It’s Darwin Day!
According to the official Darwin Day website, “Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the day that Charles Darwin was born in 1809. Specifically, it celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin — the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor. More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity.”
Dozens of local Humanist groups will be celebrating Darwin Day today. To find out if your local group is holding an event, see the AHA’s list of Humanist chapters and affiliates here.
Hundreds of college campuses will also be celebrating with lectures, debates, and other fun events. Secular Student Alliance Executive Director August Brunsman said:
“Darwin Day uses the life and work of Charles Darwin as a spring board to celebrate the many ways that science makes our lives better. We should celebrate science just like family, love, nature, civil rights and the many other things we already celebrate.”
The SSA’s recent press release continued to emphasize Darwin Day’s importance:
The theory of evolution was controversial in Darwin’s time and remains controversial in the United States today.
Recent Gallup polls show that 43 percent of Americans reject the theory of evolution and instead believe that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” And at least four 2008 presidential candidates have said they do not believe the theory of evolution.
“There is a continuous threat to evolutionary biology and to science in general that has been posed by fundamentalists who reject entirely a Darwinian worldview because they feel it threatens their religious beliefs,” said Massimo Pigliucci, Ph.D., a professor of evolutionary biology at the State University of New York-Stony Brook.
Prof. Pigliucci uses Darwin Day to teach the public about how science works “so people aren’t just hearing about science from their local preacher.”
Happy Darwin Day to all!