The birthday of Charles Darwin, the man known as the father of evolution, will be celebrated nationwide this weekend. Darwin Day is the celebration of the birth of Charles Robert Darwin. Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England on February 12, 1809.
“The objective of Darwin Day Celebration is to encourage existing institutions worldwide, such as municipalities, public and private schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums, churches, private organizations and individuals to celebrate Science and Humanity every year, on, or near, February 12, Darwin’s birthday!” (www.darwinday.org)
Kansas University assistant research professor Steven Case, emphasizes that the purpose of the university’s Darwin Day events scheduled for this weekend are not to “deify” Darwin, but to do a better job of explaining science to the public in an accessible way. Events will feature a person dressed as a giant dodo bird roaming the campus and, wrapping up the day, students can compete in a costume contest preceding the viewing of “Flock of the Dodos”.
Randy Olson’s hilarious documentary “Flock of Dodos” examines both sides of the controversy over the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools, will also be shown at over fifteen museums across the country. Screenings are scheduled in Berkeley, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Seattle, St. Louis, and Tampa.
At Ohio State University, in a talk titled “Evolution vs. Intelligent Design in Court,” Nicholas Matzke will discuss the 2005 trial and the ruling by federal Judge John Jones. A key question for the court was whether intelligent design is science or religion and whether it could be taught alongside evolution in public school biology classes.
“Evolution includes the ideas that plants and animals can change from one generation to the next and that different species descend from common ancestors. Intelligent design proponents concede the first kind of evolution but challenge the second. They say some sort of intelligent designer is a more likely explanation for ordered complexity found in nature.” (Cohen)
Simultaneous with Darwin Day events, Christian churches around the country will sponsor Evolution Sunday, February 11, 2007 with events and discussions on the compatibility of faith and science. Hundreds of congregations representing various denominations will come together to “discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science.” More than 10,000 Christian clergy declare this to be a false dichotomy. Participating religious leaders will share the message that “religion and science are not adversaries”.
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Shreveport, LA will host a panel discussion and evening lecture about Charles Darwin. “We expect a lot of creationists, so it should be interesting,” said Del Brennan, event organizer.
More than 530 congregations across the country and around the world have plans to observe Evolution Sunday. The Rev. Eric J. Brotheridge, from the pulpit of The First Christian Church in Noblesville, Indiana, will expound on his thoughts that “the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science can comfortably coexist.”