Friday, September 23, 2005

In Pasta We Trust

Elayne pointed out today that our praiseworthy FSM was blasphemed in an article I posted yesterday when his / her / its appendages were called arms.

Nomad Coder suggests we either agree or start sects over whether the great one's holy sauce is marinara or alfredo and when is our Nicene Creed going to be determined? More importantly WHO will determine our Nicene Creed?

I am upset that the pesto option was not considered.

Meanwhile our Holy Pasta has been blasphemed again in an article suggesting he's diminutive in size. I'm sure he has big balls (and I believe they are meatless and no animals were harmed in their creation):

Always one of Earth's smaller gods, the Flying Spaghetti Monster's time has clearly come. Maybe it didn't create the Earth, but ending this twaddle about Intelligent Design might just be within its powers.

Let's recap. Intelligent Design boils down to the notion that the unsolved mysteries of evolution -- gaps in the fossil record, and so on -- can only be explained by interference from God. A project of the Christian right, "ID" doesn't totally reject all the scientific research that's taught us what we know so far, but it declares that some evolutionary questions can never be understood. It's as if 2005 were the cutoff date for science. Are there still questions about evolution? Then it must have been God at work.

Intelligent Design's scientific credibility is more or less exactly nil. But by wrapping ID in scientific language and fronting it with (largely Christian) PhDs, religious conservatives present it as a scientific theory to rival evolution. All things being equal, they say, both sides of this "debate" should be taught to grade-schoolers. Last month, U.S. President George W. Bush threw his weight behind teaching ID, commenting that students should be "exposed to different ideas."

Then something interesting happened. Bobby Henderson, a computer programmer in Oregon, posted a letter to the Kansas Board of Education on his website . He wanted a third theory to be taught in class, a theory with all the scientific weight of Intelligent Design. "I and many others around the world," Henderson wrote, "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," continued Henderson, postulating that the invisible monster planted all the physical evidence for evolution with "His Noodly Appendage."

"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."

An illustration is appended. The Flying Spaghetti Monster looks a bit like a plaintive slug with tentacles and a pair of meatballs.

Thus, with the letter as its holy text, the Internet's first protest religion was born: Pastafarianism. An instant phenomenon ensued.

First, the Flying Spaghetti Monster began attracting converts. Dozens of PhDs, appalled by the rise of Intelligent Design, wrote in to Henderson to pledge their support for the Pastafarians. Tribute art began pouring in. Somebody doctored a picture of the Sistine Chapel ceiling so that instead of God touching Adam, it is the Flying Spaghetti Monster reaching out with His Noodly Appendage instead.

The print media cottoned on. Acolytes from around the world began fleshing out the religion's finer points. Prayers are to end with "RAmen" instead of "Amen"; Pastafarian heaven features a beer volcano; pirate regalia is the holy garb. Sympathetic members of the Kansas Board of Education wrote back to voice their support. (Others did not.) And -- the ultimate proof of an Internet fad -- Henderson began selling Flying Spaghetti Monster T-shirts from an on-line store.

Within a month, Pastafarianism was everywhere. It has neatly skewered Intelligent Design with a grace that the scientific establishment couldn't muster. Moreover, the Flying Spaghetti Monster arrived at just the right moment in our cultural history to trigger a mighty release of pent-up frustration with the excesses of the evangelical machine. That's why it's been so vehemently embraced. In this ridiculous joke, secular anger has found its muse -- at least through September.

Here's a thought: Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is just a fad. And so is Intelligent Design. May they waltz off into the ether together.