Tomorrow Is Darwin Day for 2013

Everyone knows that Charles Darwin was born on 12 February 1809 — the same day and year that Abe Lincoln was born. The bicentennial of Darwin’s birth was a big deal (well, to some of us), but century-marks don’t come around very often, and other than religious figures, very few famous people (e.g., George Washington, Queen Victoria) get their birthdays celebrated annually. That’s certainly true of scientists. When was the last time you celebrated the birthday of Isaac Newton?

Because of the non-existent scientific controversy that fanatics are promoting between evolution and creationism, there has been some continuing interest in Darwin Day since 2009 — but unless one is interested in the subject he’d probably never notice.

Two years ago the Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — attempted a pathetic effort (in a post by Casey Luskin) to hijack the day for their own purposes (see Casey: Not Darwin Day, It’s Academic Freedom Day). It was as successful as every other effort in Casey’s life.

This year the Discoveroids are at it again, as evidenced by David Klinghoffer’s new post: Looking Forward to Darwin Day, Here’s a Suggestion for Enterprising Reporters. There’s not much to it, other than a cartoon that features a mined quote from Darwin, but we’ll give you a few excerpts. The bold font was added by us, and David’s links have been omitted.

Charles Darwin’s birthday falls on Tuesday, February 12, and we prefer to celebrate the occasion as Academic Freedom Day, when “students everywhere can speak out against censorship and stand up for free speech by defending the right to debate the evidence for and against evolution.” Notwithstanding that there’s ferment across the country in favor of academic-freedom bills, we’re not holding our breath waiting for the media as a whole to follow us in this.

It’s a wise man who knows a bad bet when he sees one. Let’s see what else David says:

Still, we do kind of look forward to Darwin Day, with a morbid curiosity about how dedicated Darwin defenders in the media will spin it this year., Our Darwin-lobbying friends at the National Center for Science Education do an energetic job of supplying story angles and articulate spokesmen for tamping down free discussion on evolution.

The NCSE has only posted twice about Darwin Day this year, each time reacting to what others were doing. See Darwin Day resolution in Congress, and also Darwin Day in The New York Times. Not much of an “energetic job” of “Darwin-lobbying.” Let’s read on:

On the question of academic freedom, some people are passionately against the idea of protecting teachers who would expose high-school students to the fact that there’s a sophisticated scientific and philosophical debate going on about Darwinian theory. They would rather see these teachers exposed to administrative punishment and rebuke.

We’re going to cut that paragraph short because you probably don’t want to vomit this early in the morning. Klinghoffer continues:

If I were an editor at the New York Times, I think I’d follow up by assigning a science reporter … to let Times readers know what the evolution debate is actually about.

They probably already know what the debate is about, but Klinghoffer’s advice to the Times is quite amusing:

And you know what, the good news for any such enterprising reporter is that ENV’s Casey Luskin has actually done a lot of the homework for you already. Go look at Casey’s articles “What Are the Top Ten Problems with Darwinian Evolution?” and “Top Five Problems with Current Origin-of-Life Theories.”

In case the Times is thinking of letting Casey do their homework, we can save them a lot of embarrassment because we’ve already written about one of his articles — see Discoveroids’ Top Ten Problems with Evolution.

We’ll skip some detailed advice Klinghoffer has for the Times about how to write the story, and his fantasizing about what a wonderful story it would be. He finishes with this:

There’s your Darwin Day story. Easy! It would be kind of like a debate, right there in the New York Times — the controversy that we’re always being told doesn’t exist.

We tried to protect you, dear reader, but you’re probably going to throw up anyway. Sorry about that. Anyway, tomorrow is Darwin Day, but except for watching the creationists squirm — which is always fun — it’s not very special. Around here, every day is Darwin Day.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Tomorrow Is Darwin Day for 2013

  1. When was the last time you celebrated the birthday of Isaac Newton?

    But when was the last time anyone celebrated Queen Victoria’s birthday? The Brits don’t, so where else?

  2. Well, yes, and hopefully we will forever remain academically free from Luskin’s creationism efforts!

  3. JG asks: “But when was the last time anyone celebrated Queen Victoria’s birthday?”

    I think it’s a holiday in Canada.

  4. Humbly submitted 🙂
    Klinghoffer diagnosis;
    Category 3 creationist (insane)
    Category 4 creationist (liar)
    There, finished.

  5. Hey, we don’t even celebrate Washington’s birthday any more (Feb. 22). Now we get “Presidents Day”, the Monday between Lincoln’s (Feb. 12) and Washington’s birthday. When I was growing up in Illinois, it was great — we got two holidays in February. That was back in BMHE (Before Monday Holidays Era). I don’t imagine school kids in, say, South Carolina got Lincoln’s birthday off, so we were pretty lucky.

  6. retiredsciguy says: “I don’t imagine school kids in, say, South Carolina got Lincoln’s birthday off, so we were pretty lucky.”

    Until recently, many Southern states celebrated President Jefferson Davis’ birthday. General Lee’s birthday too. Florida no longer does. I don’t know about the other states.

  7. I think it’s a holiday in Canada.

    I live and learn! You’re perfectly correct:

  8. As a devout Pastafarian, I am saving all my celebratory frivolity for International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

    Nonetheless, I’m a pretty frequent visitor of Down House (it’s firmly on the itinerary I offer visiting overseas friends on my fabled $30 tour of Southeast England), though have other commitments tomorrow, alas. But, for what it’s worth, I have specifed in my will that my ashes should be discretely scattered along Darwin’s sandwalk, between his home and Biggin Hill, as that seems as good a place as any for them to end up….

  9. Megalonyx says: “I have specifed in my will that my ashes should be discretely scattered …”

    Yes, Olivia told me that she laughed at your offer to send them to her.

  10. SC: “Until recently, many Southern states celebrated President Jefferson Davis’ birthday.”

    In a sense, we all still do — Presidents Day was established to honor ALL presidents, so wouldn’t that include Jeff Davis?

  11. All Presidents? Along with Jefferson Davis you’d have Hugo Chavez and Meg Whitman.