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By Jesse Rifkin
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) has declared Feb. 12 as “Charles Darwin Day” in the state.
Praising Darwin’s theory of evolution as “the foundation of modern biology, an essential tool in understanding the development of life on earth,” Markell’s proclamation says Feb. 12 — Darwin’s birthday — “is a time to reflect and celebrate the importance of his scientific achievements.”
As Patheos notes, the proclamation was issued at the request of Chuck Dyke, a member of the Delaware Atheist Meetup group. (According to the governor’s website, any organization based in or connected to Delaware may request special recognition for a day, week or month.)
Darwin Day has been celebrated by groups in the U.S., Europe and Canada on the British naturalist’s birthday since 1980. In 2013 and 2014, then-Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) introduced legislation to designate a national Darwin Day. Despite support from some House Democrats, the proposal never got off the ground. Former Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) made a similar attempt in 2011.
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