Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A religious view of science

I looked up at the moon the other night and saw it was just a touch past full.
Ramadan is half over. Ramadan is a 40-day period of fasting and religious devotion observed to celebrate the time when Muhhamad is believed to have recieved the Koran. It occurs once a year, beginning with the new moon at the start of the 9th month on the Muslim (lunar) calender. Curiously, the Koran specifies that Ramadan begins when the new moon "is sighted". Each Muslim country has a religious leader that is charged with, among other duties, declaring the beginning of Ramadan. Some Islamic countries use astronomy and scientific calculations to determine the beginning of the holiday, such as Turkey, Kuwait (I believe), and Muslims in the US and Canada. The rest of the Islamic world believes that a strict interpretation of the Koran requires an actual visual sighting of the new moon, leading to different starting days for Ramadan, depending on country, and all the confusion such an approach ensures.

It seems incredibly strange to me that a culture that once lead the world in the sciences would distrust scientific methods in favor of more subjective means of measuring time.

The real world interrupted my thoughts, as I heard the high-pitched whine of an Air Force AC-130 Spectre gunship overhead, followed by its minigun opening up on some unseen target with a sound like heavy cloth tearing. Circling like some vindictive spirit, it unloaded a stream of flares and another blast from the minigun, and was gone. In the distance, there was the sound of rotor blades, and I imagined the faceless medics preparing to help broken men brought in by the choppers. Sometimes they go to other nearby bases, sometimes they come here; sometimes they are American, sometimes Iraqi. All were fighting for the future of Iraq.


  1. You have a poetic way with words. That last bit about how everyone's fighting for the same thing...I had never thought about that.

    Besides that I have nothing else to say except that I'm glad you're not one of those broken men being helped by faceless medics. Stay that way.

  2. So what I want to know is why the family thinks I'm the essay 'genius'. Props for the word pictures, I love them. And stay safe. I miss you.

  3. Can you give us some updates on what is happening around Balad yesterday and today, if you have any? Here in DC, we've heard reports that the IA has asked for U.S. units to help in that area.

    If you have heard anything, I'd appreciate it.

    -family of deployed soldier

  4. MJ-

    Unfortunately, there's not much I can do to help you out. First, I have no direct knowledge of events around Balad, and secondly, if I did, I wouldn't be able to share anything that isn't already in the news due to security concerns.

    Best of luck in your search, and thanks for your support of your soldier and all the rest of us over here!