Flying Spaghetti Monster and other Teapots


Apparently philosopher Bertrand Russell came up with his so-called Teapot theory, which was a way of taking the burden of proof away from the skeptic to disprove unprovable theories, such as religious doctrine.  I had never heard of it before but it is somewhat interesting; however, I don’t find those types of arguments really bear any fruit anymore.  There will never be any proof so what’s the point?

Ross Douthat over at The Atlantic brings up Russell’s theory, along with that of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in response to some blog-conversation (blogversation?) he’d been having with people over the idea of atheists having doubt in their beliefs.

But it is one thing to disbelieve in God; it is quite another to never feel a twinge of doubt about one’s own disbelief. And just as the Christian who has never entertained doubts about his faith probably hasn’t thought hard enough about the matter, the atheist who perceives the Christian God and the flying spaghetti monster as equally ridiculous hypotheses really needs to get out more often.

Douthat is taking a cheap way out.  FSM was created as a satirical protest of the Kansas State Board of Education when it wanted to include intelligent design into the public school curriculum.  It would’ve been a more interesting and fair argument to use a modern-day, truly established religion instead of a modern-day satirical jab at organized belief systems that no one actually follows.  Something like Mormonism or Scientology, perhaps.

Douthat puts Christianity on a pedestal even within an atheist’s framework, placing it at the top of the Hierarchy of Really Out There Ideas.  But that’s easy when its clearly above The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster since it isn’t even a religion.  It’s a joke.

So that begs the question, does the atheist who perceives both God and Joseph Smith as “equally ridiculous hypotheses” deserve the same dismissal as “needing to get out more”?



  1. To restate the obvious comparison, we’re all atheists when it comes to Zeus, yet that was a perfectly valid belief systems for centuries.

    I get frustrated by religots who are convinced that shooting down the general atheist argument (there is no god) somehow validates their very specific one (not only is there a God, but his son died for our sins, and every word in this book is true).

  2. first off, i assume we’re talking about Joesph Smith Jr. right?

    Second, while I’m not trying to relegate anyone’s views to “craziness,” we’re talking about a man who claims to have had “visions” at the age of 14. What were “we” doing at the age of 14? I know what i was doing and i certainly had “visions.” None of which were particularly religious.

    Third, “god” the monotheistic being that makes so many people feel just that much better about living within the monotonous world we do, deserves a reevaluation as far as I’m concerned.

    While I appreciate that most people view this being as a “creator” and “overseer” perhaps he is more of a point for what we have created as a ideal moral reference.

    lastly, i’m tired and kind of drunk. sleepy time.

  3. […] Agree to Disagree Let’s get our controversy on! « Rush Limbaugh’s Stimulus Plan Even MORE Spaghetti Monsters! 01.29.09 If you don’t check out Andrew Sullivan’s blog, you should.  He doesn’t allow comments but he does accept emails that he sometimes then posts in response.  The “thread” then for his original Flying Spaghetti Monster has gotten increasing longer and longer and I keep retorting here on my own blog.  Sullivan gets tens of thousands of emails a day so I’d rather just continue the convo here.  To catch up, check my original post. […]

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