Augustine C. OhanweTuesday, October 26, 2010



n astute magician employs both sophisticated, psychological and physical technigues when performing his invisibility “tricks” on the stage. In so doing he causes the spectators not to see something which is happening before their very eyes. He accomplishes this by diverting their attentions. His demeanour and paraphenalia are parts of his perfected tricks. He would deep his purported magic wand inside a deep black hat and a white rabbit jumps out. The spectators are excited, some, with their mouth unnecessarily wide open in reaction to the “marvelous” feat the magician has performed. But sensible folks there would know that the rabbit was planted inside the hat even before the show started.


There was no indication that Prof. Gabriel Oyibo used the magician’s modus operandi to fool those who gathered inside the lecture hall where he was demontrating his new GAGUT theorem. There were eminient scholars of physics, chemistry, biology inside the hall. There were also a couple of NASA scientists, religious scholars and journalists. They were all competent and smart scholars capable of detecting any shadow of deceit or definitional injury emanating from Prof Oyibo lectures.

There were times when scholars inside the lecture hall threw questions at him and he was quick to add flesh to their query with admirable self confidence of one who wields the antenna of knowledge.

It will be improper for me to prove or disprove Prof. Oyibo’s GAGUT theorem because my knowledge in physics and mathematics is limited to higher school level. I am therefore, neither competent nor compellable to be called upon to join the bandwagon of a panel of scholars to examine his theorem.

But what has inspired me to write this short piece is that none of Prof. Oyibo’s critics has been able to produce even a plausible hypothesis not to talk of a theory that has the force to demolish his GAGUT theorem.

The most vociferous objections to Prof Oyibo’s research findings came from his fellow Nigerians, who, as evidence will show, are not competent authorities in the field under discussion.

Toyin Falola called the learned scholar a fraud and felt content with the name calling, without coming up with a novel idea that could torpedo the GAGUT theorem.

Michael Nwobu, after observing the GAGUT theorem with jaundiced lens has this to say: ”When a theory starts surviving at the expense of a complex mathematics, I start suspecting its accuracy.” Yet he could not beam a green light that can lead us to his academic bosom where we would shout Eureka with him!

Robert attacked Prof Oyibo saying, “What I don’t expect him to admit is whether he received help in reaching that solution or, even if someone else had already solved the theorem ahead of him.” My response to Robert is that Prof Oyibo has been traveling to many continents, delivering lectures on his GAGUT theorem. If someone had contributed to his knowledge, such a person could not have kept silence up till now. Implicitly, what Robert is saying is that Prof Oyibo does not possess sufficient intellectual equipment or fertile brain where ideas can germinate and blossom. Interestingly, he did not pose similar question to Einstein whose findings inspired Prof Oyibo, and who started from where Einstein left off.

What the critics of GAGUT theorem are doing is not new. When we look back through the tremendous vistas of the past, we will find records of instances when new discoveries or ideas have been subjected to undeserved virulent attacks. Opposition to new idea is as old as history. What is disturbing is that many of these attacks are, in many occasions hollow and down to earth irritating.

Socrates has influenced many scholars with his “negative dialectic.” His method was so annoying that it contributed to his being brought before the court of law, charged and eventually sentenced to death. He would invite experts in various fields of human endevour – renowned journalists, lawyers, geographers, politicians, medical doctors etc and would request them to define concepts in their respective fields. After listening to them, he would demolish their definitions with ridicules without offering alternative answers himself. They saw his method of humiliating experts as dangerous particularly to the Athenian youth who would easily employ the same method to ridicule their elders and expert opimions. He was accused of corrupting the youth and undermining Athenian democracy. He was sentenced to death. Unfortunately, his method has found its way into many institutions of higher learning.

I will advance a positive way of challenging a weak theory as we progress, But before then, let’s mention a few scholars whose research findings were not spared from undeserved negative criticisms.

Galileo lived in the Middle Ages when ignorance was alleged to be bliss. During that period the church was perceived as the custodian of knowledge. It upheld that the earth was a four-cornered object stationed in a fixed position. But Galileo disagreed and dared the church by stating that the earth rotated around the sun. Not only was his claim rejected and ridiculed but it nearly claimed his life. None of the authorities of his time had the patience to examine his theory in order to dispove it.

When Christopher Columbus tabled the map he constructed that was supposed to lead him to the New World, he presented it to Spain’s geography experts for approval. After going through it, they teased him and treated him with contempt, and his planed journey was branded “mission impossible.”

Isaac Newton’s publication, The Principia (1687) which has been acknowledged today as a scholarly work was controversial publication when it was published. Newton’s work received unimaginable attacks from the scientific tribes in his native England and even beyond. Voltaire, a French Enlightenment philosopher and writer, who attended Newton’s funeral in 1727 disclosed that after 40 years of Newton’s publication of The Principia, he had only 40 scientists who supported his theory – 20 in England and 20 on the entire continent of Europe.

Albert Einstein who inspired Prof. Oyibo was not spared from harsh attacks from scholars of his time. Many disagreed with his findings. But like present day critics, none was able to come up with an alternative theory. One of the distinguished critics of Einstein’s work was Thomas Jefferson Jackson See, a mathematician, Doctor of Philosophy, astronomer and biographer. He ridiculed Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, stating that he, Einstein has set physics and astronomy back 1000 years.

When the Wright Brothers embarked on inventing an air plane, physicist attempted to dampen their initiatives with canons of criticisms. They were made to feel like nit wits who could not accept that they were going contrary to the Law of Gravitation. They were adviced to channel their energies into something else instead of pursuing unachievable goal. One observable trait of such hollow crtitics is that they will not surrender even when disproved. They will always hang on straws. After the Wright Brothers had finished the construction of the air plane, their critics hauled another criticism stating that it would not fly. When it eventually zoomed into space, they stated that it will soon be pulled down by gravitational force. As the plane continued to fly, they further stated that it will crash land when it reached its destination.

I found two good examples on how to demolish a false or inferior theory from the Bible. Scholars should borrow a leaf from it instead of tearing their colleagues down out of petty jealousy or envy.

When the Pharaoh of Egypt (Exodus. 7: 7-12) used the theory of bubu-yaya to cause a snake to materialise, Moses disarmed Pharaoh and his theory by employing the theory of habracadabra to produce a huge snake that quickly swallowed the former. Moses demonstration is equivallent to ridiculing a theory in a practical and transparent way.

Another place in the Bible is (Act 13: 7-12). Here, Paul of Tarsus and Bernabas left for their missionary jouney to Paphos, in Cyprus where Sergius Paulus, the Roman Proconsul, a pagan waited to hear them speak about Christianity. When they arrived, a man called Elymas the Sorcerer used what I would term “theory D” to oppose their mission and to stop the Proconsul from hearing their message. Elymas felt he had the absolute theory to keep them off the city. Paul brought forth “theory G” and Elymas was humbled. He was led away after Paul theory made him blind for a season. The Roman Proconsul, Paulus, after witnessing what had transpired was converted to Christianity.

Further good example on how to elbow aside an inferior theory is found in Philosophy. The Sophists were respected by many scholars as a class of wise people. But when we study their modus operandi carefully, we will reach a conclusion that they were more of con men. Their philosophical theory smells cunning and false. They preyed and duped the weak and the guillible. Using their power of oratory, and exploiting the adavantage of public perception that they were the repository of knowledge they were able to mesmerize the public and pretended to be solving their problems by reducing the amount of money in their wallet. They would offer their clients what they had defined as a panacea for their problems, problems which they, the Sophists are a part of the cause. In actual fact, they cloned the problems and deposited them at their clients’ door steps and posed as problem solvers. Plato’s theory was their nightmare. It succeded in surbordinating that of the Sophists.

When Plato realised that the Sophists were roving crooks in philosophical garment, and adepts at spin doctoring, he attacked their theory by inventing a higher theory that could keep them at bay, and to prevent them from squeezing the purses of the his fellow country men and women. In order to halt their commercialization of philosophy he inaugurating the Academy of Science in order to preserve and protect the true philosophy from further commercialisation and assault of the charlatans.

A new theory or idea such as that of Prof Oyibo’s GAGUT cannot be dismissed with a wave of hand as falsified or refuted until its critics are able to produce another theory that can supersede the former with excess empirical content that transparently subsums the explanatory strenght of its predicessor, and is observed to be crammed with additional, novel information.

Furthermore, such a new theory must be empirically progressive as well as being corroborated. A new theory that embodies all these ingredients could be said to be progressive problemshift. It has the force to stand upright without the support of intellectual crunches.

In a complex field of science in which Prof Oyibo has taken us into, none but a panel of judges wiser than him could possibly “rate” his contribution to the discipline. At present, none of Prof Oyibo’s critics has been able to torpedo his GAGUT theorem in the same way Moses did to Pharaoh. I find their actions preposterious and deplorable.