Ten Reasons for Darwin Day

  • Darwin was one of the greatest scientists that ever lived, and his work on evolution provided the foundation of much of modern biology.
  • We ought to do more to celebrate a wider range of people – scientists and thinkers as much as monarchs, statesmen and generals (some of whom do have streets named after them and statues, e.g. Churchill, Marlborough, Clive of India…).
  • We need more public holidays – Britain has fewer public or bank holidays than many other countries (eight in fact).
  • We need more diverse public holidays. Most existing ones are Christian, and we could do with more secular ones, as well as ones that recognise the holidays of other faiths.
  • A holiday celebrating Darwin would send out a signal that science matters, in an era when pseudo-science and fear of science seem to be gaining ground.
  • At a time when convention and religious belief were powerful influences on society and culture, Darwin was not afraid to think for himself, and he was by all accounts a very decent man – an affectionate father (who never got over the death of his daughter Annie) and a devoted husband (who delayed publishing The Origin of Species because it would upset his devoutly Christian wife).
  • Darwin was an excellent writer – clear and readable – who gave the English language some useful new phrases.
  • There is an international campaign to make this great Briton’s birthday a holiday.
  • Over 40 distinguished academics, philosophers, scientists and writers signed a British Humanist Association letter in February 2003 calling for a Darwin Day holiday.
  • It would cheer up a rather dull time of year – a huge improvement on the main celebration in February, the depressing St Valentine’s Day!