Skepchick Quickies, 8.11


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Re: Ramadan…
    Do Muslims have to actually SEE the Moon to begin Ramadan? If so, what if it’s heavily overcast for days? Does Ramadan then shift accordingly?

    Can they depend just on someone’s calculations?

  2. See, I have a large number of sci-fi related questions to ask Muslims. I’ve asked a number, and never gotten answers on them.

    One, that is not sci-fi, is “How do people at the South Pole determine the start of Ramadan”? Heck, how much of the moon do you see during a South Pole summer?

    Other questions are:
    1) If you are traveling through space, away from the Sun, upon a generation ship, how do you determine the date of Muslim holy days? What do you do in case of time dilation due to relativistic speeds?

    2) When humanity colonizes other planets, which directions will Muslims do their daily prayers? What if the rotational period makes the day substantially longer or shorter?

    3) If traveling to another habitable planet is a matter of generations (either aboard sleeper or generation ships), how will the inhabitants of that planet make the Hajj?

    4) When dealing with an alien biome, assuming such native fauna are safe to eat, how does one determine what is Halal?

  3. “[The strippers] bring lawn chairs and – yesterday, anyway – grilled hamburgers, Monster energy drinks and corn on the cob.”

    I didn’t think it was possible, but they may have just found a way to make energy drinks taste worse.

  4. Also, the story about suppressing the backup protein to allow mammals to split adult cells is pure evolutionary win. That absolutely could not be determined (or even posited) without biological evolution being 100% correct. Cool.

    The Ramadan story was so baffling to me. Religions make people do the wackiest things. That is magic, pure and simple. They should just make like the Christians, and say “God (Allah) doesn’t care, as long as we mean well!”. Using this kind of ecclesiastic logic-twisting has allowed fish sticks to return to the Catholic dinner table on Lent Fridays, and and permits wearing blended-fiber clothing and shellfish consumption for the rest of the cross worshiping crowd. It’s all about the “favorable interpretation” of the scriptures. That’s why they can all still hate the gays!

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