Some interesting news articles of the day:
- From the “Religion and Science” Department: No, I’m not talking about “Expelled”, the Ben Stein movie about teaching creationism. No, it is a different religion this time that thinks it is the center of the world. A prominent Muslim cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawy, has 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. A Muslim geologist has argued that unlike other longitudes, Mecca’s was in perfect alignment to magnetic north. As a result, Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, seeing GMT as British imposition on the rest of the world by force from when Britain was a big colonial power. Muslim scientists have also developed a Mecca watch, which is said to rotate anti-clockwise and is supposed to help Muslims determine the direction of Mecca from any point on Earth. This information came out of a meeting in Qatar, part of a popular trend in some Muslim societies of seeking to find Koranic precedents for modern science. The underlying belief is that scientific truths were also revealed in the Muslim holy book, and it is the work of scholars to unearth and publicise the textual evidence. Sound familiar?
[Tip o’the hat to patgund for bringing this to my attention.]
- From the “Porn is Boring” Department: Turning from religion to porn, the Daily News has a very interesting interview with Larry Flynt in which he notes that (a) “nothing is more boring than pornography”, (b) “the Republicans are more fun”, (c) “[Cardinal Roger Mahoney] ought to be tarred and feathered”, and (d) “[what] some of the producers of porn are doing is they are giving the entire industry a bad reputation”. Highly recommended.
- From the “Catholics and Cats” Department: Continuing with our theme, it turns out Pope Benedict XVI is a cat lover. He has a lifelong love of cats, his biography was written by a cat (Chico, a ginger tabby who lives across the road from Benedict’s old house in Germany), and as Cardinal, when he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he tended to the cats that frequented the garden of the congregation’s building in the Vatican and bandaged their wounds. We do not know what Muslim Clerics think of cats.