Darwin Day forces holiday calendar to evolve

The first ever Darwin Day celebrates the life of Charles Darwin, best known for his theory of evolution.

The holiday calendar is evolving, but not without controversy.

Feb. 12, 2013, is the first ever "Darwin Day," celebrating the scientist best-known for his theory of evolution. Feb. 12 was also Charles Darwin's 204th birthday.

The International Darwin Day Foundation called the event a "global celebration." Darwin is credited with being the first person to describe biological evolution through natural selection with scientific rigor.

"Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity," the foundation said. "More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity."

But not everyone is celebrating.

Rep. Rush D. Holt, D-N.J., introduced the resolution that established Darwin Day on Jan. 22, but some of his colleagues in Congress rebut Darwin's theory of evolution.

According to The New York Times, Rep. Paul Broun said evolution is one of those "lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior."

The National Atheist Party reflected on the holiday in more reverent tones.

Scot Rafkin, an assistant director for the Department of Space Studies at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, said online Tuesday, "Creationist bills continue to be proposed at the local and state level."

For its part, the International Darwin Day Foundation sees the holiday not as divisive, but rather as a unifying event for people around the world. The day, they said, "provides a new global holiday that transcends separate nationalities and cultures."

_____

MSN News on Facebook and Twitter

Stay up to date on breaking news and current events.

Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/news.msn

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msnnews