Help needed - quran shenaningans

Abu Lahab
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Help needed - quran shenaningans

Chaps,

 

I'm in dialogue with a moslem on another board 'jihadwatchdotorg' who insists that the quran correctly provides for the Speed of Light calculation. I've offered Carrier's rebuttal and also that of Prof. Neumaier of the Inst. of Math Univ. Vienna but to no avail.

Here's the drivel:

 

 A New Astronomical Quranic Method for The Determination Of The
Greatest Speed C

by Dr. Mansour Hassab-Elnaby

http://www.islamicity.org/Science/960703A.HTM
 

 

If anyone of the more eloquent and science savvy board members would care to equpm me with a laymans version of a rebuttal I will buy them a tasty beverage.

Thanks!

How can not believing in something that is backed up with no empirical evidence be less scientific than believing in something that not only has no empirical evidence but actually goes against the laws of the universe and in many cases actually contradicts itself? - Ricky Gervais


MichaelMcF
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I've not really got time to

I've not really got time to go over the full thing at the moment, but I've had a quick scan and I'd start with these two questions:

 

1)  It states that "GOD is the ONE who made the sun a shining glory and the moon a light and for her ordained mansions, so that you might know the number of years and the reckoning"  This doesn't necessarily equate to us measuring the time by the lunar year.  Time could be reckoned by the sun.  There's no solid reason to assume that the Qu'ran is referring to a sidereal year.

 

2)  In one day light will travel 4.4 times the mean distance of PLuto from the Sun.  It specifically states that the cosmic whatsit travels to allah in that time.  Does that mean that Allah is only a light day away?  We can see stars that are billions of light years, why haven't we seen Allah?  If the answer is that "It travels to Allah in the spirit" then the physical  laws no longer apply - so while it's an interesting coincidence the calculation doesn't mean anything,  I'll accept it if they accept that Allah is floating in space and we should be able to see him.

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Abu Lahab
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Thanks!

Greatly appreciated, Michael.

 

This subject isn't my strong suit and any help or direction of investigation is welcomed.

 

[Hat_tip]

How can not believing in something that is backed up with no empirical evidence be less scientific than believing in something that not only has no empirical evidence but actually goes against the laws of the universe and in many cases actually contradicts itself? - Ricky Gervais


BobSpence
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 Here is at least one basic

 

Here is at least one basic error:

Quote:

 

"GOD is the ONE who created the night, the day, the sun, and the moon. Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion" (21:33).

Here an essential scientific fact is clearly stated, namely, the existence of the earth's, sun's and moon's orbits; besides, a reference is made to the travelling of these celestial bodies in space with their own motion! A new concept had therefore been established in the Quran, hundreds of years before it was discovered by modern science(6-7)

Note that the Earth is not said to be in orbit, only the Sun and Moon, which is exactly consistent with the then prevailing geocentric view, not the scientific view that the earth is in orbit around the sun. The Sun most certainly does not orbit around any body in the solar system - it orbits around the center of the galaxy in an estimated 225 million years. It is vastly more likely that the 'orbit' of the sun they are referring to is the apparent motion around the earth.

And this really sounds like the scientific understanding of the motion of the Sun (not):

Quote:

18:86 Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness.

Several similar statements all refer to the sun and moon orbiting the Earth, none have the earth itself moving. In fact:

Quote:

27:61 Is not He (best)Who made the earth a fixed abode, and placed rivers in the folds thereof, and placed firm hills therein, and hath set a barrier between the two seas ? Is there any God beside Allah ? Nay, but most of them know not!

which while not absolutely unambiguous, certainly implies that theearthdoes not move.

The velocity calculation says that the distance that moon will travel around its orbit in 1000 lunar years (12000 revolutions) corresponds to the distancelight will travel in one terrestrial day. He has to apply this adjustment factor cos(a) where a is the angular movement of the earth/moon system around the Sun in one lunar month. I don't quite see how this is justified - 

Quote:

Since the presence of the sun changes the geometrical properties of space and time , we must screen out its gravitational effect on the earth moon system according to the validity condition of the second postulate of special relativity, i.e. we must only consider the lunar geocentric motion without the heliocentric motion of the earth-moon system. Thus a velocity component VO=V cosO representing the net orbital velocity of the moon as shown in fig. (1) is introduced for calculating the net length L of the lunar orbit assuming a stationary earth.

is total crap - relativistic considerations just don't apply here. There may be some geometric correction justifiable, but the adjustment proposed doesn't quite make sense to me.

The original quote is clearly just using simple quantities - 1 day and 1000 years - just the sort of rhetoric one would expect in such a context. He claims that the 'measure' of normal(?) velocity is that of the moon in its orbit, which is presumable justified elsewhere, hopefully in one of the references.

What the author has 'uncovered' is that if you calculate the lunar velocity, with an obscurely justified correction, multiply it by 12000, which is the number of terrestrial days in 1000 lunar years, you get a figure closely agreeing with the currently accepted figure for the velocity of light. This an interesting coincidence. I haven't repeated all the calculations to check if there is a numerical error, but the most suspicious thing is the angular 'correction' - seems to me like he did the basic calculation, got a figure in the ballpark of the speed of light, and hunted around for the required 'correction'. Still a bit of a coincidence to get that close with a relatively simple extra correction, even if the justification for the particular adjustment does not quite make sense.

At best, he has found an interesting numerical coincidence, assuming all the figures and calculations are accurate.

When you look at all the other completely erroneous ideas about orbital motions, distances, numbers of planets, etc in the Qu'ran, it really doesn't offset them to the extent of 'proving' the remarkable scientific predictions of the book, particularly when the original quotation contains entirely unremarkable figures - one day and 1000 years. If it had used odd special values, like 1249.6 years, and that could be shown to match closely some major physical constant only established recently by science, there would be more of a case.

 

 

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MichaelMcF wrote:1)  It

MichaelMcF wrote:

1)  It states that "GOD is the ONE who made the sun a shining glory and the moon a light and for her ordained mansions, so that you might know the number of years and the reckoning"  This doesn't necessarily equate to us measuring the time by the lunar year.  Time could be reckoned by the sun.  There's no solid reason to assume that the Qu'ran is referring to a sidereal year.

[edit for clarity]

Yeah, but even if you gave that to him ... because Dr. Whateveraby clarified that "Him" means "the whole universe", then if the whole universe is expanding OR contracting, then the speed of light would depend on quite a few variables, and not be a constant at all. If Allah is a day away from everything, then ... actually, you know what? Fuck it. I can't believe I'm even justifying this garbage with an answer. This kind of after-the-fact bullshit drives me nuts. Nostradamus fans are the biggest offenders, but this is just as stupid.

Funny how it took Johannes Kepler to discover that the orbits of the planets were elliptical. Allah apparently didn't want to part with that crucial piece of information. Or hey, how about actually including math in the fucking book? No, huh? Maybe it's because literacy had barely caught on while they were recommending that people get stoned to death or have their hands chopped off.

The amount of hand-waving in the "calculation" is well beyond fucking ridiculous. Example: "we must only consider the lunar geocentric motion without the heliocentric motion of the earth-moon system". Pff-why? I thought it was about the whole "cosmic affair" or whatever he's on about. The man is just manipulating numbers to get the result he's looking for. That's it.

Waaaaaaitaminit. Something's fishy, here. Where's inspectormustard? Deludedgod? I'm going to look at that again, but I think the man is using a couple of coincidences that would allow anyone to calculate the speed of light, and he's just pretending that there's a connection to the Koran. Gimme a minute.

 

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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I've been trying to reply to

I've been trying to reply to Bob, but somehow his post completely crashes my browser. It's like magic.

Anyway, Bob hit the nail on the head. Except that it's not a coincidence that Dr. Whatshisface ended up with the speed of light.

Quickly, though, your first hint that this guy isn't a scientist is that he's not preserving his significant figures properly. That's high school. I don't know what he's a doctor of, but it didn't involve scientific math. Either that, or he just doesn't care. That actually kills his argument right there, because if he were to observe the necessary rules of significant digits, his calculation is actually quite different. In short, he's using specific numbers because he knows what the answer will be, even if it completely breaks the rules of reasonable calculation. That's either ignorance or lies, and neither helps his case.

First, let's check his data. We'll use NASA as a source, since he holds them in such high esteem. (From their Moon Fact Sheet.)

Siderial period in days => 27.321661 = 655.71986 hours

That pretty much checks out. Let's give it to him. It's odd that he can claim better data than NASA, but whatever.

Okay, now how about the average center-to-center distance between the earth and the moon?

Dr. Dude says 384,264km, but NASA says 384,467km. 200km isn't that significant, but let's take the NASA figure just to be sure.

Now, Dr. Genius would like to use a value of pi that has only five significant figures, but end up with a result that magically has six. Not allowed. But let's be nice and hand him the benefit of a sixth digit in pi. He gets 3682.07 km/h, and we get:

(2 * 3.14159 * 384,467 km) / 655.71986 h = 3684.01 km/h

Well, four km/h probably won't make much of a difference, eh?

Let's give him all the rest of his numbers and skip to the end to see:

C = 12000 x 3684.01 x 0.89157 x 655.71986 / 86164.0906

C = 299,950 km/s

Oh. Wow. Turns out when we use the actual values, uh ... it's not so spot-on. No "marvelous agreement" there. Just an arbitrary number close to 300,000. Back to the drawing board, Dr. Cheatsalot. Thanks for coming out.

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Does anyone know if this

Does anyone know if this result is related to the theoretical proposition that gravitational waves travel at the speed of light?

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The trouble with stuff like

The trouble with stuff like this is that you ask for someone who is scientifically savy to rebut this, when in fact that just means you've fallen into the trap of aproaching this from a scientific angle: the one thing that this whole business wants you to do.

 

What you need is a philosopher, or even better, a linguist, a sophist, a professional contrarian.

 

All this is is an example of how language as the primary form of communication is both humanity's greatest blessing, and it's greatest curse. It makes us capable of contemplating reality in all it's complexity, and to represent reality, both within our own minds, and to other people.

 

But words don't really mean anything. They are just arbitrary sounds. That's why we have different languages. The word "Fart" means something entirely different to me, a Dane, then it means to you English speakers. I don't find the mere mention of that word funny, unless the context is right: that is, I'm engaged in juvenile humour with an English speaker. Otherwise, the word just means "speed" to me.

 

Platonic idealism, while a fascinating idea, is so naive in it's attempt to reconsile language and reality, that it ends up looking like exactly what it is: one man's desperate attempt to to justify that his words actually mean something.

 

What I'm saying is, the Muslims who are proponents of this idea wants to speak the language of science, and they want the Koran to do so to.

 

So when you tell them: "But the Earth orbits the sun", they'll say: "Yes, that's what I am saying".

You: "But the speed of light is..."

Them: "Yes, precisely, and it says so right here in the book"

You: "But E=MC2"

Them: "Yes, and reality=Allah. It fits perfectly!"

 

See, a conversation like that is like two people, one speaking Chinese and the other one Spanish. If you want to engage this guy, forget about trying to speak "Science" with him. You have to speak his language: The language of postmodernism: The language of making words mean whatever you want them to mean.

 

That may sound a little bleak: how are you ever going to convince him of anything, if can only speak the language of meaninglessness. Well you aren't, but then, you never were to begin with.

 

But you may be able to show him what it is he's doing. Make him aware of what language he is speaking.

 

What you need is reducto ad absurdum arguments, and pointing out self-contradictions. And put your self in his shoes constantly, as a conversational tool: accept a proposition, as a hypothetical, and see where that leads you.

 

Example:

 

Him: "Science is in the Quran"

You: "Okay, so let's assume for a moment that I accept that proposition. So, what should I infer from that? That the Lord want's us to know about the scientific reality of the universe?"

Him: "Well... yes..."

You: "So then do you accept the theory of natural selection?"

Him: "What? No!"

You: "But then why do you accept the theory of relitivity, and other scientific theories relating to the speed of light and the other things in the Koran? If any scientific theory can be disregarded, just on your say-so, then Science has no merit over anything. The scientific theories that you use to justify the Koran are only true if science works.

If science works then, according to you the Koran has merit. But if the Earth is banana-shaped and the Nightsky is a huge black blanket with holes in it, laid over the Earth, then the Koran is not true.

So science must be true for the Koran to be true. Is that a connection you are sure you should be making? Because science also includes the theory of Natural selection. Science also includes sociology that tells us restrictions in pre-marital sex leads to sexual disfunction, not to mention violent crime in the form of an inordinate amount of sexually frustrated young men.

I mean, either you accept the scientific method as a valid means of uncovering reality, or you don't. If you do, then cool, so do I.

If you don't then what does it matter that the Koran tells us about the sun's and the moon's orbit? The moon could just as easily be a huge hunk of Green cheese, meaning the Koran is full of nonsense.

 

That's just one example. Generally, just think: What has he decided is his argument? Think like he thinks, and then see what you can do with it, to show him what that line of reasoning will lead him to that he probably hasn't thought of.

 

Like the above example:

If you argue: "The Koran is true because Science is true" then you are arguing: "science is true". Now what does that mean for your worldview?

 

Or how about: "If Allah is one day away from everything, then he IS omnipresent, but with a lag of one day, everywhere. So there's no point in praying for something that requires instant intervention. If you are on a plane that's crashing, will you pray to your God? Because he won't hear the prayer until tomorrow, so why pray?

 

And so on and so forth. Don't try and make your worldview destroy his worldview, because that never works. Try and make HIS worldview destroy itself by exposing the cognative dissonance. That rarely works, but at least you'll be speaking to him in his own language, making it at least possible that he'll see the self-contradictory nature of his views.

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I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


BobSpence
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HisWillness wrote:I've been

HisWillness wrote:

I've been trying to reply to Bob, but somehow his post completely crashes my browser. It's like magic.

Hey you might try again - I think there were some strange characters in the quotes I copied from "Skeptics Annotated Quran". I copied my whole post out into a plain text editor and 'zapped' odd characters before pasting it back.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Excellent! Posting works

Excellent! Posting works again!

BobSpence1 wrote:
The velocity calculation says that the distance that moon will travel around its orbit in 1000 lunar years (12000 revolutions) corresponds to the distancelight will travel in one terrestrial day. He has to apply this adjustment factor cos(a) where a is the angular movement of the earth/moon system around the Sun in one lunar month. I don't quite see how this is justified - 

Quote:

Since the presence of the sun changes the geometrical properties of space and time , we must screen out its gravitational effect on the earth moon system according to the validity condition of the second postulate of special relativity, i.e. we must only consider the lunar geocentric motion without the heliocentric motion of the earth-moon system. Thus a velocity component VO=V cosO representing the net orbital velocity of the moon as shown in fig. (1) is introduced for calculating the net length L of the lunar orbit assuming a stationary earth.

is total crap - relativistic considerations just don't apply here. There may be some geometric correction justifiable, but the adjustment proposed doesn't quite make sense to me.

That's because your initial assessment of "total crap" is totally accurate. The guy decides when and where to ignore gravity--even though I doubt that would have any major impact on the calculation--and then fudges the center-to-center value between earth and moon. For the less significant figures, he just introduces a rounding error by ignoring the convention of significant figures entirely, and ... voila! Behold the power of Allah! When I switch the numbers around, I can get the speed of light! Allah be praised.

Quote:
What the author has 'uncovered' is that if you calculate the lunar velocity, with an obscurely justified correction, multiply it by 12000, which is the number of terrestrial days in 1000 lunar years, you get a figure closely agreeing with the currently accepted figure for the velocity of light.

If you do a back-of-the-napkin calculation with the values, you'll quickly see why the 12,000 works out. It's basically the multiplier that gets a number close to 300,000).

The reason I bothered to do the calculation at all is because the average center-to-center distance between the earth and moon is 385,000 km, accurate to one part in ten billion. So if I use that value, and end up with

C = 300,366 km/s

you can see the calculation's sensitivity to that value. We've overshot the mark pretty severely by this point.

If I were to only use NASA's numbers (from the above cited moon info page) and actually followed the rules of math, then the official speed of light according to Allah is:

C = 12000 * 3689.1 * 0.89157 * 655.728 / 86164.2

C = 300,370 km/s

Close, but no cigar, Allah.

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MichaelMcF
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 Yeah, so I went away and

 Yeah, so I went away and read the article in full.... and everyone here's already covered everything i was going to say Smiling

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Thank you all!

I enjoyed reading the posts and trying to follow a topic which is way over my head (no pun intended).

 

Yay!

How can not believing in something that is backed up with no empirical evidence be less scientific than believing in something that not only has no empirical evidence but actually goes against the laws of the universe and in many cases actually contradicts itself? - Ricky Gervais


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Just as an added jab, the

Just as an added jab, the length of a day wasn't even the same in 610 as it is now. No joke. The earth's orbit gets about 17 miliseconds longer every year. So Dr. Gotitwrongaby would have had to subtract 1400 * 0.017 s = 23.8 s from his value of a terrestrial day before doing the calculations, since 610 is the traditional year of the Koran's revelation (if I remember correctly). That would push the speed of light to ...

300,450 km/s!

According to Allah, light can actually go faster than light. I think that's Allah's biggest contribution to science right there. Can Einstein make light go faster? No. Behold the majesty of Allah.

So the Koran is off by only about 658 km/s! C'mon, guys. That's practically the same thing.

If you want a more accurate calcluation, you can do the following:

12,000 * 25 km/s = 300,000 km/s

That's more accurate by 450 km/s. The number 25 has to be in the Koran somewhere. Anyway, pretty much any calculation that produces the number 24.9827 gives us 299,793 km/s. Just make up a sequence of ridiculous data points leading to that number, and you just calculated the speed of light based pn whatever you like.

Of course, you only know that the speed of light is correct AFTER it was measured by a LASER, a device that relied in no part on the Koran for its manufacture. (See Nikolaj's post.)

If that guy has a PhD in anything, it's being full of shit. Is he an economist or something?

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I've always thought that

I've always thought that basing your 'year' on the moon's motion is pretty silly - the seasons clearly follow the Sun. Since seasonal changes are so fundamental to important aspects of life, such as growing or hunting for food, it's makes far more sense to mark the passage of time by the Sun.

The moon mainly affects the tides, which have some significance for people living on or near the sea coast, but that is about it. 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology