Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

I got dem ol' Darwin blues again Mama

Although, as am sure you can imagine, most of my time in the last week has been taken up with the ongoing saga of the strange footprints found in the garden of one of the houses on the edge of the village. But other strange things have been happening. Someone, who shall remain nameless, because - as far as I'm concerned - he is a reasonably sound chap, wrote the following in an e-mail to Richard Freeman:

"However, played truant a minute ago to look at the CFZ website. The first item I looked at was a brief obit by Jon Downes on someone who was applauded for believing in Darwinism! I know it has some good points and is a shade more reasonable than creationism, but this shocked me. Was Downes taking the piss? Darwinism has no place in a fortean landscape, surely?"

Then I found this odd website complete with a downloadable pdf of a book called The Religion of Darwinism.

"The theory of evolution, with its scripture, its devotees, its alleged answers and explanations concerning the origins of living things, its idols and beliefs, its closed-mindedness to criticisms and developments in science, is a pagan religion that denies the existence of God."

And finally I found the BBC's Andrew Marr getting in on the act as he wrote:

"His vast brow hangs over us all. His foamy white beard cascades down in the familiar Michelangelo Old Testament style. He speaks to mankind of ancient origins and end times. In this year of his double anniversary, are we in danger of turning Charles Darwin if not into God, at least into the founder of a secular religion?"

So how has Darwinism gone from an eminently logical explanation of biological and prehistorical events, backed up by the evidence of the fossil record, to being a dangerous and pagan religion? And how come I am apparently decrying forteanism and all that it stands for by supporting the doctrine of Darwin?

Well the obvious thing to say is that it isn't, it hasn't and I'm not. Darwinism is not a "pagan religion" that "denies the existence of God" nor is it a threat to free speech or any of the other nonsense that I have found upon the internet.

I, like most other intelligent people believe that the universe is ancient, and that the progress of life on earth has been a slow and inexorable progression. Even students of the Qur'an accept this. I can see no evidence to suggest that The Almighty has tinkered with the laws of his creation, as has been suggested by the Intelligent Design brigade. But I am absolutely certain that - as in so many other parts of the natural sciences - we do not yet understand all the laws of science which control evolution, and there is a hell of a lot left to discover.

This is where being a fortean comes in. One should question everything, and be humble enough to accept that not only do we not know everything about the way that the multiverse operates, we actually don't know very much at all about it. I am a Darwinist, in that I believe in evolution rather than young earth creationism, or intelligent design, but although I believe broadly in evolution through natural selection and genetic drift, I am far from convinced that Jean-Baptiste Lamarck has had his day, and I am certain that there is more to discover, and as a Fortean I should question the scientific status quo at all opportunities.

And, yes, I'm also a Christian, and I believe in the Alpha and the Omega, so now as a Christian, a Darwinist, a Fortean, a Scientist, an Anarchist and `Lamarckian curious (but non scene)` I have given those who wish to, enough ammunition to take potshots at me for months...

Happy hunting


sammywise said...

LOL. With the theory of Darwinian evolution, we have a good ida of how things, well evolve. That doesnt mean there are also other processes we havent discovered yet.

sammywise said...

With Darwinian evolution we have a great idea of how things, well, evolve. And with new ideas of jumping genetic etc, it still is heads and above ID. I mean, using the same old desisns over and over, whatever the IDesigner is he is quite, boring. ANother thing IDers and such fail to recognize that there may still be other processes which have not been discovered to be working. Here is the USA we have issues with ID because it fails to support itself with adequate proofs.