Richard Godwin's editorial in today's Evening Standard 'My heart sinks at the 'humour' of Boaty McBoatface' proves once again how grossly misunderstood atheism still is in the UK press.
The piece first points out that the naming of the Natural Environment Research Council's vessel, and the subsequent campaign to drown out any researchers who objected to the not-so-hilarious "Boaty McBoatface" exemplifies the worst of anti-intellectualism. A valid point. But onto this bandwagon he tethers a rant against atheists celebrating Pastafarian weddings as a 'piece of facetiousness'.
Mr Godwin has failed to do his homework.
Bobby Henderson began the Pastafarian movement in the USA as a legal challenge to the teaching of ideological nonsense dressed up as science, under the pretentious label of "intelligent design". If belief in a God is all it takes to deny children a right to education using absurd laws, then the Flying Spaghetti Monster had to be recognised on the same grounds. Henderson claimed - as creationists do with their own deity - that if science couldn't prove everything beyond doubt, it is possible the Flying Spaghetti Monster is in fact the creator of the universe, and thus should be taught at school. The truth of his belief in this idea can no more be tested than that of any theist wishing to sneak God into the science classroom.
Pastafarianism is more than 'complacent relativism', Mr Godwin. It is a growing movement of the nonreligious who have had about enough of courts giving privileges to believers which are denied to others. It is an encouragement to a silent majority whose values are based in rationality and evidence to challenge those who run prison systems, schools and courts and value superstition over enlightenment.
It is not for atheists to 'grow up' Mr Godwin, but for the godly to wake up. The Spaghetti Monster will continue to rear its ugly, noodly head everywhere superstition prevails over reason.