Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh misquoted the late astronomer Carl Sagan to claim that ancient Indians accurately dated the age of Earth “to 1.97 billion years”. “Carl Sagan was a well-known cosmologist,” Mr. Singh said in his Hindi address at the India International Science Fair (IISF). “He has said that the cosmological calculations of ancient Indians alone matched with modern scientific theory…It was written in ancient, religious Indian texts that Earth came into existence 1.97 Arab (100 crore) billion years ago. Sagan accepted this. These are the contributions of our country.”
The age of Earth is 4.54 billion years and that of the Universe is 13 billion years. Sagan, in his iconic 1980 television series Cosmos , and book by the same name, did not say the Earth was 1.97 billion years old, or that ancient Indian astronomers had calculated the age of the Earth. He only said that Hinduism was the only one among the world’s religions in which time scales [of the age of the Universe] correspond to that of modern cosmology.
“…It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, no doubt by accident, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang,” Sagan narrates in an episode available on YouTube.
Mr. Singh — a former lecturer of Physics — and chief guest at the 4-day festival, also stated that German Nobel Laureate, Werner Heisenberg, conceived of the Uncertainty Principle, which underpins modern quantum mechanics, after a conversation with poet Rabindranath Tagore. Mr. Singh sourced this to physicist and philosopher, Fritjof Capra, who has written about it in his bookUncommon Wisdom. “When Capra asked Heisenberg how he conceived of the uncertainty principal, he said that when he was discussing Vedanta with Rabindranath Tagore, he got the principle of uncertainty,” Mr. Singh told an audience of at least 1,000 scientists, students and professors. Heisenberg met Tagore in 1929, two years after he had published his seminal papers on uncertainty in 1927.