Ladies and gentlemen, does it make me a bad person if I don't love the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
This is actually an important discussion because as John points out
... The FSM makes me smile. It's good pointed satire in service to an important cause, and it drills home what's wrong with the dumb arguments that I.D. should be taught as an alternative to evolution out of "fairness." ...
But my misgivings are essentially the same ones that I have about the famous Darwin fish insignia: the FSM may antagonize many religious people to whom it registers primarily as a slap at their faith, not at I.D.
Is the humorous, but snide, Flying Spaghetti Monster widening the divide between religion and science?
John writes "let's not play into the hands of the creationists by unintentionally sending the message that science is automatically derisive of religion".
Is that what FSM is doing? Or is FSM merely derisive of ID?
Frankly, I think one of the problems we are facing with ID is that proponents of evolution tiptoe around the whole discussion. The scientific community has essentially ignored ID, believing that any response merely legitimizes it. So scientists aren't responding, and now John thinks satirists shouldn't use their tools either.
Tell me, John, what do you suggest we do? Sit down and have a nice chat about all the evidence for evolution?
Proponents of ID are essentially religious fanatics. They have heard the evidence for evolution thousands of times. They are not convinced because they do not want to be convinced.
The people we have to convince are the people in the middle. These are people who are swayed by 30-second attack ads and one-sentence sound bites. They don't need to hear a doctoral thesis on evolution. Their eyes glaze over if you start talking about evidence. They want to hear opinion, and they get plenty of it from the fanatics.
They need to hear the other side, and they need to hear it loud. They need to hear that the conspiracy is not for evolution -- proponents of evolution have actual evidence on their side. The conspiracy is, in fact, against evolution. They need to hear what scientists truly think of ID. They need to hear that ID is so removed from science, that real scientists not only don't believe in ID, they scoff at it. They need to hear again and again how ID is no different than the ancient theory that the Earth is the center of the Universe. They need to hear how Galileo was almost executed by religious authorities for believing something as anti-religious as the Earth revolves around the Sun. Every time an ID proponent claims in a speech that he has 50 signatures of scientists that support ID, a real scientist needs to make a speech that he has 50,000 signatures of scientists that support evolution. And every time someone gets up in front of a public school board to support the teaching of ID, someone should get up in front of the same public school board to support the teaching of FSMism, and someone else should get up and talk about real science.
As Bobby Henderson put is so eloquently in his letter:
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.