In February 2009, we shall be marking the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of his great, seminal work, On the Origin of Species. Just as Copernicus and the many great scientists who followed him had upset the view that the Earth was the centre of the Universe, so Darwin upset the view that humans were privileged beings, specially created by divine will and totally distinct from the rest of life. It is no exaggeration to say that Darwin’s discoveries have provided a basis for modern Humanism.
Although Darwin was undoubtedly an exceptional individual, what we shall really be celebrating is the birth of an idea that underpins our understanding of the world. The February edition of International Humanist News will be joining in the worldwide celebrations that will centre round Darwin Day, February 12.