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The Flying Spaghetti Monster Fallacy

Updated on December 23, 2010
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David Blaine Demonstrates the Power of Deception

Deceiving human beings is easy. As magician David Blaine will show you, a little misdirection goes a long way.

Unfortunately for humanity, not only is it easy to be deceived in the arena of meaningless events like magic tricks, but also in the area of the profoundly important. The decision concerning ones beliefs about theism is one of those profoundly important decisions in which deception can play a fearfully powerful role. Deciding whether one does or does not believe in a god, should be no joking matter. It is a decision that will have severe and far reaching affects on the manner in which one lives their life. Lamentably, millions of people are deceived into thinking that they have spent an adequate amount of time considering this decision. What is the reason for this deception? It is intellectual dishonesty of the sort perpetuated by the creator of the flying spaghetti monster.

The flying spaghetti monster is a faux religion designed to illustrate flaws in the beliefs of those who advocate that intelligent design be taught alongside evolution in public schools. Many who are against such an idea, champion the spaghetti monster as genuine and ingenious argument against intelligent design. But is it really a good argument?

The FSM illustration is predicated on the assumption that intelligent design has no viable evidence. This is the only justification for equating it with belief in a flying spaghetti monster.  But this is an invalid assumption and completely avoids providing an honest and logically conceived argument against intelligent design. ID, while criticized by some in the scientific community, has gained widespread support among micro biologists and is backed by real science. Equating belief in a flying spaghetti monster to belief in an intelligent designer is not genuine argumentation and is in fact the intellectual equivalent to a David Blaine illusion. By drawing the inquisitive agent’s attention away from the real arguments and focusing it instead on the humorous and absurd “straw man” Bobby Henderson has essentially “pulled the wool over the eyes” of the prospective inquisitor.  

The danger of the FSM straw man is the highly effective nature of the deception. The FSM is a very good intellectual illusion. After seeing the FSM straw man, people often operate under the false assumption that they have considered ID and rejected the position as false. This could not be further from the truth.

If you are one who uses the FSM argument to justify an atheistic view point. I urge you to consider going a little bit deeper. Instead of relying on presumptions, ad hominem and straw men, look a little bit deeper into the arguments and see if you can refute them for yourself. Perhaps read a book by an intelligent design scientist; maybe consider the long standing philosophical arguments for theism as presented by a competent philosopher like William Lane Craig. Considering the evidence and objectively weighing the arguments will surely serve you better than a quick overview of why theists are stupid. Remember this is an important decision.

Consider this: if Christianity is true then access to joy and peace independent of circumstances is possible. The promise of this emotional stability should be enough for anyone to honestly and thoroughly consider the arguments for both sides.

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      Solafein 4 years ago

      The FSM is merely an analogy to demonstrate the unfalsifiability of the ID argument. I'm not sure why anyone (atheist or theist) would try to interpret it as anything deeper than that.

    • Liam Hannan profile image

      Liam Hannan 7 years ago

      Secularist; I note that you posit "God" as an unscientific explanation. This is so.

      You do not provide a reason why that invalidates the idea. There are many explanations for things that are not scientific and yet are true. (For example, the causes of the first world war do not have a scientific explanation, they are rooted in politics).

    • secularist10 profile image

      secularist10 7 years ago from New York City

      A very well-written article, and you make some important points.

      But consider this: if Christianity is false then access to joy and peace independent of circumstances is possible. :)

      Countless happy and peaceful non-Christians and non-Christian cultures across the world prove this beyond reasonable doubt.

      The fact of the matter is that creationism and intelligent design are not scientific explanations, they are supernatural explanations. Since God or God's actions cannot be explained, understood or legitimized by science or the scientific method, any explanation that uses God is, by definition, unscientific. This is not an opinion, but rather an inevitable factual conclusion from the definitional nature of "science."

      This is why many scientists may believe in God, and may believe that God had something to do with the creation and development of life, but few serious scientists will actually try to prove that scientifically. If it could be proven scientifically, then somebody would have already done it.

      There is as much evidence for God as there is for a flying spaghetti monster, or for leprechauns or Santa Claus or Big Foot. That is the fundamental reason why the FSM analogy is, in fact, legitimate.

      You will note that many people firmly believe in leprechauns, Santa Claus and Big Foot as well, and their explanations bear a striking similarity to the justifications offered for the Christian God.

    • simeonvisser profile image

      simeonvisser 7 years ago

      "Consider this: if Christianity is true then access to joy and peace independent of circumstances is possible."

      Those two are not neccessarily related as demonstrated by many non-religious people who are joyful and have peace of mind independent of their circumstances.

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