on Feb. 28, 2008
Michael A. Cremo (Drutakarma Dasa), co-author of Forbidden Archeology, a book that questioned the scientific community's views on human origins, has recently returned from a Russian lecture tour promoting his latest work. Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin's Theory is no less of a controversy-baiter, and Cremo was ready for the opposition.
"I did media interviews and university speeches at nine Russian cities, from Moscow to Krasnojarsk in Siberia," he says. "And the tour went smoothly, for the most part. But not everyone was happy with my message."
Professors in Yaroslavl had invited Cremo, a member of ISKCON's Bhaktivedanta Institute, to speak at the history department of a local university. But at the last second, the university's president cancelled the lecture. It turns out he'd been pressured by outside organizations, who had objected to Cremo's connection with ISKCON and his stance against the theory of evolution.
"In the end, the lecture was a success anyway," he says. "The professors who invited me arranged for the lecture to be held at an auditorium nearby, and students and professors from the university filled the seats."
In Tyumen, western Siberia, Cremo met with a copycat objection. Pressured by religious organizations, the president of the university he'd been invited to speak at had to cancel the talk.
But again, things took an unexpected turn. "The lecture was transferred to a local branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the director of which said he would not be pressured by anyone into cancelling my talk," says Cremo. "The talk went on as scheduled, and a bus service was set up to bring students and professors from the university to the new venue."
One of the university's professors told Michael Cremo that after the president had cancelled his lecture, students all over the university were talking about it. In the end, attempts at smothering Cremo's controversial views had only brought him even more attention.
"Whatever the end result, I always expect some opposition," Cremo concludes. "I am a dissident intellectual, and you cannot be a dissident intellectual without being banned somewhere."