By Douglas Anele
I RECOMMEND that those who believe in our “wonderfully made bodies”, in our being
made in “the image of God”, should visit the accident and emergency section of general hospitals, or a leper colony, or, yet again, a morgue.

They would realize that “there is really no big deal” about being a human being. Whether we like it or not, life on earth is temporary. The best scientific hypotheses present some possible scenarios of the future of our planet and of life in it, such as the loss of the earth’s atmosphere, the transformation of the sum into a red giant which would consume the entire solar system, etc.

From the scientific perspective, the earth and the solar system of which it is a part cannot last forever. But a believer can always argue that our immortal souls, particularly the souls of the redeemed, would enjoy eternal bliss in heaven. Well, the way I see it, man is insignificantly significant, if one considers seriously the amazing findings of the science of astronomy. In spite of the sugary consolatory mythology of heaven, life on this planet is destined to end sometime in the future.

Race is a deep cesspit of absurdities. One of the inverted theoretical justifications of slave trade and colonization is the doctrine that the White race is innately superior to the Black race.

In the United States of America, the so-called beacon of democracy in the world, African-Americans, until the late 1960s, were treated as second-class citizens. American leaders supported the apartheid regime of South Africa until it collapsed more than a decade ago.

Adolf Hitler, one of the most barbaric human beings in history, employed the pernicious theory of Aryan superiority to commit abominable crimes against humanity during World War II. Anti-Semitic doctrine still rears its terrible head up till now. A dangerous fallacy based on race, but accepted by many individuals, is the doctrine of the chosen race.

The Jews believe that they were chosen specially by their tribal God, Yaweh, for a divine purpose, from the races of humankind, whereas Muslims have an unusually high opinion about Arabs and the Arabic language.

Although if one considers the egregious failures of the leaders in countries overwhelmingly dominated by blacks, especially Nigeria, one is tempted to sympathize with the view that something must be wrong with black pigmentation, the truth of the matter is that there is no credible scientific evidence to back the doctrine that race p is superior to race q, Relevant well-conducted scientific researches strongly indicate that, to the extent in which congenital ability can be separated  from environmental influences, there is no clear distinction between various races of the world. Perhaps, with time, research may show that gentiles are innately more intelligent than Jews, or vice versa.

At present, however, since the holders of power-economic, political, religious and so on – are the ones who usually peddle the myth of racial superiority, we can confidently dismiss such claims as locus pocus.

What about the intractable notion of ‘human nature’? Sometimes people claim that “human nature cannot be altered.” Clearly, the matter cannot be decided rationally until one is clear about the meaning of ‘human nature.’ It should not surprise any well-informed person that the expression ‘human nature’ is vague, a situation that allows the ignorant to make scientifically unwarranted claims about it.

If by human nature one means the sum total of the incredible variety of behaviours by human beings, then human nature is extremely complex. Anthropology and related fields such as history, sociology etc have demonstrated that adult human nature is amazingly flexible. In some tribes, women married more than one husband, and men gave their wives or daughters to guests who were close to them.

There is nothing to indicate that family life ‘in those communities was more unhappy than elsewhere. In some traditional Nigerian communities, twins were either killed or cast away into ‘evil forests’, because having them was an abomination. In many tribal communities of old, the communalistic social structure disallowed private property. I am not sure that there is any possible behaviour of humans that is outside the purview of ‘human nature’.

Food and sex are needed by everyone. Nevertheless, for religious reasons, hermits mostly avoid sex and reduce food intake to the barest minimum.

To a large extent, through scientific manipulation of nutrition and education, people can be brought up to be gentle or aggressive, meek or domineering, depending on what aspect of human nature the educator lays stress. We have seen how governments used their powers to mislead people.

The atrocities of Hitler and the effectiveness of his demagoguery and propaganda machine in manipulating the German public during the Nazi era show that there is hardly any limit to the level of absurdities government can make a gullible population to accept.

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