Saturday, December 23, 2006

Space Mecca

So much of our lives are tied to the rhythms of the planet we live on. Muslims pray towards Mecca several times a day. That is easy to do on Earth, but requires a new calculus in space. Dr. Zainol Abidin Abdul Rashid is actually tackling the problem of how many times a day and towards which direction a putative Muslim astronaut's would need to pray to fulfill his religious obligation. Conveniently it isn't based on how many orbits of Earth or Muslims could need to pray 20 times a day in space. It would be interesting to know what they would need to do away from Earth orbit.

This reminds me of the imam in the Charles Stross collection Accelerando who wrestles with much thornier problems of whether uploaded minds have souls, and other quandaries produced by the Singularity the characters in that book are living through.

I would like to know what the Catholic Church's answers are to the theological implications of uploaded minds and life on other planets, to namejust two interesting science fiction ideas with huge religious implications. They must be in the Vatican library somewhere waiting to be revealed.

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