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Darwin Day Marked by Congressional Resolution Announcement, Worldwide Celebrations

Feb. 12 is 205th Birthday of Evolutionary Biologist and Naturalist Charles Darwin

For Immediate Release

Maggie Ardiente, mardiente@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 x116

(Washington, DC—Feb. 12, 2014)—Last night U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives announcing his resolution that would mark Feb. 12, 2014 as Darwin Day. H. Res. 467, known as the Darwin Day Resolution, also has 13 co-sponsors: Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), Rep. Michael Capuano (MA), Rep. Alan Grayson (FL), Rep. Hank Johnson (GA), Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA), Rep. James A. Himes (CT), Rep. James McGovern (MA), Rep. Michael M. Honda (CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA), Rep. Alan S. Lowenthal (CA), Rep. Charles B. Rangel (NY), Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), and Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY).

This is the second year Rep. Holt has introduced the Darwin Day Resolution. His 2013 resolution had seven co-sponsors, and followed a similar effort by former Rep. Pete Stark (CA) in 2011 to have Feb. 12 recognized as Darwin Day.

“Without [Charles Darwin’s] recognition that natural selection enables increasing complexity, our comprehension of our world around us would be vastly poorer.” Rep. Holt said on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives last night. “But to me Charles Darwin represents much more than a discovery or a theory—he represents a way of thinking, a philosophy. His approach to life and to the world around him should be celebrated as much as his discoveries.”

The American Humanist Association has worked with Rep. Holt and his staff for the past two years on this effort. Along with personal visits to members of Congress asking for co-sponsorship of the Darwin Day Resolution, this year the American Humanist Association sent Darwin Day Celebration, a booklet highlighting Darwin’s contributions to science and humanity, to all members of Congress to encourage their support.

“We’re proud to support Rep. Holt and the resolution’s co-sponsors in their effort to recognize Charles Darwin’s contributions to science and humanity,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Given the anti-science views held by some in Congress, it’s important for our future that scientific advancements—and the scientists that achieve them—are appropriately honored.”

Over 90 registered Darwin Day events in 27 states and countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, and Singapore are taking place during the week before and after Feb. 12. Events vary from small community presentations to larger multi-day events to week-long celebrations.

Darwin Day is a project of the American Humanist Association and was founded by Dr. Robert Stephens in 1993. The American Humanist Association maintains the official Darwin Day website at darwinday.org, where people can find Darwin Day events in their local area, educational resources on Charles Darwin and evolution, and learn about efforts to get Darwin Day recognized by local and state governments. The Secular Student Alliance, an allied organization, recently updated the Darwin Day Celebration booklet for distribution to college campuses.

Charles Darwin’s evolutionary discovery of natural selection as the basis for biological transformations responsible for the diversity of life on earth is the foundation of modern biology, genetics, and medicine. Other areas of science and the humanities can also trace advancements to Darwin’s ideas. Since his publication On the Origin of Species in 1859, additional advances in knowledge have fine-tuned and repeatedly verified his insights.

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The International Darwin Day Foundation (darwinday.org), founded by Dr. Robert Stephens in 1993, is a project of the American Humanist Association. Its mission is to promote the public education of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and to encourage the celebration of science and humanity.

Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.