Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Flying Spaghetti Monster goes to the American Academy of Religion

Transcript of today's show:

When religious scholars gathered at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting this weekend, pasta was on the agenda. There to give talks was the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a satirical pseudo-religion bent on raising serious questions about science and religion. The Flying Spaghetti Monster first emerged in Kansas in 2005 to challenge the decision to teach intelligent design in the state's public schools. In protest of the "junk science" of ID, the group demanded equal time at the debate to present their theory that an omniscient creature made of pasta created the universe.
[source: Associated Press / Justin Pope]

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Sound Off: What is being said about this story from around the blogging and opinion world.

from a comment posted at the NPR blog by Michael Hollifield:
Indeed, when an argument was clearly refuted by Scottish philosopher David Hume as long ago as 1779 in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and more recently by scientist Richard Dawkins in his The Blind Watchmaker then ridicule and satire become appropriate responses.

The last attempt to insert this god in the gap argument was defeated in Dover, Pennsylvania and one only hopes that the United States will catch up with the remainder of the Western world and live in the 21 century instead of continuing a pre-Enlightenment way thinking. But I won't hold my breath.

from a comment posted on the blog Boing Boing:
The fact the AAR is discussing the role of FSM in contemporary dialogue is actually quite intriguing to me and as someone with a bit of exposure to philosophical theology and philosophy or religion it actually makes quite a bit of sense.

Although intentionally non-sensical, FSM is presented as an alternative to the traditional idea of God and thus represents the ultimate resolution of what is currently unknowable, unknown or plausibly debatable. FSM seems to be most enjoyed by those who are explicitly atheist and as such disavow anything "Transcendent" or (classically) metaphysical. In these instances, FSM is employed to ridicule (by absurdity) any reference to a Transcendent with the implication that all unknowns will eventually be resolved through purely scientific inquiry. Thus at one level, FSM is a derisive atheistic construct which serves as a scientifically optimistic placeholder in discussions involving the limit of their own or others' current knowledge.

No one doubts that the limit of human knowledge exists. What FSM boils down to is whether or not a portion of that
unknown is inherently transcendent. Atheistic use of FSM would say 'no' while a great many others (who may or may not believe in "God") would say 'yes'. Thus FSM represents the age-old issue as to whether scientific inquiry will eventually answer all questions.... [more]

from a comment posted on the blog

My initial, very very broad definition of religion would be anything you accept on faith alone. So, christianity is a religion because you accept some things on faith alone, e.g., God. While "science" is not a religion, it is possible to have relgious beliefs in different scientific principles. For example, if you believe in the theory of combustion simply because your teacher told you so, that would qualify as a religious belief. I don't religious belief is necessarily a bad thing - it can be useful sometimes to trust what others tell you without having to "reinvent the wheel."