Happy Darwin Day! This commemorates the birthday of the one who contributed the theory of natural selection to our understanding of evolution, Charles Darwin. The idea that life on earth had evolved from a common Ancestor was already a big discussion point among biologists before Darwin was famous. In fact, look at how our common Ancestry is described in this poem:
The Temple of Nature
Organic life beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nurs’d in ocean’s pearly caves;
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin and feet and wing.
That poem is by Charles Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus Darwin (who died in 1802, seven years before Charles was born). It was likely written in the late 1700’s. I find it incredible to imagine Erasmus Darwin’s reaction if he could have known that his own unborn grandson would become world famous for showing the mechanism by which evolution happens, and that the name “Darwin” would be linked with the most important idea in biology. Wow!
Darwin and Lincoln were born on the same day, within hours of each other. This Evolution Weekend sermon shows why they are both so connected to the idea of hardship, and why they are both especially relevant to many us, after November’s election.
Naturalists (both of the philosophical and biological variety) especially celebrate today – with parties, activities, contests, and more. Along with Pi Day and Earth Day, it is among the fastest growing holidays which celebrate reason, science, and our natural world. The Darwin Day Facebook page
is here, and Darwin Day is featured by the Secular Seasons project, a useful resource as we build holidays that aren’t based on supernatural ideas. Some specific ways to celebrate include Darwin and evolution styled cookies, Evolution Sunday, primordial soup, reading Grandmother Fish to kids, playing evolution related board games like Evo (the Clades game is on it’s way!), and more.
And be sure to check for Darwin Day Events in your local area.
Enjoy your Darwin Day, and go eat some primordial soup!