Atheist Society of Nigeria

We seek a Nigeria where public policies are based on rational reasoning and critical thinking and not influenced by religious beliefs

Group Picture

Saturday, 18 August 2018


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen



Calistus Igwilo is the President of the Atheist Society of Nigeria, who was kind enough to give an extensive, exclusive interview with me. Here we talk about religious faith, atheism, and religion in Nigeria.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How momentous is the occasion of ASN registration?
Calistus IgwiloWell, the day the news broke that we have been incorporated, it was in the evening, I was just speechless, I couldn’t describe what I felt, and it was the same for other 9 members of the board of trustees. But very quickly, it dawned on me that we have achieved something very great something capable of making a positive lasting change to Nigeria and I could see the enormous task ahead of us. I still don’t have words to describe the feeling that night, but that sense of accomplishment drove us to this present day.
Jacobsen: Also, it was registered as an official organization, which is a first for an organization of its kind. How else is this a momentous occasion for the atheist community in Nigeria?

Igwilo: First it has given the Atheists, Secularists, Humanists and Freethinkers a sense of community backed by the law, where they can actualize their common goals, it has given them a voice which hitherto was non-existent, many never believed that this day will come. ASN wants to engage with the Nigerian community to raise awareness on why public policies, scientific inquiries and education policies should not be based on religious beliefs but rather on sound reason, rationality and evidence. This will help liberate people from superstitions and myths and promote science and technology, it will also make Nigeria a saner, safer, more sustainable place for reason and freethought.
Jacobsen: What are some initiatives underway to normalize atheism, reduce superstition, and secularize public life in Nigeria more?
Igwilo: We have started campaigning against qualified professionals that use their authority to promote superstitious practices among vulnerable Nigerians which could lead to loss of lives. A case study is our petition against the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria about some medical doctors and healthcare professionals that refer patients to “faith healing homes” and some that support phantom miraculous healing testimonies in their places of worship giving credence to superstitious beliefs.
We also want to promote religious tolerance in Nigeria because Nigeria is grossly divided along religious lines which breeds suspicion and mistrust among the divide. Our solution is to educate the youths on various religions in Nigeria, this can be achieved by campaigning for the merging of all religious studies under a single subject of learning in secondary schools. We are making the case that Traditional Religious Knowledge, Islamic Religious Knowledge, Christian Religious Knowledge be taught as a single comparative subject of study, it will enable the students to critique religions and have an academic knowledge of various religions and help them develop critical thinking and reasoning. When they become adults, they will vote in people with rational and critical thinking into governance who will in turn make public policies that are not based on religious beliefs but on sound reason, rationality and evidence. It will be a very long drawn out campaign, we will lay the foundation now and sustain it.
Nigerian national assembly has passed some laws that breed hate and victimization against some minority citizens, we intend to mount campaign in due cause to call for repeal of those obnoxious laws that infringes on citizens fundamental human rights.
Jacobsen: How can people get involved or donate to the Atheist Society of Nigeria?

Igwilo: People can get involved with us by registering as members of Atheist Society of Nigeria though our membership registration portal on our website at www.atheist.org.ng.
We are a not-for-profit organisation and depend on donations and goodwill to carry out our programs and local development projects. We are open to donations and volunteering of time and skills to help implement our projects. For monetary donations, we have a bank account where we can receive donations, it can also be done online using credit or debit card. We also have a portal for volunteers registration on our website.
Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Calistus.
--
Originally Published in The Good Men Project
--
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

Saturday, 17 February 2018



What do you do with your Sundays? Sleep? Read? Meditate? Or lay in bed all day?

Clear your schedule ladies and gentlemen, for something better is here. The premier Nigerian atheist mega meet, a fun filled day,...  BBQ, Bits & Bites, Beach Activities, DJ, Bikinis & Bottles and Lounging all through.

On Sunday April 1st 2018 at Rozmajor hotel, First Bank Junction, Ibeshe via Ijegun-Egba jetty, Satellite town, Lagos. 

To RSVP – to indicate your interest if you will be attending – fill in the invitation form here .Valid from 5th of February to 10th of March



NB: EVENT IS STRICTLY BY INVITATION AND RSVP

 Date: Sunday April 1st 2018.
 Location: Rozmajor hotel, First Bank Junction, Ibeshe via Ijegun-Egba jetty, Satellite town, Lagos.

Accommodation available for those coming from other states of the federation

DIRECTION
From Oshodi (Isolo)

 HIGH BUDGET COST (BIKE)
Oshodi – Mile 2 = N200
Mile 2 – Alakija = N200
Alakija – Jetty = N200
Jetty - Ibeshe (first bank) = N300
Through Fare = N 200
 Total (To & Fro to Oshodi (Isolo) = N 2000

 LOW BUDGET COST (BUS)
Oshodi – Mile 2 = N200
Mile 2 – Alakija = N50
Alakija – Jetty = N50
Jetty - Ibeshe (first bank) = N300
Through Fare = N 200
 Total (To & Fro to Oshodi (Isolo)) =  N 1400



 SAVE THE DATE!!!!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

By: Anonymous Student


February 4th 2018 is a date no student of Modibbo Adama University of Technology Yola (formerly Federal University of Technology) will forget in a hurry.

It is worth stating that on the 29th of January 2018, SUG elections took place and Christians (or at least non-muslims) won all the posts except one: the post of Director of Socials. As pathetic as it sounds, elections in my school are based on religion; both Christians and Muslims are told who to vote in their respective churches and mosques.

It was claimed that during an online engagement about two weeks ago, a 'Christian boy' supposedly insulted the Prophet Muhammad. They (Muslim students) had demanded that the boy be expelled (a senate meeting was held to this effect), but the Vice Chancellor of the school insisted that the school had no business in online dabbles. The said provoker had been in hiding for weeks as there were open threats to his life. The claims on the media are that only the latter (insult to the Prophet) caused the unrest, I do not agree with these claims having witnessed it first-hand.  I think information was withheld deliberately to avoid fueling an already volatile situation, considering how seriously they take insults to the prophet.

By 6pm of the 4th of February, I  was in my hostel (Nana Asmau hostel) trying to nap before I go to read, when I heard screaming, running into rooms and shutting of doors with such force the whole building (two storeys of solid concrete) shook. At first I assumed it was one of those nonsense tantrums that was common with girls in my hostel, but when the noise persisted, I rushed out to assess things for myself. That's when chants of "Allahu Akbar" reached us. We (myself and other 'brave' students) rushed to the front of our hostel and saw quite a number of people carrying clubs and machetes marching as they shouted. From where we stood in front of the hostel we heard they went into one of our lecture theatres (LT 1&2) where Christian fellowship was holding, stoned 'worshippers' and dragged one boy out. The boy was said to beaten to stupor with blood oozing and his legs broken. They set ablaze instruments worth millions of naira in the lecture theatre store, the fire eventually escalated and engulfed the entire building. Lecture theatres 5&6 (SMIT LT) were also vandalised.

Burnt Lecture Theater
Musical Instruments



By 8:00pm same day after nearly two hours of unrest and panicking, we still didn't see a single security agent insight. As a matter of fact, the one previously stationed in our hostel ran away. We watched from afar as fire burned surrounding building. When the Muslim youths were matching past our hostel around 8:15pm, one girl said something insulting to them and they started stoning at us. Glasses were broken, our windows shattered, some people were seriously wounded and we had to shut the hostel from within.

A mosque was also vandalized, and there were two versions of the story. One version alleged that the Imam presiding over Oba Adetona mosque tried to prevent them(the Muslim students) from rioting but they started stoning at the mosque and broke windows (I should add that I heard this from a Muslim). The other version had it that the Christian students carried out reprisal attacks.
Around 9:30pm or thereabouts same day, military presence was finally noticed, but rumours had it that they hadn't received permission to act, so the vandalism continued. The rioting Muslim students then went to the mosque to regroup (allegedly).

By 2:00am of the 5th February, they continued to vandalize. Dozens of students were stabbed and one of the school security was allegedly hospitalized. .

By 6:00am the following morning being  5th of February, when we got up to go round and assess the damage, we were told to our faces by some Muslim students that 'this' was just the beginning. Myself and other passers-by were called 'arne' which is a Hausa word for infidel (basically any non-muslim). They kept trying to start another riot and kept walking around with clubs.


Currently, the school has been shut down indefinitely and all students forced to leave before 2pm of the 5th of Febuary.  Tensions are still very high.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Creative Thinking


Do you sometimes find yourself wondering How hard can thinking be ?    If yes, you’ll probably enjoy reading this article rolled out by Atheist Society of Nigeria.

This particular article is about Creative thinking and to have a complete grasp of it, you might want to scan through the previous three on this blog.

Creative thinking is the ability to think about new things or an old thing in new ways in a bid to solve problems.

There is a common misconception that creativity is applicable to only the arts e.g. theater, singing, visual arts, fashion design, literary arts, graphic design, and music.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Creative thinking is applicable to nearly any field of human endeavor, the natural sciences inclusive.  The ability to invent a new diagnostic machine in the field of healthcare is brought about via creative thinking on the part of the inventor.

A businessman who brainstorms with his employees in a bid to drive the company forward is practicing creative thinking.

What are the benefits of creative thinking?


  • ·         Creative thinking makes you mentally flexible and able to adapt to the ever-changing reality of the modern world constantly being disrupted by technological innovations.
  • ·         Creative thinking makes you become a great communicator as you become better at expressing your thought processes.  This will help you get what you want quicker and easier.
  • ·         Creative thinking makes you a pleasant person to be around as your mind remains constantly open to new ideas.  Where another person would perceive biting criticism, you perceive a new idea and a new way of looking at yourself, your surroundings, and life.
Anyone can be a creative thinker and conceive new solutions to existing problems.

How do I become a creative thinker?

Becoming a creative thinker is not as hard as you might imagine.  What makes it appear hard is an overestimation of the amount of effort required to get started and underestimation of the amount of pleasure attained from its constant practice.

First of all, you might want to choose a personal problem (or a hypothetical one) to which you wish to apply creative thinking.

After this problem has been chosen, you can choose to apply Lateral Thinking by Edward De Bono or SCAMPER Method to tackle creatively.

Let’s pick a hypothetical problem…

I want to lose some weight.  How do I go about it?

Lateral thinking method…

  • ·         State the assumptions: Excess weight is bad for my health; it is more difficult to lose weight as I get older; I feel more beautiful when I’m slimmer.
  • ·         What method will the typical person use?  What if I can’t go that route?:  The typical person will go on a diet & exercise regimen, alternately she might resort to drugs to lose weight.  If I can’t go this route, I will use Core Values Eating to lose weight.
  • ·         Question the question:  Is it so important for me to lose weight?  Who says I need to lose weight?  Why do I even want to lose weight, anyway?
  • ·         Start backward: If I want to put on some weight, I would eat mindlessly with little physical activity; I would take up a permanent night job; I would be careless with any medication regimen I’m put on for any underlying health condition.
  • ·         Change perspective: If I wanted to tackle my weight issue from the perspective of a Data Entry Officer, I would download a Food Diary from Google Play Store on my mobile device in a bid to carefully log the quantity, size, and calorie count of anything that passes through my lips.  This will help me to keep track of my food intake as most overweight people eat far more than they actually realize and admit to others.

SCAMPER METHOD…

  • ·         Substitute:  I want to have a healthy Body Mass Index and Body Fat Percentage.
  • ·         Combine:  I want to have a firm, lean, athletic-looking body.
  • ·         Adapt:  I would like to improve my protein intake in order to have less body fat and more muscle mass.
  • ·         Magnify:  If my excess body weight were life-threatening, I would go on a very strict diet like Ketogenic diet or Paleo diet as I sign up for a strength training class.
  • ·         Put to another use:  I could use my exercises to build up my stamina for my physical activities around the house.
  • ·         Eliminate:  If I found my strength training too exhausting and I wanted to remove it, I would be stricter with my diet as it is the single most important factor in weight loss and weight gain.
  • ·         Reverse:  I could achieve weight loss by 60% dietary efforts, 40% exercise.  Or by 50% dietary efforts, 40% exercise and 10% nutritional supplements.

A quick Google search on the term Creative thinking will yield lots of results that for the sake of brevity cannot be discussed in this blog post.

Creative thinking is a process you would do well to practice every day until your mind has fallen into the thought patterns of these questions.  Then the application of creative thinking to any problem you encounter will be automatic.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Logical thinking
Logical Thinking
How hard can thinking be? This question is put to you by Atheist Society of Nigeria via this blog post, which is the third in the series with this title.

This particular piece refers to Logical Thinking which is a process of clearly moving from one related thought to another.

It entails the ability to infer the right conclusion from a set of true premises.  An individual thus endowed with the ability to put the facts together in a way the right conclusion is drawn is said to have valid reasoning.

Logical thinking is devoid of emotion i.e. not clouded by emotionality.  This shows a well-differentiated person will be a logical thinker.

What are the benefits of logical thinking?
  •  Logical thinking helps you make more persuasive and convincing arguments, which prove important in marketing and sales.  This is because outside of religious parlance, most people aren’t swayed by emotionality but by logic.
  •  Logical thinking helps you be a more pleasant person to be around as people find it easy to follow your trains of thought in conversation.
  •  Logical thinking prevents you from acting out as it has a calming influence on the human being. It also helps prevent deterioration in thinking processes that can earn you a psychiatric diagnosis.
If logical thinking is so beneficial, why is it not common?

In my opinion, logical thinking is not common due to these factors:
  • Lack of training in logical thinking and logical reasoning in educational institutions. Most of my readers have had no formal training in logical thinking, with the exception of those who complete Law School here in Nigeria and graduates of Philosophy.
  •  A good number of people out there suffer from Formal Thought Disorders which are defined as disorganized thinking as evidenced by disorganized speech.  Formal thought disorders make logical communication nearly impossible.
  •  Self-differentiation is a foreign concept to many people out there.  

How do I set out on the path to logical thinking?

Logical thinking is not as hard to achieve as one thinks. 
First of all, it requires the humility to recognize the problem is most likely from you when people do not understand what you’re telling them or when they read the wrong meaning into your speech and writing.
This is because logical thinking requires a mindful awareness of intentionality fallacy which occurs when an audience infers a meaning contrary to what the author intended. 
The audience does this as they rely on the actual words said by the author but can’t see into the author’s mind to know what he actually intended to say.
Intentionality fallacy occurs as the author is not mindful of a pivotal fact of logic: inference of (the right) conclusion from a set of true premises.
This makes the author’s thinking, speech and writing rather concrete as he wrongly assumes people will stick to the actual words written, blissfully unaware of the fact that human reasoning relies on how the author arranges his premises to infer a conclusion.
The wrong arrangement of premises by the author will invariably lead to his committing Intentionality Fallacy whereby his audience infers a conclusion other than what he intended to convey.

The next step is for a person interested in practicing logical thinking to be mindful of his own formal thought disorders and take care to not commit them in conversations with others.
A lack of mindful awareness of formal thought disorders gives rise to illogical speech whereby the listeners go away aware of the fact the speaker used words from a mutually understood language but the way in which the words were strung together to form sentences were incomprehensible, incoherent, even plain nonsensical.
Logical thinking
Logical thinking is not the puzzle most people imagine it is.
After this follows a disciplined and dedicated practice of logical thinking every day.  
The individual so dedicated will endeavor to read up on Fallacies in Logic and practice Clear Thinking in a bid to clear up any muddled thinking processes.
The last in line is Logical Communication which entails the use of logic to express your thoughts and emotions in such a way your listener gets your intended meaning, provides constructive feedback which shows a clear understanding of your intended meaning, and acts upon what you want him to do.
Logical communication occurs when:
  1. You use only words the definition of which you know (the Dictionary is your friend in this);
  2. You use only words the meaning of which you know (words that have a personal significance to you, which aren’t just empty sound and are little more than muddled concepts in your mind);
  3. You keep your facts straight (honesty is key);
  4. You ensure that your writing and speech doesn’t sound disjointed like this:

Waiter: “Do you want fries or croissants?”
You: “Fries, unless everyone else is having croissants… In that case, I’ll have croissants.”

A logically sequential speech would be:
I’d rather have fries if everyone else is having them.

Logical communication is made easy for you when you take a timeout to consciously reflect on the flow of your writing prior to sending it out.  This is especially valuable on Social Media.
Daily scrutiny and practice of Logical Communication via writing in a journal or diary every day will go a long way.
If I were to reduce the requirements for logical thinking and communication to a single rule, it would be the practice of empathy!
Cognitive empathy and emotional empathy enable you to phrase your speech in such a way it makes sense to your listener (as we human beings operate from different levels of cognitive functioning) and connects with the listener in a convincing manner.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Atheist Society of Nigeria is reasonably sure you enjoyed the first article in this series.  You’ve probably been looking forward to the second blog post with this title, and we are happy to not disappoint you.
This article is geared towards the concept of Critical Thinking A most intriguing concept, if you ask me. 

Critical thinking is defined by Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008 as:

Self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.
It is basically: 

“The intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.”, according to The National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking.

What do these definitions mean?

Critical thinking is deliberative and effortful, as opposed to delusional thinking which is rapid, instinctive, and non-reflective.  

This means flashes of intuition cannot be regarded as critical thinking.  Nor can thinking that arises spontaneously be regarded as such.

What are the benefits of critical thinking?
  • ·       Critical thinking helps in diversity education as it helps people overcome their prejudices.
  • ·       Critical thinking helps in the advancement of society as it challenges deep-seated but irrational taboos and customs that militate against progress.
  • ·         Critical thinking helps in business.  The South African Business Magnate, Elon Musk uses The Scientific Method to guide his business decisions.  
  • ·         Critical thinking helps in moral development.  A human being’s moral values can never transcend his current thinking abilities and cognitive faculties.
  • ·         Critical thinking helps with personal fulfillment, which is the highest human need according to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

How do I set out on the path to being a critical thinker?

Being a critical thinker requires self-awareness and mindfulness of your cognitive processes.
Mindfulness of cognitive distortions which refer to the ways our mind convinces us of something that isn't really true. 

These irrational thoughts serve to reinforce negative thinking or emotions — telling ourselves things that seem rational and accurate, but actually only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves.

This is key in being a critical thinker.  It requires a lot of discipline and the willingness to be honest with ourselves.

When this first step has been taken, the individual can learn to use Socratic questions to tackle any issue.  

Socratic questioning, as Wikipedia puts it, is 


Disciplined questioning that can be used to pursue thought in many directions and for many purposes, including: to explore complex ideas, to get to the truth of things, to open up issues and problems, to uncover assumptions, to analyze concepts, to distinguish what we know from what we don't know, to follow out logical implications of thought or to control the discussion.

It is always a good idea to apply Socratic questioning to your own deep-seated beliefs about life, your goals, problems, dreams, concepts before you start using Socratic questioning in conversations with others.

A quiet hour set aside every day for this purpose will do the trick.  If you are riding on the bus, waiting for an appointment, taking a time out at work… you can open the Socratic questions link on your mobile device or on your laptop to practice them. 

This is because critical thinking entails the habit, based on intellectual commitment of applying the skills you acquire in this article to guide your behavior.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017


Caged With The Visions of The Blind
By : Uche Nelly Onyeche (@Vuchmee)


A Caged bird sings as it watches a Free bird struggle with the wind.
Some Birds are not Meant to Fly!
It's says at it looks down at its shining anklet on its feet.
A gift from its master.
He treasures it like the Fat worm on the free birds beak.
Don't Look down at me!
It says as it circle it's cage
I have seen Lions doing circus tricks
And Folks still clap with thrill

Why should I leave this Cage?
Never Cold,  Never Starved
I feel safe behind these bars
No predator can get me.
Master would do anything to save me.
A Proof of the Unconditional Love he gives me.
Wasn't Made to fly Free
I Believe in this Cage.
It seems Weird to me that you sit on a Branch in a World of Cages.
Your wings withered by constant use
But in Your eyes, No Rage.
The songs you sing sounds alien to me
About Mountains and Trees and Other masters you've Studied.
That worm in your beak must be numbing your brain.
Cuz over here it's Bird Food and that Occasional Drink
Would never Dig the Dirt that you scavenge for food.

So what if other Masters aren't Doing a Good Job.
So what if other Caged birds are starving to death.
Mine is That one true Master that will always keep me safe
So what if My Master ignores the other of his Pets he was meant to care for?
So what if Birds kills Birds for The Masters sake
So What if I Don't use my wings as much as You will like me to
I am Happy being Caged with the Vision of the Blind.
I am Safe,  I am Sound and I am alive and well.
This CAGE IS HOME and NOTHING will change that.

#CagedBirds #caged #novabeing #TheLotusWay #weirdmindunfathomable  #alllivesmatter #Sklivesmatters #antireligious