Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bertrand Russell

You might wonder who that old guy is that we use as a profile picture. That's Betrand Russell. If you don't know who he is, read about him.

His analogy about religion and society is one of my favorites and asks why it's always up to the skeptic to disprove the existence of god. It's commonly referred to as

"Russell's Teapot"

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 an 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.

When we think, too, about how absurd it would be to fight wars over said teapot. If one side thought it was a willow patterned china and another thought it rosebud. And yet another side thought that it had matching saucers or was served with milk or another thought lemons... this could go on forever. And how STUPID would it be if we fought wars over this, used it to discriminate against others...simply because we argued over the details of something that couldn't be proven and was inconsequential. 

Russell's Teapot has inspired other parody religions like the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Invisible Pink Unicorn... all of which are delightful and have the same basic message. 


  1. the more i read, the more i enjoy your blog.

    btw, my husband has a tattoo of that exact flying spaghetti monster. it's covering the cross tattoo he got when he was 19. HA!

  2. That's AMAZING! Do you have any photos of it? Their website has a gallery of FSM tattoos!


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