Researchers at the University of Lagos in Nigeria have a new prodigy. His name is Chibuihem Amalaha, and he says he used a variety of scientific experiments to prove that same-sex marriage, now legal in 16 countries, is wrong:
A postgraduate student studying chemical engineering, Amalaha spoke with THISDAY Live, a leading newspaper in Nigeria, about his latest accomplishment and why he hopes it will earn him international recognition. And while hundreds of commenters question whether the article and even the publication are satirical, it seems he and his professors stand proudly by his work.
In the THISDAY article, misleadingly titled “Science of Gay Marriage,” Amalaha shares some of his past scientific discoveries and breakthroughs. For example, he says he rejected a theory attributing skin cancer to acid rain, proved that the mathematical symbol π is not actually equal to 22/7, and was the “first person in the world” to prove that watching television in a dark room hurts your eyes. (The uses of the term “prove” in all these cases are his, not mine.)
But this “scientist” clearly didn’t have science on the brain when developing his most recent project, in which he sought to invalidate marriage equality altogether. Here’s how he stumbled into his research question:
“In recent time I found that gay marriage,which is homosexuality and lesbianism, is eating deep into the fabric of our human nature all over the world and this was why nations of Sodom and Gomora were destroyed by God because they were into gay practice. That is, a man marrying another man and a woman marrying another woman…And so God gave me the wisdom to use science as a scientist to prove gay marriage wrong.”
That’s right. “Science” — physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics, he explained — helped Amalaha “prove gay marriage wrong.” I don’t even know what he means by that, but let’s dive in.
First, Amalaha rightly (finally!) says that physics is one of the most fundamental of the sciences. That’s why he decided to use two magnets to demonstrate why marriage equality is, for lack of a scientific term, icky. Channeling Paula Abdul, Amalaha takes us through an elaborate explanation of how magnets work (take note, ICP) to come to the conclusion that opposites attract — therefore, same-sex couples shouldn’t:
“If you bring two South Poles together you find that the two South Poles will not attract indicating that same sex marriage should not hold. A female should not attract a female as South Pole of a magnet does not attract the South Pole of a magnet. But, when you bring a North Pole of a magnet and a South Pole of a magnet they will attract because they are not the same, indicating that a man will attract a woman because of the way nature has made a female… That is how I used physics to prove gay marriage wrong.”
It doesn’t take more than a third-grade education to understand why this entire setup is not only flawed, but completely irrelevant to the concept of marriage equality. Not only does this have nothing to do with marriage, it doesn’t actually count as science. Amalaha hasn’t discovered anything — he’s only regurgitating right-wing talking points to explain why he thinks being gay is wrong.
(By the same logic and level of thinking, I can prove being gay is right: Two even numbers add up to an even number… but so do two odd numbers! Someone give me an award.)
It wasn’t good enough for Amalaha to “disprove” equal rights with the basic principles of magnetism alone, so he turned next to chemistry, his scientific specialty. This example involves an illustration of different types of chemical reactions, namely a neutralization reaction, in which an acid and base react.
When you bring surphuric [sic] acid and you reacts it with sodium hydroxide which is a base you are going to have salt and water. That tells you that the acid is a different body, the base is a different body and they will react. But if you bring an acid and you pour it on top of an acid chemistry there will be no reaction. If you bring water and pour it on top it shows that there will be no reaction. If you bring a base either sodium hydroxide and you pour it on top of a sodium hydroxide you find out that there will be reaction showing that a man on top of a man will have no reaction. A woman on top of a woman will have no reaction, that is what chemistry is showing.
*Ahem*… I can personally confirm that this is not true. Moving on!
From the framework of biology, Amalaha’s research is even less creative. The basis of his argument is that neither sperm nor egg alone can produce a child (becoming less true as science advances, but whatever) and that heterosexuality is observed in most animals (spoiler alert: so is homosexuality). Oh, and his description of this process reads like satire. Seriously, how is this not satire?
We have seen that the female of a fowl is called hen and the male of a fowl is called a cock. We have never seen where a cock is having sex with a cock and we have never seen where a hen is having sex with another. Even among lions when you go to the zoo you find out that lion does not mate with a lion instead a lion will mate with a lioness showing that a lion being a male will mate with lioness being a female.
And finally, in the realm of mathematics, Amalaha gives a convoluted explanation of how commutativity essentially mirrors principles of chemical reactions, rendering same-sex attraction “impossible.” Right.
If we use A as a man and use B as a woman we are going to have B + A that is woman and man showing that there is a reaction. A + B reacted, they interchanged and gave us B + A showing that commutativity obeys that a man should not marry a man and a woman should not marry a woman.
As I said, there are plenty of problems with this entire story, including how Western media are analyzing it (present company included, I admit). Before jumping all over this, we have to consider how and why educational standards differ across the globe, how it is virtually impossible in much of the world to separate politics and religion from other professions, and how those facts undeniably influence how we interact with one another in academic circles. That said, some things aren’t so murky, and we can say without speculation that this is not valid science at all.
Amalaha says he aspires to one day write for international scientific journals and even “win [a] Nobel Prize for Africa.” I wish him good health, a prosperous education, and a new field of study.