The key to life? Use your noodle

September 2, 2005

Concerned that Intelligent Design theory was an attempt to sneak God into science lessons through the back door, physicist Bobby Henderson proposed an equally plausible explanation for life, the universe and everything

At the beginning of July, an unsuspecting world awoke to the revelation of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. And in just two months, this "religion" has garnered support from around the world.

Academics, it seems, are particularly delighted at the prospect of being touched by his noodly appendage. They saw the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a new ally in the fight against Intelligent Design, the latest religious-inspired effort to undermine the teaching of evolution in schools.

The brainchild of Bobby Henderson, a 25-year-old physics graduate, the "religion" was a spoof to argue against the illogic of teaching creationism in science lessons in the US. Henderson argued that if Intelligent Design is to be taught then so should Flying Spaghetti Monsterism - both were equally valid from a scientific point of view.

And it seems that Henderson has support. After putting his open letter to the Kansas Board of Education, which was debating the teaching of Intelligent Design in state schools, Henderson received a huge amount of e-mail, only 5 per cent of which damned him to hell. The rest was right behind him.

One academic, a Douglas Shaw, wrote to Henderson: "One of the hardest things to do as a scientist is to put my personal beliefs aside when discussing matters of science. So as a professional, I have to say that both forms of Intelligent Design are equally valid and if ID is taught in schools, equal time should be given to the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory and non-Flying Spaghetti Monster theory.

"But, speaking personally now, it seems to me the FSM theory is much more plausible than the non-FSM ID theory, because it is the only one of the two that takes into account all the discrepancies between ID and measurable objective reality."

One British supporter stated: "As a medical practitioner and scientist, I wholeheartedly believe that every theory and hypothesis needs full consideration and explanation with formal ratification by peer review. We have a duty to inform our schools and presumably pasta should form a staple part of our educational diet."

Another concluded: "It is clear that the FSM theory has evidence comparable in weight to IDI it is important that students be exposed to these ideas to form their own opinions."

A fourth suggested that string theory be renamed noodle theory to bring it into line with FSM.

Open letter to the Kansas School Board

I am writing to 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 hear only 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 feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

I'm writing to you 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 that 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.

Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, was around to see it, but we have several volumes explaining details of His power. You may be surprised to hear that there are more than a million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don't understand is that He built the world to make us think the Earth is older than it is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artefact. He finds that approximately 75 per cent of the carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to nitrogen-14, and infers that this artefact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realise is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible.

I'm sure you now realise how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realise that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia. I unfortunately cannot describe in detail why this must be done as I fear this letter is already becoming too long. The concise explanation is that He becomes angry if we don't.

You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the past 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.

I thank you for taking the time to hear our beliefs. I hope I was able to convey the importance of teaching this theory to your students. 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.

Sincerely yours, Bobby Henderson, concerned citizen

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