T Nation

Flying Spaghetti Monster


#1

In a blow to creationists/ID guys everywhere...

Divine comedy

Sunday, February 12, 2006

By JIM BECKERMAN
STAFF WRITER

unlike a certain other religion in the news, the First United Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't object to cartoon depictions of the supreme being.

For one thing, He's easy to draw -- a tangle of pasta strands with a meatball body.

In some pictures, He is shown reaching out to confer the blessings of life and happiness with what church members like to refer to as His "noodly appendage."

Flying Spaghetti Monster could be the next big thing on the pop culture menu.

His al dente visage can be seen on T-shirts, coffee mugs, magnets, flags, computer games. His Buitoni #10 tentacles can be seen reaching out to Adam in a photo-shop version of Michelangelo's "Creation," and to the disciples in Da Vinci's "Last Supper." "Flying Spaghetti Monster Bless America" appears on bumper stickers.

He's even getting his own Bible: "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster," coming March 16 from Random House. It's written by his foremost prophet, Bobby Henderson, who launched this satiric dig at so-called intelligent design about a year ago, and lived to see it take on a life of its own.

"It's amazing that a satirical monster could get this big, but then He did create the universe," says Dee Dee McKinney, content administrator for the FSM online discussion forum and the reclusive Henderson's primary mouthpiece.

Henderson, a 25-year-old physicist and graduate of Oregon State University, conceived of the Flying Spaghetti Monster last year as a reductio ad absurdum of the intelligent design argument for inclusion in curriculums.

According to intelligent design boosters, since evolution is only a "theory" and not provable, an alternative ? that the universe was created by an intelligent designer -- should be given equal time in science classes.

The "alternative" they presumably had in mind was Christianity.

But, said Henderson to some chums over beers, by the same logic the "intelligent designer" could just as easily be, say, a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

It was only a short step to what happened next.

Last summer, as the Kansas School Board was having a heated debate over whether information about intelligent design should be required in public school curriculums (in November, the board voted 6-4 in favor), board members received an odd letter:

"Let us remember that there are multiple theories of intelligent design," it read in part. "I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. ... It is for this reason that I'm writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories."

Members of the Dover, Pa., school board, voted out of office in November for supporting a measure similar to Kansas', also heard from the Spaghetti Monster.

But Henderson didn't stop with letters. He also created a Web site, venganza.org, as a rallying place for what were quickly dubbed "Pastafarians." While there are officially 3,332 "church" members worldwide, based on online response, the real number is doubtless much higher, McKinney says.

"We got one e-mail from a guy from Italy, who speaks almost no English, who wants to start a European seminary to train priests for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster," McKinney says. "The fact is, we don't have a priesthood. Our church is a very bottom-up structure."

Some Pastafarians are just people looking for the Next Big Quirky Thing -- the kind of free spirits who gravitate to things like the Church of the Subgenius or the Church of Stop Shopping.

Others are students -- sincerely troubled by the rise of fundamentalism and its impact on education.

"I think it's a brilliant concept, and I've been trying to promote the idea," says David Linley, a 15-year-old high school student from Ontario who discovered the Web site in October.

"I've just been disgusted by some of the pseudo-science I've seen," Linley says. Finding the site, he says, was a "wake-up call."

In addition to keeping tabs on the anti-science right and hawking various Flying Spaghetti Monster paraphernalia, the site also lampoons the kind of pseudo-science, bolstered by dubious charts and graphs, favored by creationists in books like "Of Pandas and People."

One favorite chart purports to link the rise of global warming with the decline of pirates. Which explains the "pirate" iconography -- eye patches and cutlasses -- that goes hand-in-noodle with the church's spaghetti-and-meatball motif.

Naturally, the Web site gets plenty of hate mail from the devout. "You're an idiot. I'll pray for you," one message read.

"They send Bobby threatening letters, they curse him, they call him a blankety-blankety-blank-blank," McKinney says. "And at the end, they say God loves him."

Most people -- pro and con -- assume that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the creation of atheists, or at the very least agnostics.

Actually, McKinney is a Christian, and Henderson won't say one way or the other.

"It's appalling what has been done and what has happened to my religion in the name of politics," McKinney says.

With the money from the Spaghetti Monster book, McKinney says, the "church" is planning its major investment -- a pirate ship that can go from port to port, spreading the word about His Noodleness.

"It would go from place to place, so [church] members could come to visit," McKinney says. "And they're hoping to make cannons. Some say it should fire T-shirts. The other half say it should be meatballs."


#2

From the official website:

OPEN LETTER TO KANSAS SCHOOL BOARD:

CC:

DOVER SCHOOL BOARD (PENNSYLVANIA)

OHIO STATE SCHOOL BOARD

RIO RANCHO SCHOOL BOARD (NEW MEXICO)

GRANTSBURG SCHOOL BOARD (WISCONSIN)

COBB COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD(GEORGIA)

SHELBY COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD(TENNESSEE)

CHARLES COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD(MARYLAND)

NAPERVILLE SCHOOL BOARD(ILLINOIS)

DARBY SCHOOL BOARD (MONTANA)

BLUFFTON-HARRISON SCHOOL BOARD (INDIANA)

TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY

KENTUCKY GOVERNOR ERNIE FLETCHER

SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR MICHAEL L. FAIR

I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them.

I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that I?m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action.

I?m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.

Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power.

Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don?t understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is.

For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years.

But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.

I?m sure you now realize how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, and unfortunately cannot describe in detail why this must be done as I fear this letter is already becoming too long.

The concise explanation is that He becomes angry if we don?t.

You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.

In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to hear our views and beliefs. I hope I was able to convey the importance of teaching this theory to your students. We will of course be able to train the teachers in this alternate theory. I am eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken.

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.

Sincerely Yours,

Bobby Henderson, concerned citizen.

P.S. I have included an artistic drawing of Him creating a mountain, trees, and a midget. Remember, we are all His creatures.

http://www.venganza.org/


#3


We need more pirates!


#4

Garrr, I always post in full regalia!

Ramen.


#5

This really is the funniest thing i have seen in a while.

Pure genius.


#6

I thought it fit the current discussion well.

Especially the part about the pirates and global warming...

fuckin pirates


#7

The G8 should raise that in the next meeting.

Alert the government...keyoto no loger has relevance


#8

This guy is like a modern day Jonathan Swift. Brilliant stuff.

Todd


#9

I remember coming across this stuff back when the ID vs Evolution debate really started. Its amazing at the crap he takes from some people about it. I am a big fan though, and let's get some more pirates!


#10

In homage I shall boil water containing noodles and fry beef. Then, in a fitting ceremony I shall combine the two along with tomato sauce. With a sprinkle of cheese it will be good.

First however, I must go to the gym and work on improving my own noodly appendages.


#11

The FSM Last Supper has been been on my desktop for awhile now. It still makes me smile, and I have to adjust my eye patch to get a good look at his Holy Noodle-ness.

Ramen.


#12

looked at the site. the e maisl section is houts of idiotic fun

Some people are just arses. Plain and simple.

Satire needs to slap them in the head.