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#OtvFACTS: 16 Errors That Are Still Taught In Nigerian Schools Today

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The title may be a little bit misleading, because this
problem is not only limited to Nigerian schools. It’s a
worldwide phenomenon occasioned by teachers, lecturers
and instructors who make no effort to update themselves
and add to what they already know. These lies – at least
some of them – were facts at some point in time, but things
have since moved on. Truths become lies as new
discoveries are being made.
Here are 16 lies that are still dished out the world over even
as you read this:
There are six classes of food: I was taught – and I know
most of you were taught – that there are 6 classes of food,
namely, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fats and oil,
minerals and water. It is no longer the case. Officially, there
are now SEVEN classes of food: proteins, carbohydrates,
vitamins (or vegetables), fibers, fats and oil, minerals and
water. Fiber is derived from plants and it was initially left out
by nutritionists because it seemingly does not add any
nutrient to the body. What fiber does that it alters the way
our gastrointestinal tract absorbs food. Fiber itself is
indigestible; it is broken down in the large intestine not by
the body’s digestive system, but by the trillions of bacteria
that live there.
There are nine planets in the solar system: Astronomers are
regularly discovering new planets all over the universe.
However, the number of planets in our own solar system
has been reduced from nine to eight. This is due to the
declassification of Pluto as a planet. Pluto was officially
downgraded by astronomers at the 26th General Assembly
of the International Astronomical Union which was held in
Prague, Czech Republic, in 2006. It is now a dwarf planet.
Astronomers found out that it is merely a huge ball of ice
and rock orbiting the Sun in an area known as the Kuiper
Belt. The Kuiper Belt is located beyond the planet Neptune
(which is now the farthest planet in the solar system) and it
contains over 70,000 icy objects similar to Pluto. Pluto
happens to be one of the biggest of these icy objects, but
it’s not the biggest. The biggest is Eris. Eris, a dwarf planet,
is the largest object in the Kuiper Belt. It’s about 25% more
massive than Pluto.
There are four oceans: That was until the year 2000 when
the International Hydrographic Organization concluded that
a distinct body of sea that completely surrounds the
continent Antarctica will be the Earth’s fifth ocean. The
exact geographic coordinates of the salty water are yet to be
agreed upon, but most sources will tell you that it lies to the
south of Australia, New Zealand and the tip of the South
American continent.
There are three states of matter: There are several states of
matter, in fact. According to physicists, in addition to solid,
liquid and gaseous, plasma can be observed in everyday
life. Actually, scientists claim that plasma is the most
abundant form of matter in the universe, because most of
the stars, including our own Sun, are in a plasma state.
Other states of matter include the neutron-degenerate
matter, Bose-Einstein condensates, liquid crystals,
superfluids, quark-gluon plasmas, quantum hall state,
supersolid, string-net liquid, superglass and dark matter. But
these forms of matter are very rare and some of them have
not been observed, but are believed to exist.
Humans have only five senses: It turns out that sight,
hearing, touch, smell and taste are not the only sensory
responses human beings exhibit. Human sensory receptors
can also respond to pain (nociception), changes in
temperature (thermoception), changes in balance
(equilibrioception), position (proprioception), magnetic
direction (magnetoception) and the passage of time
(chronoception).
Humans evolved from apes: This is a great lie and
misconception that has been here with us since the day
Charles Darwin published his controversial “On the Origin of
Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation
of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” According to this
well-known biological framework, human beings and the
modern-day apes evolved from a single, now-extinct
ancestor. As time passed by, these ancestors of ours began
to evolve differently based on climatic, nutritional,
geographical and social changes.
Mount Everest is the highest place on earth: Mount Everest
is the highest mountain in the world quite alright, but it’s not
the part of the world that is closest to outer space. Here how
it works: the Earth does not have a perfectly round structure
like the world globes you’ll find in most schools.
Geographers call this anomaly an oblate spheroid, which
means that the earth has a bulge towards the equator. As a
result of this bulge, places close to the equator are “further
out” from the centre of the Earth than places that are far
away from it. Ethiopia, Kenya, Gabon, Colombia, the
Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries that
straddle the equator are “further out” from the centre of the
Earth and are closer to outer space than countries that lie
towards the north and south poles, such as the Scandinavian
countries, Russia, Canada, the United States and Greenland.
Going by this phenomenon, the title of the highest spot on
Earth belongs to a mountain in Ecuador that you may not
have heard of. The rather unspectacular Mount Chimborazo
in the Andes of South America has been identified as the
highest point on earth and its closest part to outer space.
The peak is in reality 1.5 miles “higher up” than Mount
Everest because it sits atop the Earth’s bulge, though it only
measures 20,564 ft from sea level, while Everest measures
29,029 ft. But for the sake of clarity, Everest is still the
highest mountain in the world from sea level, but if two
objects are descending from outer space from the same
distance and at the same pace to the two mountains, the
one coming down to Chimborazo will land before the one
descending to Everest. Everest is actually the fifth furthest
place from the centre of the Earth; Huascaran in Peru,
Cotopaxi in Ecuador, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and
Chimborazo are all further.
Babies are born tabula rasa: For ages, arguments and
counterarguments have been made by psychologists and
philosophers over whether human beings are born with the
so-called blank slate. But thanks to advancements in
genetic studies, most of us are now in the know that
humans transfer some of their characteristics (known as
traits) to their offspring. These traits go a long way in
determining how the offspring will react when put in certain
situations and subjected to certain conditions.
Different parts of the tongue detect different flavours: Even
in my university days, I was taught by professors that
different parts of the human tongue are specialized for
detecting different tastes. The so-called tongue map
balkanized our taste organ into areas responsible for
detecting sweetness, bitterness, saltiness, sourness and
unami. Per contra, it turns out that most taste buds on the
tongue and in other areas of the mouth can detect any taste
irrespective of their position.
Europeans brought Christianity to Africa and Christianity is a
Western Religion: Christianity is the world’s largest religion
and it originated from Asia in the geographical East. The
movement that gave rise to Christianity was begun by Jesus
Christ who was born over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem in
present-day Palestine. The followers of the teachings of
Christ were first called “Christians” in the town of Antioch
which is now a historical site in present-day Turkey. Antioch
lies on the eastern part of Turkey which is in Asia. It is not
clear when Christianity was brought to either Europe or
Africa. It is recorded in the Bible that Christ was taken to
Egypt as an infant by Mary and Joseph who were fleeing
from Herod the Great during the Massacre of the Innocents.
However, Christ’s ministry began few years before He was
crucified. It is not recorded if He went to Africa or Europe
during His ministry. What is clear, though, is that one of His
apostles, Mark, established the first church in Africa twelve
years after the crucifixion, known as the Church of
Alexandria.
Some years before that, another apostle, Philip, was
recorded in the Acts of the Apostles to have baptized an
Ethiopian eunuch on the road leading to Gaza from
Jerusalem. The Acts, however, did not tell us where the
eunuch went afterwards or if he spread the message in
Ethiopia. A church was established in Ethiopia some years
after the Church of Alexandria in Egypt and it is still in
existence today. Most present-day Ethiopians are Christians
and their own form of Christianity is not linked to the ones
spread by the Europeans.
The Bible, the Church and People in the Middle Ages believed
that the Earth was flat: According to the notion – which has
been erroneously published in some textbooks – Christians
in the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. The
notion has it that it was not until Genoese explorer,
Christopher Columbus, had “sailed round the world” without
falling off the Earth’s presumed edge (and “discovered”
what turned out to be North America) that the Church
leaders came to the realization that the Earth is indeed
spherical and not flat. Contrary to this view, Greek
astronomers and pretty much everyone else then knew long
before the advent of Christianity that the Earth was
spherical. The early Greeks were renowned astronomers
who made predictions that are still correct today. The Bible
also alluded to a spherical Earth. Isaiah 40:22 says that “He
(God) sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.” It was
only a handful of scholars in the Middle Ages who claimed to
be representing the whole Church that believed in a flat
Earth.
Michael Faraday invented electricity: No-one actually
invented electricity. The form of energy now known as
electricity has been there since the beginning of the world.
Electricity occurs in nature. A lightning bolt, for example,
releases electricity.
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb: While it is not clear
who invented light bulbs, they were being used as electric
lights more than 50 years before Thomas Edison patented
his famous invention in 1879. What Edison invented was the
world’s first commercially viable incandescent light bulb.
Diabetes is caused by sugar: Sugar doesn’t directly cause
diabetes, but if you consume too much sugar, you are likely
going to get diabetes. What sugar does is that it increases
the quantity of calories in the body. Too many calories in the
body lead to weight gain which significantly increases a
person’s likelihood to develop type 2 diabetes.
The Whites kidnapped Africans and sold them into
slavery: This is not entirely true. Most slaves that were
shipped into the Americas to work in plantations were
actually captured by their own kinsmen and sold to the
Europeans. When it all began, the Europeans were the ones
doing the kidnapping. They organized abduction raids to
capture slaves from different communities. But in no time,
they realized that it was too dangerous a venture for them
since they were not familiar with the inland terrains. What
did they do? They subsequently found people that will do
their dirty jobs. Then came the local chiefs and the greedy
merchants. They were given this responsibility in exchange
for money and other privileges. At the height of the slave
trade, this practice became a lucrative business along
Nigeria’s Atlantic coast. Read on Edification.

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