiles technology.
Another presenter sought to debunk Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. This was met with a volley of criticism from the scientific community.
"Someone, concerned and well-intentioned, asked, how one (presumably the government) could give a platform to such preposterous talks at the Science Congress. Well, the organisers rightly don't have a filter and the government rightly has no role in the matter," he said.
Vijay Raghavan said the ISCA does get some support from the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
The ISCA raises funds for its activities, such as for the holding of the Congress, from other sources, he noted.
"Yet (like the Indian National Science Academy, for example) the ISCA decides the agenda, the venue and selects the speakers. The government has no role whatsoever in these matters.
"The Science Congress has an overall theme each year. There is a wide range of topics that are covered in the talks. A group of scientists, chosen by the ISCA, requests applications to speak and chooses speakers. Once chosen there is no censorship on what the person actually speaks," he said.