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Thread: How is the FSM any more absurd than the Christian God?

  1. #161
    wynn:

    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    All scientific hypotheses and theories can be considered unfalsifiable as well - simply by relegating all contradictory evidence into the domain of "abnormalities," "human errors in observation," and "flukes." Which is often enough precisely what happens.
    It sounds like you have no idea what the concept of falsifiability is.

    Falsifiability is when you say "Here's my theory. And if you can show that X happens, then my theory must be wrong."

    ALL science has this kind of thing.

    IF you can show that chlorine and sodium combine to form water, then the theory that water consists of hydrogen and oxygen atoms is wrong.

    IF you find a fossilised rabbit in precambrian rock strata, then the theory of evolution is wrong.

    IF you find something that falls upwards when you drop it in a vacuum, then the theory of gravity is wrong.

    and so on.

    This is why the focus on falsifiability in the FSM debate is so problematic.
    It's not problematic. The FSM is unfalsifiable, just like your favorite god. What experiment or observation would prove beyond doubt that the FSM doesn't exist?

    But this is not what the Christians there used as an argument for why ID should be taught, did they? They didn't say "ID is unfalsifiable, this is why it should be taught in public schools."
    ID is falsifiable. In fact, every purported example of ID has been falsified. Falsifiability is not the problem for ID; the problem is that it's just wrong.

    Theists do not preach that "God is unfalsifiable, therefore, you should believe in Him."
    They do preach that you need to have faith in God rather than asking for evidence. And if you ask them what would convince them that God doesn't exist, what is their reply? What is your reply?

    Atheists have a poor approach to understanding religion, and I think this is in part the fault of the religious.
    I'd venture that most atheists were religious at one point in their lives. Moreover, they tend to have a better understanding of religion that most believers, who learn not to ask uncomfortable questions but instead to have faith.

  2. #162
    Caput gerat lupinum GeoffP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarkus View Post
    Any model that can be refuted by an observation that fits outside the model can be refuted and is thus falsifiable.
    Now, tell me, what observation can you think of that would prove the existence of the FSM false?
    The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pastafarianism, a parody religion.[1][2] The "Flying Spaghetti Monster" was first described in a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson in 2005, protesting the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to permit the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes.[3] In the letter, Henderson parodied the concept of intelligent design by professing belief in a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs. Henderson further called for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism to be allotted equal time in science classrooms alongside intelligent design and evolution.[4]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster
    When you stop to think about it, it's shocking direct. It's a non-starter.

    Your disbelief in this regard is merely a measure of your inability to understand what it means to be (un)falsifiable.
    I don't think I'm going to bother addressing this issue much further, particularly since I can see the sort of intellectual wall that's been constructed around the FSM, and also because of the sad bullshit that keeps getting pumped out about my apparent ability to understand falsifiability. I've worked in my field a long while, and I know falsifiability front to back, so save your faint hope defense for someone it has a chance of working on. Ask yourself honestly, kid: is this what the last-ditch defense of the FSM has to come down to? Is this, intellectually, something you really want in your wheelhouse? I understand falsifiability just fine, thanks. I don't misunderstand it just because you disagree with me and the fact that you need to resort to this kind of thing right off the bad underscores the weaknesses in your position. I'm not good with this sort of pseudo-psychological ad hominem, so I'll go back on the facts now: Let's be utterly, utterly clear why I'm assigning you a failing grade on this: the fact of cynical assertion alone is not sufficient to create an unfalsifiable hypothesis, because your opposition is not cynically asserting their hypothesis, unless you can prove otherwise.

    Yes, you'll argue that the letter from Henderson shows the FSM false...
    And naturally one would, because it does. It's a central problem of the FSM, and it's why it was a poorly chosen contrast. Essentially, the characteristics - flying and spaghetti - point strongly to a kind of childish impulse in generation. Henderson's objective was noble - his contrast was mawkish and ill-chosen, and that's that. The FSM isn't unfalsifiable; it is falsifiable and has been from the act of its creation. Again - and this is a staggeringly simple difference - a proper parallel is one that uses belief in a figure that is not knowingly false. I suspect the reason you don't wish to be dislodged from the FSM is the very cynically (this in a partial pejorative now) obvious one: because you know it is utterly silly and you wish to retain this contrast with the possible being you consider equally silly. A parody religion based on unicorns would have, I'm sure, less traction for the simple reason that the human mind seizes on emotionality like a man in a tan bear suit grabbing at unprotected children.

    Bells makes a useful comparison here:

    And this is what many do not understand about the FSM issue in and of itself.

    It is absurd. It is entirely made up. We also know the reason behind it.

    God is only less absurd to those who believe a God exists. But to those who do not believe in God, then yes, the whole God premise is as absurd as the FSM.
    But in fact, God is less absurd to those who do not know whether God exists, which I would expect means the bulk of agnostics, and perhaps this is what all this debate really means anyway. It is still less absurd to those believe God exists. It is exactly parallel to atheists. In that light, the whole affair seems kind of pointless. It's a battle over labels with a kneejerk defense of the FSM.

    Ah, I see. You know, I've spent about ten minutes here trying to find the cause of my comment, and I'm coming up empty. What I should have said, and what was indeed my point, was that unicorns and aliens didn't work as well as FSM, because unicorns and aliens are not knowing inventions, even though you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who might say unicorns are real. Of course, that isn't to say a Flying Unicorn Monster or Roarchomp the extradimensional alien wouldn't have worked at all, but both unicorns and aliens come with baggage that could distract from the main point, which is simply to argue for the existence of an absolutely absurd skydaddy with irrefutable claims based on junk science. For that purpose, FSM is perfect.
    That's the support of my conclusion: you and JDawg and a variety of other people have already concluded that God is unreal, and thus the FSM, being knowingly unreal, is in the same category. The problem, as I've been trying to relate to you for some time now, is that no one really knows whether God is unreal or real. It's an untestable assertion based on belief. Those who put them on par have already made their decision about God also, rendering what could have been a very interesting parallel into...faith. The only difference between you and a theist is then the coefficient of your belief.

    Maybe you have an overriding social impulse in this regard... but it's not scientific as far as I can tell. I was a little puzzled that you would go so far as to reject the idea that identifying a single, common author having made up the entire concept of the Abrahamic god for whatever cynical reason could be supplied/discovered would be sufficient for falsification. Personally, I strongly favour NOMA - but even I would re-evaluate based on evidence. By admitting no naturalism on this issue, I think you end up in a very strange place, philosophically. Are you then somehow 'hands off' the concept of deities by occupying a critical stance? It's a bizarre position.

  3. #163
    Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Sarkus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    A skeptic could always claim that you didn't search thoroughly enough, that you lied etc.
    Sure. But the issue is merely one of falsifiability - i.e. If the chair is not in the room, is it possible to demonstrate that the chair is not in the room?
    If you think the answer is yes, then the claim is falsifiable.
    If you think the answer is no, then the claim is unfalsifiable.
    That is not the case with God.
    How so? What can falsify God? I.e. if God does not exist, what observation would prove it?
    By considering them "abnormalities" and "flukes" is precisely why they are dismissed from being relevant observations that could falsify the theory.
    Two things: 1. That they are deemed "abnormalities" and "flukes" suggests that it is possible for things to be observed that lie outside of the predictability of the theory - i.e. such observations if accepted as genuine would prove the theory wrong. THIS alone would make the theory falsifiable.
    2. Whether those observations are actually accepted or not is a matter of practical interpretation, and whether one follows good scientific practice or not. But it does not alter whether the theory is in principle falsifiable or not.
    No. The reason for not teaching it in public schools should be the separation of State (which is secular) and religion.
    That's one reason for a State not enforcing the teaching of any religion in schools - even in "religious studies".
    The issue Henderson raised was with regard teaching ID on a par with a science.
    Apparently, Henderson missed out on that too. As well as the Christians.
    The constitutional matter is separate, if related. I'm sure Henderson wouldn't have minded if ID was taught within the Religious Studies class. His specific issue was with it being taught as an alternative to a science.
    No. The Christians failed because they overstepped their competencies.
    Can you elaborate?
    No. This is what you project into them.
    Not really. Either they see God as falsifiable or not. If not then to continue to believe in God must mean they are willing to overlook that aspect.
    They themselves probably conceive of the whole matter quite differently. Perhaps some of them are just not sophisticated enough to articulate it.
    Possibly. But the issue remains whether one acknowledges it or not. Ignorance of an issue might make one happy, but it doesn't mean the issue is not there.
    And from what I've seen, those reasons often have little or nothing to do with religion.
    Atheists are often fighting a strawman of their own creation.
    Then feel free to point that out when discussing with them, and to correct their view.
    No. I wonder though why you see it that way.
    If it lies outside the scope of testing (as I inferred from your statement) then this makes it unfalsifiable almost by definition.
    So to say "God is not meant to be tested" is to reinforce the very idea of unfalsifiability.

    If you meant "God is not meant to be tested - but one can still test God if you wish" then I'd like to know how one can test God?

    Because God is defined as unique. He is defined as omnimax, and logically, there can be only one entity in that position.
    Uniqueness of a concept, however, does not remove one from the issue of unfalsifiability.

    God being defined as omnimax, there is also no threat to expect from him. So when some people in some way or another try to force upon others the belief in God, as if there would be a threat to be expected from God, they are actually enforcing a false image of God. It is justified to call them on this.

    (As long as Christians believe in eternal damnation, there will be this problem with their approach to belief in God and teaching it to others.)
    Sure - and this is where Pastafarianism, to continue the FSM theme, highlights such issues... that attributes assigned to their deity are often based on a bit of text with no other support etc.
    No. As always, I am interested to look into the psychological motivations of participants in a debate - that often helps to clarify the arguments they put forward.
    Fair enough.

  4. #164
    Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Sarkus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James R View Post
    ID is falsifiable. In fact, every purported example of ID has been falsified. Falsifiability is not the problem for ID; the problem is that it's just wrong.
    I think we need to be careful here.
    My understanding is that the overall concept of ID is unfalsifiable.
    However, the claims of ID-proponents that attempt to prove ID as truth have been shown to be false. But they are only the individual claims - not of ID as a concept.

    E.g. that there is an intelligent designer - unfalsifiable.
    But that there is demonstrable design in X, Y and Z - falsifiable if we can show how such apparent "design" can appear from naturalistic means.

  5. #165
    Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Sarkus's Avatar
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    GeoffP, I'm really not sure how much clearer one can make it:
    You do not understand what it means to be unfalsifiable, and you demonstrate this by claiming that the FSM is falsifiable because Henderson admitted he made it up, and can show the letter where he made it up etc.

    To falsify a theory you need an observation that fits outside the theory.
    To be falsifiable there needs to be the possibility, no matter how remote, of an observation fitting outside the theory.
    If there is no possibility, the theory is unfalsifiable.

    Simply put - and this is an example of why the FSM is unfalsifiable - IF the FSM existed, using Bobby Henderson to write that letter might be precisely how He introduces Himself to the world... as an internet meme etc... using Henderson as His prophet.

    I.e. there is ALWAYS a way that ANY observation can fit within the concept of the existence of the FSM.
    There is no possibility, no matter how remote, of any observation fitting outside it.
    Henderson writing that letter is NOT such an observation, as explained above.

    The FSM is unfalsifiable.
    Period.

    You claim to be fully cognisant of the concept of (un)falsifiability, yet every example you put forward - actually you only revert back to the same one each time - merely highlights that you do not understand.

    I can not state this any more simply for you.



    Whether there are better analogies - that is not an issue here. The FSM was used and it is the one being discussed.
    Are there analogies that might be more palatable for others, for theists, for you? Sure, each to their own.

    But in this core point of comparison between the unfalsifiable nature of the FSM and the unfalsifiable nature of ID, it is sufficient.

  6. #166
    Sarkus is correct. FSM is unfalsifiable. It doesn't matter where a theory comes from. Mr. Henderson could have started it as a parody and it could also happen to be correct.

  7. #167
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    Sarkus is correct. FSM is unfalsifiable. It doesn't matter where a theory comes from. Mr. Henderson could have started it as a parody and it could also happen to be correct.
    And just so we're clear, Mr. Henderson never has actually stated that the FSM is fake. We know it's a fake because we got the joke, but in reality he's never done anything but assert its truth.

  8. #168
    To cut things short:

    Falsifiability is not relevant when it comes to belief in God.

    There are also other big issues, such as "the meaning of life," where focusing on falsifiability would be misleading.


    Some things are too big, too complex for humans to grasp at once at will.
    Contrary to popular opinion, this isn't really a problem, but it is what gives us room to exercise our free will and to cultivate various qualities/attitudes.

  9. #169
    Caput gerat lupinum GeoffP's Avatar
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    Gentlemen, I hate to argue from some kind of appeal to popularity, but come on: we all know it's fake. It was written as satire. There has to be some kind of reasonable appeal to natural evidence. The fact of its willful invention belies that hypothesis; the FSM is rejected. If I were to accept the FSM on this kind of face value, I could accept anything at all in the same way, making up suppositions about anything at all. I'm a firm believer in NOMA, but there has to be some kind of naturalistic limit. No evidence for God yet? Fine. No evidence for the FSM yet? Well, there wouldn't be, because we know it was fake and intended as such. It's can't even be a real hypothesis, for the purposes of this pony show. You guys don't believe in God already: but that means you're just comparing two things you don't believe in already. You've concluded you don't believe in God, and therefore the FSM is equivalent. An agnostic, though, would properly say that i) the FSM is unreal - as it is, and ii) that there is no way to know whether God is real or not. If there were equivalent evidence that Abrahamism was faked, then that would certainly be a parallel. Ultimately this argument is about what the better parallel is, or faith arguments vs. faith arguments.

    Sarkus:

    To falsify a theory you need an observation that fits outside the theory.

    ...

    Simply put - and this is an example of why the FSM is unfalsifiable - IF the FSM existed, using Bobby Henderson to write that letter might be precisely how He introduces Himself to the world... as an internet meme etc... using Henderson as His prophet.
    Unfortunately, he didn't mean in that way, but rather as a satirical criticism of the religious motivations of ID. So, inevitably, it's you that doesn't understand falsification, since this is your standard for refutation. It's sad that a disagreement has to come down to such accusations, and utterly pointless.

    Done.
    Last edited by GeoffP; 05-15-12 at 09:24 AM.

  10. #170
    The same argument could be applied to Yahweh, as the stories attributed to him are known forgeries from both earlier and contemporary sources. We all agree that "C'mon, we know it's fake" applies to the FSM, but if it applies to FSM then it also applies to God.

  11. #171
    There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

    Ezekiel 23:20



    One could also say that the Bible was "written as satire".

  12. #172
    Caput gerat lupinum GeoffP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDawg View Post
    The same argument could be applied to Yahweh, as the stories attributed to him are known forgeries from both earlier and contemporary sources. We all agree that "C'mon, we know it's fake" applies to the FSM, but if it applies to FSM then it also applies to God.
    Sure, if they're forgeries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bells View Post
    There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

    Ezekiel 23:20



    One could also say that the Bible was "written as satire".
    Prrrobably not satire. Artistic license, perhaps?

  13. #173
    Quote Originally Posted by JDawg View Post
    The same argument could be applied to Yahweh, as the stories attributed to him are known forgeries from both earlier and contemporary sources. We all agree that "C'mon, we know it's fake" applies to the FSM, but if it applies to FSM then it also applies to God.
    Come on!

    You have seen Heston raise his hands and part the seas before stumbling up the mountains to talk to a burning bush. How can such a biblical story possibly be considered "satire"? It's real goddamnit! Real!

  14. #174
    Quote Originally Posted by wynn
    Some things are too big, too complex for humans to grasp at once at will.
    Really.

    I mean how hard is it to get that someone is hung like a donkey and ejaculates like a horse?

    And then of course we have things such as this:

    Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

    But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found.


    [Genesis 2:19-]


    No, really?

    It takes a lot to "grasp" this?

    Really?

    How about some wife sharing?

    “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

    [2 Samuel 12:11-]

    I wonder what god was trying to say with that comment? "Artistic license" perhaps, as one has tried to claim?

    Please, the whole 'God works in mysterious ways' stuff doesn't fly. And if it does fly, then so it should with FSM.

    That is what some are not getting in this thread.

  15. #175
    Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Sarkus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffP View Post
    Gentlemen, I hate to argue from some kind of appeal to popularity, but come on: we all know it's fake.
    We know Henderson intended it as fake. Unfortunately as a concept it remains unfalsifiable. Are we saying that we accept it as truth, or even remotely likely? No. But it remains unfalsifiable...
    It was written as satire.
    ... irrespective of purpose/intent behind the raising of the concept.
    There has to be some kind of reasonable appeal to natural evidence.
    There generally is with regard what we choose to believe in, or at least with what we hold as practical. But this has no bearing on whether the concept is unfalsifiable or not.
    The fact of its willful invention belies that hypothesis; the FSM is rejected.
    Rejected by you, by me, by others as something to take seriously, as something to practically consider actually exists? Of course.
    If is not rejected with regards being an unfalsifiable concept.
    Perhaps you read too much into what it means to be unfalsifiable (even if you have now learnt what it actually means)?
    Perhaps you think that by saying that something is unfalsifiable it is to be given credence?

    Unfortunately, he didn't mean in that way, but rather as a satirical criticism of the religious motivations of ID.
    Intent in arriving at a concept is irrelevant in determining whether that concept is falsifiable or not.
    It really is no simpler than I described above.

    So, inevitably, it's you that doesn't understand falsification, since we're getting all pejorative now.

    As said, it is no simpler than I detailed to you earlier.
    You claim it is falsifiable because "Henderson made it up!" and I have shown how this can still fit within the concept of the FSM, and as such negates your example for demonstrating falsifiability.

    So again, you claim to understand yet your words betray you.

  16. #176
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    I propose FSM as official state religion in East Korea !

  17. #177
    Valued Senior Member
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    Yes, FSM is more absurd. If you doubt God's existence, and the OP must for bringing this up, then why would their be both God, and FSM?

  18. #178
    [QUOTE=Bells;2935738]
    There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

    Ezekiel 23:20

    If donkeys and horses are the ideal, does that mean cats and asparagus-loving gerbils are less so? I'm asking for...a friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bells View Post
    Come on!

    You have seen Heston raise his hands and part the seas before stumbling up the mountains to talk to a burning bush. How can such a biblical story possibly be considered "satire"? It's real goddamnit! Real!
    You're absolutely right, and I'm embarrassed for having said otherwise. Just because those miracles don't happen today doesn't mean they weren't positively commonplace during that time. I mean, look at Game of Thrones. Nobody believes in the White Walkers because their stories are all from antiquity. And yet, here they are, killing wildlings by the score. See? Evidence.

  19. #179
    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffP View Post
    Gentlemen, I hate to argue from some kind of appeal to popularity, but come on: we all know it's fake. It was written as satire.
    And yet he could have ACCIDENTALLY created a satire that conforms to some truth. We just don't know and have no way of knowing.

  20. #180
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    And yet he could have ACCIDENTALLY created a satire that conforms to some truth. We just don't know and have no way of knowing.
    Or he may have been entirely serious. We read it as satire because it appears to be such.

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