Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Appeasers, Spaghetti Monsters, and NCSE

John West, one of the IDiots at the Discovery Institute, has posted an interesting article [Why Does National Center for Science Education (NCSE) Spokesman Think "Mocking Traditional Religion" is OK?].

West is referring to a newspaper article published in last Sunday's Toronto Star (see Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Makes Front Page of The Toronto Star). In that newspaper article, Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) defended the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. West asks, why does NCSE think it's okay to mock religion in this case and yet go out of their way to defend religion in other cases?
We've heard for years from Branch's boss Eugenie Scott that evolution and religion are perfectly harmonious (indeed, the NCSE has helped use our tax dollars to promote the message that true theology endorses evolution, and its director Eugenie Scott has recommended that students study theological statements endorsing evolution during biology class). But now it turns out that mocking religion in the name of science is "probably healthy" and that it is illegitimate for proponents of ID even to question such anti-religious diatribes.
Good point. Does anyone know the answer? The people over at NCSE (and their allies like Ed Brayton) go apoplectic whenever some atheists criticize the silly superstitions of Ken Miller and Frances Collins. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster mocks all superstitious beliefs, including those of theistic evolutionists. Why is one so bad but not the other?

As far as I'm concerned, it's just as much fun to mock theistic evolution directly as it is to do it through the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.


  1. Because (a) They appear to be poor sensitive little flowers, but actually ....

    (b) They are bullies, which is why they are frightened.
    If they bully and bluster and threaten long enough and loud enough, they might/will get away with it.
    After all, atheists have been murdered in the USA, and muslims routinely threaten, if not kill people who are disrespectful of the so-called "prophet" Mahmoud.

  2. It is interesting to consider that NCSE's policies may be changing a little. I think they've been doing the right thing, and serve a very important role and I support them fully. But a shift towards a stronger position may be a good thing, and maybe this is the time to do it.

    It has been noted in a number of recent contexts that years of fighting over this have not moved the line (i.e. the Harris Poll Line) at all.

    Perhaps there is a shift in tide.

  3. Why should anyone respect any system, such as religion, which is based on belief without evidence?

    Religion has gotten a pass for too long.

    Sacred cows make the best hamburger!

  4. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster mocks all superstitious beliefs, including those of theistic evolutionists.

    I always read the intent of the original Church of the FSM document as mocking the misuse of religion as a substitute for science and trying to teach that in public schools, not as mocking religion in a general way.

    In that respect, I do not believe that it is inconsistent to view FSM as a valid satirical attack on the ID movement's involvement in science education while also believing that attacking religion in a broader sense is counter-productive.

  5. Why do Christians think it is OK to mock the Church of the FSM?

  6. I looked carefully but, as far as I could see, West did not actually say why religion should be immune from mockery.

  7. Hey, if it floats your boat to mock the beliefs of the vast majority of your fellow citizens, go for it. Everyone has their own way of displaying their intellectual might. Then, too, if you think mockery is a great way to convince people of the soundness and rationality of your position, mock away. I only ask you been good at it. One should appreciate the multifaceted nature and incredible range of mockery. It can good natured fun, pure silliness, a slight barb, or just plain mean spirited. Use the FSM for evil and it will smite you down.