Friday, 28 November 2008

Touched By His Noodly Appendage

It's odd, people often talk about faith and the lack of evidence in god in a hand-wavy matter-of-fact way but it's quite difficult to fully grasp what this means. Most can be presented with facts and figures but all that doesn't really sink in as there are too many intelligent, respectable people telling you otherwise.

A few years ago I stumbled upon a site which blew that all away and showed (granted, in a fairly indirect way) the strength of the evidence by proposing another hypothesis that also fit the 'facts'. It all started in 2005 when the Kansas school board held a hearing to decide on whether or not intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution theory in the classroom.

The argument here was that there is as much evidence in intelligent design as there is in the theory of evolution. This is, of course, a complete fallacy! Sure, Darwin hasn't been proved entirely and the existence of god has not been disproved 100% (completely proving a negative is impossible as any experimental scientist will tell you); but the evidence for evolution and against intelligent design is overwhelming, to the point where it seems ridiculous to put the two on anything approaching an even keel.

Now part of the problem of putting intelligent design on the curriculum is that most religions have creation theories that have an equal weighting in evidence is the Christian one (as proposed by the Kansas school board). So which one to teach? At this point a completely new and unheard of theory came to light, with an open letter written to the Kansas school board, urging them to consider the flying spaghetti monster as a valid theory. As the letter shows, there is as much (factual) weight behind this as there is in a Christian god.

And thus, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was born. What's really worth mentioning is the correlation between pirates and the average global temperature, genius!

21 comments:

Zany said...

I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster shows how arbitrary religion truly is, and all it requires is faith. What they are trying to propagate is not different from the claims other religions make, if you look at their history objectively.

Having said that, I believe in religion and evolution, so I don't know if that makes me a bad scientist or a bad Muslim. I guess Santa Claus wont be bringing me anything this year. Although as a Muslim I shouldn't even be talking about the heretic fat guy :). See how religion confuses people. Religion should be left out of science classes and discussions.

Graham said...

There's currently a series on Channel 4 called 'Catastrophe' (Monday nights, 9pm) that explains the origins of life on earth. It deals with pretty common facts but it's certainly worth a look and leaves the viewer in little doubt about the absurdity of creationism.

Ariane said...

I'm with you on the last bit, Zany. Will look out for Catastrophe too.

Sofi said...

I recall struggling during my biology when learning about darwin convincing myself i dont need to remember or believe any of it purely to pass. But as i have grown a tad older, i realise that i can in fact believe science and religion are not entirely incompatible-most of science, i can subconsciously link to a Higher being at work. With this in mind, i would probably have preferred the Other Side during my bio studying to give me a balance of The Real WOrld, ie appreciate its perfectly acceptable to believe in God and his work and study science further. But even if you dont entirely believe both can work in tandem, at least to acknowledge that (creationism) is actually an aspect of 'science' too since so many faithful make up the numbers for it to be included (and if this is a slap in the face for scientists, then rest assured i never made it all that far in biology anyway..)). You are only limited by your own mind and science relies on only the tangible, imo.

Josh said...

Zany, this is the main reason why I like FSM, on the face of it, it's totally reasonable!

Graham, that sounds good, I've not been watching it but will be sure to catch the next one.

Ariane, it's true people (great people) have married religion with science with great success.
Sofi, what bothers me is the lack of evidence in creationism, I respect the fact that people do believe this but I can't see why it should be given an equal perch with evolution when taught at school. It's not the overwhelming weight evolution has, it's more the lack of weight in creationism. This leads me to believe it really doesn't have any place in our education system.

Derek_M said...

I follow the pre-Augustinian Eastern form of Christianity and I accept evolution. It presents no problem for me.

Science and religion are truly "nonoverlapping magisteria".

But, the FSM is an epic example of self-refutation. The argument of the Intelligent Design advocates is that ID does not point to a specific deity, just to an intelligence that designed things of irreducible complexity. Therefore, there are no legal objections to it being taught in classrooms.

The FSM actually proves this point rather than refuting it. If the theory of ID leaves the "intelligence" so obfuscated that the FSM could be it, this bolsters their assertions of the ID theory not establishing any religion and not breaking any laws.

Catie Wilkins said...

A spaghetti monster - finally a deity I can get on board with

Zany said...

So does it mean, the pirates have re-emerged in Somalia to do their bit to stop global warming?

Josh said...

Derek, I think this is the point they are making, that something so outrageous as a flying spaghetti monster can be argued within the same frame!

Catie, yay! Another convert! Thanks for commenting.

Zany, surly you've noticed that this latest cold spell coincides with the pirates in Somalia!

Derek_M said...

Derek, I think this is the point they are making, that something so outrageous as a flying spaghetti monster can be argued within the same frame!

But, you see, the very fact that it can be used to point to a FSM strengthens their case.

The FSM is great evidence that they are not trying to push a specific deity and that their conclusions in no way try to establish a certain religion.

In the future, the FSM may very well be used by the ID crowd to get the Lewontin "Divine Food in the door".

At one point, I found the FSM amusing but because of the constant mockery that he has induced, I now detest him.

Asphodel said...

Hah! Nice to see that rendition of Creation of Adam! I mutated mine into (merely a sketch up) this http://emptyclogspot.blogspot.com/2008/05/destruction-of-man.html

Kinda seemed apt for this century! Okay, sorry, I'm going to go and actually pay attention to the text bit as well now :-)

Daisy said...

You make some good points Josh. That whole intelligent design thing really got my goat. I'm afraid I'm not very good at having faith over scepticism, but I wish I was as I envy all those with the comfort of their belief to take them through life.

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