KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The conflict between science and religion took centre stage earlier today, as readers of Utusan Malaysia took to the Malay daily’s Facebook page to duke it out over whether or not yesterday’s news of a NASA probe reaching Pluto was true.
Proclamations that NASA’s announcement was “poyo”, a Malay slang word for stupid, was a recurring theme on the comments section of Utusan Online’s snapshot of its page that carried the story, with some even claiming that the footage from the New Horizons probe was simply made using a green screen.
“Mdarat di bulan pn tipu ,ni kan pluto,” wrote one Facebook user who went by the name AntiPilak Iju.
(They lied about landing on the moon, what more pluto.)
Another Facebook user by the name of Hairul Hilman went on a lengthy tirade against the US and science, arguing that the only reference needed is the Quran which details seven layers of the sky that are guarded by angels that do not eat or sleep.
He added that the Americans’ claim of having reached Pluto cannot be trusted as even the Russians and Chinese with “more advanced technology” are nowhere near achieving such a feat.
Facebook user Uchiha Fiq questioned how it is even possible for the NASA probe to have reached the furthest end of the solar system.
“Pluto tu berjuta2 kilometer maybe bilion kilometer,bersamaan 10 ribu tahun cahaya,mustahil.maaf silap.sempena hari raya ni minta maaf la oi,” he said.
(Pluto is millions of kilometres maybe billions of kilometres, equivalent to 10 thousand light years, impossible.I’m sorry it’s a mistake. In conjunction with hari raya just apologise.)
There were, however, many on the thread who hit back at the naysayers, with some even taking the trouble to correct some of the claims made.
Uchiha Fiq’s post alone drew 39 replies, most of which listed out facts and explanations on calculating the distance between Earth and Pluto to disprove his claim that it spans 10,000 light years.
Others either drew conclusions that the comments slamming the US and NASA as liars is a result of lack of learning, or chose to poke fun at the whole situation.
“This is why we cant be a developed country,” wrote Afif Rais.
Navah Ruban posted; “Lol NASA Penipu? Poyo? Rip brains”
(Lol Nasa Liar? Stupid? Rip Brains)
“Orang yang malas belajar, Tak minat sains, Mereka inilah yang melariskan pasaran ubat ajaib, Ditipu, Kerana kebodohan itu modalnya penindas,” wrote Fahmi Mustaffa.
(Those who are lazy to learn, Not interested in science, They are the ones who buy out the market for miracle drugs, Cheated, Because stupidity is the capital of the oppressor.)
NASA’s New Horizons probe made its closest approach to Pluto on Tuesday, 10 years after it was launched on the mission.
The US space agency is now working on conducting a series of experiments to study the planet’s atmosphere and photograph its night-side using light reflected off its primary moon Charon, according to newswire Reuters.
It will take about 16 months for New Horizons to transmit back all the thousands of images and measurements taken during its pass by Pluto. By then, the spacecraft will have travelled even deeper into the Kuiper Belt, heading for a possible follow-on mission to one of Pluto’s cousins.