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.
- Bobby Henderson in his letter to the Kansas Board of Education.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or FSM, is a fictional deity which forms the basis of a religion founded in 2005 by Bobby Henderson, a graduate from Oregon State University, in order to protest against the inclusion of Intelligent Design in the Kansas School Board's curriculum. The FSM is thus a parody of Intelligent Design written to satirise rather than support the Creationist movement. The idea has since caught on and now has an official church, members of which are also known as Pastafarians. However, there are also those who refuse to be 'touched by His noodly appendage', and Henderson has received plenty of hate mail for his trouble.
In November, 2005 the Kansas Board of Education, which is responsible for the education policies and curriculum of Kansas, USA, passed a vote by a majority of 6-4 that enabled the teaching of Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution. Intelligent Design is a theory that states that the world was designed by a 'Creator' and, being designed to counter Evolution, is based mostly upon perceived flaws in the Theory of Evolution as opposed to evidence which supports the existence of the aforementioned 'Creator'. Intelligent Design suggests many things that are not scientifically testable, thus leading some to regard it as about as much of a scientific theory as Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.
The move prompted Bobby Henderson to write an open letter stating that he felt that the theory that the world was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster should be included alongside Evolution and Intelligent Design. The letter also detailed the correlation between the world's dwindling pirate population and the increase in global warming, and included an 'artistic representation' of the FSM creating a tree-covered hill and a midget. After being posted on the Internet, the letter eventually produced three favourable replies from members of the Board who had been in the minority of the 6-4 vote, along with the reply 'It is a serious offense to mock God' from one of the supporters of the changes.
Through popularisation both on the Internet and on the media, the FSM has come to represent a popular equivalent of 'Russell's teapot', a fictional space-borne teapot the existence of which cannot be disproved and was suggested as an analogy to God by Bertrand Russell in 1952. This led to a mention of the FSM in Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion', in which Dawkins explores arguments against religion as well as looking at how atheists can lead happy and fulfilling lives. Australian Pastafarians used the 2006 'Census in Australia' to express their views in the same way that Australian Jedis had done in 2001, and members of the Church of the FSM are now pushing for proper recognition of Pastafarianism as a genuine religion.
Appearance - The FSM usually consists of a serving of spaghetti with many noodly appendages1, along with two meatballs and a couple of eyes on stalks. However, the FSM is said to be invisible and impossible to detect, thus making it impossible to disprove its existence.
Pirates - Pastafarians have a strong link with traditional pirates due to the fact that pirates share more than 99.9% of their DNA with humans, leading to the assumption that humans evolved from pirates.
Holy Days - Friday is the holy day of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Holy Book - Published by Villard Books, 'The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster' details the main beliefs of the Church of the FSM and includes eight 'I'd Really Rather You Didn'ts'3. According to the book, these were given by the FSM to 'Captain Mosey' in the form of ten stone tablets, two of which were accidentally dropped on the way home.
RAmen - usually spelled with the first two letters capitalised, this noodle dish is invoked by Pastafarians at the end of prayers.
Evolution - according to Pastafarians, all evidence for evolution was planted by the FSM in order to test their faith. Whenever a scientist makes a measurement it is altered by the FSM, whose noodly appendages can pass unseen through any obstacle.