Tuesday, May 6, 2008

First "Laugh of the Day"

Thanks to JGS for today's "Laugh Of The Day"
-- another "First" for Islamic Science.
This may win them "Nobel ibn Kafir Prize!"

Mecca Mean Time?
by Daniel Pipes
Mon, 21 Apr 2008

That Greenwich Mean Time became universally accepted resulted from centuries of British cultivation of the maritime sciences. Although replaced by the technically more advanced Coordinated Universal Time, GMT remains in place; more importantly, perhaps, its exact opposite, running through the Pacific Ocean defines the International Date Line.

So much for science and history. According to the BBC, at a conference held in Qatar titled, "Mecca, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice," a group of Muslim scientists and religious leaders called for replacing GMT with Mecca time. Magdi Abdelhadi explains:

One geologist argued that unlike other longitudes, Mecca's was in perfect alignment to magnetic north. He said the English had imposed GMT on the rest of the world by force when Britain was a big colonial power, and it was about time that changed.
A prominent cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawy, said modern science had at last provided evidence that Mecca was the true centre of the Earth; proof, he said, of the greatness of the Muslim qibla - the Arabic word for the direction Muslims turn to when they pray.
The meeting also reviewed what has been described as a Mecca watch, the brainchild of a French Muslim. The watch is said to rotate anti-clockwise and is supposed to help Muslims determine the direction of Mecca from any point on Earth.


(1) That the longitude of Mecca is "in perfect alignment to magnetic north" makes no sense, as magnetic north wanders and is not a fixed place.

(2) The British did not impose GMT "on the rest of the world by force" but won international support for Greenwich because of its Royal Observatory had so leading a role in astronomical research and navigational science.

(3) Mecca is the true center of the Earth? Were the Earth a flat circle, it would have its center on the surface. But the Earth is a sphere, so its center lies not on the surface but some 4,000 miles into the interior.

(4) However silly Mecca Standard Time might sound, it fits into a growing pattern that I have dubbed the "separation of civilizations," whereby Muslims and Westerners are by mutual consent going their different ways in a range of areas.

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