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An estimated 6-minute read

Young children too have constitutional rights - tutoring flawed Darwin's theory to them violates it

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Supreme Court Advocate K.V.Dhananjay argues that even young children have constitutional rights and that they deserve protection from being tutored about flawed scientific theories in their school curriculum. In this piece, Dhananjay argues that the Darwin's Theory of Evolution is inappropriate for our young children and deserves to be scrapped from school text books - to be taught to students in colleges and professional courses so as to let them evaluate for themselves, the serious flaws in Darwin's hypothesis. Teaching it as a scientific fact to our young children who lack the critical skills to recognize the inherent limitations of such a scientific theory violates their constitutional rights, he argues.

Okay. I do read medicine and science. I have done so extensively - for the past decade and more. I do know that I will come in for a great deal of attack for what I say here. Just to make such an attack credible and meaningful, let me request two things from those who wish to attack me. One, do bring objective evidence of Darwin's theory being validated by anything - process or phenomenon - in nature, You will fail - miserably. Two, bring an experienced medical doctor from any part of the world to testify that his treatment of his patient is influenced to any extent by anything said in the Darwin's theory. You cannot find any such doctor and then, you will know, if you do try seriously, that the whole Darwin's theory is practically useless or irrelevant to the medical profession - an area that ought to have been the most influenced by Darwin's theory if only it was true or objective at all. 

Unlike the Constitutions of most other countries, the Constitution of India expressly says that its citizens and children should cultivate scientific temper and rational thought. In practical terms, what does it really mean?

Every school book for primary grade students in this country speaks of Charles Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’. Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’ maintains that life on earth evolved out of inanimate matter and that all life forms in existence today evolved from a simple organism. In fact, it is a mere guesswork or hypothesis and has no scientific evidence whatsoever to back it. Further, nothing in Darwin’s Theory is capable of demonstration or proof – it comes down to mere faith and belief.

No doubt, there is a great deal of similarities between different species and Darwin hypothesized that these similarities mean that a given species is constantly transforming and evolving into a different one. He established a rigid ‘tree of life’ to explain his theory. Modern genetics contradicts this hypothesis as no organism is transforming itself into a different species; variation and changes in genes in a given organism does not lead to transformation of one species into a different species.

Our textbooks speak of Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’ as if it were a scientific fact and has already been proven to exacting standards. It never has been and may never be. Thereby, our children are being misled about a fundamental aspect of their existence.

The truth is that we do not know about our origin and we may never know about it. A number of adult explanations have cropped up to tell us how the humans have originated – Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’ is the most popular of them. However, it rests on belief, faith and assumptions and there is simply no concrete evidence to support it. Instead, too many scientific discoveries over the past few decades make it difficult for scientific minds to take this theory seriously.

School children lack the critical thinking and reasoning skills that would be necessary to see the limitations and flaws in Darwin’s theory. Yet, when school children are repeatedly told that Darwin’s theory is already a scientific fact, their constitutional right to a scientifically acceptable curriculum is violated. Children are naturally curious about the origin of the human species but do not possess the critical skills necessary to evaluate any particular theory about our origin. True scientific spirit in the area of the very origin of our existence is possible only with a humble feeling that ‘we do not know and we may never know’.

At the age when children are in schools, it would be harmful to their reasoning and analytical skills to tell them that science has already discovered the answer to their fundamental question when in fact, Darwin’s theory is simply no answer at all but is just another hypothesis that stands contradicted by a mass of scientific findings and observations. Constitutionally, it would be inappropriate to inform our impressionable children about a flawed hypothesis as if it was a scientific fact – our children’s perception is adversely misdirected thereby.

Also, teaching of Darwin’s theory in schools hurts poor and middle class children more than children from affluent families. Parents who are professionals or otherwise abreast of scientific information would be in a position to inform their school going children about the flaws in Darwin’s theory and limit their children’s acceptance of it. However, 80% of all children in this country are enrolled in Government schools - the place where all the poor and most children from middle class families study. The poor and middle class parents who rarely have access to scientifically updated information would not be able to guide their children about the flaws in Darwin’s theory and consequently, children belonging to poor and middle classes would be denied of scientifically valid education that children from well off families receive because of information-disadvantage to their parents. This is an added reason to ensure that the increasingly criticized Darwin’s theory is removed from our school curriculum.

There is widespread consensus today that even if Darwin’s theory is completely eliminated from academic curriculum around the world, it would make zero difference to how a doctor treats a patient anywhere in the world today. Still, our children deserve to be informed of Darwin’s theory at a later stage in their curriculum such as in college or professional courses - when it is expected that the student's reasoning and analytical skills are sufficiently advanced enough to recognize the limitations and flaws in Darwin's theory.

I personally see that a few people in my country are terribly afraid, angry or perturbed when they are told that the Darwin's theory is an article of faith and nothing more. It has no objective existence in the observable world and is incapable of objective observation or deduction - it exists only in our minds and if not for a constant reaffirmation of it, it appears to crumble. I do know - as I have enquired extensively - that there is no experienced medical doctor anywhere in the world who would come forward to testify in a court of law that his treatment of any patient is determined to any extent by anything contained in the Darwin's theory. He may not show the conviction to conclude thereby that Darwin's theory is practically irrelevant to the subject of human medicine but a court of law, when confronted with such irrelevance of Darwin's theory to any applied science in the real world cannot sustain it as a constitutionally valid scientific curriculum that is suitable for our young minds. When such is the extent of faith that this theory involves, it would be highly injurious for our collective constitutional wisdom to thrust it upon our young children as if it was a scientific fact that has already been proven to exacting standards. It never has been.

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