Though perhaps not quite on the scale of Dan Brown, I got contacted today by a Professor of Psychology from Chicago, Dr Jon Smith, telling me about a book he had written using Anagram Genius.
His career seems mostly to be related to writing about stress and how to conquer it, but recently he has taken to writing “parodies of religiosity” about a god called The Flying Spaghetti Monster (“the world’s first carbohydrate-based deity”). I must confess I had the author labelled as a possible crank until I typed “Flying Spaghetti Monster” into Google and found that it was discussed on almost one million web pages…
The deity was conceived for the very serious purpose of debunking Intelligent Design in the United States. The idea is that instead of beating one’s head against the wall trying to engage directly in the debate with its proponents, one should debunk their ideas by making precisely the same arguments for a ridiculous religion and thus reveal the flaws in their position, reductio ad absurdum. Much more can be found on the Flying Spaghetti Monster Wikipedia page.
Intelligent Design is a philosophy put forward as a genuine scientific theory in competition with Darwinian Evolution. It asserts that life as we know it was created by a supreme being instead of coming about via evolution. The debate in the US centres around whether it should be taught in schools alongside Darwin’s theories (and whether it is a genuine scientific theory or simply theology masquerading as such).
The description of the book on his website reads:
1,000,000 Verses Direct from the Flying Spaghetti Monster
This remarkable book contains exactly 1,000,000 verses direct and uncensored from the Flying Spaghetti Monster. That’s 600 pages and 5,000,000 words. Revolutionary computer techology and groundbreaking artificial intelligence software from Europe have searched nearly 3,000,000 verses and identified 1,000,000 as most profound. All are RANKED for meaningfulness, a claim no other world religion can make about its scriptures! Useful tool for intimidating disbelievers and squashing religious dissent. Excellent bedtime reading for insomniacs. A beautiful coffee table book or door stop. Close your eyes, and poke any page with a pencil to obtain your own personalized Spaghetti “reading.” (Research yet to prove FSM readings less accurate than readings from astrology, Tarot cards, the Book of Revelation, or pig entrails.) WARNING: THIS IS AN ABSURDLY GIGANTIC HOLY BOOK GUARANTEED TO BAFFLE AND BEMUSE THE MOST SOMBER AND PIOUS SEEKER.
The “groundbreaking artificial intelligence software from Europe” is, of course, Anagram Genius and what the above is saying is that the entire book was generated directly by my software. (The bit about being “ranked for meaningfulness” is a reference to the Anagram Genius scoring function.)
The response was that in this metaphysical hierachy I was “The Grand Programmer” who was “the ultimate source” of both scripture and god. It isn’t often one gets flattered quite so profoundly (even if it is a “metaphysical hierachy” that includes a deity with meatballs for eyes, lots of tangled spaghetti for a body and many “noodly appendages”….!)