Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 7.20

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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10 Comments

  1. The error did not mean their prayers would be ignored, he added. “God understands that humans make mistakes. Allah always hears their prayers.”

    Huh. For some reason I fail to see the problem then.

    He told the Jakarta Globe that off-kilter kiblats were often an issue in quake-hit areas such as Yogyakarta, West Java and West Sumatra and that the government had the money for theodolites, a precision surveying instrument.

    Oh, PLEASE tell me he’s making a connection between praying in the wrong direction and the frequency of natural disasters. Sigh… anyways, the government doesn’t need to buy theodolites, because there’s an app for that.

  2. @Imrryr: That’s funny. “It won’t cause your prayers to be ignored… but it WILL cause earthquakes. FYI.”

    Unfortunately, nobody in the affected areas thought to pray not to be hit by earthquakes. Or even to pray that their kiblah was correctly aligned.

    See, this is the sort of thing that would constitute good evidence that would convince any truly open-minded atheist of the existence of god. Many religions have some kind of definition of “proper” and “improper” prayer. If the correction of the kiblah lead to a measurable, consistent increase in the number of answered prayers — this would be hard to measure, but it could be measured — that would make a pretty compelling argument to at least consider a conversion to Islam.

  3. I think he was saying that the misaligned whatsits were a consequence of earthquakes, not the cause. Either way, a pretty stupid statement. If it’s the former, I would hope they have better things to worry about, if the latter it’s just plain nonsense.

  4. @Zapski: Admittedly, if I owned an Iphone I would also buy that app. It’s considerably cheaper and probably more accurate than my compass and pocket altimeter.

    @Joshua: To be totally fair, the second quote was by a completely different guy who has the title “director of sharia law”. Maybe he didn’t get the memo about how God doesn’t care which direction you face.

    Hmm… now I wonder if prayers are effected by the coriolis effect in the same way that cannon balls and missiles are. I think that the Ministry of Sharia Law should devote all it’s energy on answering that question asap. The effectiveness of millions of prayers could hang in the balance!

  5. To be fair (but less fun), I think the issue with earthquakes isn’t that praying in the wrong direction causes them, but that in earthquake-prone Indonesia, mosques frequently need to be rebuilt, and if they aren’t careful, they can easily get misaligned. Mosque reconstruction is probably a major industry in Indonesia. For some reason, this reminds me of Ben Franklin, lightning rods and church steeples.

  6. One in a thousand events are pretty rare, but one in a million is a dead cert.

    Maybe people should adopt a Stuart Smalley style daily affirmation to think of some extremely unlikely thing that they saw or did each day, before going to bed at night. In a million to one chance, I should also point out that I used to clean Al Franken’s bathroom…

  7. He told the Jakarta Globe that off-kilter kiblats were often an issue in quake-hit areas such as Yogyakarta, West Java and West Sumatra and that the government had the money for theodolites, a precision surveying instrument.

    I just so happen to be a surveyor and for a nominal fee (plus expenses of course) I would be more than happy to tell them where and at what angle to stick their sign.

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