For Immediate Release
(Washington, DC, February 12, 2010) In celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday today, the American Humanist Association is calling on all Americans concerned by efforts to stop or water down the teaching of evolution in public science classes to get involved and attend a Darwin Day celebration. Darwin Day, which is held every year on February 12, commemorates Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection. Each year, events are held around the country and the world to celebrate Darwin and science, including lectures, documentary screenings, potlucks and other events. This year, over 100 local events have been planned.
“Darwin Day is a great way for people to get involved and learn about Darwin’s groundbreaking theory,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “In the past, the American Humanist Association has celebrated Darwin Day by holding luncheons and lectures, and every year we administer the International Darwin Day Foundation website, where people can go to learn about events in their area.”
Speckhardt noted that this year, the American Humanist Association is focusing its Darwin Day efforts on the importance of teaching evolution in public schools. “It’s disgraceful that over 150 years after the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’ the battle over evolution is still being played out in science classrooms,” Speckhardt said. “Efforts to insinuate ‘Intelligent Design’ or to ‘teach the controversy’ about evolution have been launched by anti-science, far-right ideologues who care more about enforcing a narrow religious agenda than providing our kids with the best possible science education.”
The American Humanist Association launched a petition several weeks ago that called on President Obama to issue a presidential proclamation declaring February 12 to be Darwin Day and recognize the importance of teaching evolution in science classes. Although the White House has so far been mute on the issue, humanists are not giving up. “We’ll be redoubling our efforts for next year,” said Speckhardt. “Our petition garnered over 10,000 signatures after circulating for only a short while. Our goal is to hit 100,000 signatures before next year’s celebration to really drive home to the Obama Administration that this is something mainstream America wants to see happen.”
More information about Darwin Day and events being held across the country can be found at the International Darwin Day Foundation’s website: www.darwinday.org.
The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org ) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God.
The International Darwin Day Foundation (www.darwinday.org ) promotes public education about science and encourages the celebration of science and humanity throughout the global community.