Indian scientists have criticized two speakers at a major conference for making bizarre, unscientific claims, including that ancient Hindus invented stem-cell science. Groups of researchers held protests in Bangalore, Kochi, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram on 6 January, calling for an end to presentations at the Indian Science Congress that promote unscientific personal beliefs.
“Any theory based on personal beliefs and not verified by science should not have any place in a science congress,” says physicist Soumitro Banerjee, general secretary of the non-profit Breakthrough Science Society in Kolkata, which promotes science and organized the protests.
In response to the outcry, congress organizers say that from next year, they will require speakers to submit abstracts of their talks. “We will also ensure moderators for all sessions who can ensure that the content is scientific,” says biochemist Premendu Mathur, general secretary of the Indian Science Congress Association in Kolkata.