Darwin Day Celebration 2013 – Fellowship of Humanity    

Darwin Day Celebration 2013

Posted by Humanist Hall on January 31, 2013as , , , , , , , ,




Darwin Day Talk and Celebration

Sunday, February 24 at 1:30 pm

Evolution Today:

Current State of Knowledge and Controversies

with David Seaborg



Join us to celebrate Darwin DayCharles Darwin was born on February 12 but we will be celebrating his birthday February 24.  This will be a grand celebration featuring three renown speakers and a potluck banquetOur featured speakers are:


George Smoot

with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics


Peter Hess

with the National Center for Science Education

Leading Expert on Darwin


David Seaborg

with the World Rainforest Fund

Leading Expert on Evolutionary Theory Today



David Seaborg, expert on Darwin himself as well as a distinguished, cutting-edge evolutionary biologist, will deliver the keynote power point presentation on current evolutionary theory:  Evolution Today: Current State of Knowledge and Controversies.  He will cover what is known today as well as the unsolved problems and controversies.  He will be dressed up as Charles Darwin and impersonating him in an exciting and entertaining performance!  After his talk, David will show us fossils and live animals that illustrate evolutionary principles and he will allow us to hold them — only if we want toThen David will facilitate a Q&A discussion about evolution wherein we will have the chance to share what Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution — and the controversy with creationists concerning its teaching — mean to each of us, sharing how these things affect our lives.  

Finally, enjoy a potluck dinner party with speakers and audience alikeBring a scrumptious dish to share — no assigned dishes.  Meet the illustrious speakers and all the interesting celebrants of Darwin Day — indulge in conversations all around.  Everyone is encouraged to ask these experts all the questions on their mindsWe look forward to seeing you here



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One Comment

  • David Seaborg says:


    The main Darwin Day this year in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, was held Sunday, February 24, 2013, at 1:30 PM, running until about 7:30 PM. It was in the Fellowship of Humanity Hall in Oakland, a humanist church with Acting Minister Florence Windfall, who kindly hosted the event. She was assisted by the president of the church, David Oertel. The celebration was organized by evolutionary biologist David Seaborg. About 120 people attended. It was a resounding success; people had a fantastically wonderful time, and gave reviews on the internet averaging 4 and a half out of 5 stars. The first Darwin Day was in February, 1995, in Kresge Auditorium on the Stanford University campus. The event was first conceived by Dr. Bob Stephens, who resides in the South Bay Area, California. It has grown into an event celebrated all over the world in the years following its inception.
    The first speaker at this Darwin Day celebration in Oakland was Peter Hess, Director for Religious Community Outreach at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), a non-profit organization providing information and resources for schools, parents, and concerned citizens working to keep evolution and climate science in public school science education. This organization educates the press and public about the scientific aspects of controversies surrounding teaching evolution and climate change, and supplies information to aid good science education at local, state, and national levels. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, California. He authored the book, with Paul Allen, Catholicism and Science. He focuses in his scholarly work on the interaction between science and religion from 1500-1900. Dr. Hess gave a 15-minute power point presentation on the work of the NCSE and the need for education in schools and of the general public concerning evolution and global climate change, and the need to correct the misinformation and pseudoscience of creationists and climate change deniers.
    The next speaker was George Smoot, an astrophysicist and cosmologist, who is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and, since 2010, a professor of physics at the Paris Diderot University, France. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006, sharing it with John Mather for their work on the Cosmic Background Explorer that led to the measurement of the non-uniformities of the cosmic microwave background radiation from the Big Bang that started the Universe. He donated his share of the Nobel Prize money, less travel costs, to a charitable foundation. Dr. Smoot gave a power presentation for 15 minutes on Charles Darwin, his voyage on the Beagle, the theory of evolution, and how Darwin arrived at it, as well as the need to teach it, not creationism, in public schools.
    The third and final speaker was David Seaborg, an evolutionary biologist who originated the idea that organisms evolve as feedback systems, directing their own evolution as much as the environment does, and who showed that the genetic code is on a local optimum called an adaptive peak and how populations cross from one adaptive peak to another. He also is writing a book on his theory that organisms alter the chemistry of the air, soil, and water, and build symbiotic alliances with the result that they greatly increase the number of species. He is founder and President of the World Rainforest Fund, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to saving rainforests worldwide by empowering local and indigenous people, helping them save their rainforest homes. He gave the keynote address, an hour-long power point presentation on the principles of modern evolutionary theory, what is known about it today, and the current scientific controversies concerning it. He presented his lecture dressed as Charles Darwin, with artificial side burns, a white dress shirt, vest, and long gray coat. He took on the character of Darwin, acting like him as best he could, giving a theatrical as well as scientific presentation. The only exception is that he did not attempt to speak with an English accent, since he is not adept at that. He answered questions for a half hour after his lecture, staying in character as Darwin. All three speakers were received tremendously well, with great enthusiasm.
    Then David Seaborg presented 5 animals and explained about their evolution, ecology, habits, predators, prey, defense mechanisms, and so on, passing them around to the fascinated audience, allowing anyone who wanted to touch or hold them. Almost everyone held all of them; one or two elected to touch them; no one declined to at least touch them. He answered questions about the animals. David, himself an amateur herpetologist, was assisted in this by 4 other amateur herpetologists: David Boland, Wolfgang Keil, Adam Ortega, and John Potash. These 4 also gave information and answered questions about the animals, and helped watch them as they were passed around. The animals included a Pygmy Egyptian Hedgehog from the Middle East, a Red-footed Tortoise from South America, a Northern Blue-tongued Skink from Australia, and a normal Reticulated Python from Southeast Asia. The fifth animal was another Reticulated Python, but that was platinum, tiger, and heterozygous albino. This all means: it was platinum, meaning it was heterozygous for the leucistic mutation, making it lighter in color and more yellow, since this is a co-dominant mutation; tiger, a co-dominant mutation that it is homozygous for, making the reticulated pattern and crossing 90% or more gone, and elongating the pattern into streaks from head to tail, though sometimes the crossing remains in the tail—heterozygote would have 50 to 70% reduced crossing and elongated reticulated pattern; albino—heterozygous for this recessive gene, so it does not show at all in the phenotype. Reticulated means net-like, and refers to the pattern on the python. Usually David Seaborg brings animals from his own collection, but this time the animals were generously provided by amateur herpetologist David Boland. The animals were a tremendous hit with the audience.
    Next the attendees enjoyed a pot luck dinner. This included a toast of champagne and sparkling soda led by David Seaborg, to Darwin, other scientists who added to our knowledge, science, those who promote of the teaching of evolution, and those who combat global climate change and its deniers. A chocolate birthday cake for Charles Darwin was brought out. It had these words on it: “Happy 204th Birthday, Charles Darwin”. There were candles in the shape of numbers, placed to read “204”. Since Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, this was the celebration of his 204th birthday. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to Charles Darwin. Still dressed as Darwin, David blew out the candles.
    After dinner, the toast, and cake, some people stayed for a while and engaged in lively conversations, some about science, herpetology, ecology, and evolution. The event ended when everyone departed at about 7:30 PM. It was a spectacular success.

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