Thursday, April 24, 2008

All your time zones are belong to us

What you say?

It's true. Somebody set up us the clock. At least, that's what certain people would like.

SPEAKERS at a Doha conference on Mecca's importance said that the holy city, not Greenwich, should become the reference point for world time, reigniting an old controversy that started some four decades ago.

Maybe they're floating this idea because they think that England's gone wobbly enough to go for it, I don't know.

A group of Islamic scholars


presented on Saturday “scientific evidence”


to prove that Mecca was the core of that the zero longitude passes through the holy city and not through Greenwich in the UK.

Sorry, kids. If you run the "top-selling English daily in Qatar" then you have to get the grammar right before we start re-jiggering every clock on the planet.

In a clear support for the call, Islamic scholar Yousuf al-Qaradawi said Islam, “unlike other religions, never contradicted science”.


I'll grant that you're doing well in practical chemistry, though at the current rate you'll run short of folks smart enough to cook up the required material for self-immolation. But "never contradicted science" is a load of hooey. For example:

The participants recommended the unification of the time in the Arab world to the time in Mecca instead of Greenwich.

You want all of the Arab world to have the same time as Mecca? You want people way to the west of Mecca to have to get up four hours before dawn because it's 7 am in Mecca, while people eastward get to have the sun shining in their windows at 3 am. The Earth is ROUND, o great non-contradictors of science. It turns at a certain rate. Mecca will remain a certain number of hours ahead of Greenwich no matter what anyone says. One may as well order water to consist of oxygen and argon.

They also called the Arab governments to abandon the new world maps “because they are forged to serve Western interests.”

I'm not sure where you guys got those globes made of solid iron, but they're heavy as hell and they scare the cat when you turn them. (Also, they are flat.) Most maps are printed. Then they are folded into glove boxes, to serve the interests of people who want to know where the hell they are; or hung in classrooms, so kids can learn geography.

The conference was organised to introduce Saat Makkah (the watch of Mecca). The inventor of the clock, Yasin a-Shouk, said it runs anti-clockwise in the direction of Tawaf, the rotation around Kaaba. The Switzerland-based award-winning inventor of Palestinian origin said that his invention met a lot of opposition and it took him four years to win the patent.

There is a dearth of information in English on the invention, which apparently helps Muslims face the proper way when praying, from anywhere on earth. This would make a-Shouk's amazing invention.... a compass. Entirely useless for telling time, in other words.

(BTW - that linked article is "being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia's deletion policy.")

The moderator of the event, Rabaa Hamo, who is also the wife of the watch's inventor, said “the West imposed on us the invisible Greenwich line” as the world's reference time.

The inventor's wife - objective source, that. As for imposing Greenwich time? Every community on Earth in the history of ever has always had a local time. Nobody ever woke up in ancient Beijing and said, "I know! Let's make it so that we wake up when it's dawn 1000 miles away!" At least, nobody said that once they understood that the sun didn't rise on the whole Earth all at the same time. Again, there's that whole "flat planet" concept rearing its ugly head.

Now, you may think I'm exaggerating or being unkind, but they close the article thus:

She hoped that an Islamic country would adopt the project to strengthen the belief that Mecca was the core of the world, not theoretically but practically. [emphasis mine]

Islamic scholar, Zaghloul al-Najjar, said that the West did not like the scientific proofs that “Mecca was located in the centre of our planet, but nevertheless we will go on our research to establish it as a truth”.

You see? Earth is shaped like a plate, with Mecca in the geographical middle. This is the only way the above statement can be accurate. This is stupidity squared. Our planet = spherical, and thus "center of our planet" = molten, airless core. (I daresay that a few folks are eager to establish this as a truth, in a way al-Najjar won't like.) Instead of doing something to drag themselves out of barbarity, ignorance, oppression of their own people, and etc... they're trying to redefine the shape of the Earth and the flow of time itself - all based on "quoting verses from the Holy Qur'an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad." This would be the same religion that "never contradicts science."

Hat tip to Cullen, and thanks for the comedy hookup. "Nitwittery" is just too poor a tag for this magnificent kookery.

No comments: