• Question: what are your views on Pastafarianism and The Flying Spaghetti Monster? (its a real religion, google it)

    Asked by smokeyjoe to Meeks, Pete, Stephen, Steve, Tom on 21 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Stephen Curry

      Stephen Curry answered on 18 Jun 2010:

      Hi Smokeyjoe

      I thought it was a very clever riposte to religious fundamentalists in America who were trying to muscle in on the science curriculum in schools. I don’t have a problem with people believing literally in the creation story told in Genesis. I just don’t accept it as science.

      The same goes for “Intelligent Design” which is a slightly sneakier way to try to pretend that creationism is a scientific viewpoint.

      Science is about coming up with testable hypothesis which lead to experiments that we can do to check whether our understanding of the world is correct. Creationism or ID have no testable hypotheses to offer.

      The creation of the FSM was a brilliant way to demonstrate the unscientific nature of creationism.

    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 18 Jun 2010:

      These “religions” have been thought up by “sceptics” to mock (or perhaps more charitably, satirise) real religions. If the idea is to persuade people to change their minds, I don’t think this approach works very well. Most people in the world have some religious beliefs. I think it’s rather arrogant for scientists to tell them they are all wrong, especially when we cannot provide better, more concrete answers to some of the questions religion deals with.

      However, in America, and in some other parts of the world the ability to teach scientific ideas and tell people about evidence has sometimes come under attack from religious people, whose faith tells them that they are right whatever the evidence says (e.g., dinosaur fossils are not really relics from millions of years ago). I am willing to respect other people’s beliefs even if I can’t go along with them myself, but it’s very hard when this is not reciprocated.

      I think at some point you have to defend your own ideas and culture, but I would never want to do this by mocking or denigrating someone’s deeply held beliefs.

      That said, one of my favourite films is The Life Of Brian. I don’t think it is mocking but it certainly challenges religious and dogmatic beliefs. I was looking at my favourite bit on youtube this morning with my daughter. I think it is very clever and true. If you haven’t seen it you need to know that Brian (the guy in the window) is just an ordinary guy, but for some reason everyone has started to think he’s the messiah.

      People sometimes want to believe things that other people tell them, rather than looking at things for themselves. But (as the movie says) we are all individuals, and should think for ourselves. We often have this problem in science too – it’s not really a religious issue – it’s a human failing.

      Here endeth the lesson.

    • Photo: Marieke Navin

      Marieke Navin answered on 18 Jun 2010:

      I have just had a quick google of it and I think it seems hilarious, but ultimately I agree with it – I am really against the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution

    • Photo: Pete Edwards

      Pete Edwards answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      Interesting but I prefer lasagna myself!
      As the others have suggested this ‘religion’ was invented to make a point and nothing more. It’s up to you to decide if the point is a good one! As a scientist I’m a strong advocate of any theory that can be backed up with solid evidence – that’s what science is about after all.