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Monday, 12 February 2007 03:45

Evolution Sunday held on eve of Darwin's birthday

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On Sunday, February 11, 2007, churches across the United States and in five other countries are observing Evolution Sunday—what some people are calling Darwin Day because it falls on the day before Charles Darwin’s 198th birthday—a day to commemorate the connection between religion and science.

The Sunday observance in these churches is attempting to show that there is common ground between religion and science in explaining the origins of life.

English naturalist Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, and died on April 19, 1882. Darwin is best known for developing what has become known as Darwin’s theory of evolution—a theory stating that species developed over time from a common origin. His theory of evolution is considered a unifying theory of life sciences, especially in the field of biology, in that it helps scientists understand the biological processes that occur in birth, life, and death.

Advocates of Evolution Sunday believe that people do not necessarily have to choose between science and religion, specifically between Darwin’s theory of evolution and the religious interpretation of creation. Those against this belief contend that there is no commonality between evolution and religious creation.

Noreen Suriner, pastor of Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church in Binghamton, New York, stated in the Press and Sun-Bulletin of Greater Binghamton: “Science answers the question how. Religion answers the question why. They are two different questions, but they are not mutually exclusive. We can embrace both.”

Michael Zimmerman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of biology at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, stated in the Indianapolis Star (IndyStar.com): “Science can't prove that God doesn't exist. That's not what science is about. But for far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. People don't have to choose. Go to church—whether or not it's one that celebrates Evolution Sunday. Love God. Believe in religion. But respect science. And keep science and religion separate.”

Whatever happens, strong debate and discussions will no doubt occur. Hopefully the talks will be fruitful and civil, and each side will listen and consider the other side’s words.


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