10 Reasons to Celebrate Darwin Day

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Why, each and every year, do scientists, humanists, and scholars from all around the world pay special attention to the life and work of Darwin on his birthday — February 12, 1809? (He was born the same day as Abraham Lincoln, by the way.)
Why do groups like the Hudson Valley Humanists literally make shrines to Darwin and bake evolution-themed cookies in his honor this time of year?
His work brings to our understanding of the human condition. Following are 10 reasons why you should celebrate Darwin Day.
10 Reasons to Celebrate Darwin Day
1. The field of biology did not exist until after Darwin’s ideas on natural selection were published (see Allmon, 2011).
2. Our understanding of modern medicine is improved exponentially as a result of medical professionals understanding and applying Darwinian principles (see Nesse & Williams, 1995).
3. Darwin was an abolitionist, supporting equality among people regardless of regional or ethnic background, way before being an abolitionist was in style. In fact, in many ways, he was more of an abolitionist than was his contemporary Abraham Lincoln (see Desmond & Moore, 2014).
4. Darwin’s perspective led to research that has shed extraordinary light on issues that are specific to women’s health (see Reiber, 2009).
5. Darwin’s perspective has led to advances in how we understand elementary education (see Gruskin & Geher, 2017).
6. Darwin’s ideas paved the way for the advanced understanding we now have regarding the evolutionary history of modern humans (e.g., Hodgson et al., 2010).
7. Darwin’s ideas have been applied to help us better understand how humans can live in urban settings (see Wilson, 2011).
8. Darwin’s ideas paved the way for the field of paleontology, helping us understand how fossils from across the world fit together to explain the history of the earth (e.g., Bose & Bartholomew, 2013).
9. Darwin’s ideas sparked an extraordinary number of additional academic fields, such as ethology, ecology, immunology, Darwinian Literature, evolutionary psychology, behavioral genetics, and more (see Wilson, Geher, Gallup, & Head, in production).
10. Darwinian ideas have dramatically improved our understanding of the positive aspects of the human experience, such as art, music, happiness, gratitude, spirituality, community, and love (see Geher & Wedberg, in production).
This list is incomplete in many ways; Darwin's influence on our modern world extends well beyond the 10 points demarcated here.
Darwin’s impact on our modern world is simply extraordinary and hard to quantify. Without the publication of his ideas on the nature of life, we’d be without such academic fields as biology and paleontology. Our medicine would be far behind where it is now. And our entire understanding of what it means to be human would lack a science-based foundation.
Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin. And on behalf of hominids everywhere, thank you.


Source: www.psychologytoday.com