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Humanists Around the World Celebrate Darwin Day to Promote Science and Evolution

For Immediate Release

Contact:

Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, DC, Feb. 11, 2016)—Tomorrow humanists around the world will celebrate Darwin Day, a commemoration of the birthday of naturalist Charles Darwin and the achievements of modern scientists.

“Charles Darwin and his spirit of scientific curiosity have inspired generations of scientists,” said Roy Speckahrdt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Darwin Day is an opportunity to recognize scientists’ discoveries and innovations that have advanced our knowledge and human progress.”

Since 2011, the American Humanist Association has worked closely with members of Congress to introduce the Darwin Day resolution. Introduced on December 3, 2015, by Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) with 20 co-sponsors and counting, U.S. House Resolution 548 would officially recognize February 12, 2016, as a national celebration of Charles Darwin, the theory of evolution and the advances of scientists around the globe. The Secular Coalition for America, of which the AHA is a member organization, worked with Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) in the U.S. Senate to introduce a companion Darwin Day resolution, U.S. Senate Resolution 337. With all of the Republican presidential candidates failing to publicly acknowledge the theory of evolution, the Darwin Day resolution demonstrates vital support by Congress for science and the teaching of evolution in public schools.

“Support for settled scientific fact such as climate change and the theory of evolution should be uncontroversial,” Speckhardt continued. “We need members of Congress who will stand up for science and the education of our country’s future doctors, engineers and technological entrepreneurs.”

In addition to the national Darwin Day resolution, state Senator Andrew Sherwood (AZ-26) introduced Arizona Senate Resolution 1001, which if passed would recognize February 12, 2016, as Darwin Day in Arizona. Governor Jack Markell has signed a Darwin Day proclamation in Delaware officially recognizing February 12, 2016, as Darwin Day, as has the Linn County Board of Supervisors in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Humanist groups across the country will also be commemorating the day with events, including: Sunday Assembly of Silicon Valley’s lecture by NASA astrobiologist and former American Humanist Association awardee Dr. Lynn Rothschild in San Jose, California, on February 14; the Myrtle Beach Humanists and Freethinker’s showing of the documentary Questioning Darwin on February 13 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; the Secular Humanist Society of New York’s performance of Darwin, Wallace and Other Voices in my Head on February 12 in New York City, New York; and the End of the Line Humanists’ Darwin birthday bash in Oak Park, Illinois, on February 11. A full list of festivities is available here.  

The American Humanist Association is also supporting efforts by Philadelphia-area sculptor Zenos Frudakis to create and display a sculpture of Clarence Darrow at the Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton, Tennessee, opposite an already standing sculpture of William Jennings Bryan. Darrow famously represented teacher John Scopes who was put on trial in 1925 for unlawfully teaching evolution. More information can be found here.    

International Darwin Day was founded in 1993 by Dr. Robert Stephens to honor the accomplishments of Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution continues to inform groundbreaking discoveries in biology, genetics and medicine, among other fields of research. A project of the American Humanist Association, Darwin Day also observes the contributions of scientists across the globe whose findings have advanced human progress and the betterment of our lives on this earth.

The American Humanist Association maintains the Darwin Day website, which contains further information about local Darwin Day events, Charles Darwin’s life and scientific achievements and efforts at the state and local levels to have Darwin Day officially recognized.

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The International Darwin Day Foundation, 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, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic 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.