Experts urged to take lead role in critical scientific discourse

Prof. Muigai makes her presentation 

Experts in various fields of knowledge and areas of human endeavor have been challenged to take a front line role in important national scientific discourses and meaningfully contribute in shaping and driving the debates on issues affecting the Kenyan society and humanity at large.

This was reported during the Christian and Scientific Association of Kenya (CSAK) forum  themed: Facilitating synergistic interactions between science and religion, organized by the JKUAT Chapter at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Friday, April 5, 2019.

Addressing the members, CSAK National Project Leader and Director of Research Innovation at Mount Kenya University, Prof. Francis Muregi, said, it was disturbing to see scholars abdicating their role of shining the spotlight on critical scientific issues and debates to the activists most of whom are not well versed in the issues they purport to agitate for.

“There is a gap. The scholars themselves are not talking. They have left it to the activists. CSAK was founded to provide a forum for these experts to ventilate on some of these important issues…”  Prof. Muregi observed, citing previous debates such as on Tetanus vaccines which were predominantly driven by activists and lobby groups.

Prof. Muregi addressing the CSAK members

His sentiments were echoed by Prof. Anne Muigai, in her exposition titled: In vitro fertilization: the status of the frozen embryo, which sought to bring science and religion to bear on ethical, moral underpinnings of the issue of having a child through scientific interventions.

While acknowledging that God had given human beings knowledge and talents including the advances in science, she warned that if that knowledge was not put to proper and effective use for the good of humanity, human beings risked the knowledge being taken away by God.

Muigai, a professor of genetics at JKUAT was recently appointed to the World Health Organization advisory committee on developing global standards for the governance and oversight of human genome editing, stated that while it was wise for couples who because of one reason or the other could not bear children to find a solution through science, she stated that some of the interventions raised serious moral, ethical and spiritual concerns, that needed to be addressed.

Drawing from the African cultural and religious contexts where children are highly valued and seen as a gift from God, the highly interactive participants sought to know as to whether it was good to remain childless, or seek the intervention of science such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

There was consensus however that there was a dearth of information on IVF among the population and a lot of education was required to enlighten the masses on the implication and the processes involved in IVF.

Members join their Patron Dr. Kinyuru,  the presenter, Prof. Muigai, and Founder Prof. Muregi after the meeting.

CSAK JKUAT Chapter Patron, Dr. John Kinyuru stated that the Association has been in existence since 2015, whose overall goal is “to explore and promote understanding between science and religion in the African context, noting that the Association was keen to see the initiative spreading to other institutions.”

Dr. Kinyuru highlighted various activities undertaken by the Association such as “training, conferences, online courses, and appealed to non-members to register as CSAK members and help in advancing the noble course and aims of the non-partisan and non-political Association. “

The founder revealed plans to unveil clubs in high schools to nurture young minds into the work of CSAK, to foster synergistic interaction and understanding between the fields of science and religion across the country.

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