Thursday, February 07, 2008

Darwin Day, February 12

I was at the grocery store yesterday, picking up some cat food and red wine (treats all around!) when I noticed the abundance of pink and red things clumped together here and there. It's that Hallmark-worthy time of year again. My association with Valentine's Day is pretty much limited to bad memories of sitting in my elementary school classroom, clutching my empty decorated Kleenex box (boxes we'd all been told to bring in), wondering who would give me a token valentine that year. Even at the wee age of 6 or 7, my sheltered delusions of equality and universal kindness were being picked apart and reconstructed by the public school system (snicker). Basic math and reading skills were served up on the side. I'd wince at the end of the day, on February 14th, watching some of the kids as they'd go through their boxes trying to hide their disappointment. I always felt a little lucky that I fell into that gray murky area that kept me out of the schoolyard cliques, yet safe from complete ostracization. My point? Valentine's Day isn't all love and chocolate (although chocolate, especially of the organic and vegan variety, is always loved by the humble writer of this post).

So? With all of this on the brain, I poked around on
Richard Dawkins' website this morning before work, while enjoying my morning cuppa green tea. I was pleasantly surprised to read about a strong movement promoting February 12 as the global celebration of Darwin Day (February 12 having been the date of his birth in 1809). According to Wikipedia, Darwin Day has been celebrated somewhat sporadically for a century now. In the late 1990s, however, efforts were initiated to kick-start a regular and more official celebration, not only to commemorate Charles Darwin, but to celebrate the things he's come to symbolize -- science and humanity. The Institute for Humanist Studies calls him the "Emancipator of the Human Mind". The man's been dead for 200 years and his work is still lodged firmly in the middle of the ongoing battle between science and faith over our origins.

The official Darwin Day website
has a list of events scheduled around the world on February 12, as well as information on how to plan your own event. Primordial Soup potluck, anyone?

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