Saudi preacher proves that the Earth is immobile

Here’s another two-minute MEMRI clip showing the clash between the Qur’an and science. In this case the preacher doesn’t even try to reconcile the discrepancies, but just punts on the science. He asserts, in response to a written question, that the Earth doesn’t move, and by that he means it neither rotates on its axis nor orbits the Sun. His “proof,” involving an airplane flight between Saudi Arabia and China, is hilarious. And then, for good measure, he throws in denialism about the U.S. moon landing.

Notice how he denigrates “The Westerners” and their theories; this reflects the anti-modernism that is inherent in radical Islam, and partly accounts for its hatred of the West.

Bandar Al-Khaybari, a preacher with the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Al-Madina, claimed that the Earth is fixed and does not revolve around itself, during a series of lectures held in the Sharjah emirate, between January 28 and 31. The lectures were posted on the Internet.

I’m pretty sure they don’t teach this nonsense in Saudi universities.

h/t: Malgorzata

90 Comments

  1. Randy Schenck
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Very convincing stuff. Makes you almost certain this guy is dumb as a box of rocks.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 18, 2015 at 12:29 am | Permalink

      Don’t insult rocks.

  2. Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Eppur si muove…Guess Buddy skipped his Italian classes along with his reality classes:-(

  3. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    So, why is he on TV?

    He should just be chiseling his opinions on rocks.

  4. Jeff Rankin
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I’m blown away by his scholarship. Is Reza Aslan aware of this guy? They could compare notes.

  5. Paul S.
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    He may be on to something, I’ve been on some flights where it seemed like we’d never get to our destination. 🙂

    • Siaj
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Lol

  6. Alex Shuffell
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    The two scholars Al-Khaybari cites, Imam ibn Baz and Saleh Al-Fawzan have other interesting ideas. Women shouldn’t drive and that slavery is a part of Islam (therefore a good thing). It’s fun to laugh at these morons with their cute accents and sexy beards but often stupidity comes loaded with dangerous ideas. The 8th century was perfect, I don’t know why we try to move on from that anyway.

    I’m very surprised he managed to get on the plane and go all the way to China without fear of falling off the edge of Earth. Perhaps he just trusted the pilots.

    • Posted February 18, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Recently I came across Chinese newspaper with following passage “In another crackdown on Muslim religious Imams, China has forced the imams of eastern Muslim majority district of Xinjiang to dance in the square, and swear to an oath that they will not teach religion to children as well telling them that prayer is harmful to the soul.

      Muslim imams were forced to brandish the slogan that “our income comes from the Chinese Communist Party not from Allah”.

      State Chinese news said the imams were gathering in a square in the name of civilization where they were forced to dance and chant out slogans in support of the state.

  7. Stonyground
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Once again the internet proves to be a great tool to use against religious idiocy. Hopefully this video will be seen by many people including Muslims who will point and laugh with the rest of us. The westerners and their theories have given us geo-stationary satellites which just happen to depend on the rotation of the Earth to stay up. I wonder how Islamic technology would solve that particular problem?

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      They could be with the Flat Earth Society and just deny that satellites exist.

      • Jake
        Posted March 19, 2015 at 1:55 am | Permalink

        Not to forget the hollow earth proponents, too

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      One of them must be over Kaaba, pimped out for angels, proving Allah predicted the invention of geo-stationary satellites.

    • eric
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Well…they depend on the rotation of the satellite to stay up, not the rotation of the body underneath them. They depend on the rotation of the Earth to remain geostationary (fixed in the sky in relationship to some point on the Earth).

      • Stonyground
        Posted February 18, 2015 at 1:37 am | Permalink

        Well yes, technically you’re correct I suppose. But if they were geostationary and the Earth didn’t rotate, then they wouldn’t stay up. The argument against them not existing at all is that my satellite dish is angled upwards. If there isn’t a satellite there, what is my dish pointing at and where do my TV shows come from?

  8. darrelle
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I can’t think of a better counter argument against religion than this person. No, religion doesn’t always, or necessarily, lead to people like this (pretty much a complete waste of human potential that is now a burden to society instead of an asset), but it is biased in that direction. Looking to the past for Greatness and The Truth is a major fault of all the great religions.

    • eric
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Oh, I dunno, I don’t think he’s beaten Sherri Shephard out for the title of Augustine Poster Child (i.e., don’t say these things, or people will laugh at our religion) yet. He’s got her depth of ignorance, but not her breadth.

      Her “I don’t need to know if the Earth is round” comment was comparable to this guy’s geostationary-ism, but her “there were no humans before Christians” comment rockets her into the lead.

      • darrelle
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        There does seem to be some fierce competition.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        ‘Her “I don’t need to know if the Earth is round” . . . .”

        Maybe so, but she sure wants someone to KNOW HOW to manufacture and repair her cellphone and freezer and washer and dryer and computer and car, and formulate her cosmetics and dry clean her clothes, and keep water, electricity and other utilities going to her abode, to mention jest a few things worth knowing.

        Reminds me of that mid-80’s video (on Youtube) of three Baptist fundamentalists (one of them a Chattanooga-based evangelist, John multi-syllabic last name starting with “S,” and another a faculty member of [W.A. “God or Gorilla”] Criswell Theological Seminary in Dallas) giving Paul Kurtz the sandpaper, and telling him that it didn’t matter how old the Earth is after all and in any event and so what.

  9. Alex
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Looks like Sheik Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baaz has a worthy successor.

  10. Christopher
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Wow – his Nobel must be in the post. Galileo must be turning in his grave.

    I wonder how Al-Khaybara explains the day/night cycle, seasonality, movement of constellations throughout the year, parallax or star trails?

    When he talks of ‘sense’ and ‘evidence’, my response is, “You use those words, I do not think they mean what you think they mean.”

    • quiscalus
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      “Galileo must be turning in his grave.”

      well, at least now we know that it’s not the earth turning under Galileo!

      • ploubere
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        i suppose through some very complicated math one could demonstrate that Galileo is stationary and the Earth and the rest of the universe revolves around him.

        • merilee
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

          Probably not much left of Galileo to be turning. Didn’t his thumb turn up somewhere apart from the rest of him (or am I confusing that with someone else)?

          • Filippo
            Posted February 18, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            Well, with whomever you might possibly be confusing him, I gather that it’s not Rasputin. 😉

            • Posted February 18, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

              🐸apparently Rasputin’s body part turned out to be a sea cucumber…

          • Filippo
            Posted February 18, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

            Well, with whomever you might possibly be confusing him, I gather that it’s not Rasputin. 😉

            (It just now occurs to me to make a Rasputin-Putin connection.)

  11. Dave
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    His ravings are a logical consequence of the belief that a 7th-century religious text constitutes the pinnacle of knowledge and the standard against which all subsequent intellectual activity must be judged. I’d really love to know how people like him reconcile their denigration of western science with the mobile phones, computers and everything else that they presumably use every day. Like Boko Haram declaring that “Western Education is Forbidden” – through the medium of videos posted on the internet! I mean really, where do they think all this stuff comes from?

    • SA Gould
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Sadly, I think he could come up with a reason as to ‘where it all comes from.’ Makin’ things up ain’t all that hard…

    • David Evans
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      More to the point might be to ask “In your Islamic state of the future, with no Western education, who will keep your internet working?” But I have a horrible feeling they would answer “The apocalypse will come shortly after, we will be in heaven and won’t need the internet.”

  12. Kevin
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Weinberg’s sage observation:

    “I have a friend — or had a friend, now dead — Abdus Salam, a very devout Muslim, who was trying to bring science into the universities in the Gulf states and he told me that he had a terrible time because, although they were very receptive to technology, they felt that science would be a corrosive to religious belief, and they were worried about it… and damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive of religious belief, and it’s a good thing too.”

    Atheism Tapes (with Jonathan Miller)

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      In the context it is notable that Salam is the only mohammedanist Nobel Prize winner – and has been rejected as such by the mainstream religion.

      “Salam was buried in Bahishti Maqbara, a cemetery established by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at Rabwah, Punjab, Pakistan, next to his parents’ graves. The epitaph on his tomb initially read “First Muslim Nobel Laureate”. The word “Muslim” was later obscured on the orders of a local magistrate, leaving “First Nobel Laureate”.[102] Under Ordinance XX,[103] being an Ahmadi, he was considered a non-Muslim according to the definition provided in the II Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan.[104]”

      [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdus_Salam ]

    • Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Salam apparently has been practically forgotten in his native Pakistan, apparently, for reasons like this. Horrible.

  13. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Cheezus. Doncha think the plane might be moving a bit faster than the earth’s rotation and then catch up to China? Once you get basic logical errors like this, all bets are off.

    It has been argued that moon landing hoax conspiracies can easily abound these days because people really just don’t realize how primitive film technology was in 1969, just as anti-vaxxers don’t have long memories of how deadly measles was.

    I’m not sure why this is posted under the tag “Accomodationism”. More like “rejectionism”.

    • Dermot C
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      A sort of crazed materialist interpretation of Xeno’s paradox: blimey, even Aristotle didn’t buy Xeno.

      Allele akhbar! x

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes, its easy to say it was ‘produced’, but it could not have been.
      Kubrick’s 2001 was the pinnacle then and it is obviously fake, whereas the actual footage has all the real ‘unusual’ factors that make it look ‘real’.

      • Posted February 21, 2015 at 4:00 am | Permalink

        Mitchell and Webb are nearly as citable as xkcd : http://youtu.be/P6MOnehCOUw

        /@

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted February 21, 2015 at 4:15 am | Permalink

          I hadn’t seen that. It’s quite good.

          Yes that bloody massive rocket. The mighty, glorious Saturn 5 behemoth rocket.

          I should check out some more of this Mitchell and Web.

          • Posted February 21, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Look for homeopathic A&E and the “there is no god” melon.

            /@

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted February 21, 2015 at 4:27 am | Permalink

          I just watched some more. I hadn’t known of them. I stopped watching television when I hooked my computer u to it, and now only watch the web. But then it’s a matter of what to watch.
          The British have been good with this kind of humor.
          Did you see Alas Smith and Jones?
          Anyway thanks, good one.

  14. livinginabox
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen individuals on YT claiming a geocentric cosmos, but there’s always the possibility it’s a Poe. This guy seems to be really serious. It’s little wonder that Islam and science have gone different ways. Compare the number of Nobel prizes awarded to Jews vs Moslems, and then consider the relative numbers of Jews vs Moslems.
    If science can be essentially blasphemy (which presumably would make it dangerous in intolerant regimes), it’s going to cramp the freedom of scientists and any would-be scientists.

    How come moslems get to use the internet and all that science and Quantum blasphemy?

    • Doug
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      I’m guessing that they make a distinction between “technology” (which is useful and poses no threat to their religious views) and “science” (which is abstract or theoretical and does). Hence the complaint we sometimes hear in this country: “Why don’t scientists spend their time on something with PRACTICAL applications, instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on all that useless stuff?” (Remember William Proxmire and his Golden Fleece Awards?) The fact that inventors apply discoveries made in “useless” research to new technology doesn’t fit into this world-view.

    • steve oberski
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      The catholics beat them to it.

      This appears to be serious.

  15. livinginabox
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Is fundamentalist ‘religion’ another way of spelling ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’?

  16. Woof
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Well that’s the dumbest thing I’ve seen all day.

    Agreed, it’s still early… but I expect it to hold up.

  17. Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    All I can think of is the quote from Blazing Saddles. “You know…. morons.”

    and of course the US didnt’ land on the moon. Cuz it was a conspiracy between us and the Russkies who never even made a peep that we didn’t get there.

  18. Dave
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    This man is an idiotic insult to his ancestors.

  19. Mattapult
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Pendulum Presession and the Coreolis Effect should be no-brainers that prove the Earth rotates. Unless we are arguing with a no-brainer.

  20. cary
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    And then there’s this:

    http://galileowaswrong.blogspot.com/

  21. Filippo
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    ‘His “proof,” involving an airplane flight between Saudi Arabia and China, is hilarious.’

    I gather he accepts the science and math of the dynamics of fluid flow around curved surfaces. Or is it a constant supernatural omni-miracle?

  22. Peter B
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Apropos JAC’s:
    I’m pretty sure they don’t teach this nonsense in Saudi universities.

    Reminds me of a passage in Steven Weinberg’s essay “Without god” (originally NYRB, Sept.25 2008; reprinted in his collection Lake Views, 2009):

    “Nor has science revived in the Islamic world. There are talented scientists who have come to the West from Islamic countries and here do work of great value … But in the past forty years I have not seen any paper in the areas of physics or astronomy that I follow that was written in an Islamic country and was worth reading. Thousands of scientific papers are turned out in these countries, and perhaps I missed something. Still, in 2002 the periodical Nature carried out a survey of science in Islamic countries, and found just three areas in which the Islamic world produced excellent science, all three directed toward applications rather than basic science. They were desalination, falconry, and camel breeding.”

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      “…desalination, falconry, and camel breeding.”

      LOL!

      Good to know we needn’t fear running out of camel breeders anytime soon.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Why is it animal “husbandry” and not “wifery”?

        And is a “hussy” (as in, “You shameless hussy!”) a woman who too much acts like “the man of the house,” her hus-band?

      • Posted February 17, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        That knowledge will help me sleep tight tonight:-). Coincidentally, a good friend recently gave me a really cool camel-shaped teapot for my birthday. It’s a hoot, with the lid on the hump, and an extra-long spout/neck.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          I can sorta picture that.

          Good thing it wasn’t a Bactrian.

          • Posted February 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Then you’d need three hands to pour:-(

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

              If a 2-humped camel is a Bactrian, and a one-humped camel is a Dromedary, what do you call a camel with no humps?

              • merilee
                Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

                I think I’m being set up here…( a horse?)

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 18, 2015 at 12:02 am | Permalink

                Humphrey.

              • Posted February 18, 2015 at 1:00 am | Permalink

                Grooooooooaaaaaaaaan😖

              • Posted February 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

                Pedantically – and it’s unlike me to be pedantic – a dromedary is just the racing breed of Arabian camel.

                /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:31 am | Permalink

                Well, that’s good to know…if I can remember it.

              • Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:59 am | Permalink

                Although common usage seems to have shifted since my childhood. Here we go on another “progress or decay” thread …

                /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:04 am | Permalink

                Is nothing sacred?!

              • Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:29 am | Permalink

                Certainly not camels. Cows, maybe.

                /@

              • Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

                Holy shit.

              • Posted February 19, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

                You’ve got that down pat!

                /@

          • Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            🐪🐫

  23. Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Incredible ignorance!

  24. Chris Moffatt
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    If you plant a stick in the ground at the equator at noon and then travel fifty miles north and plant another stick in the ground it will cast a shadow. This is proof positive that the earth is flat and that the sun is very close and not very large. These guys are on to something and we can only watch in awe.

    “I’m pretty sure they don’t teach this nonsense in Saudi universities.”

    I wouldn’t bet on that.

    • Yiam Cross
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      I’d bet they do.

  25. Yiam Cross
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Man’s a fool. NO airline ever tries to catch a country, they never would. They always have to wait for it to come around and dive in quickly before it passes by. I thought everyone knew that.

    Honestly, what chance do we have if someone like this isn’t laughed off the planet? I despair of humanity sometimes.

    • Fry
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Don’t despair! Remember that human progress is forged by an exceedingly small proportion of extremely intelligent, driven and visionary individuals. Most of the rest of us provide back-up support or are happy to go along for the ride.

      Then there’s the knuckle draggers like this fine specimen and hi followers that if their will prevailed would pull us all backward with them. Fortunately, at least so far, the direction has been positive, and I am optimistic it will remain so. Regrettable that religion is still with us, as I’m pretty sure that without it our progress would accelerate significantly.

    • Fry
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Don’t despair! Human progress is forged by a tiny percentage of the population who possess extraordinary vision, intelligence and drive. Most of the rest of us provide back up support or are happy to go along for the ride. Then there are knuckle draggers like this one, who if they had their way, would drag us back into the pit of ignorance from which we’ve struggled of, at least in most places, over the last 300 years. Human progress has been mostly positive and I’m optimistic it will remain so. Pity religion still stands in the way – without it I’m sure our progress would accelerate rapidly.

      • Fry
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Hmm.. my original post didn’t appear at first, so did a rewrite, reposted then first appeared! Two for the price of one.

  26. quiscalus
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never understood how modern air travel works, until now! It’s all so clear! Likewise, boats don’t actually move on the water, but we don’t know why. All we know is that the tides go in, the tides go out. You can’t explain that!

    seriously, is this guy the Bill O’Reilly of Saudi TV?

  27. Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Well, yeah. Feel lucky that they didn’t do the one about Neil Armstrong hearing the Muslim call to prayer and converting *on the moon!*

    http://answering-islam.org/Hoaxes/neil.html

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 18, 2015 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      I thought he did it while on his bicycle while leading the Tour de France…

  28. Vaal
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s amazing. Religious “Fundamentalists”
    are the ones who take their holy books the most seriously and literally, and these are the ones that unnerve even other people of the same religion.

    Here are books that make claims about reality, the more of the Holy Book you actually don’t ignore, the more of it you take seriously, the clearly more crazy and out of touch you become.

    You’d think even many Christians would note this liability, that it might raise just a tad bit of suspicion about the texts.

    But, naaah…

  29. Acolyte of Sagan
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Would it be possible to ask this genius how many multiples of the speed of light the distant stars and galaxies are travelling to orbit our static planet every 24hrs?

    Actually, he might like to start closer to home with Sol’s other planets.
    Then, he can go on to explain how anything stays in a stable orbit, not to mention how Jupiter, for example, retains its shape.

    • Posted February 18, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      My guess is that the doctrine is something like the Aristotlian spheres-within-spheres later exactified by Ptolemy (who, BTW, was not a very committed geocentrist – he basically says that everyone else thinks this way, it doesn’t matter for the calculation, and so he’ll go with it – positivism!)

  30. MAZMANIANAC
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    As silly as this asshole is, he at least is using religious doctrine to cover up his ignorance–something not used by domestic idiots who embrace geocentrism Just enter geocentrism into the search box at youtube and you will be amazed at what pops up–I was!

  31. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 18, 2015 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    His example of flying from Sharjah to China – ‘the plane can just stand still and wait for China to come round to it’ – is not so far off the mark, at that. (In actual fact the plane is moving steadily backwards, unless it was a Concorde…)

    His real mistake is dismissing it as absurd.

    I guess he comes into the category of ‘not even wrong’.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 18, 2015 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      … provided, of course, it’s a real long-range plane and overflies America on the way…

      Sheesh, almost fell into that one…

  32. Posted February 18, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    What’s particularly scary is that he’s a youngish guy. He must have been taught this nonsense by someone else.

    • Posted February 18, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Interesting thought… if this sounds ridiculous to Creationists out there, then guess what? This is how ridiculous you guys sound to evolutionists.

  33. Posted February 18, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I’d like to invite this genius to board one of these flights and connect to the satellite powered entertainment systems. Or stand near Cape Canaveral, as I have done and personally watch a spacecraft go into orbit, though the silly NASA engineers never seem to factor in possibly ramming the entrance to 7th Heaven.

  34. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    He claimed that as well as the scholars telling us the truth, reason also led us the truth.
    It seems to that the first step in reasoning about the earth moving, is that the air would be moving too, otherwise we would have a never ending consistently one direction wind.
    We don’t, even in the middle east I think they had wind free days.
    Therefore the earth includes the atmosphere, which moves too so the planes are ‘with’ the earth still.
    Even so, certain factors in the earths shape and atmosphere are taken into consideration in navigation.
    (I don’t know why I am saying this, I doubt that ‘scholar’ is going to look here and wake up to himself’)


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