Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monsters
The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism, a movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools. Although adherents describe Pastafarianism as a genuine religion, it is generally seen by the media as a parody religion.
The "Flying Spaghetti Monster" was first described in a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to protest the Kansas State Board of Education decision to permit teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes. In that letter, Henderson satirized creationist ideas by professing his belief that whenever a scientist carbon-dates an object, a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs is there "changing the results with His Noodly Appendage". Henderson argued that his beliefs were just as valid as those of intelligent design, and called for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism to be allotted equal time in science classrooms alongside intelligent design and evolution. After Henderson published the letter on his website, the Flying Spaghetti Monster rapidly became an Internet phenomenon and a symbol of opposition to the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.
Pastafarian tenets are generally satires of creationism. They are presented both on Henderson's Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster website, where he is described as "prophet", and in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, written by Henderson and published by Villard Press in 2006. The central belief is that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. Pirates are revered as the original Pastafarians (a portmanteau of pasta and Rastafarian). Henderson asserts that a decline in the number of pirates over the years is the cause of global warming (a reminder of the concept that correlation does not imply causation). The FSM community congregates at Henderson's website to share ideas about the Flying Spaghetti Monster and crafts representing images of it, as well as to discuss "sightings" of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Because of its popularity and exposure, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is often used as a contemporary version of Russell's teapot – an argument that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon those who make unfalsifiable claims, not on those who reject them. The Flying Spaghetti Monster has received praise from the scientific community and criticism from proponents of intelligent design. Pastafarians have engaged in religious disputes, including in Polk County, Florida, where they played a role in dissuading the local school board from adopting new rules on teaching evolution.