Get the Party Started August 22, 2007

Get the Party Started

Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday is approaching (February 12, 2009). That date will also be the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species.

Case Western Reserve University in Ohio is already getting ready for the celebration.

Case Western plans a series of lectures by prominent researchers and other events to make clear the enduring soundness and profound impact of Darwin’s concept.

Collaborating with various Case schools and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, planners are inviting evolution-oriented speakers such as molecular biologist Sean Carroll, who’s using DNA evidence to probe the origin of the first animals 600 million to 700 million years ago.

The Darwin committee also has invited U.S. District Judge John Jones to speak at Case. In a precedent-setting 2005 trial involving the Dover, Pa., school district, Jones ruled that the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution was unconstitutional because intelligent design is fundamentally creationism, not science.

Jones’ courtroom deputy, Liz O’Donnell, said Monday that the judge is scheduled to speak at Case in September 2008.

Of course, there is an actual Darwin Day Celebration website (not connected to Case Western), and you can begin to find out what colleges and local groups across the world are doing in 2008 and 2009 to celebrate. Since that list is sparse right now, check out what groups did in 2006 and 2007.

[tags]atheist, atheism, evolution, intelligent design[/tags]

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  • As someone who was brought up accepting evolution by means of natural selection and who grew up to understand that the matter was even more complex and that other mechanisms were involved (as dear old Charles Darwin, himself, predicted) I’ve got to say that the fact that it’s still necessary to defend him and his work is just plain depressing. Of course, the fact that the strict adaptationists and others use his name as if it was a talisman to promote and defend their claims does nothing to move the discussion along. What other science is in the position of appealing to the authority of someone who has been dead for about a hundred-twenty years?

    Celebrating his birthday is, perhaps, a good idea for political reasons but not if he’s used as a poster boy for neo-atheism. That will do nothing to stop the ID-creationist juggernaut, it will grease the tracks. Maybe the best way to celebrate him is to concentrate on the hundred-sixty years of confirmation of his general ideas by other people. There has been progress in evolutionary science since then. It might also be good to face the fact that a hundred-sixty years of study of a three billion plus years of evolution is just scratching the surface. It’s a very young science studying something immensely complex and largely hidden, the second word hasn’t been written on the subject, never mind the last one.

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