AHA Darwin Day Celebration to Feature Julia Sweeney, Valerie Tarico, and Frank Brown

On Feb. 7-10, 2013, the Moscow-Pullman region of the Palouse in Idaho will be the location of Darwin on the Palouse, the nation’s premier International Darwin Day event. The Palouse Coalition of Reason and the American Humanist Association have teamed up to bring three of the nation’s preeminent speakers and entertainers to the area to help mark the 204th birthday of Charles Darwin and celebrate his continuing contribution to humanity, science and rational thought.

The list of speakers consists of:

Julia Sweeney—Known for her four-year run on Saturday Night Live and her powerful solo shows, Julia Sweeney is carving out her own territory in entertainment, one that moves between the personal and the political, the controversial and the comical. Her most recent piece, Letting Go of God, traces a spiritual journey that takes an unexpected turn toward science.

Dr. Valerie Tarico—Author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light (Oracle Institute Press), psychologist Valerie Tarico writes regularly for AlterNet and the Huffington Post on Christianity, politics, reproductive rights and the intersection of all three.

Dr. Frank Brown—Dean of the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah; Dr. Brown will discuss the Evolution of the Omo-Turkana Basin, and the age of its fossil vertebrates, in particular some of the oldest representatives of our own species, Homo sapiens.

The Darwin on the Palouse event is being promoted with a media blitz that includes billboards, radio spots, and newspaper ads in outlets across the region. Members of the Palouse Coalition of Reason will also be putting up posters and engaging in other efforts to invite the public to this free event. More information can be found at DarwinOnThePalouse.org.

February 2013 marks Charles Darwin’s 204th birthday and heralds the 154th anniversary of the first publication of The Origin of Species, a book that fundamentally shaped not only how we perceive the biological world, but how we observe and describe change itself. Since the publication of The Origin of Species, the principles of evolutionary biology have become integral to fields as diverse as medicine, agriculture, genetic engineering, and epidemiology. Outside the life sciences, evolutionary concepts have informed economics, cultural studies, urban planning, and even forms of popular culture like video game design. While debates about how to discuss evolution continue, the idea of evolution itself is now ingrained in the public imagination.

The Palouse Coalition of Reason is made up of atheist, freethought, and humanist groups working together in the Pullman, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho area. Our twin goals are to foster a sense of community among the like-minded and raise public awareness that people who don’t believe in a god or gods can be decent citizens who contribute to the larger society.