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Bold probe of growing Culture of Death

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TITLE: Culture of Death: A Bioethic Reflection 

AUTHOR: Edeh Kenneth Onukwube

PUBLISHER: Apostleship of Mary Intervention

DATES OF PUBLICATION: 2011;  2019

ISBN: 978-061-601-2

READING how condoms cannot effectively prevent pregnancy or the contract of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) was jolting to me but I was alarmed further to learn that abortion and some common off-the-shelf drugs usually taken after intercourse can be the causes of serious infections and damning medical conditions that many people live with in contemporary time.

Recently, I encountered a book that unravelled a lot that I never knew about ethics, faith, sex, society and culture. It was an engaging reader and ample reference material on issues that are seldom discussed let alone being made a discourse of.

The book, Culture of Death: A Bioethic Reflection, as the author, Kenneth Onukwube Edeh explains “tends to destroy all forms of death resulting from ignorance and poverty of human mind. It promotes healthy and authentic lifestyle.” What the author needs to add is that his is one of the very few categorical stands that discountenances political correctness or corporate funds influence in the daisy gender and fertility discourse of contemporary time.

Dwelling on the relatively uncommon intellectual faculties of bioethics and lifting dossal citations from medical studies, philosophy and even economic references, Mr. Edeh burrows tangentially through the many deliberately contrived issues in the divergent worlds of sex education, sex commerce, human behaviour, pop culture, socio-political sloganeering, religion and health to come up with a piece of writing that is arguably one of the best materials to be recommended to anyone, especially people who are actively in the age of reproduction. Researchers, writers and public speakers will also find the book very resourceful the way preachers, especially Christian ones would.

 With references and lucid logic Culture of Death, challenges some hitherto accepted ideas. The book presents studies that show among other discoveries that condoms may not prevent the contracting of any sexually transmitted disease whether viral or bacterial hence cannot prevent the contracting of any sexually transmitted disease through viral or bacterial agents.

According to the book, the lubricant with which the inner portions of condoms are lubricated is  “very harmful to health and accounts for up to 90 per cent of  infertility problem of our time.”

Condom, Edeh argues, “does not prevent HIV at all.” He states “that the use of condom increases the chances of contracting HIV up to 99 per cent.”

In the book, Edeh’s expose on the largely but not solely sexually-communicated killer disease HIV and AIDS comes across as untangling a knot. According to him, there are two types of HIV, namely: HIV 1 and 2. He explained that while HIV 1, which is the type present in tropical parts of the world such as Africa has four groups: M,O,N and P. “Group M alone has further strains: A,B,C,D,F (f1 & f2), G,H  and K. Someone who is infected with HIV-1M can still be further infected with O,P,N or any of A,B,C,D… later in life from another source.”

In an argument that sets him squarely on the pro-life side of the rave global abortion debate, the author writes that the foetus in the womb, no matter how old is a living creature. “Abortion and the intake of drugs after sexual intercourse for prevention of pregnancy cause the permanent imbalance of acid and alkaline level of the body and introduces acute infections which complication causes many diseases people suffer today,” he states.

Stemming heavily from ethical philosophy, the author who received his barchelorate degree in philosophy from University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria and studied for his master’s degree in bioethics in Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum University, Italy reasons on the line of dignity of human person on the contentious fertility debate. After highlighting the arguments of such philosophers as Michael Tooley who are indifferent to abortion, he brigs up the logics of such thinkers as Jon. E. Daugherty; Sanson M. Staffens; Flore Farcas; Bruce M. Carlson; Jerome Jejune; Daanne Irving; Edwin Vieria Jr.; Francis Beck; Pope John Paul II;  Keith Moore and T.V. Persaud among others to argue in pages 149 to 155 that “even modern genetic science offers clear confirmation” that abortion is killing.

The notion of creating human persons in laboratory or getting male species to conceive and bear child, he reasons “destroys the argument put down by some philosophers that there is a difference between human being and human person….received his barchelorate degree in philosophy from University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria and studied for his master’s degree in bioethics in Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum University, Italy reasons on the line of dignity of human person on the contentious fertility debate.

After highlighting the arguments of such philosophers as Michael Tooley who are indifferent to abortion, he brigs up the logics of such thinkers as Jon. E. Daugherty; Sanson M. Staffens; Flore Farcas; Bruce M. Carlson; Jerome Jejune; Daanne Irving; Edwin Vieria Jr.; Francis Beck; Pope John Paul II;  Keith Moore and T.V. Persaud among others to argue in pages 149 to 155 that “even modern genetic science offers clear confirmation” that abortion is killing. The notion of creating human persons in laboratory or getting male species to conceive and bear child, he reasons “destroys the argument put down by some philosophers that there is a difference between human being and human person….

“It presents the excellence of human soul both as different from human spirit and as image of God.”

Culture of Death serves scholarly materials comprising philosophic, scientific, and religious argument in the ever controversial issue of fertility, faith and feminism debate to buttress that human life begins from fertilization of a woman’s womb.

Edeh equally has engaging logic on the issue of fertility technology. Through the thrust, he displayed his steep in the knowledge of extra-natural and artificial human reproduction. Issues relating to the complicated new age science of baby production through assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF); intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI); assisted hatching; preimplantation genetic diagnosis; blastocyst transfer; making men or male gender of mammals become pregnant through scientific methods and christian canonical positions on the development, presented Edeh the opportunity to prove his mettle. To this development he commits the entire Chapter Five of the book (pages 157 to 196). And within the forty pages, he served a researcher’s thriller, pry bit by bit  into the technologies of making babies through scientific manipulation of human embryo and unravelling little known ethical slips.

The book’s edge is in its ability to enlighten richly on issues of conscience, temperance and sense of concern for human dignity as well as the roles those factors play or should play in man’s decision making  on matters relating to life and death. However, therein lies the knocks for the work. Many would argue that Edeh’s steep in Christian philosophy rubs off heavily in his work, making pro-choice and pro-freedom-in-technology views come up only for extermination not for thorough consideration.  In the forward, Sylvester Chukwudi Onyeka, a Catholic priest noted the “didactic” but richly enlightening content of the book.

Notwithstanding some instances of poor edge cutting and ink blot on some pages (notably, pages 76 and 77 in my copies) the book is well written with good grammar and lucid sequence of argument. It is a very commendable 300-page  reader worthy of presence in any home and library.

All these along with rich content and topical subject matter make Culture of Death a viable resource material for youths in secondary and tertiary institutions as well as families and churches. Unfortunately, the author, a Catholic evangelist of the Apostlship of Mary Interventions who holds writing as a sidekick to his apostolic mission said he printed a limited number of copies due to paucity of fund. For the philanthropist who really craves to help society, a look towards Culture of Death may not be out of place.

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