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India scientists dismiss Einstein theories

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Indian scientists have hit out at speakers at a major science conference for making irrational claims.

Some academics at the annual Indian Science Congress, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had dismissed the discoveries of Issac Newton and Albert Einstein.

They had also said ancient Hindus had invented stem cell research.

Hindu mythology and religion based theories have increasingly become part of the Indian Science Congress agenda.

But academics said remarks at this year’s ongoing summit were even more astounding than usual.

The head of a southern Indian university cited an old Hindu text as proof that stem cell research was discovered in India thousands of years ago.

G Nageshwar Rao, vice chancellor of Andhra University, also said a demon king from the Hindu religious epic, Ramayana, had 24 types of aircraft and a network of landing strips in modern-day Sri Lanka.

Another scientist from an university in the southern state of Tamil Nadu who was speaking at the conference said that Issac Newton and Albert Einstein were both wrong and that gravitational waves should be renamed as “Narendra Modi Waves”.

Dr KJ Krishnan reportedly said Newton failed to “understand gravitational repulsive forces” and Einstein’s theories were “misleading”.

Critics said ancient texts are still to be read and enjoyed – but it was nonsense to suggest they were science.

The Indian Scientific Congress Association expressed “serious concern” at the remarks.

“We don’t subscribe to their views and distance ourselves from their comments. This is unfortunate,” Premendu P Mathur, general secretary of Indian Scientific Congress Association, told AFP news agency.

“There is a serious concern about such kind of utterances by responsible people.”

Last year, India’s junior education minister, Satyapal Singh, told an engineering awards ceremony that airplanes were first mentioned in the ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana.

He also said the first working plane was invented by an Indian named Shivakar Babuji Talpade eight years before the Wright brothers.

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a gathering of doctors and medical staff at a Mumbai hospital that the story of the Hindu god Ganesha – whose elephant head is attached to a human body – showed cosmetic surgery existed in ancient India.

The education minister for the western state of Rajasthan said in January 2017 that it was important to “understand the scientific significance” of the cow, as it was the only animal in the world to both inhale and exhale oxygen.

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