March 28, 2006
USA Today readers meet the Flying Spaghetti Monster:
Worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster—“Pastafarianism” as it is known to its adherents—began as a whimsical side dish in last year’s standoff between advocates of evolution and intelligent design. FSM, as it is known to its followers, took shape in a protest letter to Kansas officials who were embroiled in a controversy about how to teach students about the origins of life. The parody religion leapt from those pages to become an Internet phenomenon, finding fans among supporters of the theory of evolution—and receiving e-mailed threats of bodily harm from evolution’s opponents.
“I wrote the letter for my own amusement as much as anything. And it totally snowballed. Some people say I’m going to hell,” says FSM’s 25-year-old creator, Bobby Henderson, who recently moved from Oregon to Arizona, partly to escape the uproar. But his paperback testament, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster ($13.95, Villard), which arrives Tuesday, reveals the tenets of the parody religion. A few of them:
• A “Flying Spaghetti Monster” created the universe, Earth and its creatures, making a few mistakes on the way after drinking heavily from heaven’s beer volcano.
• The FSM hid dinosaur fossils underground to “dupe mankind” about Earth’s true age and is the secret force behind gravity, pushing everything downward with its “noodly appendage.”
• The FSM wants everyone to talk and dress like pirates. Global warming is considered a punishment for the relative scarcity of pirates these days.
• Every Friday is a sloth-filled holy day. Instead of “amen,” devotees end missives with “R’amen,” in honor of the college student’s favorite noodle fare.
… “Clearly, (FSM) theology is ludicrous, but no more ludicrous than intelligent design,” says Stephen Unwin, author of The Probability of God, a look at reconciling faith and reason.
Unsurprisingly, the lunatics at the Discovery
Institution Institute disagree:
“It’s too bad that they’ll get attention for this sort of drivel when we have a robust scientific research program that the media doesn’t seem to want to write much about,” Discovery Institute spokesman Robert Crowther said in an e-mail interview. The Seattle-based institute is the leading think tank for intelligent-design advocates.
I’d love to hear Crowther defend his “robust scientific research program.”
USA Today has much more, including the scary opinion-poll finding that 53% of Americans believe God created human beings in their present form exactly as described in the Bible.
Better, perhaps, to buy a different good book.
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