About 10 years ago Egyptian physicist Dr. Mansour Hassab-Elnaby discovered the speed of light in the Koran. The Holy Book doesn’t exactly say “And though light hits your eyeballs at 299792.458 kilometers per second, it doesn’t hurt at all.” Instead Sura 32, verse 5 teaches science in a language even a 7th century Bedouin could understand: "He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will (all affairs) go up to Him, on a day, the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years to your reckoning." In other words, one of God’s days is as long as a thousand human years.
With a mathematical poet’s sense of metaphor, Dr. Hassab-Elnaby saw a word problem in the verse, did the arithmetic and came up with 299792.500 kilometers per second for the speed of light. This is in astonishing agreement with the latest scientific measurement. In fact the agreement is terrifyingly close for people who eat pork, drink beer, and have sex outside of marriage. If we take the number as a measure of the precision of the Koran in general, the odds that sinners like me will burn in hell is 299792.458 (the scientifically measured figure) divided by 299792.500 (calculated from Koran theory). If you don’t have a calculator handy that means that if God is this good with all his calculations, out of every 7 million sinners only 1 person will escape burning in hell due to God making a mistake. Hopefully that one person will be me and not some other blogger who really has it coming.
Let’s move on to how Dr. Hassab-Elnaby nailed the speed of light, thus proving that observation and thinking is a useless human pursuit because we can learn more by carefully studying the Koran. We already know that speed of light is encoded in the Koranic idea that one of God’s days is the same as a thousand of our years. Cleaning up Dr. Hassab-Elnaby’s approach from all the unnecessary debris we could proceed as follows: a year is 365 days, so 1000 years makes 365000 days. If God measures this many human days as only one of His days, then the Divine Rolex must run slow by a factor of 365000 compared to a mortal Rolex. We humans would look very sped up to Allah—like the Keystone Kops except a lot faster--and if God happens to look at one of our Rolexes, the hour hand would look like it’s spinning around like a pinwheel (between 8 and 9 times a (God) second).
All that is left to do is figure out what God would see if He looked at Mohammad’s Rolex. Unfortunately Rolexes were less abundant in Saudi Arabia back then. The Bedouins used something far more precious: the Moon. If God looked at the Moon going around the Earth and pretended it was the tip of a huge Rolex clock arrow, how fast would He see it move? Since the Moon travels around the Earth at about 1 kilometer per second, to God it would look like it is zipping around 365000 times faster, or 365000 kilometers per second. Not a bad approximation to the speed of light at all! The number is only about 20% too big. By comparison, the earliest measurement of the speed of light by Ole Roemer (1675) gave a figure of 200,000 kilometers per second, which is lower than the real number by more than 30%. Koran scores, but still no Nobel Prize. How can God be wrong by 20 percent?
Dr. Hassab-Elnaby shows that if we corrected some of our assumptions we would get the right number. For example, is the lunar month really about 29.5 days? Depends if you are using the Sun as a reference point or the stars. It turns out a lunar month is about 27.3 days if you reference the stars. The 27-day number lowers the first, rough, calculations to within10% of the real speed of light. Still not Divine accuracy. Then, suddenly in a flash of prophetic brilliance Hassab-Elnaby claims that God intended us to remove the Sun from the center of the Solar System, and if we did this Einstein’s relativity would correct the Moon’s orbit by the remaining 10%, resulting in the extraordinary agreement claimed. This relativistic “correction” factor is irrelevant (removing the Sun would have almost no effect on the Moon’s orbit around the Earth). But the mathematical maneuver is artistically miraculous. Just invoking Einstein’s name (numerous times), Dr. Hassab-Elnaby performed a miracle; imagine what he could have done if he had also used some of Einstein’s ideas.
Still, Dr. Hassab-Elnaby shouldn’t have tried to artificially lower the bigger, more straight forward, number for the Koranic speed of light, because the attempt just makes God look less cool. He should have just mentioned that according to the Koran, God's messenger angels can travel 20% faster than ordinary light. That way the angels could at least violate some physical laws for us and make us clap for them.
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