Darwin Day

by: Baba Brinkman

Darwin Day – Baba Brinkman


Christmas day I’m Wrapping Presents
Takin’ out trash on garbage day
Valentine’s I’m writin’ cards
And thinkin’ bout givin’ my heart away
Halloween costumes
I’m dressin’ as a tardigrade, a tardigrade? Yeah
I’m really just all about Darwin Day
That should be a statutory holiday
If ya askin’ me
Globally, not nationally
A day of work to actually read
Comparative anatomy, biogeography
And genetics and paleontology
And some Teddy Dobzhansky
Nothing in life makes sense except in the light of evolution
So if every twelfth is the birthday of the first human with the solution
To the mystery of existence
Why the hummingbird?
Why the Orchid?
Why the rhinoceros?
Why the pine tree?
Why the Wasp?
And why the porpoise?
Why the mass extinction of the vast majority of life forms that ever lived?
What did the dinosaurs have to die for?
Why God?
Why did you have to take the triceratops and leave the mosquito intact?
Is that a theological paradox?
No, It’s not
Darwin gave us the master plan
Actually, the lack of a master plan
The tragic dance of natural selection
The struggle for existence where organisms compete
But they don’t recover from extinction
The tree of life connected by lines of common descent
Amoebas, plants, fish, frogs, snakes, rats, hominids, and humans
Diversified and adapted to habitats as widely varied
As glaciers and savannahs
As molecular evidence is collected
Individual gaps vanish
Humans are now known to have common ancestors with bananas
And cabbages and subject to the law of averages
Not every human is aware of evolution’s explanatory advantages
Some of us prefer particular religious scriptures
Instead of scientific experts
To explain how all of this works
There are many versions
From the ancient Egyptians
To the Bible and Quran
And the Hindu Rigveda’s inscriptions
And this presents a challenge to teachers of biology
Whose students believe in some of these creation stories probably
In some countries they have established state religions
Which dictate curriculums
Like in Saudi Arabia for instance
But in other countries the establishment of any one religion by the government
Is constitutionally prohibited, for instance
The American justice system has shown a solid preference for science education
Based on theories with solid evidence
And there’s no alternative scientific theory to Darwin’s
Because all the others hit miraculous explanatory problems
Like, how does a creator create a dragonfly?
Is it a mystery? You need a causal explanation to explain it scientifically
And Darwin gave us the only causal explanation in history
That accounts for the origins of all biological complexity
Without miracles
We can study and map and track it back to the level of deoxyribonucleic acid
But what we can’t do is teach religion and call it science
Cuz choosing among religions can be a major cause of violence
So as a practical matter, religions get equal treatment
With each other, not with science
You have the right to believe it
But you don’t have the right to preach it to young people with taxpayer funding
Unless you teach it comparative religion classes or something
So this is my salute to the science teachers who get it
Who refuse to let a student pass a test with “god did it”
And this is my salute to the National Association of Biology Teachers
For the consistent stand that they’ve taken again and again in defense of evolution
Against attacks from creationists who tell bible stories in science class
And this is my salute to Charles Darwin on his birthday
For his major contributions to the human mental workspace
What Darwin discovered is deeper than anyone’s personal preference
I look forward to the day of its universal acceptance
Happy Darwin Day

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