Pastafarianism vs. Theism

At the risk of coming across as “too serious,” “boring,” or even ‘heretical’ among freethinkers, I want to comment on comparisons between pastafarianism (the belief that the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) exists) and theism (the belief that God exists).

For those of you who missed it, pastafarianism (P) was originally proposed as a parody of creationism and theistic versions of Intelligent Design (ID). The idea was that if intelligent design (ID) warrants equal time with evolution in public school science classes and P is just as valid as (theistic) ID and creationism, then P should get equal time with evolution and ID. Here is a representative statement from someone equating P to theism:

The point, of course, is that there is every bit as much evidence to support the existence of FSM as there is for any other God you choose.

I’m going to argue that this is false, even if we ignore our knowledge that FSM was invented as a parody.[1]

1. The concept of the FSM is incoherent. A supernatural creator, by definition, is a being that is not composed of bits of matter. According to P, the FSM is a supernatural creator who closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs. A being that is not composed of bits of matter cannot resemble spaghetti and meatballs.

2. Theism is a much simpler explanation than P. P says everything that theism does, but adds on some very specific claims, such as (1) the creator closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs; (2) the FSM changes the results of carbon dating with His Noodly Appendage; and so forth. Since P entails theism but could be false even if theism is true, it follows that, prior to examining the evidence, theism is more likely to be true than P.

In short, while the concept of the FSM was funny, I think skeptics look silly when they propose that P and theism really are on par.

Note

[1] The fact that FSM was invented as a parody of creationism and ID is itself strong evidence against the truth of P.

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