Russell’s Invisible Flying Pink Spaghetti Unicorn Monster Teapot


And again it goes:

“I’ll challenge an atheist to disprove the existence of God and instead of arguments against theism or for atheism I get some variation of, “No, YOU prove there IS a God!”

Atheists! Listen up!

You guys are and always have been in the minority. It has ever been the responsibility of the minority position to have to make its case for validity. The majority position, whether you like it or not [and no one’s saying you do], enjoys the advantage of only having to defend itself against specific objections [or to offer up responses given by challengers]. The minority position, on the other hand, is forced to make its case for superiority over the existing majority, unless of course it prefers to slip into obscurity and irrelevance.

Now, a lot of popular “literature” by fols like Dawkins, Hitchens and that other rude fellow who’s name I’ve [happily] forgotten may give you the impression that atheism enjoys some upper hand, or that it enjoys the upper hand at least amongst educated folk. This is a lovely smokescreen. Stephen Jay Gould did us all a favor of being intellectually honest enough to admit that theistic scienists are at least as common as atheistic scientists. Outside academia, atheism is a decided minority.

Of course, atheists leap at this disparity of disbelief amongst intelligentsia versus the general public and add the non sequitur that the more educated we become the less likely we are to believe in God. This ignores the politics and peer pressure special interest groups may weild. A minority, if vocal, zealous and focused enough, may take over an institution and impose itself upon the majority. Once in key positions it may deny those with opposing views equal opoortunities for advancement, acclaim or simple expression. This has been the case in the universities over the past century. Scientists with theistic theories of origins are largely denied peer review and then their work is decried as not being peer reviewed! Theists are even denied positions in universities for holding THE MAJORITY OPINION of the Earth, that God exists and created the world. In the world of print, Dawkins is particularly vocal in brow beating those who stray from atheistic fundamentalism. They are not winning their argument. They are simply muzzling the opposition. The irony is that despite their usurped monopoly on higher education, attempts indoctrinate new generations in their atheistic dogma have largely failed. The statistics are not much changed. Atheism is still a minority.

So sorry about your luck.

Now, the “No, YOU prove there IS a God!” argument usually invokes a Flying Spaghetti Monster, an Invisible Pink Unicorn or Russell’s Teapot. They’re allclever and they’re all flawed.

The Noodly One deserves especial scorn for it is not so much an argument against theism as against the notion of theistic origins. It has commonalities with the other straw man arguments in that it presupposes no rational, philosophical or scientific basis of any sort for the theistic position. All of these straw man arguments presuppose that religious belief, like the belief in God, is purest superstition that no modern thinking man could ever countenance if he were intellectually honest.

And so the argument is made thus:

We say, “Disprove the existence of God.”

They say, “Disprove the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Invisible Pink Unicorns, or Russell’s Teapot, or Dragons, or Fairies, or Leprechauns!”

I’ll say it again: They’re simply repeating our objection back to us. We believe it is impossible to either prove or disprove God’s existence. THAT is our point, but what makes it a straw man is that is is NOT our ENTIRE point.

We do note that it would be impossible to rule out God’s existence unless one knew everything, but we also note that in the end you must believe in God. Again, it cannot be aither proven or disproven. But is it based on blind faith? No, it is not. It is based on a weight of evidences and testimonies.

Bertrand Russell partially addressed testimonies with his Teapot analogy. He noted that if an unprovable, undetectable teapot were also taught as truth out of ancient authority texts, in Sunday Schools and to our children that a man who believed otherwise would be looked upon as an eccentric. I should note that his analogy can be turned upon its head, for nontheistic Darwinism is being taught as truth to our children in our schools and univeristies out of textbooks referring back to the musty text called Origins. It, being a process which takes hideous amounts of time to evolve a species into another kind of creature entirely, is unprovable and undetectable. Scientists may say that this minor mutation or that adaptation is evidence of transition in action, but they are only presuming evolution to be true and presuming that these adaptations and mutations will someday far away lead to such a transition. I digress.

What we are saying when we challenge an atheist to disprove God’s existence is NOT simply that God’s existence can neither be proven nor disproven. We are also saying that atheism [God’s nonexistence] cannot be either proven or disproven. It is however evident that God does exist. The complex, inter-related order and design of the universe, the existence of universal moral law with its inherent sense of justice and a host of other things [like personal experience, reason, philosophy, beauty and meaning] are compelling reasons to believe.

The atheist can give little reason to believe that the universe accientally came to be in such a way that intelligent life searches for meaning yet reasons that neither God nor meaning exists. I digress.

The atheist loves to throw out leprechauns and fantastical creatures of myth, folklore and legend alongside its own creations [for the hypocrites do not actually profess to believe in invisible pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters or undetectable teapots,except with tongue firmly in cheek] and then compare such a belief with a belief in God.

Note: They do illustrate that it’s actually impossible to prove or disprove God’s existence.

By throwing out objections like pasta monsters, invisible unicorns and undetectable teapots, they are ADMITTING this! They are conceding the point.

Note Also: They do not address whether it is more reasonable to believe or disbelieve in God, given the available evidence.

–Sirius Knott

 For more on the Flying Spaghetti Monster, read this: Why the Only Rational Atheist is an Oxymoron

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. George says:

    It is not the responsibility of an atheist to disprove the existence of any of your beliefs. We will actually probably just ignore you if we hear the words faith ( or belief without evidence). It is the believers responsibility only to prove what it is they believe to exist before any assumptions, debates or theories can even begin. Its called critical thinking ..you have to define your terms so please lets back it up .. start this whole thing over again.. define god and his existence then we can go from there.

    And about your whole point about proving or disproving gods existence is impossible.. well it may very well be impossible to prove but we can still base his existence on probabilities ..

    heres a question for you if you wanna become so technical… prove that we exist.

    Why is there unnecessary evil in the world?

  2. Limulus says:

    “Atheists! Listen up! You guys are and always have been in the minority. It has ever been the responsibility of the minority position to have to make its case for validity.”

    Facts are not democratic; no matter how large a majority of people vote that the earth is flat, the sun revolves around the earth, or evolution is a sham, that does not make it so.

    “Outside academia, atheism is a decided minority.”

    Your objection that its mostly as a result of “politics and peer pressure special interest groups may weild” is interesting in that it discounts the education process; that people exposed to new or different ideas might not reject them out of hand and might in fact be persuaded by them on their merits… Regarding the complaint that “Theists are even denied positions in universities for holding THE MAJORITY OPINION of the Earth, that God exists and created the world.” please see my first point above.

    “nontheistic Darwinism is being taught as truth to our children in our schools and univeristies out of textbooks referring back to the musty text called Origins. It, being a process which takes hideous amounts of time to evolve a species into another kind of creature entirely, is unprovable and undetectable. Scientists may say that this minor mutation or that adaptation is evidence of transition in action, but they are only presuming evolution to be true and presuming that these adaptations and mutations will someday far away lead to such a transition. I digress.”

    Please see http://talkorigins.org/

    “We say, “Disprove the existence of God.” […] We believe it is impossible to either prove or disprove God’s existence. […] It is however evident that God does exist. The complex, inter-related order and design of the universe, the existence of universal moral law with its inherent sense of justice and a host of other things [like personal experience, reason, philosophy, beauty and meaning] are compelling reasons to believe. The atheist can give little reason to believe that the universe accientally came to be in such a way that intelligent life searches for meaning yet reasons that neither God nor meaning exists. I digress.”

    So basically the reason for believing boils down not to a direct connection with god(s), as that would clarify things nicely and there would be no atheists then, but rather to a watchmaker argument? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmaker_analogy

    Maybe see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle#Criticisms
    “Fossil, genetic and other biological evidence abundantly supports the observation that life adapts to physics, not the other way around.”

    No doubt you will come up with another challenge, another rock to look under, and then another and another and because human knowledge can never actually be infinite, you can always make claims that ‘atheists can’t disprove the existence of god(s)’. But think about this; every time a claim is made for the existence of god(s) and its resolved in the negative, isn’t that just another drop in the ocean?

    So when you say “Disprove the existence of God.” I will reply with the novel answer: because atheists exist. Feel free to make up all sorts of reasons why (your particular) god wants to remain hidden; this is why people generally require positive proof for positive claims.

  3. Samuel Skinner says:

    Hitchens
    Not at the top. The best scientists are mostly atheists.

    If you believe gods existance is impossible to prove or disprove you are an agnostic. Unfortunately you are also an agnostic to the FSM.

    You list The complex, inter-related order and design of the universe, the existence of universal moral law with its inherent sense of justice and a host of other things [like personal experience, reason, philosophy, beauty and meaning] are compelling reasons to believe.

    Or, transendant argument, order argument and… that is about it. None of these are actually related to the existance of good- they are all arguments from ignorance.

    Actually the point of all those things is there is no reason to believe in them… and hence there is no reason to believe in God.

    I’m going to adress your biggest point. You seem to be under the misguided view that reality is determined by the number of people who believe in something. If you were born in the CCCP you’d be telling Westerners “you can’t prove that the revolution isn’t inevitable”. The fact is 1) we can prove god doesn’t exist, 2) just because people believe something doesn’t make it true, no matter how many believe it and 3) you need better arguments.

    Proof God doesn’t exist- the universe exists. An all powerful God wouldn’t need a universe. In fact any God described in any religion wouldn’t need a universe- or at least not one with people in it.

    Problems with your argument (transendant and order). You argue that because the universe shows regularity it must be designed. You make the same claim in regard to morality, beauty and the like. Err… why? These traits would occur in a naturally occuring universe. There is no reason God is needed to explain them.

    For example beauty. Beauty is a value judgement caused by the appearance of certain things. Well, why do we have it? For dealing with other people it is to determine their health and social standing and for dealing with colors, music and the like, it appears to be overstimulation of something that origionally used for another purpose- for example color came out of the need to tell what fruits were good. Bright colors were good.

    The list goes on. Go West… er into anthropolgy young man.

  4. Sirius says:

    George,

    Why is evil unnecessary? What is your definition of unnecesary evil?

    -Sirius Knott

  5. Sirius says:

    Limulus,

    Are you calling evolution a fact? You’ve seen it occur then? Have aardvarks become knids or jabberwocks? Evolution is a theory, a framework for testing hypothesis. It is unfalsifiable tautology, not fact.

    Because your entire argument is based on evolution [though we were speaking of atheism] being a fact instead of merely the minority opinion [which is all it is].

    If something is a fact, it remains that in the initial stages of establishing the majority acceptance of said alleged fact requires proof or convincing evidence from th minority.

    As for your argument that God doesn’t exist because atheists exist… aren’t you just saying that if you disbelieve something, it doesn’t exist? that’s denialism.

    –Sirius Knott

  6. George:
    “We will actually probably just ignore you if we hear the words faith ( or belief without evidence)”
    Are you not putting faith in scientists, who cannot possibly observe or prove every theory they come up with. In other words science has become a religion to you, no less faith then those who believe in God.

    “well it may very well be impossible to prove but we can still base his existence on probabilities .. ”

    Probabilities are based on background information. So what background information do you have to say God probably does not or did not exist?

  7. Sirius says:

    George,

    You’ve actually stumbled upon my point:

    Neither atheism/naturalism nor theism are provable nor falsifiable. We’re in the same boat!

    We both BELIEVE what we do about God and/or origins based on weights of evidence and lines of argument.

    We are on equal footing in this regard.

    But which evidences and arguments fit reality better?

    –Sirius Knott

  8. Sirius says:

    Skinner,

    Saying that the best scientists are at the top is hubris. [Yes, it was Hitchens; I couldn’t recall the fellow’s name]. IF and only IF atheism is true can you say that the best scientists are at the top; if God exists, they’re not the best but rather the most self-deluded!

    Now, I’m not an agnostic. I’m honest, something I can rarely obsere of atheists. They pretend that evolution has been proven when it cannot be. I willingly admit that NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN ARGUED INTO BELIEF IN THEISM. Neither has anyone ever been argued into atheism. I’m saying the arguments are equal.

    I believe God will reveal himself to those who earnestly seek Him. I know this to be the case in my case. I’ve experienced the reality of God. An agnostic would never profess this. I believe Christianity is reasonable. I certainly findit more reasonable than atheism/naturalism!

    Stating that I’m arguing from ignorance is anunqualified statement. Prove it. I’ll enjoy your efforts.

    My biggest point… Wow. You have really misunderstood me if that’s what you thought of my argument.

    Majority of opinion does not constitute truth. Neither does a great argument or even a poor one. Galileo was right about heliocentrism, but all of the reasons he gave were later debunked!

    I’m simply noting a fact. A majority truth claim [like geocentrism] can only be supplanted by the minority [or new] truth claim [like heliocentrism] IF th minority gets off its lazy butt and presents its case. The burden of proof is on the minority’s side.

    -Sirius Knott

  9. Chris mankey says:

    The burden of proof is on the minority’s side.

    No, the burden of proof on the people making the claim. If god exists you need to provide some evidence that that is the case. But of course christians and other theists can’t do that!

  10. Sirius says:

    Chris,

    You’ve missed the point. Par for the course for atheism.

    Atheism is the one making the claim that there is no god. If god does not exist you need to rpovide some evidence that that is the case. But of course atheists can’t do that!

    In other words, you take this on faith.

    You really need to read some of my other posts before you go in half-cocked like this in the future.

    And as far as one paradigm replacing another is concerned, the minority needs to get hopping if they don’t want to lose by default. Your position IS the minority position. Sorry about your luck.

    –Sirius Knott

  11. Gruesome_hound says:

    Concerning the usual flying teapot, spaghetti monster and invisible unicorns analogies, I think it is important to distinguish between atheism ( I know beyond all reasonable doubt that those entities does not exist) and agnosticism ( I don’t know whether they exist or not).
    I am pretty sure none of those entities exist not only because of the absence of evidences (this by itself would only justify agnosticism) but also because there are incredibly strong reasons militating against their existence.
    Take for example the celestial teapot: teapots are products of an human mind, contrarily to biological systems, there are no conceivable natural pathways by which they could have evolved, and no human being has ever been at the surface or even in the vicinity of Mars (and even if some secrete mission has done that, it is extremely unlikely they would have brought one teapot with them and let it fall in the space) , therefore one can conclude with almost certainty that there is no teapot orbiting around Mars.

    Let us now consider other scenarios for which we have no evidence at all: somewhere in the multiverse, there is an intelligent species looking like bears, there exists a parasitic species capable of possessing their host’s brain like the Goaulds (Stargates) or hives (dark skies).
    I am “agnostic” but not atheist about these possibilities, because while there exist clearly no evidence, there is also nothing which speaks against that.
    Similarly, I am atheist about any kind of invisible animals or visible or invisible unicorns existing on the earth, but I am agnostic about the possibilities that such creature may live on an unknown planet of an unknown remote paralell universe.

    I therefore think that the principle (No evidences => non-existence) is deeply flawed, for affirming that something does not exist, we ought to provide reasons for not believing that.
    So, I believe that atheist have to give solid grounds for believing with almost certainty there exist no god(s). These may be the evidence of meaningless evils, the widespread religious confusion, the numerous examples of bad design in nature and so on and so forth.

  12. knight says:

    @George “It is not the responsibility of an atheist to disprove the existence of any of your beliefs.” And Christians do? And whatever you say is true because you said so Mr. Biased Version of God, right? Wrong. You’re not God, stop coming up with imaginary rules, especially ones that go against his. You don’t even understand God right, unlike you’re poor act, he doesn’t go around saying, “Juz cuz”, might wanna notice that big book he wrote already justifying himself, instead of pretending you can’t see it and that it doesn’t exist.

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