Every year, on or around February 12, American Humanist Association (AHA) chapters and local humanist groups hold events in celebration of International Darwin Day honoring Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution he first proposed. The AHA encourages all humanists to participate in or host a local Darwin Day event, and would like to share some of the activities that will be taking place around the country this year in honor of Charles Darwin. Find one near you or use the events below for inspiration in planning your own!
On January 28, members of the Baltimore Ethical Society will celebrate the theory of evolution through their discussion and examination of Yuval Noah Harari’s book Making Sense of Sapiens: Humans and Humanism.
For the third year in a row, the Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County (in Connecticut) will co-sponsor the annual Darwin Day Dinner in Darien, Connecticut (now in its tenth year). The event will be held on February 10 and will include a cocktail hour, dinner, science quiz (with prizes!), and a presentation by Yale lecturer Mark Sheskin. The talk, entitled “What, if anything, makes humans unique?” will examine how humans compare to other animals in different domains.
The Red Bank Humanists will host Rob Scott, associate professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, on Sunday, February 11 for a talk entitled “Our Pleistocene Cousins: A Branch on Darwin’s Tree of Life.” Members of WASH MD-DC are celebrating Darwin Day on February 17 by discussing a very important topic: teaching and learning evolution in high school classrooms. They have invited Briana Pobiner, a paleoanthropologist whose research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), to lead the conversation and hopefully give them some encouraging news.
The UU Humanists of Clearwater, along with the Suncoast Humanists and several other Tampa Bay humanist, atheist, and freethought groups will be sponsoring a Darwin Day celebration on Saturday, February 3.. The theme of the celebration is “The Evolution of Happiness,” which will be discussed in depth by three well-known individuals: Dr. Phil Zuckerman, Dr. Ryan Cragun, and Jennifer Hancock.
The Humanists of West Florida will make their Darwin Day event not only educational but fun as well. What could be better than a “Charlie Darwin Chili Cookout” and a presentation by Dr. Eugenie Scott? On February 11, members of the community are encouraged to, as the invitation reads, “Come on down for a Reality Revival-from-the-holidays to celebrate actual discovery, knowledge, and understanding.”
The Greater Richmond Humanists will host a Darwin Day discussion on Tuesday, February 13. Larry Mendoza (Virginia state director of American Atheists) and Rob Penczak (president of Richmond Humanists and founder of SavedByScience) will lead a conversation that touches on the importance of the theory of evolution from scientific, psychological, social, educational, secular, and religious perspectives.
For the fifth year in a row, the End of the Line Humanists near Chicago, Illinois, will be hosting a birthday party in Darwin’s honor on February 11. This social event will include appetizers, games (including the ever popular “creationist bingo”), prizes, evolution-themed activities, birthday cake, and a 50/50 raffle.
Members of the Secular Hub in Denver, Colorado, will mark Darwin Day by screening the film Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin on February 8. As always, drinks, snacks, and popcorn will be available for sale.
Darwin on the Palouse is a free annual event in Moscow, Idaho, to celebrate humanity, science, and rational thought. This year the February 9 event will feature two guest speakers: PZ Myers and Hannah Smith, along with musical guest Shelly Segal. The event will also include music by special guest, Shelley Segal.
The Central Colorado Humanists will be showing the NOVA film Life’s Rocky Start on February 11 and presenting information to the general public about Charles Darwin and why it is important to celebrate his birthday and accomplishments. They will serve popcorn during the film and serve cake and ice cream after the film—just like a birthday party!
Calling it a celebration of science and humanity, the Sacramento Darwin Day Committee and other humanist groups in the Sacramento area will host Dr. Erica Bree Rosenblum, associate professor of global change biology at UC Berkeley on Sunday, February 11. During her presentation, Dr. Rosenblum will focus on “how new species form and why species are being lost at such an alarming rate in our contemporary world.” Following the presentation, refreshments and Charles Darwin birthday cake will be served.
What are your plans to celebrate the originator of the biological theory of evolution?