William Craig’s Reasonable Faith has a nice article on the FSM, and why this approach to dethroning the Christian concept of God is really intellectually weak, is worth reading. My summary below.
Some of Craig’s contentions:
1. Using the FSM to attack Intelligent Design is dumb because ID theorists agree that ID does not indicate any specific deity.
What’s curious about this parody is that ID theorists like William Dembski have been insisting on this same point for years, but everyone seems to think them disingenuous. Dembski makes it abundantly clear that on the basis of the specified complexity in the universe one cannot infer that the Designer is infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, and so forth. It is precisely for that reason that ID theorists deny that ID is disguised religion. The identification of the Designer with God is a theological conclusion that cannot itself be warranted on the basis of the design argument alone.
2. Any reasonable description of god must include a non-corporeal entity, since material entities are, by definition, created.
Ok, this argument is not really that strong, or made well, but it is made. By this definition, the FSM can not be god because it is physical. Of course, you could then argue with the incarnation.
Moreover, it’s plausible that any ultimate explanation must involve a personal being which is incorporeal. For any being composed of material stuff will exhibit precisely that specified complexity that we are trying to explain. The old ‘Who designed the Designer?’ objection thus presses hard against any construal of the Designer as a physical object (see my Richard Dawkins’ Argument for Atheism in The God Delusion in the Question of the Week Archive). That immediately rules out the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a final explanation.
3. Argument from Contingency – the FSM, being physical, can not fulfill the requirements of a god as defined by the Contingency argument.
The contingency argument, if successful, proves the existence of a metaphysically necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universe (see Argument from Contingency in the Question of the Week Archive). That conclusion is also incompatible with the Sufficient Reason of all things being the Flying Spaghetti Monster, since as a physical object (even if invisible to our senses) he can be neither metaphysically necessary, timeless, spaceless, nor immaterial.
4. The Kalam cosmological argument
Again, not well described in this post, but mentioned as one more reason why the FSM fails
The kalam cosmological argument, if sound, gives us grounds for believing in the existence of a beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, changeless, immaterial, enormously powerful, Personal Creator of the universe. Again, a being with such attributes cannot be anything like the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
5. Historic “natural theology” demands a god with certain attributes, most of which the FSM does not contain.
What the parody shows is that we are not justified in attributing to our explanatory postulates arbitrary properties that are not justified by the evidence. Natural theologians have always known this. That’s why, for example, Thomas Aquinas, after his five brief paragraphs in his Summa theologiae proving the existence of a being “to which everyone gives the name ‘God’,” goes on to discuss in the next nine questions God’s simplicity, perfection, goodness, limitlessness, omnipresence, immutability, eternity, and unity. As a being, the Flying Spaghetti Monster comes up drastically deficient as an explanation of those phenomena…
6. CONCLUSION: FSM proponents are not very smart, but rather, merely smart-alecs.
Those who seriously parade the FSM as an argument against the biblical god are showing their lack of intellect, reasoning ability, and understanding of classical philosophical and theological arguments surrounding the existence of God.
That people could think that belief in God is anything like the
groundless belief in a fantasy monster shows how utterly ignorant they are of the works of Anselm, Aquinas, Leibniz, Paley, Sorley, and a host of others, past and present. No doubt part of the fault lies with equally ignorant Christians who have no answer when called upon to give a reason for the hope within and who therefore give the impression of arbitrary and groundless belief. But it must also be attributed to poor education, intellectual laziness, and a lack of curiosity. Given the revival of natural theology in our day over the last half century, we have no excuse for such lame caricatures of theistic belief as belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.