Arab student scientific PhD thesis: The earth is flat!

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Arab student scientific PhD thesis: The earth is flat!The Arab world will continue to suffer educational and cultural crises until it properly digests the different methodologies of science and religion

Last week, a huge scandal rocked the Tunisian and Arab scientific and educational world: a PhD student submitted a thesis declaring Earth to be flat, unmoving, young (only 13,500 years of age), and the centre of the universe.

Going even bolder and further, the student explicitly rejected the physics of Newton and Einstein, the astronomy of Copernicus and Kepler, the cosmology of the Big Bang, the main models of atmospheric and geological activity, and most of modern climatology.

The student submitted her thesis after five years of work; it was then sent to two assessors, thus passing the first stage of approvals. The reports were expected soon, for the thesis defence to be scheduled.

It was at this stage that fate luckily intervened: a copy of the thesis was “leaked” to the former president of the Tunisian Astronomical Association, who checked that it was not a hoax and then quickly rang the alarm by posting on Facebook the general conclusions of the thesis, verbatim.

Gulf News readers may recall that two years ago, I wrote a column lamenting the talk that a Saudi cleric had given in the UAE insisting that Earth does not rotate, neither around itself nor around the Sun; I described the moment as a “debacle” and tried to draw lessons from it.

This new scandal is much worse, because it does not come from a cleric (that was bad enough) but rather from a PhD student in science, her supervisor held the Professor rank (the highest in academia), and they were explicitly rejecting major parts of modern science.

They also went further than just submit a thesis, they published a paper (in an obscure and disreputable journal) presenting “physical and astronomical arguments” for geo-centrism (Earth being central and fixed in the universe).

The paper is available online, and anyone can quickly check that both the paper and the journal are worthless: countless grammatical errors, mediocre references, puny scientific arguments; the journal is classified as “fake and predatory”, one of those “pay and we’ll publish your article quickly, with no reviewing or editing”…

General conclusion

I don’t mean to belabour the point, but it is worth citing a few ideas from the general conclusion given at the end of the thesis, if at least to fully impress upon the reader the size of the calamity that has just occurred — before we analyse its causes.

The “results” of this doctoral thesis include: the Earth is flat and young, and it stands immobile at the centre of the universe, which is made of only one galaxy; the sun’s diameter is 1,135km (not 1.4 million km), the moon is 908 km wide, and they lie 687 and 23 times closer to Earth, respectively; there are 11 planets; stars are “limited” in number and have a diameter of 292 km (not millions of km).

How does one explain such stunning ignorance of basic astronomy, coupled with such brashness and insolence — rejecting Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Hubble, and everything in science?

In this particular case, I believe this was due to an adherence to religious, scriptural literalism, in other words taking the meanings of religious texts literally and blindly, at the cost of rejecting all knowledge that appears to contradict it, no matter how much evidence supports it.

Indeed, we find in the conclusions of the thesis clear indications of this stand and approach, expressions such as: “using physical and religious arguments”, “also proving the world scale of [Noah’s] flood”, “proposed a new kinematic approach that conforms to the verses of the Quran”, “the roles of the stars are: (1) to be ornaments of the sky; (2) to stone the devils; and (3) as signs to guide creatures in the darkness of earth”; and finally “the geo-centric model… accords with the verses of the Quran and the pronouncements of our Prophet.”

Comeback

Flat-Earthism has lately been making a comeback and spreading like bush fire through social media.

Search for “flat earth” on YouTube and you’ll find almost a million videos; “flat earth society” gets 400,000 pages on the web; “flat earth proof” gets you 200,000 pages; etc.

But this social media trend I attribute to people’s inclination toward conspiracy theories: “Nasa has faked the moon-landing”; “Nasa photoshops space images”; “Give us real proofs that these interplanetary spacecraft are factual”; etc.

In 2001, when the internet was still young, and the “moon-landing hoax” was just emerging as a trending meme (without social media to support its spread), I gave several talks titled “Did Nasa fake the moon landing… or are we miserably failing to educate the public?”

But the latest shocking event (the PhD thesis) implies that we are not only failing to educate the public (that is manifest in the trendy “flat earth” and “Nasa lies” memes on social media) but also our brightest students.

It has been reported that the PhD student had previously graduated at the top of her class.

What we are failing to clarify and communicate is how to distinguish between scientific knowledge (facts, models, theories, etc.) and religious knowledge (what verses mean and what they intend to teach us).

I believe the Arab-Muslim world will continue to suffer educational and cultural crises, not to mention a total lack of understanding of science, until it properly digests the different methodologies of science and religion, without diminishing the value of each.

Source: gulfnews.com

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Tornos
  1. 27/05 21:43

    New Pulse poll shows Greek opposition leading by 13% margin vs. 12% in April

  2. 27/05 21:39

    Scot on holiday in Greece captures huge whirlpool off Corfu coast

  3. 27/05 21:32

    Egyptian FM optimistic over agreement on EEZ with Greece

  4. 27/05 21:29

    Report: Thessaloniki is presenting great investment opportunities

  5. 27/05 21:24

    Greek architecture company designs world’s first U-Shaped skyscraper for New York City

  6. 27/05 20:03

    BBSF forum: Tourism as a tool for regional cooperation and development session

  7. 27/05 16:36

    EU VP: 'Greece delivering' on its commitments so deal by June 15 within reach

  8. 27/05 14:34

    New rail strike means no trains from Tuesday, including to Athens airport

  9. 27/05 11:10

    Opening on Thursday for Wyndham's two new "hotel gems" in Loutraki

  10. 27/05 10:55

    British Airways cancels all Saturday Heathrow and Gatwick flights due to IT system failure

  11. 26/05 20:46

    Scientists: Unique gene protects heart of Mylopotamos residents in Crete

  12. 26/05 20:40

    Greek team conquers Mount Everest for first time after 13 years

  13. 26/05 20:35

    Floriculture investment with geothermal field to be inaugurated on Saturday

  14. 26/05 20:32

    The Bridge Experience in Rio, Greece: A sports event that eliminates distances

  15. 26/05 20:28

    Paleontologists meet at Natural History Museum of Lesvos Petrified Forest in Greece

  16. 26/05 20:04

    Attack against coach in Egypt claims lives of 26 Coptic Christians

  17. 26/05 18:37

    Greece’s wealthiest man celebrates birthday on yacht in Chania, Crete

  18. 26/05 15:27

    New Book Highlights the Architectural Marvel of SNFCC in Athens

  19. 26/05 15:21

    Bangladeshi government takes statue of Greek goddess Themis down

  20. 26/05 14:19

    Greece aiming for 500,000-plus Chinese tourists during next two years

  21. 26/05 12:15

    Traffic diversions in Athens due to night race on Sunday, May 28

  22. 26/05 11:13

    Stolen ancient Greek statue found and two men arrested

  23. 26/05 10:06

    More choices than you can possibly handle on Cyclades islands in Greece

  24. 26/05 01:57

    Economy Minister: Major growth potential of Greece's healthcare system

  25. 26/05 01:53

    ESM confidential document reveals three scenarios for Greek debt

  26. 26/05 01:50

    2017 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival lineup announced

  27. 26/05 01:47

    Campaign to inform Elliniko camp residents about transfer to other spots begins

  28. 26/05 01:42

    Report: Greece trailing in Foreign Direct Investments despite rise

  29. 26/05 01:39

    The quiet Aegean retreat of Lemnos island in Greece

  30. 26/05 01:36

    BBSF session: Boosting the digital economy in the Balkans and Black Sea region

  31. 26/05 01:33

    Cosco eyes coordination with Greek ports for improved cruise ship promotion

  32. 26/05 01:30

    The digital Project Athensreport by Anna Lascari asks for support

  33. 26/05 01:26

    Eros Ramazzotti to join Antonis Remos for annual Mykonos Party in July

  34. 26/05 01:24

    Minister: Operation of mosque in Athens among Greek government's commitments

  35. 26/05 01:20

    US Marines follow footsteps of Leonidas to Thermopylae (video)

  36. 26/05 01:06

    Greece to expand Golden Visa program offering buying permits for €250,000 property

  37. 26/05 00:46

    “Divine Dialogues: Cy Twombly and Greek at Athens Museum of Cycladic Art

  38. 26/05 00:40

    US Appeals Court deals blow to Trump Administration Travel Ban

  39. 26/05 00:29

    Bank of Greece: 87.5% of travel receipts in 2016 came from five regions

  40. 25/05 22:00

    Start-ups try to revolutionize the French wine sector

  41. 25/05 20:57

    Greek Tourism Minister pushes sea development investments at Posidonia

  42. 25/05 18:53

    Greek shipowner Alexandros Goulandris passed away

  43. 25/05 17:13

    Former Greek PM Papademos treated for minor injuries from letter bomb

  44. 25/05 16:50

    United Airlines launches direct flights from Athens to New York for summer 2017

  45. 25/05 14:48

    A walk in the Byzantine museum’s gardens in Athens

  46. 25/05 13:43

    International theater performances at the Athens and Epidaurus Festival 2017

  47. 25/05 12:24

    Yoga, concerts and childrens' events at Athens National Garden in June

  48. 25/05 11:22

    Spiegel: 3 million Germans to visit Greece for summer 2017

  49. 25/05 10:17

    Art Athina exhibition 2017 opens at Tae Kwon Do stadium in Paleo Faliro

  50. 25/05 02:36

    Ten Greek businessmen in Montreal awarded DEKA recognition

  51. 25/05 02:32

    Skift report: Airbnb’s latest role is destination marketing for Sweden

  52. 25/05 02:31

    Handelsblatt: Schaeuble and IMF move toward compromise on Greek Debt relief

  53. 25/05 02:29

    New evidence: Humans started off in Greece not Africa

  54. 25/05 02:07

    Moody's China downgrade for first time since 1989 rattles Asian markets

  55. 25/05 01:50

    Grand-daughter of legendary Eleni advertises Greece all over the world

  56. 25/05 00:24

    ’Open Cellar Doors’ event takes place at Wine Roads of Greece

  57. 24/05 23:21

    4 million German cruise passengers projected by 2027

  58. 24/05 22:19

    Conference on hydrocarbons to take place in Athens on June 8-9

  59. 24/05 20:17

    Property prices in Cyprus increase significantly according to RICS data

  60. 24/05 18:15

    Greek budget posts 1.726 bln€ primary surplus over January-April period

  61. 24/05 16:11

    Study shows sluggish growth in hotel beds despite increased arrivals in Greece

  62. 24/05 15:05

    Attica region invites public to visit documenta14 exhibition on May 26 for free

  63. 24/05 15:04

    Building of mosque in Athens approved in parliamentary committee

  64. 24/05 14:02

    SNF launches Sustainability Study for historic St. Demetrios donation

  65. 24/05 13:59

    Piraeus Port Authority €294 million investment plans tabled at 4th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum

  66. 24/05 12:44

    Small Greek firms impress with donkey milk, olive oil soap, Canal Dive craft beer

  67. 24/05 11:42

    Greek Civil Aviation Authority to hold tender on new DPS/ATM and VCRS systems

  68. 24/05 10:38

    Travel tips: 5 reasons to visit Folegandros island in Greece

  69. 24/05 01:35

    Sea Days 2017: A panorama of events in the port of Piraeus

  70. 24/05 00:31

    U.S. Commerce Secretary backs Greek-American bid for Ethniki Asfalistiki

  71. 24/05 00:20

    Greek Tourism Minister plans to create new legal framework for industry

  72. 24/05 00:18

    Energy giants to bid for hydrocarbon exploration in Greek maritime area

  73. 24/05 00:16

    Cyprus President: Real estate sector shows dynamic growth

  74. 24/05 00:14

    Greek State power corporation shareholders OK sale of 25% stake in grid operator

  75. 24/05 00:09

    Greek Metsovio Polytechnic celebrates 180-year anniversary in Athens

  76. 24/05 00:08

    Greeks shipowners add 90 million tons to fleet during last 7 years

  77. 24/05 00:06

    German Finance Minister expresses optimism over Greek bailout deal in June

  78. 24/05 00:03

    Minister at Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum: Greece is open for cruise industry business

  79. 23/05 23:58

    UK Foreign Travel Advisory issued over strikes in Greece

  80. 23/05 23:55

    Nearly all of Cyprus bathing sites marked as excellent quality water by the EU

  81. 23/05 23:39

    DHS Report: Greeks are 3rd in Overstaying Visas (VWP) in the US

  82. 23/05 23:36

    Private sector interest focuses on Alexandroupolis and Elefsina ports in Greece

  83. 23/05 22:53

    150,000 euro grand prize awarded to Greek archaeological works on June 7

  84. 23/05 21:44

    Experience healing and history at historic Epidavros in Peloponnese, Greece

  85. 23/05 19:42

    Greek President extends condolences for victims of Manchester attack

  86. 23/05 19:34

    Chinese Cosco eyes turning Piraeus into East Med cruise hub

  87. 23/05 17:32

    Bank of Greece: Travel receipts down by 7.8% in March

  88. 23/05 16:30

    Chinese Alibaba's travel portal Alitrip to be presented to Greek tourism sector on May 26

  89. 23/05 15:26

    Guide: Local flavours and healthy tastes of the Greek cuisine

  90. 23/05 14:23

    Greek hoteliers: International tour operators insist on no rate hikes for 2018

  91. 23/05 13:22

    Greek productions and events to launch Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2017

  92. 23/05 12:18

    EU Environment Agency study: Greece ranked third in water cleanliness

  93. 23/05 10:15

    Greece-based Aegean Airlines reports €35.8 million in losses for Q1 2017

  94. 23/05 10:11

    Positive signs for tourism industry: 28 million arrivals expected in Greece during 2017

  95. 23/05 00:18

    TUI: New Family Life Hotel in Samos

  96. 23/05 00:14

    Amadeus: + 25.8% bookings for Greece during the first 4 months of 2017

  97. 23/05 00:09

    Virtuoso names 10 top places for summer travel - Greece among top romantic spots

  98. 23/05 00:06

    Most popular hotels of German holidaymakers in Greece

  99. 23/05 00:03

    Southwest Airlines completes transition to Amadeus Altéa

  100. 23/05 00:00

    TUI Fly: Additional connections to Crete, Kos and Rhodes