On this day in 1809, Charles Darwin was born—a day currently known on Twitter as #DarwinDay2018. With the discovery of evolution and through his research, Darwin forever transformed the way we think of being human and how we understand the origins of life.
When we aren’t seen as the pinnacle of creation—the gem that allowed a divine being to chill for 24 hours—then we are able to ask how we fit into an ecosystem, how we are damaging it, and how we can make it right.
Due to Darwin’s work, we have a better understanding of the engine producing life and how this plays out in practical ways—like medicine. (Get your flu shot lately?) Along with Heliocentrism or Einstein’s theories of Special Relativity and General Relativity, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection left an indelible mark on science.
On that, there is no debate.
For that reason, there are currently House and Senate resolutions that call for the official establishment of February 12 as Darwin Day. H.Res.699 and S.Res.374 express “support for [the] designation of February 12, 2018, as ‘Darwin Day’ and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.”
Resolutions like this provide more than a recognition of a significant figure for science, they also provide moments to teach science. They are opportunities to remind ourselves about the leaps we’ve made in our knowledge of the world and about the benefits of curiosity.
Of course, it may be that in our current political climate in the U.S., this national recognition will need more time to happen. (I mean, we can’t even agree on letting Dreamers stay in the only home they’ve known.)
In the meantime, if you want to understand evolution better, then check out this TED-Ed, which includes educator Paul Andersen (@paulandersen) and animator Alan Foreman, and looks at the “Five Fingers of Evolution.”
Image: “A Venerable Orang-outang.” From Wikipedia.