12 September 2005

Touched by His Noodly Appendage

A common response from science-believing folk — including yours truly — to the continuing attempts to inject religious belief into the science curriculum has been to state that such beliefs are not scientific because they cannot be disproven. If you believe, for instance, that the world was created on 2 October 1966, and everything sprang into being with created histories and memories, but that nothing really existed before that point, there is simply no way to disprove it. The same is true of the existence of a god who has been defined to be undetectable by any means.

Science also offers no way to distinguish between religions, as none have any truth value, at least the kind of truth with which science concerns itself. You may prefer Zoroastrianism based on the length of its tradition, that it was the faith of your parents, and because you prefer the moral system it promulgates, but none of these are scientific reasons for preferring it.

As I say, scientists have been making this argument for a long time, but nothing convinces like a good example — and now we have one. The recently-formed Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the fastest-growing religion in the world. It's a joke, of course, but one that's meant to illustrate a serious point, that there is no scientific reason for preferring "intelligent design" to FSMism.

And a personal thank you to Norm & Lisa, who brought me an FSM shirt. I wear it with pride, not because I'm anti-religion, but because I'm pro-science.

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