10/11/2006

Russell's Teapot and Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster

Many of us have heard of the "Barber's paradox" introduced by one of the most influential logician and mathematician in recent times, Bertrand Russell, to demonstrate a logically impossible scenario and contradictions in set theories prevalent in his times. But there is another interesting construction by Russell called the "Russell's teapot". Here is its statement:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

In other words, argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy.

Similar but more funnier recent construct is the church of Flying Spaghetti Monster , of which the members are called Pastafarians. Please do read the open letter by the FSM church members to Kansas School Board on teaching all "theories" along with evolution. In addition, Pastafarians also has a huge collection of evidence and endorsements from academicians to support their theory.

Touched by His noodly appendages

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