Darwin Day, according to the International Darwin Day Foundation, is “a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin.” The idea of the celebration arose in 1993 as part of the activities of the Stanford Humanist Community, then headed by biologist Robert Stephens. And in the intervening 21 years, it has proliferated, with hundreds of events listed in cities around the world.
I liked this article, not just for highlighting Darwin’s birthday, but for this snippet:
It irks me the way Nye, and others who engage with creationists, allow the likes of Ham to call evolution “Darwinism”, and those who can comprehend natural selecton and the overwhelming evidence for it “Darwinists”. An over-reliance on Darwin as our standard-bearer diminishes a broad and vibrant science, giving the impression it begins and ends with a guy who was born over 200 years ago. I believe the creationists and their dullard adherents go further, implying that one white-bearded gentleman is somehow being slyly substituted for another; Darwin supplanting God.
I’ve written about this myself, but it always bears repeating. Darwin was not a prophet, and ‘On the Origin of Species’ is not alternate scripture. Darwin made an incalculable contribution to our understanding of reality, but there has been a lot of progress since his day.
Creationists tend to want to equate modern evolution as an ideological movement that sprung forth fully formed from Darwin’s writings. In reality, the idea of evolution predates Darwin, he just added a natural mechanism to explain it, and the modern view of evolution has progressed since then.
That’s how science works. No one has to read Galileo’s works to understand astronomy, or Newton’s to understand gravity, or even Einstein’s to understand relativity. It’s the same with Darwin.
Interestingly, it’s not just creationists who seem to take this attitude. I’ve seen some atheists, usually militant ones, take almost the same attitude toward Darwin and his books, rereading ‘Origin of Species’ again and again as though it were some kind of sacred writ. As a nonbeliever myself, I’m pretty sure Darwin would have been one of the first people to say that we shouldn’t put him up as some kind of secular saint.
- How to teach … Darwin and the theory of evolution (theguardian.com)
- Happy Darwin Day… did he say this? (theberkshireblog.com)
- The Cruelty of Creationism (slate.com)
- ‘Darwin Day’ Would Celebrate Father of Evolution (livescience.com)