Yesterday was, of course, the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. There are a few events scheduled this week in celebration, most of them a chance to learn a bit more about evolution.
When: Thursday, February 16th
7pm – 9pm
Where: Coffman Memorial Union – Room 303
300 Washington Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Facebook Event: http://tinyurl.com/7g4a39r
To celebrate Darwin day, we’re welcoming back CASH’s own Andrew Lyman-Buttler, who is now a biology teacher, to give us a talk, “Written All Over Us: What Genomes Tell Us About Evolution”
Afterwards we’ll head over to Town Hall Brewery for food and drinks.
Saturday, February 18, 2012, 10:00 AM
Nokomis Community Center
2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN
You could read hundreds of pages of Darwin’s work and easily come to the conclusion that he was a geologist. But a different selection of readings would convince you he was a biologist. In truth, he was neither and both. In this talk Dr. Laden will explore what Darwin really was: An experimentalist, a part time anthropologist, a natural historian and most impressively, an integrative thinker of the likes rarely to be seen again for a century after he lived. This talk will draw heavily on Darwin’s own work and provide a sampling of some of his more interesting and compelling findings.
Sunday, February 19, 2012, 2:00 PM
Roseville Public Library
2180 Hamline Ave. N., Roseville, MN
Anti-science and creationist rhetoric, coming from organizations like the Discovery Institute, often paints Darwin as handmaiden to the Nazis and founder of racist biology. The eugenics movement of the early twentieth century is uncritically melded with Darwin’s writings that touched on race, and the genetic determinism of certain aspects of modern biology is uncritically melded with Darwinian theories. In this talk, Greg Laden will address Darwin’s racism (or lack thereof) and explore the relationship between concepts of race and racism and evolutionary biology of Darwin’s day as well as that of the twenty-first century. Darwin was a nineteenth century gentlemen who benefited greatly from his position in a world colonial empire, but it was his exploration of that world that led him away from religious dogma and soured him on certain racist concepts. He was the founder of much of the theory that was later to be used in rather nefarious ways, but those uses were never based on good biology. This talk will directly address the relationship between modern biology and modern race theory.
February 18-19, 2012
Har Mar Mall, Roseville, MN
Have you been to the Home School Science Fairs? They are great! Some of the best and brightest K – 12 grade kids in Minnesota were there. You could have learned how stable the Ark was in strong winds, how to, and how not to make yogurt, how weight effects the speed of a sled, and how to get energy from chicken droppings. Over 60 projects were up for display with many passersby stopping to check them out. It was a wonderful opportunity to place a Christian viewpoint of science before the public.
No, I don’t know that this last one is scheduled at this time every year as an observance of Darwin’s birthday. It may just work out that way. Still, if you have an interest in science and evolution, and a little time on your hands, I suggest you go to the fair.
It’s a small group of kids, some of whom have done excellent science fair projects despite the limitations. They’re there and just waiting to tell someone interested about what they’ve done. Hear them out. Enthuse about the science. Ask questions they can think about and answer. Look politely bored when they tell you how the bible verse they’re required to include relates to their project. Thank them for their time and their work.
Then go over to Old Chicago or up the road to Grumpy’s to bang your head on a table and drink. But have your drink knowing that these kids have just been praised by someone entirely outside their normally limited social sphere–and praised for the that interest in science that will later separate many of them from the fundamentalist traditions their parents are trying desperately to impose on another generation. Have a beer knowing you’ve made a small difference.