Posts Tagged ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’

Of seeing Santa Claus, flying spaghetti monsters and China teapot in elliptical orbit around the sun: Atheism

May 8, 2021

“Unfortunately, much discussion of the issue of which position is the correct “default position” or of who has the “burden of proof” gets sidetracked by bad analogies to Santa Claus, flying spaghetti monsters, and Bertrand Russell’s ([1952] 1997) famous china teapot in elliptical orbit around the sun (see Garvey 2010 and van Inwagen 2012 for criticism of some of these analogies). “

Derek Roff

Answered August 10, 2016

“Originally Answered: Why do militant atheists use “flying spaghetti” as a metaphor?

Original Question: “Why do militant atheists use “flying spaghetti” as a metaphor? People could have made up any type of creature or thing to mock religion. Why spaghetti?”

The question contains two misperceptions, which other responses have covered: The Flying Spaghetti Monster is not used primarily by militant atheists (if any exist), and the goal isn’t to mock religion.

I’d like to add something that hasn’t been mentioned yet. The main goal of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and all related creative activity, is FUN! While this fun also has a real purpose, the choice of this icon was intentionally playful and whimsical. And for the most part, we Pastafarians are making fun of ourselves. We are the ones who create and celebrate the kooky expressions, puns, and images. We are the ones who wear the colanders on our heads. We are the ones who dress like pirates, create new self-parodying art work, and discover statistically valid, but absurd, correlations. We laugh alot, as we make ourselves ridiculous. Instead of fire and brimstone, we have pasta carbonara. Through celebration of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, we hope that more people will see that all of humanity is a little silly, some of the time, and that our differences can be handled with love and laughter, rather than violence and condemnation. If you let the noodly appendage tickle your funny bone, you might find that you enjoy it.”

John Purcell

Answered August 10, 2016

“Originally Answered: Why do militant atheists use “flying spaghetti” as a metaphor?

I thought this was originally devised by Richard Dawkins and mentioned in his book The God Delusion. But apparently it was first thought up by a guy called Bobby Henderson.

It was then enthusiastically popularised by people who, among other things, made a website devoted to “worshipping” the FSM.

Dawkins is the ultimate source of a lot of modern militant atheism. So if Dawkins repeats something, many people who are inspired directly and indirectly by him will mention it too.

This spaghetti monster seems to have been devised for no particular reason other than to make up something ridiculous and compare it to God (although, the guy who invented it had a specific purpose in mind — thanks Derek Roff for pointing that out).

Bertrand Russell preferred the flying teapot, and fairies and elves are also a popular comparison. The idea is to point out that if we have no evidence that something exists, it almost certainly doesn’t exist. This is a good point, but whether it’s really a fair analogy for God is another matter.”


Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM)

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pastafarianism, a social movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools. According to adherents, Pastafarianism (a portmanteau of pasta and Rastafarianism) is a “real, legitimate religion, as much as any other”.[3] It has received some limited recognition as such.[4][5][6][7][8]

The “Flying Spaghetti Monster” was first described in a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to protest the Kansas State Board of Education decision to permit teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes.[9] In the letter, Henderson demanded equal time in science classrooms for “Flying Spaghetti Monsterism”, alongside intelligent design and evolution.[10] After Henderson published the letter on his website, the Flying Spaghetti Monster rapidly became an Internet phenomenon and a symbol of opposition to the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.[11]

Pastafarian tenets (generally satires of creationism) are presented on Henderson’s Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster website (where he is described as “prophet”), and are also elucidated in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, written by Henderson in 2006, and in The Loose Canon, the Holy Book of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The central creation myth is that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe after drinking heavily. Pirates are revered as the original Pastafarians.[12] The FSM community congregates at Henderson’s website to share ideas about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and crafts representing images of it.[3]

Because of its popularity and exposure, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is often used as a contemporary version of Russell’s teapot—an argument that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon those who make unfalsifiable claims, not on those who reject them. Pastafarians have engaged in disputes with creationists, including in Polk County, Florida, where they played a role in dissuading the local school board from adopting new rules on teaching evolution.[13] Pastafarianism has received praise from the scientific community and criticism from proponents of intelligent design.


In January 2005,[14] Bobby Henderson, a 24-year-old[15] Oregon State University physics graduate, sent an open letter regarding the Flying Spaghetti Monster to the Kansas State Board of Education.[11][16][17] In that letter, Henderson satirized creationism by professing his belief that whenever a scientist carbon-dates an object, a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs is there “changing the results with His Noodly Appendage”. Henderson argued that his beliefs were just as valid as intelligent design, and called for equal time in science classrooms alongside intelligent design and evolution.[10] The letter was sent prior to the Kansas evolution hearings as an argument against the teaching of intelligent design in biology classes.[11] Henderson, describing himself as a “concerned citizen” representing more than ten million others, argued that intelligent design and his belief that “the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster” were equally valid.[11] In his letter, he noted,

I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; one third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.— Bobby Henderson[10]

According to Henderson, since the intelligent design movement uses ambiguous references to a designer, any conceivable entity may fulfill that role, including a Flying Spaghetti Monster.[18] Henderson explained, “I don’t have a problem with religion. What I have a problem with is religion posing as science. If there is a god and he’s intelligent, then I would guess he has a sense of humor.”[9][19]

In May 2005, having received no reply from the Kansas State Board of Education, Henderson posted the letter on his website, gaining significant public interest.[3][14] Shortly thereafter, Pastafarianism became an Internet phenomenon.[9][18] Henderson published the responses he then received from board members.[20] Three board members, all of whom opposed the curriculum amendments, responded positively; a fourth board member responded with the comment “It is a serious offense to mock God”.[21] Henderson has also published the significant amount of hate mail, including death threats, that he has received.[22][23] Within one year of sending the open letter, Henderson received thousands of emails on the Flying Spaghetti Monster, eventually totaling over 60,000,[24] of which he has said that “about 95 percent have been supportive, while the other five percent have said I am going to hell”.[9] During that time, his site garnered tens of millions of hits.[24]

Evidence for atheism?

June 11, 2014

My Christian friend unkleE from Austalia has written a very good article in his blog
“Is there a God?”
Under the topic
“Evidence for atheism?”
With his permission, it is reblogged here:

Evidence for atheism?

Why do you believe what you do – about religion, politics, ethics or life itself?
Many sceptics about religion are evidentialists, that is, they believe we should proportion our belief according to the evidence. Different disciplines (e.g. law, science, history, journalism and everyday life) require different types of evidence, but the principle seems reasonable.
But what if the sceptics are ignoring their own creed?

Evidentialism and atheists

Philosopher Michael Antony observes that most atheists criticise religious belief for its lack of evidence, but then notes that many atheists offer little evidence for their own views. He asks: “How can the New Atheists employ evidentialist principles to argue that religious belief is irrational if they are unwilling to apply those same principles to atheism?”

He also notes that several reasons are offered for why atheism doesn’t require evidential support, and discusses five of them.

1. Atheism Isn’t A Belief

It is common for atheists to claim that atheism isn’t a belief at all, but a lack of belief. Antony argues that this isn’t the standard use of the word (it conflates atheism and agnosticism), but says it makes no difference. Evidentialism applies to all beliefs – believing P, or believing not-P, or suspending belief. Only if a person makes no statement at all can they avoid the evidential requirement for evidence.
Most atheists believe it is unlikely that God exists, so evidentialism requires that they only hold this belief if they can offer evidence.

2. You Can’t Prove A Negative like “God doesn’t exist”

This is in fact incorrect. There are mathematical proofs of negatives (e.g. that there is no greatest prime number) and many negative statements that can be shown to be probably true (e.g. there are no snow-capped mountains in the Sahara).
Some negative statements can be shown to be true and some not; ditto for positive statements. There is no valid general argument here, every case has to be argued on its merits.

3. The Burden of Proof Is On The Believer

“Burden of proof” is a legal term, and it isn’t clear how it should be applied in metaphysics. Antony discusses several ways this concept is argued by atheists:
• “The burden of proof falls on the one making a positive statement.” But most positive statements can be turned into negative statements, and vice versa. For example, “there is no supernatural” can be re-phrased as “everything is natural”.
• “One acquires a burden of proof if one’s statement runs counter to received opinion.” There is some truth in this, but received wisdom varies from group to group.
But evidentialism says nothing about burden of proof. According to evidentialism, evidence is required for any belief to be justified even if there is no ‘burden’ to defend the belief. So Antony concludes that “in situations in which participants to a discussion are expected to take seriously the claims made by other parties, all participants bear a burden to provide support for their claims, if asked”.

4. Ockham’s Razor
Ockham’s Razor advises “Do not multiply entities beyond necessity”. So, some atheists argue, we shouldn’t add an extra entity (God) into our thinking when we can explain everything without him.
But this is the point. Theists, and some atheists, believe that naturalismcannot explain everything – for example the origin of the universe, or consciousness. Ockham’s Razor therefore doesn’t apply until all these things can be explained.

5. Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Absence

This is a favourite argument of many atheists, sometimes expressed in the supposed comparison between God and the hypothetical Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) or Bertrand Russell’s orbiting teapot. There is no way, it is said, to disprove these things, yet no-one takes their existence seriously. So why should it be any different with God.
Antony puts this argument in this form: “When there is no good reason for thinking a [positive existence] claim to be true, that in itself is good reason for thinking the claim to be false.” Then he asks, is this true?
He suggests that we distinguish between strong and weak evidence. Evidence is strong when it provides convincing grounds for a belief, but weak when it is insufficient on its own to compel belief, though it may form part of a cumulative case. Most hypotheses start with weak evidence, which may become stronger as the hypothesis is tested. So is the principle we are discussing based on weak evidence or strong evidence?

Either way, it is in trouble.

If absence of strong evidence is evidence of absence

For example, consider the question of whether earthworms have a primitive form of consciousness. There is little evidence for this (i.e. weak evidence) but some researchers believe it may be true. But since there isn’t strong evidence, we should (according to this principle) believe the contrary, that earthworms don’t have primitive consciousness.

But suppose we then say ‘the boundary between conscious and non-conscious creatures is above the level of earthworms’. But there is no strong evidence for this either so, following this principle, we again have to believe the contrary, that the boundary between consciousness and unconsciousness is below the earthworm. But this means we are affirming two contradictory statements, which is obviously wrong.

If absence of weak evidence is evidence of absence

This is a more reasonable statement. But of course it then doesn’t apply to the existence of God. For there is certainly evidence that might point to the existence of God – “religious experience, the fine-tuning of physical laws and constants, the apparent contingency of the universe, etc”. Atheists may contest all or any of these evidences, but they clearly can be seen as evidence.

Thus, Antony argues, the atheist case for this principle is based on finding examples (like the FSM) which fit easily with the principle, but ignore examples where the principle obviously doesn’t apply. So the discussion must return to the place where it should always have been – what is the evidence for God?

Antony’s conclusion

The five ways which atheists sometimes claim exempt themselves from providing evidence of their belief all fail. Unless they make no statements about God at all, they have as much a requirement to support their statements with evidence as anyone else does. He concludes:

the various positions that can be taken on the existence of a divine being – theism, atheism, agnosticism, and variants – are in principle no less intellectually legitimate than positions in disputes in the sciences and other fields in which none of the positions enjoy strong evidential support.

That is, each position has to show why it is more probable than the others if it wants to gain support.
What do you think?

Where’s The Evidence?
Michael Antony argues that the New Atheists miss the mark.

Of “The Burden of Proof”

February 14, 2014


True and Reasonable

“The Burden of Proof” versus “The Flying Spaghetti Monster”


I enjoyed the discussion between both of you.
First I read about burden of proof on “trueandreasonable ”; then on “unconfirmedabsolutes”. You both are fine and civilized people. You discussed it very nicely.No ridiculing and no belittling the other; this is how the discussion should be made.

I appreciate it.

Thanks and regards to both of you.

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