Darwin Day Celebration and Evolution Sunday
Next month marks the 199th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. Darwin (and coincidentally Abraham Lincoln) was born on February 12, 1809 and since 1994 universities, museums and other public institutions have marked the date with various events to commemorate the career of one of the greatest scientific minds in history. This day has been dubbed Darwin Day and is celebrated around the world with events that recognize Darwin's contributions to our understanding of the natural world. Lectures, museum exhibits, nature hikes, public discussion forums and other activities are planned this year at places like Case Western Reserve University, University of Pennsylvania Museum, The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, and The North Carolina Botanical Garden. Next year will be a major milestone marking the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species and major events are planned at museums, universities and research centers around the globe.
To coincide with Darwin Day a group of concerned Christian clergy started Evolution Sunday in 2006. Evolution Sunday grew out of an effort lead by Butler University dean Michael Zimmerman to bring together Christian clergy to combat the misrepresentation of both science and religious faith in the evolution/creationism debate. The result was the Clergy Letter Project, a statement affirming that there is no fundamental conflict between the science of evolution and the acceptance of the Christian faith. To date over 11,000 Christian leaders have signed on to the Clergy Letter Project including theologians from colleges, universities and seminaries the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana tri-state area, including Xavier University, Lexington Theological Seminary, Centre College and the Earlham School of Religion. During Evolution Sunday congregations around the country take the time to discuss what evolutionary biology means to their faith. This open dialog between science and religious faith is exactly what is needed in the evolution/creationism debate and the participation of the scientific community in these events is critical. As Darwin Day and Evolution Sunday approach I'll try to add more posts about Darwin, creationism and the impact of evolution on society at large.