Except among certain special-interest groups, Darwin Day seems to have been a non-event, but one Darwinist won an award for Censor of the Year.
There wasn’t as much news this year about Darwin Day, February 12 (Charles Darwin’s birthday). Most of the celebrations seemed to be local events, like one in Tampa Bay, Florida, listed on Nature‘s event directory:
Join us as we celebrate science, education, and clear thinking at our Annual Darwin Day Celebration 2014 with Daniel Dennett: One of America’s Greatest Living Philosophers and one of the famed Four Horseman of Atheism, along with Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris.
It’s not clear how helpful it is to Darwin defenders to link Darwin Day to atheism – particularly using a Biblical metaphor. Besides, Christopher Hitchens, being dead, is no longer an atheist.
University College London’s Darwin Day was a bit of a bust, literally. They needed to replace a bust of Darwin that was loaned, so they had a contest. Entries included a bust of Darwin with ants inside (see Evolution News & Views). The winner was a floating crochet head of Darwin, conceived and produced using intelligent design.
A little bit of science did get done. A beetle Darwin collected in Argentina on his voyage on the HMS Beagle was rediscovered and named in his honor, Darwinilus sedarisi. PhysOrg has a picture of the beetle with its iridescent blue-green head and thorax. The 2008 rediscovery of the beetle in the Natural History Museum’s collection was published Feb. 12.
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) did take the floor of the House on Tuesday night to call for a celebration of Darwin Day (see The Raw Story and The Blaze), but it’s not clear if anyone was listening. (See 2/02/14 entry). The only ones mentioned agreeing with Holt were 12 co-sponsors and members of the American Humanist Association. That’s been another common thread: supporters of Darwin Day seem to cluster around atheist. leftist and humanist organizations. Syracuse.com says, “The International Darwin Day Foundation says over 90 groups of atheists, humanists and other freethinkers are holding local celebrations, including potluck dinners, nature outings, lectures, book discussions and film screenings.”
Rob Brooks tried to drum up support for Darwin Day on The Conversation, calling for “a celebration of science and reason.” By reason, he meant a denial of “Biblical literalism,” placing creationists in a subset of reason-deniers and reality-deniers. Brooks placed “reason” with evolutionary biology and science, but did he have a good reason to think reason evolved by mindless processes? Darwin himself wondered if there were any convictions in a monkey’s mind (see 1881 letter to William Graham).
The big news about Darwin Day was the new “Censor of the Year” Award offered by the Discovery Institute, which has used Feb. 12 to promote Academic Freedom Day rather than Darwin Day – co-opting Darwin’s own words from The Origin of Species, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” The winner for this inaugural year is author of the blog “Why Evolution Is True,” evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne. Reasons for his nomination, and how Coyne received it, are explained in an ID the Future podcast by David Klinghoffer. In another ID the Future podcast, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor explains why evolutionists are so bent on censoring views that oppose theirs.
The definitive volume on Darwin’s influence on politics and culture is Darwin Day in America by John West.
Update 2/18/14: Science Magazine reported that Rush Holt, Mr. Darwin Day in Congress, will be leaving the House of Representatives when his term is up at the end of the year.
OK, the atheists, humanists and leftists had their little party. If you didn’t notice or care, that’s fine. Now let’s get on with the business of science: intelligent design.
Isn’t it odd that the purveyors of “reason” are the very ones who have no reason to account for reason. These are the “freethinkers” who don’t want people to be free to think. These are the censors, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-25).
For those who missed it, a few years ago we created a list of party games for Darwin Day, like “Pin the feather on the dinosaur” and a “Malthus Food Fight.” For the complete lists, see 2/09/06 and 2/13/04.