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Are There Scientists in Ghana? II
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Are There Scientists in Ghana? II

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 Source: Sarfo, Samuel Adjei

Samuel Adjei Sarfo

Attorney And Counselor At Law

In the first part of this article, I posited that our science students and scholars have failed to deliver even the de minimis function of science studies, which is simply the elemental acquisition of scientific thinking. This is not to mention the more important function of innovation and creative capacity which form the true purpose of science, and which the typical Ghanaian scientist has since long abandoned.

Recently, when the Ebola virus struck, Ghanaian doctors openly and shamelessly declared that they would run away should any suspected Ebola case be brought to their hospital. This is an example of the helplessness and uselessness of our science scholars in the face of real challenges requiring their skills and expertise. Meanwhile, we question why the US authorities did not furnish our Ebola patients with ZMapp, the experimental medication for Ebola only tested in rhesus monkeys. This is as if we have a certain entitlement to their scientific discoveries while we relinquish any research responsibilities of our own and abandon the analytical and logical thinking that could lead to the discovery of treatment for this dreadful disease. Meanwhile, if the Americans had first tried the drug on Africans, there would have been an outcry from our science scholars that they are using us as guinea pigs for their experimentation. That is the extent of our lack of scientific thinking and utter ingratitude.

We are running away from our responsibilities of thinking through our problems while making demands on others to save us from death, only to later turn around and accuse them of some sinister motives. What is the purpose of training doctors if they are only to deal with commonplace diseases and run away from the dangerously sick? What is the purpose of training our scientists if they will just run away from us in the hour of our utmost need? But I digress……

What I mean by scientific thinking is the type of critical analyses that will enable us to question age-old assumptions, test every belief system for their validity, seek reasons for all natural phenomena, find the primordial truths of the causes and effects within our unique experiences, experiment with what works and what does not and verify the potential solutions to the unique problems of our times........

The stark abandonment by our scientists of these basic functions of science exposes the aridity and barrenness of our educational system in general and our science education in particular. Concerning the latter particularity, the tragedy of our loss runs abysmally deep indeed. Our best students are gathered together in our various schools and fed with something which they will never apply to solve any problems in their lives, all the while deluding them that they are the cream of the crop of our educational system. The best they do is to muster and master sublime excuses for doing nothing. They are still looking for modern laboratories and co-extensive funding before they go to work applying their knowledge to solve the multitudinous problems confronting the nation, consciously forgetting that when Pythagoras came out with his theorem on triangles, or when Isaac Newton discovered the law of gravity, or when Archimedes found out how much of the king’s gold had been stolen through his principle of fluid displacement, there were no funds nor laboratories available to them. When Archimedes discovered that the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, whether fully or partially submerged, is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces, he was lying naked in his tub, but unlike us, he was thinking deeply, not merely admiring his phallus! Indeed, our science scholars and students feign conscious ignorance about the well-known fact that most of the huge inventions of our times began in garages, and were by people that decided to think outside the box without making shallow excuses to justify why they can do nothing.

We triangulate about the triangles in childish fascination without thinking of the totality of their angles; we rush to pick and eat the falling apples without thinking of the phenomenon that brought them down; we take our share of the king’s gold and think of no principles regarding its weight; we make secret entrances to our garages in order to sneak in prostitutes, instead of originating novel ideas. So instead of the laws of gravity and the theorems of mathematics and the principles of density and electromagnetism, we are busy making excuses for our incapacity to solve any of our basic societal problems.

What is worse, most of these science students and scholars thrive on superstition. They believe in witchcraft and tacitly agree with A.B. Crentsil that we blacks are using our witchcraft to destroy ourselves while the whites are using theirs to build airplanes and trains. They are also mostly ideological goons whose minds are infested with hegemonic praise for their idols and tribesmen while spewing eternal condemnation against their perceived enemies. For instance, in expressing panegyric praises for the first president of Ghana, one science scholar of national repute postulated that there will never be any person like him! He also accused Nkrumah's opponents as the eternal destroyers of the country.....and all these declaration he peremptorily stated without recourse to science or logic.

The imaginary enemies of these pseudo-scientists may be people of other tribes or races, and here they exhibit stark ignorance of genetic science and its implication for the commonality of humanity and insist on separating the tribes for their condemnation or calumniation. At the same time, they are failing to recognize the elementary fact that the whole concept of nationhood consists of the unity of the discrete parts. They don’t even understand that there cannot be a good set consisting of bad elements. While they appropriate the shibboleth of patriotism, they are busy engaging in acts of sabotage and division against the very nation they claim to love.

Against the background of these intrinsic contradictions, these science students and scholars often join the ignorant mob in exhibiting stark religiosity based on nomadic scriptures written a millennia ago from which they select the most vengeful verses for their guidance in life. They also lack reading culture and may not be able to express novel ideas even if they had any, having long neglected the cultivation of the mind as a sine qua non for true scholarship. Thus their mental faculties are circumscribed to the hollow abstract, and they have voluntarily relinquished the task of logic to the select few of us who must see for them, think for them, speak for them, write for them and teach and lead them.

So the search for the true causes of our present socio-economic doldrums begins and ends with the failure of our science scholars and students to think scientifically and logically, and to lead in the quest to impart scientific thinking to the people-to dissolve all crass notions of superstition, all untenable ideas of natural superiority, all attachments to religiosity and all misperceptions and illogicality.

In short, our science students and scholars must take up their responsibility and show examples in deeper level thinking and analyses and take their proper positions in leading the population and country out of the seeming hole of ignorance into which our destiny has so pathetically sunk.

Samuel Adjei Sarfo, Doctor of Jurisprudence, is a general legal practitioner in Austin, Texas, USA. You may email him at sarfoadjei@yahoo.com

Columnist: Sarfo, Samuel Adjei