Is the super-intelligent, super-popular god known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster any match for the prophets of intelligent design?
This month, the Kansas State Board of Education gave preliminary approval to allow teaching alternatives to evolution like intelligent design (the theory that a smart being designed the universe).
Long before that, Bobby Henderson, a 25-year-old with a physics degree from Oregon State University, had a divine vision. An intelligent god, a Flying Spaghetti Monster, he said, "revealed himself to me in a dream."
He posted a sketch on his Web site, venganza.org, showing an airborne tangle of spaghetti and meatballs with two eyes looming over a mountain, trees and a stick man labeled "midgit." Prayers to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, his site says, end with "ramen," not "amen."
Then, Henderson, who says on his site that he is desperately trying to avoid taking a job programming slot machines in Las Vegas, posted an open letter to the Kansas board.
In perfect deadpan he wrote that although he agreed that science students should "hear multiple viewpoints" of how the universe came to be, he was worried that they would be hearing only one theory of intelligent design. After all, he noted, there are many theories, including his own fervent belief that "the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster." He deman-ded equal time in the classroom and threatened a lawsuit.
Soon he was flooded with e-mail messages. Ninety-five percent of those who wrote to him, he said on his Web site, were "in favor of teaching Flying Spaghetti Monsterism in schools." Five percent suggested that he would be going to hell. Lawyers contacted him inquiring how serious he was about a lawsuit against the Kansas board. His answer: "Very."
This month, the news media, both mainstream and digital, jumped in. The New Scientist magazine wrote an article. So did Die Welt. Two online encyclopedias, Uncyclopedia and Wikipedia, wrote entries on the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Web site Boing-boing.net mounted a challenge: "We are willing to pay any individual US$250,000 if they can produce empirical evidence which proves that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster."
Will the religion that has come to be known as Pastafarianism do what it was intended to do -- prove that it is ridiculous to teach intelligent design as science?
Two dozen academics have endorsed the pasta god. Dozens of people have posted their sightings of the deity (along with some hilarious pictures). One woman even wrote in to say that she had "conceived the spirit of our Divine Lord," the Flying Spaghetti Monster, while eating alone at the Olive Garden.
"I heard singing, and tomato sauce rained from the sky, and I saw angel-hair pasta flying about with little wings and playing harps," she wrote. "It was beautiful."
The Spaghetti Monster, she went on, impregnated her and told her, "You shall name Him Prego and He shall bring in a new era of love."
And the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster flourishes. It even has schisms. A rival faction, based on SPAM (Spaghetti & Pulsar Activating Meatballs), has formed. And there's bickering, Henderson said in an e-mail message, about whether the god is made of spaghetti or linguini. Those people, he noted, "give me a headache."
On the Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo, enthusiastic slackers share their tips: Fill up a thermos with whiskey, do planks or stretches in the work pantry at regular intervals, drink liters of water to prompt lots of trips to the toilet on work time, and, once there, spend time on social media or playing games on your phone. “Not working hard is everyone’s basic right,” one commenter wrote. “With or without legal protection, everyone has the right to not work hard.” Young Chinese people are pushing back against an engrained culture of overwork, and embracing a philosophy of laziness known as “touching
‘STUNNED’: With help from an official at the US Department of Justice, Donald Trump reportedly planned to oust the acting attorney general in a bid to overturn the election Former US president Donald Trump was at his Florida resort on Saturday, beginning post-presidency life while US President Joe Biden settled into the White House, but in Washington and beyond, the chaos of the 45th president’s final days in office continued to throw out damaging aftershocks. In yet another earth-shaking report, the New York Times said that Trump plotted with an official at the US Department of Justice to fire the acting attorney general, then force Georgia Republicans to overturn his defeat in that state. Meanwhile, former acting US secretary of defense Christopher Miller made an extraordinary admission, telling Vanity Fair that
Boeing set a target of designing and certifying its jetliners to fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels by 2030, amid rising pressure on planemakers to take climate change seriously. Regulators allow a 50-50 blend of sustainable and conventional fuels, and Boeing on Friday said it would work with authorities to raise the limit. Rival Airbus is considering another tack: a futuristic lineup of hydrogen-powered aircraft that would reach the skies by 2035. The aircraft manufacturers face growing public clamor to cut emissions in the aviation industry, which added more than 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2019, according to
Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh on Thursday resigned following a protest over a hospital’s treatment of a new mother who tested positive for COVID-19. Khurelsukh, whose Mongolian People’s Party holds a strong majority in the parliament known as the State Great Khural, stepped down after accusing Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga of the Democratic Party of orchestrating a political crisis. A small protest broke out in the capital, Ulan Bator, on Wednesday after TV footage appeared of a woman who had just given birth being escorted in slippers and a thin robe from the maternity ward to a special wing for COVID-19 patients