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The SSA and Darwin Day Celebrations


This article originally appeared in the SSA eMpirical No. 15 - Student Voice, Part I.


Dr. Robert "Bob" Stephens initiated the first Darwin Day celebration in 1995 at Stanford University. Since then he has worked to spread the idea of celebrating Science and Humanity. He is now the Chairman of the Board and President of a nonprofit corporation dedicated to celebrating Darwin Day worldwide.

In past years, the SSA chapters and affiliates have been an important part of Darwin Day by sponsoring celebrations at their institutions that take place on or near February 12, Charles Darwin's birthday. It is important to keep in mind that without Darwin, the ideas of SECULAR FREEDOM would have been impossible. Only 150 years ago, when On The Origins of Species was published, it was unthinkable to interpret scientific data in accordance with the natural laws of the universe, because theology had a stranglehold on how scientific finding were to be understood.

Darwin Day Celebrations provide an opportunity for scientists to interact informally with the general public in support of science and humanity. Most events are sponsored by existing institutions such as universities, colleges, museums, churches, and libraries as well as private groups. Now is the time to start planning for 2007 - Charles Darwin's 198th birthday. Also, don't forget, there are only two more years before there will be a GLOBAL CELIBRATION for Darwin's bicentennial birthday in 2009!

To see what others are doing and to get some fresh ideas, please take time to visit our updated homepage at www.darwinday.org . Browse the new section on "How to Celebrate Science and Humanity" towards the bottom of the page. Note that this year's Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Roger Kornberg, recommended the Celebration of Science on PBS News Hour on October 3rd 2006. Take a little time to click on the various examples of websites that have been developed for Darwin Day Events in the past - you will find them most informative and interesting. There are also examples of some exceptional projects that are being planned for the bicentennial in 2009. At the bottom of this section, there are two additional references to websites - one for Alliance for Science and one for Defend Science - that you may want to visit and consider joining.

As was reported earlier this year, the Darwin Day celebration on February 12, 2006, was a tremendous success, with over 650 events being held around the world in at least 13 countries. In addition, we made the news in a big way, appearing in over 150 newspapers, e-news articles and even on prime time TV news. All in all, we believe that Darwin Day events and reports in the media reached at least a few million members of the public with a positive educational opportunity to learn more about science.

This article originally appeared in the SSA eMpirical No. 15 - Student Voice, Part I.

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