6/3/09

On the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorns, et al., part 3 of 4

This segment of Atheism is Dead’s essay which considers natural theology, or natural revelation, will consider The Invisible Pink Unicorns.

The essay will be parsed thusly:
Part 1: Natural Theology / Natural Revelation
Part 2: The Flying Spaghetti Monster
Part 3: The Invisible Pink Unicorns
Part 4: The God of the Bible

The Invisible Pink Unicorns
Let us now consider whether the Invisible Pink Unicorns pass the natural theology / revelation test.

The main introduction to the revelation of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is The Invisible Pink Unicorn Page which describes the Invisible Pink Unicorns as follows:

The invisible Pink Unicorns, or I.P.U's [sic] are the true masters and creators of the universe. They existed before anything existed. They even existed before they existed. There is no possible way for me to explain how this is possible. We just have to be content with the knowlege [sic] that Invisible Pink Unicorns exist, and they are beyond our ability to comprehend.

It purports the following manner of revelation:

I know of their existence because my cat, Cloe, is the devine [sic] prophet of the Invisible Pink Unicorns. Cloe speaks to them secretly, and reveals their astounding truths to me by whispering into my ear late at night when no-one else is around. Cloe tells me that she has chosen me to help her spread the word about the I.P.U's [sic].

An entry in Wikipedia offers some of the history behind the Invisible Pink Unicorns and how later revelation has taken us from monounicornism to polyunicornism (much like Mormonism went from monotheism to henotheism):

The earliest known written reference to the IPU [Invisible Pink Unicorns] was on July 7, 1990…The concept was further developed by a group of college students from 1994 to 1995…The students created a manifesto…based on a multitude of invisible pink unicorns.

While the Invisible Pink Unicorns’ Page claims to be, as it where, the scripture of the Invisible Pink Unicorns, it is important to note a few things about it.
In this case the shahadah may be said to be “There are no gods but the Invisible Pink Unicorns, and Cleo (pbuh) is their messenger.”
It is claimed that a cat receives the revelation and whispers it into the webmaster’s ear late at night. It is not stated whether the cat whispers too softly to be understood clearly, nor whether the webmaster can ask for clarification, nor if the webmaster writes the revelations on the spot or waits until the morning. One thing is for certain; there are at least 36 misspellings and grammatical errors in the front page alone. Thus, the various “[sic]” notations in the quotations. I would like to inspect the autographa of the Invisible Pink Unicorns’ scripture.
Multiply the 36 this by the number of times that the page has been downloaded, copied and pasted, emailed, printed, etc. and Bart Ehrman would claim that there are millions of errors in the text. Perhaps Bart Ehrman will write a book entitled “Misquoting Invisible Pink Unicorns.”




The webmaster claims that Cloe has also revealed revelation as to how the universe came about and functions. However, there is nothing new here and nothing that the webmaster could not have simply copied from current books on cosmology and astronomy.

Also, the webmaster claims that the Invisible Pink Unicorns have revealed how life began and states that “many cells in our body can not [sic] reproduce themselves. Brain cells can not [sic].”
However, Princeton University reports:
…scientists believed that brain cells were a finite resource; that unlike other cells in the body, those in the brain did not regenerate. But psychology professor Elizabeth Gould recently proved such is not the case for the hippocampal formation of the brain in Old World monkeys, primates closely related to man. And Fred Gage at the Salk Institute in La Jolla has showed that adult humans also generate new neurons in their hippocampus. These discoveries, along with Gould's later findings about the relationship between learning and neuronal regeneration, could change the way scientists look at the brain.[1]

I do not know who is wrong or confused in this case: the Invisible Pink Unicorns, Cloe or the webmaster but we are also told that “prions are molecules” but they are proteins.
Moreover, not being intelligent designers, the Invisible Pink Unicorns claim that RNA came into being by a long series of “random mistakes.”

One very concerning part of Invisible Pink Unicorns’ theology is:
The IPU’s [sic] want all matter to obey the physical laws of the universe. It is actually impossible not to do so. As long as matter continues to obey the laws, the Invisible Pink Unicorns will be happy. They don't care what else happens.
You can kill your parents, eat your dog, sing out of tune, nothing you can possibly do will break the laws of the universe…there is no way you can offend them. You are amusing, but insignificant to them…
The IPU's [sic] however, have put aside a hellish place where all people who use the word “an” before the word ‘historic’ will go to suffer in agony for all eternity, because that's their biggest pet pieve [sic].

At the end of the front page there is a very brief “Quick test” which would not pass a kindergarten English test saturated, as it is, with grammatical and spelling errors.

Another interesting revelation is that the Invisible Pink Unicorns:
…care as much about you worshiping them, as you care about your dandrif [sic] flakes worshiping you. Even by our standards it seems wierd [sic] to want the things you create worship you. We don't expect it of our children, do we? “Now Billy, get on your knees and worship thy LORD and CREATOR MOMMY!”

It is difficult to discern whether this is particular illustration is directly from the IPUs or if it is the commentary of Cloe or the interpretation of the webmaster. Yet, whoever came up with it must not have children. While parents do not want their children to “worship” them in a traditional sense of the word the relationship between parent and child is very much a model of the relationship between God and creatures. In order to ensure health and safety the child must obey the parents and the parent must forgive and care for the child.
Also, note that although they claim that they do not want worship we were told that they are “the true masters.”

Thus, overall the revelation of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is very problematic on many fronts. Now, let us see if they pass the test of natural theology / revelation. The “Quick test” states,
You should be wondering, “If they're invisible, how can they be Pink?”
The answer is: If you could see them, they would be pink.

Indeed, if they are invisible they are non, or not, visible. If they are invisible how could they be pink? Well, if we could see them, they would be pink but since we cannot see them then they are not pink, right?



Yet, since they are unicorns they have a physical form: horse’s body with one horn which protrudes from their godhead-foreheads. Since they have a physical form, they absorb and reflect light particles and so their pigmentation is of a pinkish hue. Since they have a physical form which interacts with light in displaying a pinkish color they are not invisible but are visible. The physical nature of the pseudo-invisible Pink Unicorns means that they fail the natural theology / natural revelation test for the same reasons as does the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

It is also important to note that the Invisible Pink Unicorns are a pantheon which means that not one of them is the absolute, complete or ultimate creator god. Since they are legion and separate beings they each must possess something that the others do not posses. Therefore, they are each lacking.

More problematic is the statement that “They existed before anything existed. They even existed before they existed.” This is a clear indication that the Invisible Pink Unicorns cult presents a false theology: the Invisible Pink Unicorns cannot have existed before they existed.
Firstly, this essentially states that they are not eternal but had a beginning “before they existed.” Yet, they are said to have preexisted their existence. The fact that either Cloe or the webmaster attempt to salvage this sure sign of false doctrine by stating “There is no possible way for me to explain how this is possible” does not help matter but only digs the cult’s own grave deeper still. This is a good parody of false theology to be sure.

Thus, overall the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Invisible Pink Unicorns fail the test of natural theology and are thus are excluded from further consideration.

Speaking of good parody of false theology, let us further take a moment to note that the entry in Wikipedia states:
Her two defining attributes, invisibility and color (pink), are inconsistent and contradictory; this is part of the satire. The paradox of something being invisible yet having visible characteristics (e.g., color) is reflected in some East Asian cultures, wherein an ‘invisible red string’ is said to connect people who have a shared or linked destiny.

Good point and it works against various theologies. In part 4 we will consider whether it works against the God of the Bible.
Wikipedia also notes,
In his essay The Dragon in my Garage from his book The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In the Dark, Carl Sagan uses the example of an invisible dragon breathing heatless fire that someone claims lives in his garage.


Whether it is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorns or the Dragon in my Garage each fails for the same reasons that were specified in parts 2 and here in 3.

For a fascinating review of Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World written by Prof. Richard Lewontin, see here.


[1] Ken Howard, Do brain cells regenerate? New discoveries about neurogenesis prompt reevaluation of cerebral development

10 comments:

  1. I do not know who is wrong or confused in this case: the Invisible Pink Unicorns, Cloe or the webmaster but we are also told that “prions are molecules” but they are proteins.
     
    Well, proteins are molecules, you know. Or don't you?

    Also, the webmaster claims that the Invisible Pink Unicorns have revealed how life began and states that “many cells in our body can not [sic](sic) reproduce themselves. Brain cells can not [sic](0.5 sic).”
     
    The first sentence is true, many cells in our bodies can't reproduce. Not all, but many.

    The second sentence is ambiguous. If, by 'brain cells', the author meant neurons, as seems to be the case from the snippet you yourself quote, it represents the best available evidence as of about 15-20 years ago. I remember. The first report of central stem cells came from Sam Weiss' lab in our weekly departmental seminars, back in 1992.

    So, yeah, the IPU thing is a bit stale, but who are you to complain about somebody being a couple decades behind the times when you're a millennium behind the 8 ball with your medieval physics?

    Another thing to note in your snippet is that they, the people who actually know what they're talking about, talk about central neural regeneration, not reproduction, as the IPU piece does. The two processes are not the same thing, as you should known before criticising what others say on the subject. As far as I know, it still holds that central neurons do not reproduce.

    Speaking of errors, when are you going to go back and fix the mistakes we pointed out in your first entry in this series? Parts 2,3 and 4 are pointless as long as part 1 remains broken.


    And anyway, the IPU is clearly satire, as is the FSM. When are you going to stop sparing with straw men and take on the real thing?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "The physical nature of the pseudo-invisible Pink Unicorns means that they fail the natural theology / natural revelation test for the same reasons as does the Flying Spaghetti Monster."

    How can you claim that such constraints exist for the Invisible Pink Unicorns? They are "All Powerful". If they want to be pink and invisible, or place light enroute to earth to make the universe look billions of years old, who are you to claim they can't?

    Also, I find these essays of yours a bit of a waste of time. IPU is simply a satirical allegory showing how ridiculous it is to accept claims of supernatural beings with insufficiant proof. To go through the IPU website or wiki page, picking apart IPU 'dogma', shows you have completely missed the point.

    ReplyDelete
  3. MM,

    So I guess it's true, then, to say "MaskedMarauder is a molecule." Brilliant discourse, people.

    You mock Mariano for dealing with this topic? Your homey and self-appointed Mr. Atheist BigShot Dick Dawk appeals to FSM ALL THE TIME. It's like he can hardly get thru an interview about his Delusion book without mentioning it.
    So it's only fair that we should respond.
    And "take on the real thing" - one can only marvel at your poor memory, since this entire blog deals with atheism like every post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rho: You mock Mariano for dealing with this topic?
     
    No, I mock him for dealing so incompetently with it. All he does is cut an paste, not argue or even add insight into the issues.. Its clear that he doesn't understand what he's cutting and pasting. He criticises true statements from ignorance, confuses basic scientific concepts and can't accept anything learned after the invention of the water wheel.

    So I guess it's true, then, to say "MaskedMarauder is a molecule." Brilliant discourse, people.
     
    No, I'm not. Anyone who knows how to use a dictionary can verify this.

    And, if you didn't notice, this is about pink unicorns, not FSM or Dawkins.

    As a matter of curiosity, can you find anything of value in this error-riddled article to justify the writing of it? Neither can I.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's a lot of big words, MM. I missed where you demonstrate your assertions. I'll wait.

    The IPU argument and the FSM argument are of the same subspecies. Don't be obtuse.

    Yes, I find value in it. Thanks. Bye.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Rho: That's a lot of big words, MM. I missed where you demonstrate your assertions. I'll wait.
     
    Go back and read what I wrote. Pay attention this time.

    He doesn't know the difference between 'reproduce' and 'regenerate'. He doesn't know that proteins are molecules. He evidences ignorance of, or indifference to, physics since Aquinas.


    OK, I'll bite, what do you find of value in this article?

    ReplyDelete
  7. MaskedMarauder,
    Proteins are made of molecules.

    aDios,
    Mariano

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mariano: Proteins are made of molecules.
     
    This is like saying Thunderbirds are made of automobiles. Proteins are molecules. In particular they are chains of amino acids (also molecules) covalently bound together by peptide bonds.

    Prions are single protein molecules. Ordinarily I would not get all pedantic about this outside a classroom, but since you introduced this as a facile weapon to supposedly undermine the reasoning of the unicorn guy, I'm compelled to point out that in fact prions are actually glycoproteins, or glycosylated proteins. These are proteins bound covalently to sugars. So, prions are not pure proteins, but they are still true molecules.

    So, you are either unjustly casting a inconsequential difference in preferred word choice between you and the unicorn guy in an unjustly pejorative light, or, if you really want to get persnikety about details, the unicorn guy is right and you are wrong.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Be gentle, MaskedMarauder. I think it was just a typographic reading error. This may help clear things up:

    Not a molecule: spelled with a 'us'
    A molecule: spelled with a 'on'
    Nuff said?

    ReplyDelete