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Darwin Day - February 12
By Duncan Crary
Jan 22, 2011, 16:29 PST

Water-colour portrait of Charles Darwin painted by George Richmond in the late 1830s. from Origins, Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin
On February the 12th, Americans will celebrate Darwin Day, the anniversary of Charles Darwin's birthday in honor of the discoveries and life of the man who famously described biological evolution via natural selection. "Darwin Day promotes understanding of evolution and the scientific method," said Matt Cherry, executive director of the Institute for Humanist Studies. "This celebration expresses gratitude for the enormous benefit that scientific knowledge has contributed to the advancement of humanity."

Next year will mark both the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the 1859 publication of Darwin's "The Origin of Species", which presented the scientific theory that populations evolve over generations through natural selection. The theory of evolution was controversial in Darwin's time and remains controversial in the United States today. Amazingly, recent Gallup polls show that 43 percent of Americans reject the theory of evolution and instead believe that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." And at least four 2008 presidential candidates have said they do not believe the theory of evolution.

Last year there were more than 850 Darwin Day events world-wide. Darwin Day festivities can include debates, lectures, essay contests, the reading of municipal proclamations declaring Darwin Day, film festivals, museum exhibits, art shows and even an "Evolution Banquet" with "Primordial Soup" followed by a "Darwin Fish Fry." This year, hundreds of church congregations will celebrate Darwin Day by hosting an "Evolution Weekend" to explore the compatibility of science and religion.

For information and event listings, visit:

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