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Though an unofficial humanist holiday, Darwin Day has been steadily gaining popularity in humanist community since it first appeared in early 1990s. Not long after event took hold, International Humanist and Ethical Union decided against making Darwin Day an official holiday. Board members at time argued that humanists should not ape saints days or elevate humanist heroes to 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 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 many other things we already celebrate," said August E. Brunsman IV, executive director of Secular Student Alliance.
The Secular Student Alliance is an Ohio-based nonprofit educational organization. This year, 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 disclaimer stickers that have appeared on biology textbooks in some states. The stickers were recently found to be an unconstitutional violation of 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 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.