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Home > Media

Spaghetti Monster Flies Again

9 September 2005

If there's one thing that makes us want to saw off our own heads with a spoon, it's people who claim not to be religious, but still believe there's 'got to be something out there'. For them, traditional religion is a bit of a bore, but an unspecified controlling intelligence or New Age gloop is perfectly fine.

Maybe there is cosmic intelligence somehow embedded in the fabric of reality. Or perhaps it's a big blob of pure spirituality, orbiting the moon. Maybe it's a parallel dimension ruled by a creature shaped like Richard Littlejohn that is made of pure Love. Who knows? It's gibberish, but they like the idea, so there must be something in it.

These people were riled by an article in The Guardian by Richard Dawkins attacking 'intelligent design' (the view that the natural world shows signs of being designed) and making the point (for the billionth time) that ID doesn't have a place in schools.

'Science can only deal with the physical world as we know it now, but this does not mean there is nothing beyond the physical world,' wrote one.
Well, yes and no. It's *possible* that there is a non-physical realm. It's *possible* that phenomena such as ESP are real. For that matter it's *possible* that God and ghosts exist. But even if we allow for these possibilities, how are we to decide if they ARE real? If you have a belief system that is wholly divorced from evidence or logic, then any attempt to evaluate such ideas is a non-starter.

Another letter writer says: '… scientists are not God. They should stick to their task of explaining how the world works, leaving others to discuss why the world exists…' and '…the science classroom [should not be] a hotbed of atheism.'
Why shouldn't scientists be interested in why the world exists? If that isn't a suitable subject for science then what is? And the idea that the science lessons should not promote atheism is to inadvertently assume that science, atheism and religion are equivalent viewpoints.

They're not. Science certainly stands contrary to many claims made by religion, and a belief in strong, reliable evidence is a good basis for rejecting religious and paranormal claims. But you can only say that science (or for that matter common sense) contradicts religion if you accept scientific (or common sense) notions of evidence. And it's here that the religious/unspecified-controlling-intelligence crowd haven't got a leg to stand on.

But none of this really matters to them. What all these arguments boil down to is: 'I can believe in whatever I like and you can't stop me.' And with an unshakeable belief system like this, why bother writing to the Guardian in the first place? God knows.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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