My PERSONAL VIEW on Research Integrity: When scientists confess to lying

My PERSONAL VIEW on Research Integrity: When scientists confess to lying
Dr Francis Crawley writes in the British Medical Journal 6 November, 2018: “The retraction of scientific articles based on fraudulent representations of science is damaging to science”. [1]. The terms “Research Integrity” and “Fraudulent Science” hide underneath a human umbrella of “Lying Scientists” or (using polished language) “Scientific Liars”.

EDITORIAL INTEGRITY OF BMJ & LANCET – PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Great credit to these British Editors who pursued authors until they confessed uncomfortable truths leading to published articles retracted. I happened to be partly instrumental in unmasking in both these celebrated medical journals articles which (using Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s phrase) were full of “terminological in-exactitudes”, but which the Ghanaian in me would simply call “lies”.

In the BMJ example the then Editor rang me at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to issue what amounted to an apology and to reassure me that the published fictitious Case Report would be withdrawn. This was done after the authors confessed to lying. What they said had happened in their Case Report had in fact not happened, because there was no Case(to)Report!

The second example of scientific erroneous data I was instrumental in unmasking was when the AIDS pandemic engulfed the world. The day my suspicions surfaced was when BBC WORLD SERVICE in its SCIENCE IN ACTION Programme May 3 1987 broadcast that the reason AIDS was rampant in Central Africa was that people there had inherited a new genetic factor that predisposed them and homosexuals to the virus. I had just finished touring the worst afflicted areas of my Continent at my own expense to study AIDS at the grassroots. I did the 16-countries’ trip expressly to study the epidemiology of the new disease at the village level. Both BMJ [2] and Lancet [3] published articles I submitted to them. No less than 4 other British International Journals including Journal of Royal Society of Medicine which even invited an Editorial [4], carried my novel epidemiological findings.

In my publications I told the world exactly why and how AIDS became rampant on my Enigmatic Continent, especially in my own Ghanaian Krobo tribe. Then, suddenly, there came a team of scientists from London University claiming that homosexuals and Central Africans shared a common gene that they blamed for the pandemic. I could not sit idly by when laboratory scientists could broadcast to the world what I considered to be false. The SCIENCE IN ACTION programme claimed The Lancet to be the source of its information. I read, and re-read the paper, and wrote to The Lancet whose august Editorial Team then comprised of Robin Fox, Imogen Evans, and David Sharpe. I called them “The Magnificent Trio” because I was invited to Lancet’s Offices 7 Adam Street, The Strand in London for interview to substantiate my African findings.

Mine was the very first correspondence in Lancet to criticize “the new research”. Stung by my statement that their research “leaves a lot to be desired” the authors wrote back to more or less rubbish what I said: “Konotey-Ahulu’s interpretation of our conclusions is at fault”. I kept quiet, and just let others continue with correspondence in Lancet. Some supported the homosexual/Central-African-gene “finding” while others including Dr S S Papiha from Newcastle University disagreed, supporting me. Professor A G Dalgleish from London University also commented. Meanwhile, the media had a field day. Science Editor of The Times (references available) went on, and on, about the genetics of why Africa was being decimated by AIDS.

Then, exactly 11 months and 3 weeks after the Lancet publication about which “The Magnificent Trio” allowed much correspondence doctors were amazed to read that because of “ERRONEAOUS DATA” (the authors’ own words) the article linking Central Africans and homosexuals was being retracted forthwith. Frankly, after decades writing in international journals, I have come to the conclusion that British Editors are head and shoulders above the Americans when it comes to retracting scientific misinformation. I once wrote to the USA correcting something about G6PD Deficiency occurring together with Sickle Cell Disease in the same patient, but it took more than 6 months for the New England Journal of Medicine to publish my concerns [5], by which time the original misinformation had taken root.

RETRACTION NOT MENTIONED IN WORLD PRESS

What was hugely worrying for us Africans was that although the scientists confessed to wrong doing in both the BMJ case and The Lancet, the media did not find it necessary to correct what had been said in SCIENCE IN ACTION or The Times. Indeed, it took Professor Hermann Lehmann FRS of Cambridge University writing to The Times (January 4 1972) to rebuke its Science Correspondent and ask why when misinformation had been confessed and withdrawn from the BMJ should articles continue to appear as if nothing had happened? The Times Correspondent (references available) continued also to publish the falsely claimed genetic proclivity of homosexuals and Central Africans to AIDS after the “Erroneous Data” confession.

It appears we Africans cannot win? Wrong! The number of cell phones pervading the Dark Continent is mind boggling! Refuse to correct Misinformation or Disinformation (defined as Deliberate Misinformation), and be sure to find it corrected on the Internet, and African drivers reading about it while filling their car tanks with petrol. The Media World has changed. Africans have handed in questions to be answered on Facebook “Meet the Professor talking about Sickle Cell Disease Patient Live” [6]. Those who miss the live programme can access the hour-long session later on YouTube. Let conventional media “forget” to correct confessed scientific in-exactitudes that had been retracted, and Twenty-First Century Social Media will NOT forget! Professor Lord Solly Zuckermann [7] and previous BMJ Editors Stephen Lock and Richard Smith [8 9] have written extensively about this very important matter.

[NOTE: References of names of authors who confessed to “erroneous data” after being challenged and have had articles withdrawn from BMJ and Lancet are withheld.]

Competing Interest: Having been Past Editor of Ghana Medical Journal for many years taught me to discern when authors’ research articles “left a lot to be desired”. [3]
felix@konotey-ahulu.com Twitter@profkonoteyahul
F I D Konotey-Ahulu MD(Lond) FRCP(Lond) DTMH(L’pool) Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Former Consultant Physician Genetic Counsellor in Sickle Cell and Other Haemoglobinopathies, and Director Ghana Institute of Clinical GeneticsKorle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana and Phoenix Hospital Group, 9 Harley Street, London W1G 9AL [ www.sicklecell.md ]

References

1 Crawley Francis P. Research Integrity, Open Science, and Health Policy. BMJ Rapid Response 6 November 2018 https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4309/rapid-responses

2 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Clinical epidemiology, not sero-epidemiology, is the answer to Africa’s AIDS problem BMJ (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294(6587): 1593-1594 (June 20 1987)
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/294/6587/1593.pdf doi:10.1136/bmj.294.6587.1593

3 Konotey-Ahulu FID. AIDS in Africa: Misinformation and Disinformation. Lancet 1987; 2(8552): 206-208. July 25.

4 Konotey-Ahulu FID. An African on AIDS in Africa [Guest Editorial] The AIDS Letter – Royal Society of Medicine 1989 Feb/March, pp 1-3.http://www.konotey-ahulu.com/aidsinafrica/konoteyahulu/art1_cvref113.htm

5 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and sickle cell anaemia. New Eng J Med 1972; 287: 887-888. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/1/5793/177-a.pdf

6 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Meet the Professor talking about Sickle Cell disease patient live! Thursday 4th August 2016 7 pm On Line
https://www.facebook.com/events/1840398749523659/ | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR-IENhqh5k

7 Zuckerman, Lord S. Pride and prejudice in Science. Aerospace Medicine 1974; 45: 638-647. [Describes a catalogue of frauds in Science over several decades]

8 Lock Stephen. Misconduct in medical research: Does it exist in Britain? BMJ December 10 1988, Volume 297, page 1531.

9 Smith Richard. Should research fraud be a criminal offence? The BMJ Opinion. December 9 2013 https://blogs.bmj.com [“A systematic review has shown that research misconduct is common, terrifyingly common. Anybody who is sceptical about research fraud should sign up to the brilliant Retraction Watch that will bring you several cases every week of scientific misconduct”]
9AL.

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Folic acid in Pregnancy: Birth Defects: Speech Embarrassment: Why abortion?

Tiny Folic Acid in pregnancy prevents huge African Linguistic Embarrassment too, but is abortion for prevention warranted?

In addition to the “birth defects such as spinal bifida and anencephaly” (BMJ 20 0ctober 2018) that “flour fortified with folic acid” [1 2] is expected to prevent when given in early pregnancy, I did state ten years ago that “a mere 500 micrograms daily is known to prevent cleft palate” [3] – a seemingly minor defect but which in the tribal setting constitutes a formidable social pathology [3 4].

SOCIAL PATHOLOGY OF CLEFT PALATE IN THE AFRICAN

How would any BMJ reader feel if when saying “I have scrubbed”, what is heard is “I have passed wind?” The extraordinary thing about this state of affairs is that the speaker is quite unaware that what was just heard was tantamount to blasphemy in Krobo/Dãngme-Gã Mother Tongue where every vowel not only has at least 3 reproducible pitches but also 2 distinct qualities – non-nasal and nasal [5]. Cleft palate phonates nasal and, coupled with any of the 3 distinct pitches, imparts 6 different meanings to the same consonant. I say that again: a vowel in my Tribal Tonal Language imparts 6 different meanings to the same consonant depending on its pitch and quality. [3-6]

“Osa” in Krobo/Dãngme (“Osha” in Gã) [Low High vowel-pitch sequence] means “you scrubbed”. Nasalise the second vowel, same pitch sequence, and you have said “You passed wind” [Osã and Oshã respectively]. Even using the tribal devulgarising prefix “Tafracher!” [7] can never excuse the utterance of such a thing in public. The embarrassment is complete. “It is, therefore” I once remarked “a social disaster of enormous proportions if when an African wants to say she has scrubbed, she is rather heard to say unmentionable things because of cleft palate. The need for early correction of this defect cannot be overemphasized. Any African baby with cleft palate stands in great danger of being ostracised in later life, and should be helped immediately” [4, page 10].

TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY FOR CLEFT PALATE?

Nicholas Wald of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London is quoted by the BMJ as saying if it is officially confirmed that within weeks flour will be fortified with folic acid “the UK is taking an important step in preventive medicine and helping to avoid disability or termination of pregnancy” [1]. In a Parliamentary Written Question 114833 “Abortion: Cleft Palate” Jim Shannon (Strangford) asked the Secretary of State for Health on 21 November 2017 “how many abortions there were in each of the last 15 years in which the fetus had a cleft palate (a) palate or (b) lip, …” by residents in England and Wales [8]. Answering, Jackie Doyle-Price said that for all gestations there were 9 in 2013, 10 in 2014, 11 in 2015, and 9 in 2016.

IF GHANAIANS COULD DIAGNOSE PRENATALLY WOULD THEY ALSO ABORT?

Certainly Not! At least for one interesting reason: Dr Albert Joseph Hawe MD FRCP OBE CBE was the most well-known white Colonial Doctor the Gold Coast (now Ghana) had ever known for 50 years [9]. He was the doctor stationed at Akuse 10 miles from where I was born in Odumase Krobo, and it was he who so expertly looked after me in the early 1930’s when I was often sickly that my first words in English were “When I grow up I shall go to England. When I grow up I shall be a Dorkita like Dorkita Hor”. His contemporary in our British colony was Dr Cicely Williams who first described Kwashiorkor in my tribe [10 11]. I was amazed when I discovered that the white “dorkita” who had looked after me as a toddler was one of the two Consultants (the other was Ghanaian Dr Silas Dodu) whom I was assigned to work with as Medical Officer on my return from the UK after registration.

My second discovery was that the heavily nasal diction of Dr Albert Hawe was due to Cleft Palate/Lip the scar of repair of which was a prominent feature of his physiognomy! If this remarkable Englishman had been aborted he would not have been in Colonial Gold Coast to work in my tribe and help save my life. But in order that it might not be construed that cleft palate abortion practice in England and Wales had no equivalence in Africa thus proving our superior ethical stance in these things I, born with extra-digits deformity (Mendelian Dominant 1% incidence in Ghana) [12], need to mention what I once said in the BMJ [13] which Professor Sir David Weatherall FRS drew attention to in his excellent textbook “The New Genetics and Clinical Practice”[14]: My Krobo Tribe in south east Ghana cared little about extra digits which they just tied firmly at birth and watched them atrophy and fall off. My stubs are there for all to see today. The tribe east of us beyond the Volta River would rejoice at the sight of a new-born baby with extra digits – destined to be rich. The tribe west of us beyond the hills would drown a baby so deformed until the practice was stopped by missionaries and the Colonial government. The UK “scientific tribesmen” as I described them in the BMJ [13] might have suggested I be aborted alongside pregnancies with cleft palate and sickle cell disease’

DISCUSS WITH AFRICANS WHAT UK LAW ALLOWS BUT ETHICS DISALLOWS

Cleft-palated Dr Albert Hawe for over half a Century treated Ghanaians who then came to England and were told that it would soon be legal to terminate an up-to-term pregnancy because cleft palate had been unmasked through ultrasonography. A procedure that was legal by UK Law would be interpreted in the African mind as perfectly alright. Indeed, it is taught that haemoglobinopathy may be diagnosed prenatally and termination suggested to parents when some of my patients were far brighter than their siblings. [15]. World Class Clinical Geneticists Professor George Fraser [16] and Professor Sir David Weatherall [14] have always emphasized ETHICS in these considerations.

Competing Interest: Born with extra digits – a defect for which termination has been done in the UK [17] Twitter: @profkonoteyahul

Felix I D Konotey-Ahulu FGA MB BS MD(Lond) DSc(UCC) FRCP(Lond) FRCP(Glasg) DTMH(L’pool) FGCP FWACP FTWAS ORDER OF THE VOLTA (OFFICER) Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics University of Cape Coast, Ghana; Former Consultant Physician Genetic Counsellor in Sickle Cell and Other Haemoglobinopathies Korle Bu Teaching Hospital & Director Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics, and 9 Harley Street, Phoenix Hospital Group, London W1G 9AL. [www.sicklecell.md]

 

1 Limb Matthew BMJ Flour to be fortified with folic acid within weeks, say reports. BMJ 2018; 363:k4348.(20 Oct.) BMJ 2018; 363 doi  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4348     (16 Oct 2018)

2 Campbell D. Folic acid to be added to UK flour in effort to reduce birth defects.Guardian 14

Oct 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/14/folic-acid-to-be-added-to-flour-in-effort-to-reduce-serious-birth-defects.

3 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Social pathology of Cleft Palate in The African: Mathematical Precision of Pitch Gaps in Tribal Tonal Linguistics. Ghana Medical Journal 2008; 42: 89-91. (June 2008).

http://www.ghanamedassociation.org/ | http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov.articlerender.fcgi?artid=2631266 PMID: 19180210 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] (vowel coloration omitted on this NIH site).

4 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Tonic SolFa Is The Foundation Of Tonal Linguistics. DRUMSPEAK (Supplement) International Journal of Research in the Humanities. New Series Vol 3. No. 1, May 2010. Faculty of Arts, Univ. of Cape Coast, Ghana. ISSN (0855-9945).http://bit.ly/bEdcc4

5 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Black people’s red faces and AIDS prevention. Lancet 2000; 355(9214):1559. PMID: 10801206 [African vowel has at least 6 meanings with consonant]

6 Konotey-Ahulu FID. The Remarkable African Ear: Phenomenon of Mid Pitch Arrest Phenomenon in Krobo-Dangme-Gã Tonal Linguistics of South East Ghana. African American Museum of Philadelphia Award Lecture May 5 2007

http://blog.konotey-ahulu.com/blog_archives/2007/5/5/301434.html

7 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Tafracher – Personal View. BMJ 1975; 1(5953): 329. (February 8)  http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/1/5953/329.pdf         http://bit.ly/2bRQ7B1

8 UK Parliament. Abortion: Cleft Palate: Written question – 114833    (21 Nov. 2017)

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/…questions…question/…11…/114833/

9 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Some personal encounters with a remarkable physician. (Tribute to Dr Albert Joseph Hawe, OBE, CBE, MD, FRCP, DTMH). Ghana Med J 1979; 18: 88-90.

10 Williams Cicely. D. Kwashiorkor – a nutritional disease of children associated with a maize diet. Lancet 1935; ii: 1151-1152.

11 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Issues in Kwashiorkor. Lancet 1994, February 26, page 548.

12 Bonney GE, Walker M, Gbedemah K and Konotey-Ahulu FID. Multiple births and visible birth defects in 13000 consecutive deliveries in one Ghanaian hospital. In Proceedings of the Second International Congress on Twin Studies Part C Ed Nance W. Progress in Clinical and Biological Research 1978; 24 Pt B: 105-108.

13 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Ethical issues in prenatal diagnosis. BMJ Clin Res Ed 1984; 289(6438): 185. July 21. doi:10.1136/bmj.289.6438.185-a 6143955

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/289/6438/185-a.pdf

14 Weatherall DJ. Ethical Issues and related problems arising from the application of the new genetics to clinical practice. In: The New Genetics and Clinical Practice. [Third Edition] Oxford University Press. Oxford 1991.

15 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Antenatal sickle cell disease haemoglobinopathy screening. BMJ

http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c5243/reply#bmj_el_243447  Rapid Resp. Oct 25 2010

16 Fraser GR. FIFTY YEARS OF HUMAN GENETICS – A Festschrift and liber amicorum to celebrate the life and work of George Robert Fraser. Wakefield Press, 1 Parade West, Kent Town, South Australia 5067 www.wakefieldpress.com.au

17 Yeoman Fran. Babies are aborted over an extra finger or club foot. The Times. May 29 2006.

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UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE (CHANCELLOR LORD SALISBURY) HONOURS PROFESSOR FELIX KONOTEY-AHULU

September 5th 2018 at St Albans Cathedral

Prof. Felix Konotey‐Ahulu, Lord Salisbury
Prof. Felix Konotey‐Ahulu
Award Scroll


https://youtu.be/41a1FZSpHd4

CITATION HONORARY DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF SCIENCE (DSc)

Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to read the citation for the presentation of the honorary award of Doctor of Science on Professor Felix Konotey-Ahulu.

Science is, in essence, a search for the truth. It is this search for truth that has driven Felix to make very significant discoveries in the area of sickle cell disease. As a scientist, he is not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom if it conflicts with his own discoveries. But this has landed him in hot water at times, not least when he was assigned no fewer than four bodyguards when he was the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr Foundation’s award banquet in Philadelphia 1972!* His pointing out the vital distinction between sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease was going to have huge implications for insurance companies, and the organisers were more than a little concerned for his safety.

Felix’s research in the area of sickle cell disease has been groundbreaking. He is the only known scientist to have traced hereditary disease in his own family all the way back to 1670 AD. Having grown up in a family where sickle cell disease was present, his knowledge of the disease even before he went to medical school in the UK was significant. His parents had sickle cell trait, which resulted in his siblings having the disease, although he himself has neither.
Felix’s personal experience and observations therefore qualified him well to question conventional thinking about the causes of sickle cell trait, and seeing the pain and struggles of his siblings has greatly informed the way he views people with the condition. The sickle cell clinic in Ghana of which he was the
Director, at the Korle Bu Hospital, was the largest in the world. In addition, he established the Konotey-Ahulu Genetic Epidemiology Sickle Cell Foundation in 2011 to provide counselling for sufferers, as well as education and research.
The importance of asking questions is something Felix has always been very keen to pass on to his own students – encouraging them to learn ‘how to think’ rather than simply learning ‘what to think’ in order to pass exams. This ties in with his passion for medical ethics, particularly in the area of genetics. Indeed, one of his caveats is, ‘Medicine without ethics is dangerous!’

Although this honorary doctorate is being awarded for Felix’s involvement in the area of sickle cell disease, he has contributed significantly to other areas of work, including AIDS research, medical ethics and tonal linguistics. He has been very widely published, and a number of his articles have become the definitive studies in their field.

Felix has also authored two books. Of the first, What is AIDS?, Professor Maya Angelou said that it is ‘Compulsive reading. I could not put it down.’ His second, The Sickle Cell Disease Patient, has been described as ‘a commendable addition to the medical literature’.

The contribution of Felix has been publicly acknowledged many times, among which was inclusion in a list of ‘The 100 Greatest Africans of All Time’. In this list he keeps esteemed company, with names such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Kofi Annan. Among many other distinguished awards, he has received the Dr Martin Luther King Junior Foundation Award for outstanding research in sickle cell anaemia, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia Humanitarian Award in 2007, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the people of Africa and to the world.

Felix says that he has a soft spot for St Albans, as his second job after qualifying as a doctor at London University’s Westminster Hospital School of Medicine was as house surgeon in 1960 to three eminent surgeons at St Albans City Hospital. He remembers this fondly as a most memorable period in his career. Twenty years later, the hospital was privileged to count Felix as a locum physician in medicine for the elderly in the 1980s. He is now resident in Hertfordshire.

And Felix has a very diverse range of other talents too. If you have a moment, do search the internet for the millennium hymn he wrote – it’s called ‘Time was Created’ and available on YouTube, and is well worth a listen!
Chancellor, in recognition of outstanding achievement I ask that you confer the honorary award of Doctor of Science upon Professor Felix Konotey-Ahulu.

*See British Medical Journal 2007, July 28 Volume 335, page 210
“Four bodyguards and the perils of unmasking scientific truths” by F I D Konotey-Ahulu http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/335/7612/210

UH Hon. DSc Acceptance Speech Sept. 5 @ St Albans Cathedral

Lord Salisbury, Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, Lord Ribeiro of Achimota and Ovington and Past President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Graduates, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen! Hearty Congratulations to those who studied Allied Health Professions including Midwifery and have emerged so successful. Very Well Done! I sincerely wish you well for your future endeavours.

Regarding myself, ever since I got the letter of the Vice-Chancellor inviting me to receive an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree one word has been uppermost in my head – and that word is GRATITUDE. Allow me explain: Exactly one week after leaving Achimota School on completing my Cambridge School Certificate Exams in the Gold Coast (Ghana) my brother Jerry and I were struck by lightning on the football field. He was killed instantly. I was spared, with just a facial burn. Jerry was 17 years of age, I was 19. Why Jerry? And not me? I will never know the answer to that question, but one thing I do know, GOD Almighty has His hand on me. And my gratitude to HIM knows no bounds.

Three and half years after the lightning bolt I did the 12 days’ voyage by Boat (Elder Dempster Lines) to England to study Medicine. Can you believe that I was taught by the best of the best? At London University’s Westminster Hospital School of Medicine Clinicians of Royalty were my teachers notably Sir Richard Bayliss who became Physician of Her Majesty the Queen. Any bedside manners I possess I was taught by Sir Richard. You had better have bedside manners with the Head of the Commonwealth. My first job as a doctor was in London at Bethnal Green Hospital. Walking into Ward B3South I introduced myself to the nurse. “Hello, I am the new doctor, Felix”. Quick came the response “Hello. I am Sister Moss”. “So, what can I call you?” I asked hopefully. “You can call me Sister Moss” she replied. Actually, her name was Rosemary. I remember that Monday morning June 15 1959 as if it was yesterday because on Easter Monday 23rd April 1962 Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones married Felix and Rosemary Moss at Westminster Chapel. She is a staunch believer in The Lord Jesus Christ. We have 3 children, 11 grandchildren, and 2 great grand-children. Just Google “Felix and Rosemary” and you’ll see our 50th Wedding Anniversary 2012 clip. Darling I thank GOD for you! You are just as beautiful today as when I cast eyes on you 59 years 3 months ago. I don’t know how I could have achieved what I have done without you.

GRATITUDE: I stress this again as I end. I owe so much to more people than I have time to mention; people who made sacrifices for me like Professor Hermann Lehmann (Cambridge University), Professor Bela Ringelhann the Hungarian, Dr Kobla Gbedemah (Ghanaian Laboratory Expert) – men who have been long dead but whom I shall never forget. Also, Institutions that put their weight behind me like Ghana Cocoa Marketing Board, Ghana’s Managing Trustees of The VALCO Fund, and University of Cape Coast in Ghana.

Dear Graduates, when you see someone struggling in life and you reach down and lift them up, and you tell them “I will help carry your load”, you have an impact beyond anything you can imagine. One big thing I learnt coming to England in the early 1950s was that every privilege carried a responsibility. Never forget, Ladies and Gentlemen, that you have had privileges in life. Please, please, learn to help those less privileged than you. If I have achieved anything it is because I have been enabled by others to stand on the shoulders of giants. It has been a privilege to share this occasion with you. Lord Salisbury, I thank University of Hertfordshire for this honour done me. And I thank GOD Almighty in whose hands my very breath is for longevity.

Lord Salisbury, Prof. Felix Konotey‐Ahulu, Lord Ribeiro
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Do You Believe in God?

Do you believe in God?

Personal Answer to The Question “Do You Believe in God?

Mentioning God 4 times in headlines June to December 2017 [1-4] the BMJ is clearly not scared of ridicule from the author of “The God Delusion” and “The Greatest Show on Earth: the evidence for evolution” Richard Dawkins [5 6]. Numerous publications demolish the “scientific” foundation of his militant atheism [7-22]. Reading Professor David Berlinski’s excellent book “THE DEVIL’S DELUSION: ATHEISM AND ITS SCIENTIFIC PRETENSIONS” [23] I discern a vast difference between his Princeton PhD-reasoning and Dawkins’s Oxford University DPhil-cogitations. Thankfully, Oxford University has at least 3 other DPhils who believe in the GOD Dawkins denies: Dr Jim Packer’s “KNOWING GOD” is gem of a Classic [24]; Professor John Lennox outshines Professor Richard Dawkins [25 26] in Public Debates, and Dawkins’s previous fellow atheist Professor Alister McGrath writes: “There are many who are deluded about God, and I used to be one of them” [27]. His bestseller “THE DAWKINS DELUSION? Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine” [27] states (page 64) “The God Delusion is a work of theatre, rather than scholarship -….” Alister McGrath and his wife Joanna Collicutt McGrath conclude their book with this question: “Might atheism be a delusion about God?” [27]

TO WHOM IS THIS QUESTION DIRECTED? [1]
The “you” of Modern English is ambiguously singular and plural. I prefer “thou” and “ye” of yesteryears, and I split the question into “Dost thou acknowledge God’s existence?” and “Dost thou believe in God?” Answering “Yes!” to both I rest my confidence on 3 supra-scientific Facts: History, Miracle (properly defined), and Personal Experience.

HISTORY
Historical events that cannot be fathomed through Science are often either dismissed as myths (never happened) or explained away somehow. Professor Know-All’s comments in the BMJ on 4 historical events in Clinical Medicine that I called “supra-scientific” prove my point [28]. The fourth event I described was when my robust younger brother announced on Friday 16th December one year that he had a week to live, and the following Wednesday 21st December as our mother was baking cakes for Christmas he said none of us would be eating cakes that Christmas and we laughed him to scorn; then playing football with him on Friday 23rd December we were both struck by lightning which killed him instantly, and left me with a facial burn [29]. Not only did Jerry have “a week to live”, but also no one ate cakes at Christmas 1949 in Odumase-Krobo while Rev D A Konotey-Ahulu’s second son lay unburied on Christmas Day. Professor Know-All’s “scientific” verdict was “Your brother was accident prone!” [30].

Moses saw the burning bush that was not consumed and, advancing to investigate, heard “Moses, Moses! Draw not nigh hither: Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground”. He was petrified when the voice said “I AM THAT I AM …Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel ‘I AM hath sent me unto you’” [31]. Truth of this historical event baffles atheists. That Moses went on to deliver his people from slavery in Egypt is sheer history [32].

When I date my cheques 20th January 2018 I am proclaiming that 20 Centuries ago The Lord Jesus Christ said in Jerusalem “Before Abraham was I AM” [33], the very name that Moses heard at the burning bush. I do not appeal to Science for help in validating the historicity of The Lord Jesus Christ who said 40 times in Apostle John’s Gospel that he was sent [34]. His origins and deeds can only be described as miraculous.

WHAT IS A MIRACLE?
December 1958 to March 1959 was a bad winter for this African in London. Weeks before Final Exams in April 1959 to graduate as a doctor I was admitted with virus pneumonia to Westminster Hospital in Horseferry Road under Dr (later) Sir Richard Bayliss, Queen’s Physician. If I recovered there was no way I could pass the exam because my revision plans were ruined. Discharged in time to sit the Finals, I passed.

My friend Richard Alderson, brilliant English Teacher, and fellow member of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Westminster Chapel [35], later saw me and asked how I did. His immediate response when I said “I passed. It’s a miracle!” taught me the correct meaning of the word: “If you had the brain of a hedgehog that would be a miracle”. Exactly! True miracles are way beyond the merely supra-scientific. The hedgehog-brain-answering-exam-questions-on-placenta-praevia type of historical event that defies scientific explanation, is what some scientists deny ever happened. But Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Medawar published “The Limits of Science” [36]. Lesser-brained scientists disagree, claiming (like Professor Know-All) to have answers for everything.

Well then, “Crucified, dead, and buried; the third day The Lord Jesus rose from the dead” is not Science so it is not History either? Does History not confirm mysterious truths which Science cannot fathom? [37 38]. I knew some Resurrection deniers who hated The Lord Jesus Christ. Their “OK, Jesus rose from the dead, so what?” revealed much. Were they God haters rather than just atheists? Are we really in a “Post-Truth World?” [39].

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
“GOD is a SPIRIT, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” [40] – words of The Lord Jesus Christ once quite meaningless to me. Science had/has no definition for “spiritual things” [41-43]. But on Friday 24 October 1952, alone in my university rooms in Ghana reading other words of The Lord Jesus [44] HE miraculously revealed Himself to me. There’s no scientific explanation for what happened that night. Subdued and tearful, I went next-door to tell fellow student James Mustaffah: “Felix will never be the same again!” [45]. I was never the same again. Similar experiences described in Eric Metaxas’s remarkable biographies of Bonhoeffer, Wilberforce, and Luther [46-48] demonstrate this divine intertwining of History, Miracle, and Personal Experience. For me to understand spiritual things now is a Miracle. O Thank GOD!

Competing Interest: Believer in The Lord Jesus Christ [Nuntsɔ Yesu Kristo]
felix@konotey-ahulu.com Twitter@profkonoteyahul

Felix I D Konotey-Ahulu FGA MB BS MD(Lond) DSc(UCC) FRCP(Lond) FRCP(Glasg) DTMH(L’pool) FGCP FWACP FTWAS ORDER OF THE VOLTA (OFFICER) Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics University of Cape Coast, Ghana; Former Consultant Physician Genetic Counsellor in Sickle Cell and Other Haemoglobinopathies Korle Bu Teaching Hospital & Director Ghana Institute of Clinical Genetics, and 9 Harley Street, Phoenix Hospital Group, London W1G 9AL. Website: www.sicklecell.md

1 Saripanidis Savros. Do you believe in God? 24 August 2017 BMJ Rapid Response http://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j4669/rapid-responses Re¨Kevin Barraclough Do you believe in God? 319:doi 10.1136/bmj.319.7214.929a

2 Burridge Stan. Three forms of identification and a letter from God.
BMJ 25 Oct 2017. 359: j4669. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j4669 pmid: 29070597.

3 Donne J. Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness | BMJ Supportive & Palliative spcare.bmj.com/content/bmjspcare/7/3/273.full.pdf June 27 2017.
John Donne’s sonnet ‘Death be not proud’ is a favourite reading at funerals; but his ‘Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness’ is one of the great poems in the language.

4 Keown Daniel. What God forgot to tell surgeons: the science of acupuncture Review http://aim.bmj.com/content/acupmed/31/3/345.full.pdf by Anne-Marie Marlow. Downloaded on December 8, 2017.

5 Dawkins Richard. The God Delusion. London – Transworld Publications 2007.

6 Dawkins Richard. The Greatest Show on Earth. Free Press, New York, 2009

7 Sarfati Jonathan. The Greatest Hoax On Earth? Refuting Dawkins On Evolution. Creation Book Publishers. Atlanta Georgia, USA 2010. ISBN 978-0-949906-73-1 [333 pages]

8 Evolution’s Achilles Heels – 9 PhD Scientists explain evolution’s fatal flaws – in areas claimed to be its greatest strengths. Foreword by Carl Wieland. Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, Georgia USA 2014. ISBN 978-1-921643-82-8 [272 pp]

9 Sarfati Jonathan. Refuting Evolution. Amazon.com: Books 9780949906731 htpps://www.amazon.com/Refuting.Evolution-Jonathan-Sarfati/dp/0949906735
https://creation.com/refuting-evolution-index [A handbook for students, parents, and teachers countering the latest arguments for evolution]

10 Sarfati Jonathan. Refuting Evolution 2. A sequel that comprehensively counters arguments that support evolution (as presented in TV Documentaries and Scientific American) www.amazon.co.uk/refuting+evolution+2 2004 ISBN: 0-949906-27-1 [235 pages]

11 Penner JG. Evolution Challenged by Language and Speech. Minerva Press, London W1R 7YB. 2000 ISBN 0 75411 092 3. [403 pages]

12 Gitt Werner. In the beginning was Information – A Scientist Explains the Incredible Design in Nature. Master Books (New Leaf Publishing Group) AR 72638 USA ISBN-13: 978-0-89051-461-0 & 10: 089051-461-5 (264 pages).

13 Gitt Werner. Did God use Evolution? Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung e.V. Postfach 11 01 35.33661 Bielefeld Germany 2nd Edition 2001. [160 pages]

14 Sanford J C. Genetic Entropy. FMS Publications (FMS Foundation) USA, Fourth Edition 2014. ISBN 978-0-9816316-0-8 [271 pages]

15 Wieland Carl. One Human Family. The Bible, Science, Race & Culture. Creation Book Publishers, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 2011 www.onehumanfamily.us [378 pages]

16 Andrews Edgar. Who Made GOD? Searching for a Theory of Everything. EP Books, Pistyll Hall, Pistyll, Holywell, CH8 7SH www.epbooks.org 2009 (324 pp).

17 Rendle Short John. Green Eye of the storm. Controversy between Science and Christianity in the lives of Arthur Rendle-Short (1880-1953); Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888); George John Romanes (1848-1894). The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh/Pennsylvania 1998. ISBN 0 85151 7277 [294 pages]

18 Hoyle Fred. The Intelligent Universe. Michael Joseph, London, 1985, page 25 “Why has the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection managed for upwards of a century, to fasten itself like a superstition on so-called enlightened opinion? Why is the story still defended so vigorously?” [This from a Cambridge University Professor, & a Fellow of UK’s prestigious Royal Society FRS]

19 Sarfati Jonathan. By Design – Evidence for Nature’s Intelligent Designer – The God of the Bible. Creation Book Publishers 2008 Atlanta Georgia, USA www.creationbookpublishers.com [260 pages]

20 Konotey-Ahulu FID. The God Delusion title devalues sensible discourse. BMJ Rapid Response www.bmj.com/content/335/7629/1099.1/rr-0 October 19 2016.

21 Blanchard John. Does GOD believe in Atheists? Evangelical Press 2001, USA P O Box 84, Auburn, MA 01501, USA ISBN 0 85234 460 0 [656 pages]

22 Blanchard John. Is GOD past His Sell-By Date? Evangelical Press 2007. P O Box 825, Webster, NY 14580 & Faverdale North Industrial Estate, Darlington, DL3 0PH, England. [268 pages]

23 Berlinski David. The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. Basic Books (Perseus Books Group) 2009; 387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016-8810. ISBN: 978-0-465-01937-3

24 Packer JI. KNOWING GOD. Hodder and Stoughton. London 1973 [256 pp].

25 Has Science Buried God? Dr. Richard Dawkins vs. Dr. John Lennox …
983thesnake.com/has-science-buried-god-dr-richard-dawkins-vs-dr-john-lennox-the-…18 Nov 2015 – In this fascinating debate, Dr. Richard Dawkins and Dr. John Lennox discuss the question of whether science has buried God.

26 The God Delusion Debate: Richard Dawkins and John Lennox …
www.trentarwine.com › Atheism › Debates19 Jan 2017 – In Birmingham, Alabama, Professor Richard Dawkins and his Oxford University colleague, Professor John Lennox, engaged in a lively debate over what is arguably the most critical question of our time: the existence of God. The debate centred on Dawkins’ views as expressed in his “The God Delusion”.

27 McGrath Alister with McGrath JC. The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the denial of the divine. SPCK, 36 Causton Street, London SW1P 4ST. 2007 ISBN 978-0-281-05927-0.

28 Konotey-Ahulu FID. The supra-scientific in clinical medicine: a challenge to Professor Know-All. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7327.1452 Brit Med J 2001; 323(7327): 1452-1453 (22-29 Dec) http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/323/7327/1452.pdf

29 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Case of lightning burns. BMJ 1963; 1: 1547. June 8. Doi:10.1136/bmj.1.5344.1547 http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/1/5344/1547.apdf

30 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Superstition and phenomena in Africa. Personal View. BMJ 1969; 2:48 http://www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/3/5664/235.pdf April 15 doi:10.1136/bmj.2.5648.48

31 Holy Bible: Exodus chapter 3 verses 1-10. [Moses commissioned to go and lead Israelites out of Egypt].

32 Holy Bible: The Passover. Exodus chapter 12 verses 1 to 51. [Verse 51 “And it came to pass, …, that The LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies” [A supra-scientific historical event]

33 LORD JESUS CHRIST. “Most assuredly, I say unto you, before Abraham was I AM”. St John chapter 8 verse 58.

34 Konotey-Ahulu FID. MILLENNIUM Hymn – TIME WAS CREATED (Verse 3 of the 7 verses emphasises 40 times The LORD JESUS said in St John’s Gospel He was sent into the world and why – http://bit.ly/cRrZ0s (0 is zero, not o) 2000
Video with music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hconD91uNs

35 Murray Iain. Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones 1899-1980. Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh [See Reference 24 of http://bit.ly/2igdDg2 for more details on him]

36 Medawar Peter. The Limits of Science. Oxford University Press. 1985.

37 Konotey-Ahulu FID. History versus Limits of Science: Is Solomonic Genius a Y Chromosome Phenomenon? J Genet Disorders Genetic Reports 2014; 3: 2 http://bit.ly/1wyq5H5

38 Konotey-Ahulu FID. “Private Thoughts: There is no evidence that I was born on a Saturday. Postgraduate Medical Journal of Ghana 1: 32-33” [which often proved the superiority of history over science in arriving at truth] 2012.

39 Konotey-Ahulu FID. Evidence in a post-truth world: Scientists’ Misinformation and Disinformation http://bit.ly/2igdDg2 Response to Dr Margaret McCartney’s “seams of multiple misinformation” pervading the scientific world – “Evidence in a post-truth world”. BMJ 2016; 355: 16363, November 28, 2016.

40 LORD JESUS CHRIST. To the Samaritan woman at the well: “GOD is a Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth”. St John’s Gospel chapter 4 verse 24.

41 Lloyd-Jones DM. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure (Amazon’s Book Store www.amazon.co.uk>Spiritual-De ISBN 9780802813879 [One of top 100 Millennium Books]

42 Konotey-Ahulu FID. The spiritual and the psychological in Clinical Medicine. (Personal View) BMJ 1977; 1: 1595 www.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/1/6076/1595.pdf doi:10,1136/6076/1595 June 15 “There is a vast area of man’s experience called the spiritual realm which neither Freudian psychoanalysis nor the scientific method can fathom…Approaches to scientific truth and spiritual truth are different. One scientist will read Dr Lloyd-Jones’ ‘Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure’ (Reference 41 above) with much profit while another, with the same qualifications, will find it unintelligible”

43 Lloyd-Jones DM. Conversions Psychological and Spiritual. (Critique of Dr William Sargant’s “Battle for the Mind”) https://www.amazon.co.uk>uk 9780851100098 December 1 1959.

44 LORD JESUS CHRIST. For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. St Matthew’s Gospel chapter 9 verse 13. [Reading of which at about 8 pm 24th October 1952 alone in my university rooms in Legon, Ghana, seemed to switch on spiritual eyes that changed me for good]

45 Barker Peter, Boadi-Siaw Samuel. Changed by the WORD – The Story of Scripture Union in Ghana. Scripture Union Ghana, P O Box AN 7388, Accra-North, Ghana. ISBN 9964-87-800-1 “Felix will never be the same again” – p. 18.

46 Metaxas Eric. BONHOEFFER – Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Thomas Nelson USA, August 2011 (626 pages).

47 Metaxas Eric. AMAZING GRACE. Biography of William Wilberforce. Authentic Media, USA, October 2013 (344 pages).

48 Metaxas Eric. MARTIN LUTHER: The Man Who Rediscovered GOD and Changed the World. Viking Press, USA, October 2017 (416 pages).

Competing interests: Competing Interest: Believer in The Lord Jesus Christ [Nuntsɔ Yesu Kristo]

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