Members of Congress, Scientists, Educators, and Humanists Celebrate International Darwin Day

Today the American Humanist Association joins tens of thousands of people around the world in celebrating International Darwin Day, held every year on the famed naturalist’s birthday to recognize accomplishments in the advancement of science and the importance of science education.

“On this Darwin Day, theists and nontheists alike take time to recognize how the theory of evolution better enables us to combat disease, develop more effective vaccines, and improve the overall quality of human life on this planet,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.  “The era of discovery ushered in by Darwin and others continues to influence our understanding of genetics, medicine, biology, and countless other scientific fields.”

Contests to “evolve a Valentine,” hands-on evolution projects, concerts, lectures, museum trips, dinners, and brunches are just a few of the evolution-themed games and activities happening around the world today to celebrate Darwin’s birthday.

The AHA is also encouraging members of Congress to support House Resolution 699 and Senate Resolution 374, also known as the Darwin Day Resolutions, which designate February 12 as Darwin Day and demonstrate legislators’ support for science, reason, and critical thinking. The American Humanist Association worked closely with Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), their staffs, and other members of Congress to introduce this legislation.

“I am proud to champion and celebrate Charles Darwin’s achievements and those of every scientist and explorer who followed in his footsteps,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Darwin Day recognizes the invaluable contributions of Darwin, without whom our understanding of this world would be fundamentally altered. Today, we reflect and remember that the advancements of science and human knowledge are profoundly important to the progress of humankind.”

“In our modern political climate, when the very facts and truths revealed by science are under attack, honoring the efforts of scientists, the true heroes of human history, is vitally important,” said Rep. Himes. “By celebrating and commemorating the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, we not only acknowledge his enormous contributions to our better understanding of the origins of life, but send a message that we value education, knowledge, and science as our guiding principles.”

The House bill is currently co-sponsored by Representatives Michael E. Capuano (D-MA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Bill Foster (D-IL), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan S. Lowenthal (D-CA), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Jackie Speier (D-CA); the Senate bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

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 contributed to the betterment of life on earth.

The American Humanist Association maintains the official 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.