Fundamentalists say the silliest things!

Fundamentalists say the silliest things!

Fundamentalists say the silliest things!

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 18 2008 10:00 PM

Fundamentalists say the silliest things!

I am getting email about a video that purports to be between a scientist and a Muslim fundamentalist* debating whether the Earth is flat or not. It has English subtitles, and if they are accurate, well then, you can guess what the fundamentalist says.

Watching it means, of course, that hilarity ensues. Tear half your brain out and enjoy:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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The man who quotes the Koran about paradise then uses it as a basis for saying things that are so obviously contrary to reality -- and on occasion appear to be made of random words he has strung together -- that I would question his mental health. The scientist makes a game try at it, but sometimes debating people like this just proves Heinlein right: "Don't wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it".

It's painful to watch the fundamentalist make his claims. The Sun, he says, is 2.4 million km across, and the Moon is half that. How can anyone say anything that ridiculous?

Oh right: he "categorically rejects" science. He says that "Anything that has no indication in the Koran is false."

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I'd hate to point out to him that he's saying all this while wearing glasses and a wristwatch. I don't remember reading anything about them in the Koran, or optics, or gears, or batteries, or, for that matter, the television he uses to spread his dumbosity.

ObMistake: At 3:19 in, the scientist says that the mass of the Moon is one-sixth the Earth's, which is why it has one-sixth the gravity. That's wrong; the Moon has roughly 1/80th the mass of the Earth and 1/4 the radius; together they give it 1/6th the gravity. I have to admit he makes his points poorly, but then they didn't ask me to be on the interview. When faced with such an avalanche of ridiculousness, it can be difficult to function coherently. I have personal experience here!

In the end, I'm not terribly sad that such people as the flat Earther exist; I am far more saddened that he would be given even one moment of air time. And before you mock that television station for putting him on, remember that at least he doesn't have his own talk show.

* Yes, I know that the word "fundamentalist" technically refers to Christian fundamentalism, but I think in modern culture it's taking on a broader context of any religion that adheres to strict literal scripture. If you know of a better name or category for this sort of religious person -- a serious one, please -- then by all means let me know.