As far as I know this is a perfectly valid philosophical argument. If you accept the premises then it's quite possible that meatballs are disappearing from kitchens and restaurants without us ever being aware of the problem.
I'm not a philosopher but I strongly suspect that there aren't any papers on the possible existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the philosophical literature. I doubt that there are any Ph.D. theses on the topic.
After all, the same sort of valid philosophical argument can be made for all these things. Imagine, for example, that homeopathy is effective but only in a small number of cases that can't be distinguished from the placebo effect or spontaneous cures. You could even imagine that homeopathy is extremely effective but it's designed never to show it's effectiveness in any scientific tests.
As long as you establish your premises—no matter how outlandish—you can make a philosophically sound case.
Let me restate my hypothesis. I suspect that philosophers recognize the uselessness of these kind of arguments and that's why they don't employ them to justify silly nonsense.
With one exception. The hypothesis breaks down, when it comes to the standard supernatural beings of the extant religions. That's why we see supposedly eminent philosophers like Elliott Sober using the Flying Spaghetti Monster argument [The Problem with Philosophy: Elliott Sober]. Sober is a non-believer but he published papers, and gives talks, that make the following case.
1. Imagine that there's a supernatural being who is ..Apparently, this passes for scholarship in philosophy whereas if you made a similar argument about the Flying Spaghetti Monster you could never get it published.
(a) omnipotent, omniscient, etc.
2. Can this being guide evolution in a manner that's undectable?
Here's another example. The argument from evil begins with at least two premises; namely, that there is a god(s), and that he/she/it is good. Once you accept those premises, you can have a deep and sophisticated argument about why there's evil in the world. This often ends up by adding a few more characteristics to the assumed supernatural being (e.g. he/she/it wants us to have free will).
We've seen (I think) that philosophers don't bother with some forms of this argument because the premises are silly. That's probably why they don't worry about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and it's probably why they don't discuss whether there are clever aliens living among us. (I just watched Men in Black 3.)
What criteria do philosophers use to decide whether some premises are reasonable or not? Why does Elliott Sober think it's important to consider the existence of a clever deceitful god who he doesn't believe in? Why would any decent philosopher discuss the problem of evil when the premises are nothing more than superstition?
Science is a way of knowing that solves these problems. One of the most important criteria of the scientific way of knowing is that you don't believe in something without evidence. Scientists don't bother worrying about whether the Flying Spaghetti Monster steals meatballs because there's no reason whatsoever to accept the premise. Similarly, since there's no evidence of god(s), there's no reason to debate whether such imaginary beings could be omnipotent or deceitful or whatever other character flaw you might imagine.
I ask these questions because I'm in the middle of reading a book by Alvin Plantinga called Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. Plantinga seems to be a highly respected philosopher but most of his defense of religion seems quite silly to this non-philosopher. They are arguments of the type ...
- Assume that there is a powerful god(s).
- Assume that he/she/it has designed life in a way that's undectable,
- Science can't disprove this speculation.
- Therfefore there's no conflict between science and religion.
Not to me, it doesn't.
[Photo Credit: Gourmet: Spaghetti and Meatballs]