Friday, February 05, 2010

Darwin Day Petition Drive


Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the anniversary of the birthday of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. This year (2010) marks the 201st anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 151st anniversary of the publication of his most famous book, the Origin of Species.

As part of this year's commemoration of Darwin's birthday, the International Darwin Day Foundation has launched a petition drive to have President Obama issue a proclamation recognizing Darwin Day and the importance of Darwin's work to the science of biology.

Here's what the International Darwin Day Foundation has to say about this petition drive:
Please sign our petition urging President Obama to recognize Darwin Day!

We need our elected leaders to speak out about the importance of scientific knowledge and its contribution to the advancement of humanity, and send a signal that religious infiltration into our science classrooms will not be tolerated. That's why we're asking you to sign our petition urging President Obama to recognize Darwin Day.

Far-right extremists are using every trick in the book to keep the teaching of evolution out of science classes, and to the degree they are successful they are undermining American values of scientific inquiry and integrity.

Their thinly-veiled religious agenda will have negative effects on our society. Incomplete education about evolution in our classrooms sends the message that not only can the theory of natural selection be sidestepped, but all science can be muzzled if it doesn't neatly fit within a particular ideology. Failure to provide our children with a first rate science education will create future generations who are scientifically illiterate and unable to compete in the global market of ideas.

We need our elected leaders to speak out about the importance of scientific knowledge and its contribution to the advancement of humanity, and send a signal that religious infiltration into our science classrooms will not be tolerated. That's why we're asking you to sign our petition urging President Obama to recognize Darwin Day.

Darwin Day, celebrated every year on February 12, is a day in which people gather together to commemorate the life and work of Charles Darwin, who was born this day in 1809. Charles Darwin was the first to propose the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection—a theory that has done more to unify and bring understanding to the life sciences than any other. Darwin Day is a celebration of this discovery and of scientific progress.

Our petition asks President Obama to issue a proclamation on Darwin Day that honors Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection and that calls on all Americans to preserve scientific discovery as a bedrock of our society. It also asks Americans to commemorate the day with appropriate events and activities.

Sign our petition today to let Obama know that you're on the side of science and you need him to be, too. If President Obama will issue a Darwin Day proclamation, it will send a strong signal to our elected officials in Congress and in the school boards that the American people want scientific integrity to be preserved.

So please sign our petition today and let your voice be heard!

Sincerely,
Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director
International Darwin Day Foundation
The International Darwin Day Foundation promotes public education about science and encourages the celebration of Science and Humanity throughout the global community.

Here is the text of a message to President Obama, urging him to proclaim February 12th as Darwin Day:
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Dear President Obama,

As an American who values scientific inquiry and integrity, I urge you to issue a presidential proclamation recognizing Darwin Day on February 12. Darwin Day is celebrated every year on the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday in 1809, and is a day in which people gather together to commemorate his life and work. Charles Darwin was the first to propose the ground-breaking scientific theory of evolution by natural selection—a theory that has done more to unify and bring understanding to the life sciences than any other—and Darwin Day is a celebration of this discovery and of scientific progress.

I believe that issuing this proclamation will send a powerful message that scientific discovery and integrity in our society are top priorities—priorities that are needed now more than ever as extremists with narrow ideological agendas are attempting to undermine science in our schools.

Please stand with me and countless others who value science and discovery by issuing the following or a similar proclamation on Darwin Day.

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And here is the text of the proposed proclamation:
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A PROCLAMATION

Charles Darwin was the first to propose the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection. On Darwin Day, celebrated on the anniversary of Darwin’s birth on February 12, 1809, we celebrate the life and discoveries of Charles Darwin and express gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity.

It is sobering to imagine where the human race would be today without advances in science. Science has helped us to live longer by enabling us to find cures for diseases and alleviating pain and suffering. It has allowed us to travel before unimaginable distances, to interact with and understand people of other cultures and recognize what makes us similar as well as what makes us unique. It has allowed us to understand and maneuver in our world and has provided us insight into the complexities of life.

Charles Darwin recognized the importance and power of scientific discovery, and perhaps no one has influenced our understanding about life on earth as much as he. Darwin was an English naturalist, who on his legendary five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle made important observations about the geological and zoological diversity of the lands he visited, which helped spark his theory of evolution by natural selection. Most of what we understand about the diversity of life and the process by which it has adapted and changed has come from his profound insights, and his contribution to the canons of science cannot be overstated.

On this anniversary of Darwin’s birthday, it is important to recognize the contributions he has made to the advancement of science. It is also important that we continue to educate future generations about evolution by natural selection in our science classrooms. We must not water down the significance of Darwin’s theory, nor the breadth of evidence supporting it, and we must at every turn challenge efforts to undermine science so that we can keep alive in our children and grandchildren the wonder of discovery and the eagerness to obtain knowledge.

Now, Therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 12, 2010, as Darwin Day. I call on all Americans to recognize the importance of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection, to endeavor to preserve scientific discovery and human curiosity as bedrocks of American society, and to commemorate this day with appropriate events and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of February, two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

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I personally think that this petition drive is a good idea, and that if it succeeds it will add significantly to both the status of evolutionary biology in America and to President Obama's reputation as a staunch supporter of science. I hope you will to go to the International Darwin Day Foundation's website and sign their petition.

And have a great Darwin Day!

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As always, comments, criticisms, and suggestions are warmly welcomed!

--Allen

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1 Comments:

At 2/21/2010 04:24:00 PM, Blogger Henry said...

I belive in evolution. I think that Darwin was a great thinker. unfortunately his natural selection model of evolution was absolutely and completely wrong. I am not religious - I am a psychologist.
Please read Human Ascvent vaialable from www.humanascent.net.

Kind regards
Henry Gobus

 

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