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Science versus pseudoscience: Case of two dons

Dr. Shafi’I Hamidu

Sir: I not too long ago watched a brief debate on Channels TV, Dawn Day by day programme, between two Nigerian lecturers: Dr. Akyala Ishaku, who got here to the programme to determine the existence of the COVID-19 virus in Nigeria, and Professor Cyril Otoikhian, who was there to disprove the existence of the virus altogether.

Dr. Akyala is a lecturer and a virologist on the College of Pure and Utilized Sciences, Nasarawa State College, Keffi, Nasarawa State whereas Prof. Cyril is a professor of genetics on the Novena College, Kwale, Delta State.

To start his defence, Dr. Akyala laid out how a scientific debate is finished, how speculation are being confirmed with empirical proof, and the way a counter argument is being put ahead to disprove present order or speculation. He then reeled out established scientific evidences as revealed by respected first quartile excessive affect issue scientific journals just like the Lancet and Nature that established the existence, origin, and evolution of the Coronavirus in over 700 revealed journal articles. He later narrowed down his arguments to Nigeria and cited the outcomes of a current analysis carried out by African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Illnesses headed by Prof. Christian Happi on the Redeemer’s College, Ede, Osun State. The analysis was capable of set up the existence of COVID-19 in Nigeria with over 20 clusters unfold across the nation.

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To my shock, Professor Cyril began his defence by saying he wonders why Dr. Akyala is sounding this fashion. Then, the don goes forward to elucidate what he is aware of because the scientific methodology. In his phrases, he stated: “no matter they’re doing inside (the Lab), allow them to carry it exterior and put it on a desk. Let each scientists be obtainable, let all samples be obtainable, let all reagents be on the desk, the cameras be obtainable and allow them to present us what they’re calling COVID-19.” He added: “however all I noticed was a humorous try that might not yield any outcomes”. He talked about the title of the American immunologist Anthony Fauci, however didn’t make reference to any of his revealed works after which concluded that COVID-19 shouldn’t be even actual in any respect.

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To place it mildly, Cyril got here to the battle with a stick, whereas Akyala showed-up with a bazooka!

In his second outing on the identical TV programme, Dr. Akyala stated that he did slightly background examine on Professor Cyril by trying to find his contributions in Google Scholar and he came upon that he has by no means revealed any work in virology in any affect issue journal. However when the professor was given an opportunity to defend himself on why he has no revealed contribution in an affect issue journal, he stated that he grew to become a professor by evaluation, and that he has greater than 121 publications throughout totally different areas of specialisations that he has studied. Then, he made references to movies of Fauci and movies of himself in ITV Benin. This, to me, is a nationwide shame! As a result of I can not think about a professor making reference to edited on-line movies posted by conspiracy theorists as proof to win a scientific debate on a nationwide tv.

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The broader implications of this are past the four-walls of our universities and analysis establishments. It will have an effect on the standard of graduates that we produce from our universities, which ultimately develop into unemployable within the economic system. It will additionally have an effect on the standard of analysis outputs produce by our universities with no actual affect on the event of the nation. This pandemic is exposing our weaknesses and by the point it might be over, we might be left with extra questions than solutions.

 

  • Dr. Shafi’I Hamidu,

Doha.

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