Science Information

Feb. 12 is Darwin Day -- Secular Americans Celebrate Bday of Evolution Champ


This Feb. 12 marks the 196th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth!

The day has special significance for America's nearly 30 million nonreligious people. In the humanist community, Feb. 12 is "Darwin Day."

"Darwin has become an all-purpose icon for humanists, who champion reason and science while rejecting superstition and dogma," said Matt Cherry, executive director of the Institute for Humanist Studies in Albany, N.Y. "Darwin is the definitive rebuff to fundamentalism."

In 2004, a Gallup poll found that only one-third of Americans believe Darwin's 19th century theory of evolution is a credible scientific theory. The same poll found that 45 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form roughly 10,000 years ago.

Massimo Pigliucci, Ph.D., a professor of evolutionary biology at SUNY-Stony Brook and author of the Web column "Rationally Speaking", is shocked by how few Americans have a basic understanding of evolutionary biology and the nature of science in general. "If people had a better understanding of both we wouldn't be embarrassed in front of the rest of the world by cases such as the one currently going on in Dover, Pa., where administrators are walking around local classrooms talking about 'intelligent design' and other nonsense," he said.

Pigliucci's course on "Evolution, Creationism and the Nature of Science" is available at the Continuum of Humanist Education, the online school of the Institute for Humanist Studies.

Though an unofficial humanist holiday, Darwin Day has been steadily gaining popularity in the humanist community since it first appeared in the early 1990s. Not long after the event took hold, the International Humanist and Ethical Union decided against making Darwin Day an official holiday. Board members at the time argued that humanists should not ape saints days or elevate humanist heroes to the status of secular idols.

Yet many humanists simply see Darwin Day as a way to celebrate scientific thinking and progress. Humanists are quick to note that science has evolved since the time of Darwin. But that, according to humanists, is a tribute to Darwin and to science.

"Science should be celebrated as something that makes our lives better -- just like family, love, nature, civil rights and the many other things we already celebrate," said August E. Brunsman IV, executive director of the Secular Student Alliance.

The Secular Student Alliance is an Ohio-based nonprofit educational organization. This year, the SSA supplied Darwin Day idea packets to more than 50 college campus affiliates. Serious ideas include lectures and debates. Some lighthearted possibilities include hosting an Evolution Banquet with Primordial Soup, or wearing ape costumes and handing out parodies of the disclaimer stickers that have appeared on biology textbooks in some states. The stickers were recently found to be an unconstitutional violation of the first amendment.

Duncan Crary is the editor of the Humanist Network News, a free weekly e-zine published by the Institute for Humanist Studies, http://www.HumanistStudies.org The IHS is a nonprofit think tank that promotes secularism in education and government. The IHS offers online courses in humanism, a philosophy maintaining that science and reason are the best means to promote human welfare. Humanists accept that people can live happy and ethical lives free from religious or supernatural convictions.


MORE RESOURCES:
You Can Use The Tools Of Science In Everyday Life  Forbes

One of the most powerful lessons we can learn from science is that it can be applied to...not science.


How secret, late-night experiments transformed two scientists into master cartoonists  Science Magazine

Washington, D.C.—Five years ago, two scientists in two labs separated by thousands of miles started staying late and working weekends to conduct secret ...


Want to get a politician to listen to science? Here's some advice  Science Magazine

WAHSINGTON, D.C.--Present both sides. Disclose conflicts of interest. And make sure you catch them at just the right time. Those are some of the best tips to get ...


Plastics reach remote pristine environments, scientists say  The Guardian

Birds' eggs in High Arctic contain chemical additives used in plastics.


Study blames YouTube for rise in number of Flat Earthers  The Guardian

Researchers believe they have identified the prime driver for a startling rise in the number of people who think the Earth is flat: Google's video-sharing site, ...


Science Sprints gather students to tackle science problems on campus  UT The Daily Texan

UT students participated in Science Sprints on Saturday to tackle science-related problems across campus.


How to Bring Prestige to Open Access — and Make Science More Reliable  The Chronicle of Higher Education

Beginning next year, a coalition of European research-funding agencies will require funding recipients to publish grant-supported work in open-access journals.


Lawmakers talk about science in schools at crackerbarrel  KEVN Black Hills Fox

The state of South Dakota is considering a piece of legislation that could affect how science is taught in schools. And one citizen seemed very concerned about ...


Mendeleev's Periodic Table Draft Is Virtually Unrecognizable — But It Changed Science Forever  Live Science

On Feb. 17, 1869, Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev published his first attempt to sort the building blocks of life into orderly groups. Now, 150 years later, we ...


On Itchiness in Science Writing  Scientific American

Over the years that I've written pieces here at Scientific American I've only very occasionally talked about the process of writing about science, since there have ...


AAAS: Machine learning 'causing science crisis'  BBC News

Machine-learning techniques used by thousands of scientists to analyse data are producing results that are misleading and often completely wrong.


A no-deal Brexit would destroy UK science – and this is how  The Independent

Let us not pull punches here. UK science got hit the day after the Brexit vote and damage has continued, under the radar, for well over two years since that date.


Trump science adviser calls for more collaboration between industry and government  Nature.com

Meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier emphasized the importance of private science funding in his first public speech since taking office.


Inferring Earth's discontinuous chemical layering from the 660-kilometer boundary topography  Science Magazine

The boundaries between rocks with different physical properties in Earth's interior come from either a change in crystal structure or a change in chemical ...


Open-science model for drug discovery expands to neurodegenerative diseases  Science Daily

Parkinson's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis are the newest frontiers for open science drug discovery, a global movement led by academic scientists ...


Can Big Science Be Too Big?  The New York Times

A new study finds that small teams of researchers do more innovative work than large teams do.


This neuroscientist is fighting sexual harassment in science—but her own job is in peril  Science Magazine

BethAnn McLaughlin has no time for James Watson, especially not when the 90-year-old geneticist is peering out from a photo on the wall of her guest room at ...


'The govt's version of history is less dependent on science, more on divine sayings'  Down To Earth Magazine

Journalist Tony Joseph debunks the myth of India being the homeland of the Aryans and offers a scientific chronicle in his latest book. Here, he speaks to Down ...


Rookies lead the way on House science panel  Science Magazine

A major perk of being the majority party in the U.S. Congress is getting to fill the leadership slots on every committee. For several new Democratic legislators, ...


New app reveals the hidden landscapes within Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings  Science Magazine

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Ever wonder if a lost masterpiece lies hidden under the surface of a newer work? Researchers at Northwestern University have ...


J. Marshall Shepherd: How Does Bias Shape Our Perceptions About Science?  NPR

Why do many people dismiss issues like climate change, despite strong scientific evidence? Climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd examines how different forms of ...


Scientists Celebrate Pluto's Discovery With A Retrospective Of Its Greatest Images  Forbes

Happy birthday to Pluto, discovered on this day in 1930.


Data science is a growing field - here's how to train people to do it  TechCentral

The world is inundated with data. There's a virtual tsunami of data moving around the globe, renewing itself daily. Take just the global financial markets.


In Roundup Case, the Science Will Go on Trial First  The Wall Street Journal

A federal judge in a Roundup cancer trial later this month has divided the case so jurors can focus first solely on the science and then, only if they find the ...


Radar reveals a second potential impact crater under Greenland's ice  Science Magazine

Just months after revealing an impact crater the size of Washington, D.C., buried under the ice of northwestern Greenland, a team of scientists has discovered ...


Medical detection dogs can sniff out diabetes - Science Focus  BBC Focus Magazine

The sweet smell of success: dogs are a diabetic's best friend.


Students show creative side at Think Science Fair in Dubai  gulfnews.com

Dubai: Dozens of student projects aimed at solving real-life problems were showcased at the Think Science Fair at Zayed University in Dubai on Sunday.


School science textbooks make children more racially prejudiced, scientists find  The Independent

Learning about genetics in schools may be priming children to hold prejudiced views about different races, according to new research. Scientists found that ...


Singapore Budget 2019: MHA to set up science and technology agency by year-end  The Business Times

Singapore Budget 2019: THE BUSINESS TIMES Government & Economy - THE Ministry of Home Affairs will set up a Home Team Science & Technology agency ...


Surprise! Shutdown also disrupting U.S. science agencies that aren't closed  Science Magazine

Many U.S. government scientists and federally funded researchers breathed a sigh of relief last month, after the partial shutdown of the U.S. government began.


Researchers hung men on a cross and added blood in bid to prove Turin Shroud is real  Science Magazine

In an attempt to prove that the Turin Shroud—a strip of linen that some people believe was used to wrap Jesus's body after his crucifixion and carries the image ...


Strengthened scientific support for the Endangerment Finding for atmospheric greenhouse gases  Science Magazine

In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the so-called “Endangerment Finding.” This defined a suite of six long-lived greenhouse ...


Bug bombs don't get rid of bugs, study suggests  Science Magazine

In the United States alone, we spend more than $2.5 billion a year trying to rid our homes of cockroaches and other pests—but a new study says some of us may ...


Recognition of the amyloid precursor protein by human γ-secretase  Science Magazine

β-Amyloid peptides, which are derived from amyloid precursor protein (APP), form the plaques in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. Zhou et ...


You know kilo, mega, and giga. Is the metric system ready for ronna and quecca?  Science Magazine

*Fresh* from redefining the kilogram and other fundamental measures, the guardians of the metric system have set their sights on another upgrade: new prefixes ...


Star Trek–like replicator creates entire objects in minutes  Science Magazine

A Star Trek–like replicator has arrived, but don't expect it to synthesize a cup of Earl Grey tea (hot) on the spot. Researchers have come up with a new 3D ...


The Science of Better Meetings  The Wall Street Journal

You can't abolish office gatherings, but you can make them shorter, smaller and smarter with the help of recent research.


Where Science, Diversity, and Inclusion Issues Meet  Redheaded Blackbelt

Wildlife biologists often espouse the importance of biological diversity, but what about diversity among wildlife biologists? HSU students and an alumna, plus a ...


At many river deltas, scientists are missing a major source of sea level rise  Science Magazine

For coastal communities, the sea level rise propelled by melting ice and warming oceans is bad enough. But people living on the soft, compressible sediments of ...


Scientist behind CRISPR twins sharply criticized in government probe, loses job  Science Magazine

He Jiankui, the Chinese researcher who claimed to have edited the genomes of twin baby girls in a heritable way—and earned widespread condemnation for ...


The Women Who Contributed to Science but Were Buried in Footnotes  The Atlantic

In a new study, researchers uncovered female programmers who made important but unrecognized contributions to genetics.


Scientists' association deplores Te Papa's axing of two experts  The Dominion Post

Association of Scientists joins chorus of outrage about Te Papa's decision to axe two top experts.


A 25% pay raise? That's not nearly enough, young Indian scientists say  Science Magazine

NEW DELHI—In response to months of protests and marches, the Indian government announced yesterday that it will give early-career scientists raises of up to ...


Shedding light on the science of auroral breakups: Scientists study the energetic particles behind stunning light show  Science Daily

Scientists have quantitatively confirmed how energetic an auroral breakup can be. Using a combination of cutting-edge ground-based technology and new ...


EXCLUSIVE: Controversial experiments that make bird flu more risky poised to resume  Science Magazine

Controversial lab studies that modify bird flu viruses to make them more risky to humans will soon resume after being on hold for more than 4 years.


Yellowstone volcano eruption: Mother Nature will 'see you DEAD' - Scientist gravely warns  Express.co.uk

YELLOWSTONE volcano is a deadly force to be reckoned with and is evidence of Mother Nature's dark side, a prominent scientist has warned.


Superadiabatic population transfer in a three-level superconducting circuit  Science Advances

Adiabatic manipulation of the quantum state is an essential tool in modern quantum information processing. Here, we demonstrate the speedup of the adiabatic ...


A surface gravity traverse on Mars indicates low bedrock density at Gale crater  Science Magazine

Gravimetry—the measurement of tiny changes in gravitational fields—can be used to weigh mountains. Large-scale gravimetric mapping can be done from orbit, ...


Nasa confirms Mars rover Opportunity is dead  The Guardian

Robot the size of a golf buggy has sent data to Earth for 15 years but fell silent eight months ago and Nasa says mission is complete.


Evidence mounts that gut bacteria can influence mood, prevent depression  Science Magazine

Of all the many ways the teeming ecosystem of microbes in a person's gut and other tissues might affect health, its potential influences on the brain may be the ...


Jokers please: first human Mars mission may need onboard comedians  The Guardian

Researchers are working with Nasa to see if clowns help team cohesion on long space missions.


Teen zebra finches seek moms' approval for their new tunes  Science Magazine

It's hard to imagine a teen asking their mother for approval on anything. But a new study shows that male zebra finches—colorful songbirds with complex ...


Populating the periodic table: Nucleosynthesis of the elements  Science Magazine

Elements heavier than helium are produced in the lives and deaths of stars. This Review discusses when and how the process of nucleosynthesis made ...


A new painkiller nanomedicine to bypass the blood-brain barrier and the use of morphine  Science Advances

The clinical use of endogenous neuropeptides has historically been limited due to pharmacokinetic issues, including plasma stability and blood-brain barrier ...


The 2018 rift eruption and summit collapse of Kīlauea Volcano  Science Magazine

The Kīlauea Volcano on the island of Hawai'i erupted for 3 months in 2018. Neal et al. present a summary of the eruption sequence along with a variety of ...


Numerical cognition in honeybees enables addition and subtraction  Science Advances

Many animals understand numbers at a basic level for use in essential tasks such as foraging, shoaling, and resource management. However, complex ...


Watch a maggot 'fountain' devour a pizza in 2 hours  Science Magazine

If you've got the stomach for it, you can watch 10,000 maggots demolish the above pizza in 2 hours. Now, scientists have a better sense of how these fly larvae ...


Graphene-based wearables for health monitoring, food inspection and night vision  Science Daily

Scientists have developed dozens of new graphene-based prototypes. These technologies aim to turn mobile phones into life saving devices.


New molecules reverse memory loss linked to depression, aging  Science Daily

New therapeutic molecules show promise in reversing the memory loss linked to depression and aging. These molecules not only rapidly improve symptoms, ...


Brazil's new president has scientists worried. Here's why  Science Magazine

Brazil has long been a frontrunner in climate change policy and environmental diplomacy. The international conventions on climate change and biological ...


Violent drug cartels stifle Mexican science  Nature.com

Abandoned projects and delayed research have become common problems as security issues crop up across the country.


Gum disease–causing bacteria could spur Alzheimer's  Science Magazine

Poor oral health is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. What's not clear is whether gum disease causes the disorder or is merely a result—many patients with ...


Scientists Are Revealing The Weirdest Thing They've Done For Science, And They're Brilliant  IFLScience

Scientists are sharing on Twitter the weirdest things they've done in the name of science, offering up a fascinating glimpse into what scientists consider.


A loud quasi-periodic oscillation after a star is disrupted by a massive black hole  Science Magazine

When a star passes close to a massive black hole (MBH), it is ripped apart by the strong tidal forces. As the resulting debris falls toward the MBH, it heats up, ...


NASA scientists make GROUNDBREAKING discovery - ‘Nothing like this has EVER been captured’  Express.co.uk

INCREDIBLE new images of the most distant object ever explored have shocked scientists at NASA.


Opinion: What You Believe about “Science Denial” May Be All Wrong  The Scientist

A recent meeting about the disconnect between scientific and public beliefs points to ways researchers can improve how they communicate with skeptics.


New DOE policies would block many foreign research collaborations  Science Magazine

Scientists who work for or receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington, D.C., are facing a ban on collaborating with researchers ...


The surprising reason why some Latin Americans have light skin  Science Magazine

Walk down a busy street in most Latin American cities today and you'll see a palette of skin colors from dark brown to sepia to cream. For 500 years, people have ...


Art and engineering: How BYU researchers are making science fiction a reality  Deseret News

Brigham Young University researchers have made breakthroughs in new technology similar to Iron Man's transforming exoskeleton suit.


Scientists worry 'zombie deer' disease could jump to humans  Popular Science

If you've heard of “zombie deer,” you've heard of the horrors of chronic wasting disease. CWD causes infected animals to stumble through the forest, sometimes ...


Students participate in Region 10 Science Olympiad  WNCT

Kinston, N.C. (WNCT) - Students from Raleigh to the coast had the chance to participate in the region 10 Science Olympiad at Lenoir Community College.


The end of evolution?  Science Magazine

In 1996, biochemist Michael Behe introduced the notion of “irreducible complexity,” arguing that some biomolecular structures could not have evolved because ...


As legal pot farms expand, so do air pollution worries  Science Magazine

Colorado plans major study of emissions from indoor growing facilities.


Possibility of recent underground volcanism on Mars  Science Daily

New research suggests liquid water is present beneath the south polar ice cap of Mars. Now, a new study argues there needs to be an underground source of ...


Worrisome nonstick chemicals are common in U.S. drinking water, federal study suggests  Science Magazine

In recent weeks, the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C., has been dithering on whether to protect drinking water ...


Scientists create super-thin 'sheet' that could charge our phones  The Guardian

Breakthrough means large sheets of energy-harvesting material can be produced.


A sleep-inducing gene, nemuri, links sleep and immune function in Drosophila  Science Magazine

Even the humble fruit fly needs sleep. Toda et al. screened ∼12,000 fruit fly lines and identified a single sleep-promoting molecule encoded by a gene they ...


Scientists call for ban on lethal, autonomous robots  The Globe and Mail

Toby Walsh, a researcher in artificial intelligence at the University of New South Wales in Australia, predicted a new arms race if autonomous robots take on ...


Scientists discover massive mountains under Earth’s crust  The Hindu

They found the topography on a layer located 660 km below the surface.


Alligators gobble rocks to stay underwater longer  Science Magazine

New study may help solve the mystery of why crocodylians swallow stones.


home | site map | Xray Photography
© 2006