Charles Darwin Gets His Day!

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How do you celebrate Darwin Day, Baltimore? Act like monkeys? Don fake beards? You don’t mark it? Well, here’s how you might start, especially if it becomes a national holiday, which seems likely, which you can also read about after the jump!Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) has introduced a resolution that, according to the Secular Coalition for America, “would recognize the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s [February 12th] birth as an annual worldwide celebration of science and humanity.”

Darwin, of course, defined the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection and described the breakthrough thinking in his book On the Origin of Species.

Rep. Holt collaborated with the American Humanist Association to introduce the resolution. Their slogan: “Good without a god.” (The American Humanist Association is one of the Secular Coalition’s 11 member organizations.)

Edwina Rogers, exec director of the Secular Coalition, said the organization aims to protect the teaching of evolution in public schools at both at federal and state levels. And an official holiday can only help add credence, right?

“The teaching of evolution in schools is under constant attack especially at the state level,” Rogers says. “We are working to ensure that our children are being taught science—not theology—in our public schools, with taxpayer dollars.”

The Secular Coalition is currently busy establishing chapters in every state to lobby on issues such as securing evolution ed.

They face a hairy challenge.

As you’ve probably read, “Model legislation” means to create a fictional scientific controversy around Darwin’s theory to make way for the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools. Such scary legislation passed last year in Tennessee and Louisiana, according to Secular Coalition press materials, and has now been introduced in Montana and Colorado. Logically, the Secular Coalition recently introduced state chapters in both Colorado and Montana.

Obviously, the cause is an ultra-timely one — and there’s fresh reason to be hopeful, too.

American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt observes astutely: “When President Obama emphasized the importance of science during his inauguration speech this week, he was also voicing support for the scientific discoveries pioneers like Charles Darwin made. Darwin changed our understanding of life itself by showing the world, through science and reason, how nature shapes our existence.”

So how can we intelligently celebrate the cerebral occasion?

“Great ways to celebrate include taking the opportunity to learn more about the theory of evolution and discuss it with your children, contact your senators or representatives and urge them to support science-based curricula in public schools, and sign up with, or donate to, organizations that support science education–including the Secular Coalition, which is working at the state level to combat attempts to introduce theology based–not scientific–curricula in publicly funded schools,” says Lauren Anderson Youngblood, spokesperson for the Secular Coalition for America.

“Especially in a time when the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution in public schools is under constant attack, Darwin Day sends a strong message in support of the critical value of a scientific education,” Anderson Youngblood  adds.

The website www.darwinday.org provides resources and information on celebrating Darwin Day. Groups from all over the world offer Darwin Day events in the days surrounding February 12.



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