Creationists Ramp up War on Satire

In 2005, after the Kansas School Board took steps to promote creationist objections to science education, an outraged Oregon State University Physics student decided something had to be done. Rather than organize a letter writing campaign or protest in the streets, Bobby Henderson turned to an age-old tool of social commentary, satire. Henderson ‘founded’ a new religion called Pastafarianism whose followers worship a noodly deity called the “Flying Spaghetti Monster.” In a fun and playful way, Henderson’s Pastafarianism highlights both the religious motivation of advocates of so-called “intelligent design,” and the weaknesses in their arguments. Perhaps owing to the effectiviness of Henderson’s parody, the anti-evolution Discovery Institute has recently launched an attack on Pastafarianism.

In a post on Discovery’s blog last month, the loquacious Casey Luskin takes aim at the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

FSMIII.jpg During the holiday season, many Americans take time to seriously and respectfully reflect on Judeo-Christian religious beliefs. Not so for one website, the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” (FSM), a pro-evolution satire against intelligent design. They exhibit no interest in treating Christian holidays with respect.

Aside from the anti-Christian Christmas cards, the FSM website sells “The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” which is a mockery of the Christian New Testament. Anyone who has ever studied the paraphernalia in a Christian bookstore will recognize that the FSM shirts with dead Christian fish symbols and the word “Truth” are mocking Christianity. They even sell an FSM car icon to mock the “Jesus fish” icon. I’ve seen a couple FSM car icons on the road here in Seattle. It’s funny, but clearly the FSM concept aims to mock those who seriously believe in Judeo-Christian religious views.

Not content to limit the struggle against satire to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, yesterday Luskin focused his attention on a column posted on the aptly named web publication, “The Spoof.” The piece, clearly written in a jocular tone, includes a fictional scientist arguing against “intelligent design” by claiming that penguins are “the work of a total moron”. Luskin was unimpressed: should realize that they weren’t really spoofing anything, and that Darwinists make these fallacious arguments with a straight face all the time.

In response to Luskin’s screed, National Center for Science Education’s Glenn Brock asks “Why would mocking traditional religion be of concern to a purely scientific organization?” An interesting question indeed. For his part Luskin’s colleague, John West, attempts to answer Brock’s question, but perhaps Luskin and West are simply unwilling to accept that the target of these parodies is not religion or science, but the doctrine of intelligent design creationism that they peddle?