Each year on February 12, supporters of Darwin’s theory celebrate “Darwin Day” with all the trappings of a religious holiday. Sadly, “Darwin Day” events often promote intolerance and dogmatism, a far cry from the commitment to open inquiry advocated by Charles Darwin.
Instead of celebrating dogmatism, it would be a truer testament to the best of Darwin’s legacy to promote academic freedom. As the great man himself said:
A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.
To support those researchers who are challenging Darwinian evolution, one of the easiest and most important things you can do is to sign the Academic Freedom Petition. This is also a helpful way to show legislators that there is support in your state for academic freedom initiatives such as the Louisiana Science Education Act enacted in 2008.
Academic Freedom Day events may be as simple as having a table on your local college campus where people can sign the Academic Freedom Petition and find out more about academic freedom on evolution. Or events can be more elaborate like holding a screening of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed or Icons of Evolution. See here for more ideas on what you can do to celebrate Academic Freedom Day.
Here are some articles that you might want to read and promote as a way to educate people about the importance of academic freedom on evolution.
What does Discovery Institute advocate for science education policy? As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. Instead of mandating intelligent design, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and that they should learn more about evolutionary theory, not less, including about its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned. Read our full policy here: Discovery Institute’s Science Education Policy.
Need a comprehensive overview of the debate over evolution? Looking for resources to share with friends and colleagues to help them better understand what intelligent design is, what it isn’t, and how it differs from Darwinian evolutionary theory? Download this briefing packet: The Theory of Intelligent Design: A Briefing Packet for Educators.
What are students being taught about evolution in today’s classrooms? Here is an updated review of the most popular textbooks used in high school biology courses across the country: (Not) Making the Grade: An Evaluation of 22 Recent Biology Textbooks and Their Use of Selected Icons of Evolution. You can also listen to an interview with report author Casey Luskin on this ID the Future Podcast.
Whether you are a teacher, a student, or a parent, here’s a book that will help you understand what Darwin’s theory of evolution is, why many scientists find it persuasive, and why other scientists question the theory or some key aspects of it. Get your own copy of Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism.
More academic freedom and science education resources:
Darwin Day Poll Shatters Stereotypes: Democrats Favor Freedom to Discuss Evolution’s Strengths and Weaknesses More than Republicans
Should We Teach Scientific Criticisms of Neo-Darwinism? Many Authorities Say YES!
Rick Santorum, the Santorum Amendment and Intelligent Design
Podcast: Law Professor David DeWolf on the History of the Santorum Amendment
The Constitutionality and Pedagogical Benefits of Teaching Evolution Scientifically
Podcast: The Best Way to Teach Evolution: Treat It Like Science