The anti-ID community is congratulating itself for yet another brilliant coup. Case in point, the Spaghetti Monster:
The challenge mounted against us is supposed to be momentous. Indeed, how can we design theorists rule out ridiculous designers like the Spaghetti Monster? And if we can’t do that, then how can anyone take ID seriously? Case closed.
I’m reminded of Steven Weinberg at the Nature of Nature conference in April 2000 dismissing all religious and theological discussions of God as the study of “fairies.” Take that Augustine and Aquinas, you nincompoops!
What we see here is a case of mass delusion in which a dysfunctional community of smug, cossetted intellectuals tell themselves exactly what they want to hear and then commend each other on their brilliance. Dawkins and Dennett made this self-congratulation explicit a few years back when they proposed referring to atheists as “brights.”
Questions: Does the Spaghetti Monster consist of durum semolina or some other grain? Also, was that grain as well as its processing into spaghetti designed? Since in all our experience spaghetti is designed, who or what designed the Spaghetti Monster?
13 Replies to “The Spaghetti Monster”
But what if the Intelligent Spaghetti Monster was a material entity, utilizing materialistic mechanisms? The question can then be asked, “Why haven’t *scientific materialists* proposed this hypothesis yet?”
Bill raises a very important question: Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Indeed, how can we design theorists rule out ridiculous designers like the ISM? And if we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that, then how can anyone take ID seriously? Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Ã¢â‚¬Â
There is only a solution: traditional metaphysics. God is the metaphysical Being. The Being is Unique. The Being deployed universe. The Being is supernatural. The Being contains all the manifestation possibilities. The Being is the Designer.
That is inevitable: ID leads to metaphysics.
Just for completeness, and to make the contrast as stark as possible: how does ID answer the equivalent questions? What is the Intelligent Designer made of? Are those components designed? In our experience, all designers are human and therefore designed, does that mean that the Intelligent Designer is himself designed? If so, who or what designed the Intelligent Designer?
[I’ll respond to your questions, but this is your last post here. ID from the start has argued that intelligence is empirically detectable but that to know characteristics about such an intelligence requires further evidence. The problem with the Spaghetti Monster is that it is proposed as a designing intelligence without any evidence of its spaghetti-like characteristics. As for your other questions, read the chapter titled “The Designer Regress” in my book The Design Revolution. –WmAD]
“The challenge mounted against us is supposed to be momentous. Indeed, how can we design theorists rule out ridiculous designers like the Spaghetti Monster? And if we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that, then how can anyone take ID seriously? Case closed.”
Apply this line of reasoning to other scientific disciplines, like say, archeology. Can we prove that the abominable snowman didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t build the pyramids? And if we can’t rule that out, how can we take archeology seriously?
Ought we to try and give a naturalistic account of how the pyramids were erected by thousands of meteors falling on top of one other over billions of years?
Their caricatures of ID really show how poorly the vast majority of ID opponents actually understand the theory. The existance of The Spaghetti Monster is a philosophical question (however ridiculous it may be) that has nothing to do with design itself. Similarly one could say that The Spaghetti Monster used natural processes to subtly create life and let it evolve, but although that would be a possible philosophical argument, no one would say that this invalidates Darwinian evolution. Theistic evolutionists should stay away from such caricatures that ultimately attack both theories.
It seems to me that we already “know” what spaghetti is. We already “know” what meatballs are like. Are the ‘eyes’ dead squid or clams? Let’s suppose they are. Having been cooked, they’re dead. But let’s further suppose that they’re ‘live’ squid or clams. We already “know” what live squid and clams can, and cannot, do. So, if the Darwinists want to propose the amalgam of spaghetti, meatballs (both inanimate/inert), and squid or clams as either (1) intelligent, or (2) capable of design, then it is their responsibility to demonstrate that this amalgam is capable of doing either or both. And, of course, it is absurd to assume that it is in any way possible to attribute to this amalgam of known entities the power of either intelligence or of design. Hence, it is absurd to propose the Spaghetti Monster as the Intelligent Designer. Just because an absurd instance of an intelligent designer is proposed, it is not logical to then conclude that an Intelligent Designer is absurd.
It, therefore, also seems to me that any further discussion of it is a waste of time.
I suppose the spagetti monster is an un-disprovable conjecture and is invoked to mock ID because ID opponents consider ID to be un-disprovable. This is an incorrect characterization of ID. If ID is false it can be disproved by either showing the techniques of ID (specified complexity, irreducible complexity, etc) are flawed, or if an object is incorrectly asserted to be ID’d that can be disproved by showing that the techniques of ID have been applied incorrectly, or by proving an unintelligent means of creating that object.
Spot the logical flaw:
Objects are said to be intelligently designed if they have characterestics of intelligent design.
Characteristics of intelligent design are anything that cannot be explained by natural means.
Anything that cannot be explained by natural means is said to be created by intelligent design therefore intelligent design is not a real science it is a catch all phrase to explain anything that is unexplained by current science, and therefore cannot be disproved.
The flaw is in the second statement: characteristics of intelligent design are not “any characteristics that cannot be explained by natural means”. Characteristics of intelligent design are characteristics which due to mathematical, logical, or philosophical arguments, are believed to require intelligence to create. These include specified complexity and irreducible complexity.
The monster is pretty funny.
Some particularly percipient commentary from Bill
On his blog, Bill Dembski wrote…
The problem with the Spaghetti Monster is that it is proposed as a designing intelligence without any evidence of its spaghetti-like characteristics.
That is an excellent point. Of course there is no evidence for a creator with spaghetti-like characteristics. I am pretty sure that the Spaghetti Monster idea/spoof was originally proposed simply as an attempt to connect the other, TOTALLY IRRELEVANT characteristics of spaghetti (greasy, mushy, messy, flimsy, etc) with the ID movement. Unfortunately, many people are unable to distinguish relevant and irrelevent characteristics when someone presents them with an analogy. When I read about these kinds of anti-ID arguments it is really disheartening. It reminds me of attempting to have a serious conversation with someone who is intent on being childish. On the plus side, at least it helps me think that I am on the right track by (coming to believe?) in ID. The implications are staggering no matter how you look at it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Indeed, how can we design theorists rule out ridiculous designers like the ISM? And if we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that, then how can anyone take ID seriously? Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Ã¢â‚¬Â
Science can’t rule them out either. Doh!
Spaghetti Monster? So what. ID doesn’t address the identity of the designer–that’s for other philosophers and theologians.
ID is an inference from physical evidence to designer. An inference from a designer to an identity is not a part of ID proper. Certainly, ID is not committed to any particular identification.
I should have said “Evolutionary science can’t rule them out either.”
I’ve long claimed that falsification is not possible in vast areas of mainsteam evolutionary “science”. When a neoDarwinist says that chance mutations are the source of variability how can he falsify that claim? In reality all he can do is claim that the source of the mutation is unknown.
This is really the root of the problem for chance worshippers. They can neither prove beyond a reasonable doubt nor offer a way to falsify random (chance) mutations. What frightens them is that their widely accepted world view is a house of cards. ID *CAN* be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by probabalistic analysis. When the odds pile up too high against something happening by accident then reasonable doubt is demonstrated. ID can also be reasonably falsified on a case by case basis by demonstrating a reasonably probable chance method of acheiving the same result without intelligent agency working to select highly improbable events.