Monkey's Uncle or not, Charles Darwin framed the contentious debate over who we are and where we came from. Meanwhile, Chupacabristas cry foul at the goal line in Amazing Updates and on this Date in Amazing History Fidel Castro settles in for a long stay at the top in Old Havana.
Much of the scientific and academic world this week has observed the 198th anniversary of the birth of the eminent English naturalist Charles Darwin, whose 1859 landmark work, The Origin of the Species, laid the foundation of the Theory of Evolution. Darwin subsequently became one of the 19th and 20th Century's most controversial figures. Even today his towering legacy is contested as fiercely as ever by proponents of Creationism and Intelligent Design. Not long after his passing in 1882, doctrinal zealots in London circulated a story (proven false) that Old Charlie had a deathbed conversion to Christian Orthodoxy whereupon he recanted his celebrated Theory.
Integrated Theory of Inversional Constructs (ITIC) allow for the POSSIBILITY of Intelligent Design? That is to say, could ITIC allow that all life on the planet was deliberately and precisely placed here (and perhaps within a much shorter time frame than conventional scientists believe) by a single All-knowing, All-Powerful Creator?
To that question, the answer is an emphatic YES. Of course it is possible. Is it probable then? Before dealing with the latter question I should point out that an ITIC embrace of Creationism would raise the corollary, but equally valid presumption or possibility of Unintelligent Design or what has been termed Abortionism. According to this theory, everything on the planet is attributable to a Vastly Powerful but Unknowing and Mostly Incompetent Supreme Bungler who has botched or miscarried almost every single undertaking He has put His clumsy Hand to. Abortionism would explain the myriad inconsistencies and biological blind alleys that proliferate in Nature. It would also go a long way toward explaining many senseless cataclysms and disasters that have befallen the earth over millennia, including meteors slamming into the planet, the Black Death and the Bush Presidency.
Tyrannosaurus might have had to wait centuries before a Brontosaurus would show up and provide him with lunch. The age of the Earth is not four or five billion years but more like 40 or 50 billion. Noah and his family didn't spend 40 days and 40 nights on the Ark but 40 years and 700 grandchildren must have spilled out of the boat when it landed at Ararat. By which time the throng of hungry Noahans had eaten every last pair of animals on the craft except for two types of rodents: rats and rabbits which the passengers learned to breed and prepare in an infinite variety of ways. As for fresh vegetables, try having seaweed soup everyday for four decades.
Melvinism, a Protestant sect that arose in 16th Century France and was later spread by ardent missionaries to Equatorial Africa and Brazil. According to Jean Michel-Ange Melvin, the Paris-educated theologian who founded the faith in 1527, mainstream churches had completely misinterpreted the Old Testament texts and Christian gospels. God was not a jealous and vengeful Omnipotent Deity who could order the massacre of thousands at the drop of an idol, declared Melvin, rather He was a kindly and well-meaning, but essentially accident-prone Celestial Parent (named Yeeow-zaah) who just got things wrong most of the time. Jesus wasn't crucified on purpose but accidentally nailed to a cross-bar during a sandstorm that blew up as the Helpful Carpenter was assisting Roman soldiers to erect a suburban racetrack. Actually, it was a gladiator ring but the soldiers withheld that information from the pacifist Savior. Melvinist doxology doesn't involve prayers to the Heavenly Father but for Him.
A number of Melvinist churches flourished in France and its colonies up until the eve of the 1789 Revolution and then rapidly dwindled when Napoleon condemned the faith as an anti-Republican heresy. Today only a few remote Melvinist congregations in Northeastern Brazil continue the practice where it survives as a curious blend of Candomble, Macumba, Spiritualism and Reform Judaism. Melvin himself was buried beneath a small headstone in a corner of the famed Cimetiere Pere LaChaise in Paris but was dislodged in 1971 to make room for Jim Morrison of the Doors. The current location of the Melvin reliquary remains a mystery.
To sum up: In terms of classic (if something first advanced in 1954 could be called classic) ITIC analysis, Creationism and its presumptive corrollary Abortionism must be seen as equally valid and logically compatible alternate theories of the Earth's origin and, I would say, merit equally serious study in our schools and institutions of higher learning.
Rev. Chong Migillicuddie has written from Barranquilla that several of his Iglesia Adventista Chupacabrista (IAC) parishoners are furious that 19-year-old Hamish Gomez of Miami Beach dared to associate the miraculous reappearance of the "Chupas Divinas" in Florida with anything so tawdry as betting on the American Super Bowl. "It's unfortunate nonsense like this," says Chong "that utterly ridicules and sensationalizes the Chupacabra manifestations, obscuring the true nature of their heavenly mission. I would have thought that a person from a Jewish background would have deeper sensitivity for this wondrous apparition. After all," the Reverend continues,"We now know It wasn't really a ram that got tangled in the brambles as Abraham prepared to make a burnt offering of Isaac. It was a goat, placed there by an angelic Chupacabra under orders from On High." Rev. Chong says an IAC task force is working on a Chupacabra Cabbala citing numerous Old Testament passages that are suggestive of Chupa intervention.
We've received the latest revised forecast for the Year of the Pig (which begins next week), from noted Shanghai astrologer Dr. Yao Man Fu-Zi who foresees several startling political omens in the zodiacal alignments for 2007 and beyond. This subject will be further explored in the next Amazing Realms installment.
Photo: Philippe Halsman
cover LIFE Magazine 1961
THIS DATE IN AMAZING HISTORY:
14 February 1848 Democrat James Polk becomes the first U.S. President to be photographed in office (by Matthew Brady) and so begins a charming American political tradition: the White House photo opportunity. This tradition will be utilised a great deal by succeeding presidents, especially embattled Republicans waging unpopular wars.
13 February 1865 The desperate American Confederacy approves the recruitment of slaves as soldiers on the proviso that their owner's approval is gained. Thus blacks in the South are offered the unique opportunity to fight on the losing side of a war aimed at keeping them in bondage forever. General Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox two months later thereby permanently ending both the Civil War and slavery in the U.S.
16 February 1959 Victorious revolutionary Fidel Castro takes the oath as Cuban premier in Havana. Exiles in Miami and American CIA agents immediately start planning the Bearded One's downfall but the wily El Comandante-en-Jefe will be around a very, very long time.