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August 28, 2005 - The Flying Spaghetti Monster

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This has become so widespread it must be mentioned. It all started with this open letter written to the Kansas School Board regarding the six days of courtroom-style hearings held in May in the capitol, Topeka. As you recall those hearing were to discuss whether Intelligent Design should be taught along with the concept of evolution in the Kansas public schools, or taught in place of evolution.  A review of who was saying what can be found here, from May 8th.

The letter from a physics graduate student, Bobby Henderson, opens this way:


I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world 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. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that I'm writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I'm sure you see where we are coming from. 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.


There's much more detail of course, scientific theory, including a table showing the correlation of Global Average Temperature to the Number of Pirates from 1820 to the year 2000, along with an artistic rendering of just what the Flying Spaghetti Monster must look like.

The letter ends with this:


I am eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken. I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.


The actual responses, from three different members of the Kansas School Board are here, including this:


Thanks for your comments about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and all the supporters who have sent their support to members of the Kansas Board of Education. I am supporting the recommendations of the science committee and am currently in the minority. I think your theory is wonderful and possibly some of the majority members will be willing to support it.


The three responders got the joke. Obviously they were from the opposition forces.

Then came the wave of converts to this religion, which has become knows as Pastafarianism.

Evolution debate creates monster
Satirists preach gospel of Flying Spaghetti Monster
Scott Rothschild, The Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence, Kansas), Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Note this:


In the past few weeks, hundreds of followers of the supreme Flying Spaghetti Monster have swamped state education officials with urgent e-mails.

They argue that since the conservative majority of the State Board of Education has blessed classroom science standards at the behest of intelligent design supporters, which criticize evolution, they want the gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster taught.

... Board member Bill Wagnon, a Democrat, whose district includes Lawrence, said he has received more than 500 e-mails from supporters of FSM.

... John Calvert, of Lake Quivira, the lawyer who was instrumental in writing the science standards that criticize evolution, said he had seen the FSM e-mails, and was not impressed.

"You can only use that misinformation so long," Calvert said. Calvert said the science standards do not promote intelligent design, but show that evolution has its critics.
Wagnon and the three other board members who support evolution have written Henderson back, saying they appreciated the comic relief but that they were saddened that the science standards were being changed to criticize evolution.


Huh?  Whatever.

And the matter has grown in detail - note the recently posted painting from the Sistine Chapel of "Touched by His Noodly Appendage."  The image is here and available on t-shirts and coffee mugs.

Of course, the anti-evolution pro-ID folks are ticked, and remind us all of a creationist's $25,000 challenge "to anyone who can give any empirical evidence for evolution."  See this:


I'd like to know what you think should be taught in the schools.

Certainly not evolution considering there is not one single fact that proves it. No missing links, not even common sense. Lies are still being printed that were proven wrong in the late 1800's but they're still taught as fact.

If you're so positive that you came from a monkey or a rock or whatever you think it is I suggest you debate Dr. Kent Hovind.

Dr. Hovind is willing to pay any individual a quarter of a million dollars to anyone who can give any empirical evidence for evolution. He has had this offer up for a long time but even this country's top scientists have gone up against him and lost the debates.


That appeared on the site Boing Boing. There, after a series of links to various items like Scientific American - "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense: Opponents of evolution want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science, but their arguments don't hold up." - this was offered:


We are willing to pay any individual $250,000 if they can produce empirical evidence which proves that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Challenge Grant Update: Recently converted Pastafarians are adding matching reward funds to the Boing Boing Intelligent Design Challenge. Jason Kottke of kottke.org and Sean Bonner of metblogs have each offered an additional $250,000. We've been flooded with still more donations, and have decided to cap the purse at $1 million - in part because the number contains a lot of pretty, round zeroes that resemble holy meatballs. …


Oh my!

How controversial has this become? As of Thursday, August 25, the blog tracking service, Technorati shows 1,605 items devoted to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  You could listen to the Sparkletone's "What if God Wanted Pasta Sauce" (here) and go the site of true believers in this pasta god - Al Dente - for links to articles in the press on this pasta god.

Is it a minor matter? Read Der Spiegel or the Baltimore Sun or the Chicago Sun-Times or The Guardian or Die Welt or the Hartford Courant or the New Scientist. The links are all there. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is now known to the whole world.

If you know anyone from Kansas, be nice to them. They might be feeling a little defensive right now.


Note: This item was inspired by the blog review that Bidisha Banerjee posted at SLATE.COM – Banerjee was far too brief!


Bonus: An artistic rendering of just what the Flying Spaghetti Monster must look like, with the appropriate copyright notice).


What the Flying Spaghetti Monster must look like..


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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