Tuesday, 6 September 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster

The other day I was introduced to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (See also the Wikipedia entry.) The whole universe makes sense at last!

Incidentally, it seems to me that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a parody of religion or religious belief, but only of certain religious ways of interpreting scientific data.

5 Comments:

tim said...

Hi Ben,
True. And just to clarify: I didn't say a parody "of", just "a parody religion".

Lyn said...

I would use a stronger word than parody. This "movement" seems to mock faith in and of itself. It doesn't come from a position of faith (a la Wittenberg Door satire) but views religious belief as untenable. Faith without reasons. So, while humorous at points (for we believers have much to laugh at in ourselves), overall, I don't find the monster theory funny. lgp

Ben Myers said...

Tim: Yes, I think you were right to call it a "parody religion". Thanks for the link, which put me in "touch" with His Noodly Appendage.

Lyn: Sorry you don't find it funny -- no offence intended. I myself don't think that it's necessarily mocking faith (just as it's not necessarily mocking people who dress in pirate regalia); rather I think it's really aimed at certain faith-driven interpretations of science.

tim said...

Hear, hear. And Lyn, while I appreciate your comments, I wouldn't call FSM a movement. (A "moment", perhaps?) Personally I think that the critique FSM raises is valid, namely, what, ultimately, does the "intelligent design" theory achieve? At best, all it does is point (arguably) to the existence of a distant creative power, who could be either the god of the bible or the flying spaghetti monster, or bhudda, or allah, or a nameless mystical force that permeates and unites all things. Who or what "the intelligent designer" is, cannot be answered by I.D. (I wonder what would Freud say about that acronym?). And incidentally, I don’t think we get any closer to an ethical imperative through I.D., for although we may assert that a “force” exists that has created all things, there is no place in the theory for a doctrine of sin, or of a fall, or of a redeemer… and because we don’t know who or what this god is, we cannot positively say that we are created in its/his image. Therefore, there is no place in I.D. for ethics, no way of saying that evil is an unnatural and unwelcome guest; no way of saying what is right or wrong; no way of arguing for or against anything in particular. The world remains trapped in the modern/postmodern double dissolution of functionality and market defined worth; the creation remains reduced, and we are still, as Lyotard said, slaves to the mantra “be operational or disappear”.
What, then, will I.D. achieve? Intelligent design does not lead us any closer to a god who is involved in the affairs of the world, all we will do (at best) is raise deists in our schools, and not necessarily of the Judeo-Christian tradition (I suppose it would depend on who’s teaching). As Ben has pointed out, the theory simply makes "god" the "god of the gaps", and is therefore a theory that relies on a posteriori arguments for the existence of god. In other words, I.D. cannot achieve what many are hoping it will, and it doesn’t let us out of the “trap” that many of its advocates believe science has “put” god into. In I.D. god is still the handmaiden of science, science remains the rule against which we must argue. By this I mean that science remains the battleground; science will set the agenda; I.D. will always be on the defensive; always in a situation of point counter-point. I can see this going nowhere fast…

Lyn said...

Ben and Tim,
Thanks for your reasoned explanations. No offense taken and appreciate the dialog. Especially the point that the god in ID becomes the handmaiden of science, where science is setting the agenda and ID is trying to answer, thus always on the defensive. Good thoughts. Will have to consider what I truly believe about ID/Evolution/Etc. Or maybe I can hold these issues at bay and get on with proclaiming the gospel? :-) Thanks again, Lyn

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