Go sign this petition, too: it asks Obama to recognize Darwin Day on 12 February. Who knows, he might be willing!
Charles Darwin was the first to propose the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection. On Darwin Day, celebrated on the anniversary of Darwin’s birth on February 12, 1809, we celebrate the life and discoveries of Charles Darwin and express gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity.
It is sobering to imagine where the human race would be today without advances in science. Science has helped us to live longer by enabling us to find cures for diseases and alleviating pain and suffering. It has allowed us to travel before unimaginable distances, to interact with and understand people of other cultures and recognize what makes us similar as well as what makes us unique. It has allowed us to understand and maneuver in our world and has provided us insight into the complexities of life.
Charles Darwin recognized the importance and power of scientific discovery, and perhaps no one has influenced our understanding about life on earth as much as he. Darwin was an English naturalist, who on his legendary five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle made important observations about the geological and zoological diversity of the lands he visited, which helped spark his theory of evolution by natural selection. Most of what we understand about the diversity of life and the process by which it has adapted and changed has come from his profound insights, and his contribution to the canons of science cannot be overstated.
On this anniversary of Darwin’s birthday, it is important to recognize the contributions he has made to the advancement of science. It is also important that we continue to educate future generations about evolution by natural selection in our science classrooms. We must not water down the significance of Darwin’s theory, nor the breadth of evidence supporting it, and we must at every turn challenge efforts to undermine science so that we can keep alive in our children and grandchildren the wonder of discovery and the eagerness to obtain knowledge.
Now, Therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 12, 2010, as Darwin Day. I call on all Americans to recognize the importance of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection, to endeavor to preserve scientific discovery and human curiosity as bedrocks of American society, and to commemorate this day with appropriate events and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of February, two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.