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.
UK law requires that animals killed for food are stunned before slaughter, as this is the most humane method - except with religious slaughter such as kosher and some halal, where there are exemptions. Find out more.
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