Flying Spaghetti Monster and other Teapots01.27.09
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”?
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