Darwin Day is the anniversary of the birthday of Charles Darwin on February 12, 1809.
Darwin provided the first coherent theory of evolution by means of natural selection and so the name is used by a set of loosely-associated events, usually organized locally to take place on or about Darwin's birthday, whose aim is to acquaint the public with the theory of evolution by natural selection and its importance to biology.
The first event using the name "Darwin Day" appears to be one organized by The Humanist Community of Palo Alto in 1995. It featured a lecture by anthropologist Donald Johanson on Darwin and Human Origins. Starting in 1997, a series of larger events were organized at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville by members of the biology department. This came about in reaction to the consideration by the 1996 Tennessee legislature of a bill aimed at restricting the teaching of evolution in the public (state) schools. Darwin Day is now endorsed by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) as an official day of Humanist celebration.
Some advocates would like to have a public holiday declared for February 12, 2009. That day will be the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, and the year will also mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species.
Anders Jacobsen |