Beyond Reason

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Flys Again!

Posted in Faith,Philosophy by Abigail on March 16, 2007

For those of you unaware of the close connection between philosophy and imagining your food turning into various imaginary characters, let me elucidate! The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the subject of a hypothetical situation used to demonstrate the ilogic of one statement. What is the statement? “I believe in God because science can not prove He does not exist.” Enter the flying spaghetti monster. The adversary responds, “Well, science can not prove that flying spaghetti monsters do not exist, so they must exist also!” It is an excellent point. Lack of evidence is not evidence. (Anyone thinking of Iraq at this point?)

Brad suggested I raise this topic; so, I am. Many good posts on other blogs explore the FSM.

Minds, Meaning and Morals
The Alanyzer
Maverick Philosopher

My take on the FSM? (Because of course you came to MY blog for MY opinion.) First, the point of using the FSM argument is perfect. I agree with it and could not agree with it more: lack of evidence is not evidence*. But this raises two other questions: what evidence do Christians/theists/religionists use to support belief in God and how much evidence is needed? This raises the question of the nature of belief. What exactly is it and, considering the finity of all human beings, how much faith is “allowed” or should be expected or is within reason? And then, with that in mind, the question becomes, how do faith and reason interact?

Let me start with “I don’t know.” And let me also add that, while this argument is, in its strictest form, perfectly benign, I believe it also has a malignant element. It is entirely possible that some people will stop thinking, after the first point is made, and assume that there could be no evidence for God. However, this would require a wholly different argument than what the FSM argument makes. Am I going to make an argument for the existence of God or belief in Him? Nope. Maybe another time when I have a spare 10 years. This post is about the FSM and any responses you may have to it.

Thoughts? Conversions? Confessions? Creatures you create with your spaghetti?


*There are solid exceptions to this rule; it depends on the nature of the situation.


4 Responses to 'The Flying Spaghetti Monster Flys Again!'

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  1. Chris Poteet said,

    Ya, the whole thing really does the what it intends to in painting a false perception of theism. The problem is that it is based on an ontological premise (I believe the FSM exists, therefore it does), but I think that line of argumentation is silly.

  2. amandalaine said,

    Thanks Chris.

    Here’s a history of the FSM that’s very interesting. Sure explains a lot.

  3. Brad said,

    The big problem with FSM is that gives equal epistemic status to all things metaphysical. It is naturalism at its worst. There are also other problems that might come up in other comments. “I am picturing a tree.” No one finds that statement paricularly troubling. “God is speaking to me.” For some reason I have just jumped the shark. I would argue with Plantinga that those two previous statements, given certain circumstances, can both have a great deal of warrant for me. The naturalist balks not because she has evidence that God does not exist, but because she has 1) assumed so and 2) has likened the possibility of any experience of God with a fever dream or, in the case of this topic, an imagination of a flying pasta dish.
    Amanda, you have made a point in past posts of commenting about the role of assumptions in the life of any thinking person. Perhaps this is a topic where this will inevitably be the conclusion. The FSM is not about arguments for the existence of God. It is about whether any statements about God are either warranted or meaningful. What most people don’t realize and what I don’t have the patience or time to post about now is that positivism died over 40 years ago. Just because it has been reclothed doesn’t mean it has anything new to say. I will post more later.

  4. amandalaine said,

    Interested to hear what you have to say about positivism Brad. I have been reading that – it’s quite interesting.

    “…assumptions in the life of any thinking person. Perhaps this is a topic where this will inevitably be the conclusion.” I would be curious to hear elaboration on this.

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