Darwin Day

From Academic Kids

Darwin Day is the name used by a set of loosely-associated events whose aim is to acquaint the public with the theory of natural selection and its importance to biology. The events are usually organized locally and take place on or about 12 February, the birthday of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) who provided the first coherent theory of evolution by means of natural selection.

The first event using the name Darwin Day appears to be one organized by The Humanist Community of Palo Alto, California in 1995. It featured a lecture by anthropologist Donald Johanson on Darwin and Human Origins. Starting in 1997, a series of larger events were organized at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville by members of the biology department. This came about in reaction to the consideration by the 1996 Tennessee legislature of a bill aimed at restricting the teaching of evolution in the public (state) schools.

Some advocates would like to have a public holiday declared for 12 February 2009. That day will be the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, and the year will also mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species.

While the involved parts of the scientific community view the Darwin Day events as educational, and some in the secular humanist community view them as a celebration of the advance of rationality and science, some creationists have called them veneration or even worship of Darwin (see argument from evolution).

An unusual spinoff of the Darwin Day 2005 event in Birmingham, England was the creation of the Origin of Species in Dub (http://www.infection.bham.ac.uk/BPAG/Dub/origin.html), a celebration of Darwin's masterpiece realized through the medium of reggae and dub music.

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