Anniversary: Darwin Day and Evolution Weekend

Charles Darwin photograph by the famous American photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Now in public domain, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.SATURDAY & SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11 & 12:
Faith and science aren’t enemies, more than 13,000 religious leaders have declared in recent years. That nationwide campaign against Fundamentalist approaches to understanding the opening passages of the Bible is focused, each year, around Charles Darwin’s birthday: February 12, 1809.

ReadTheSpirit provides an Educational Resources page on the so-called Science vs. Religion issue. Wikipedia has a detailed history of Darwin Day, plus a closely related history of the Clergy Letter Project, which is focused around Evolution Weekend.

The best 2012 news coverage of Darwin Day and Evolution Weekend we’ve spotted comes from the Mother Nature Network (MNN). Want to find out about a “Phylum Feast” or a “Primordial Soup,” which are creative ideas for marking this weekend? MNN explains them. Best of all, MNN dug out a 10-minute YoutTube clip of a classic Carl Sagan presentation on evolution.

The coolest new Darwin website we found for 2012 is the American Museum of Natural History’s new portal to a huge range of Darwin’s papers. The manuscripts collection is a little intimidating at first. There’s even a lengthy user agreement that readers need to affirm before digging deeper. But the search is worth it. Within a few clicks, readers can examine pages from Darwin’s original hand-written text of Origin of Species. A New York Times story about the portal points out: “In addition to revealing Darwin’s intellectual evolution, the project also reveals Darwin’s sometimes less-than-careful treatment of some of his own papers.” Darwin apparently had a habit of turning his own manuscripts into scrap paper. He even allowed his children to draw pictures on pages he had written—and the Darwins had a huge family, so that was a lot of scribbling!

Originally published at, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.

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