The third annual Darwin Day Celebration is a UVU tradition exploring the scientific theory of evolution in celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday.
Sunday, Feb. 12 is the 203rd birthday of Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution. To celebrate the life and works of Darwin, UVU has developed Darwin Day. In its third year, the purpose of Darwin Day is to discuss the theory of evolution in an academic setting. This year, the campus welcomed Dr. Alan Rogers, a professor at the University of Utah who studies evolutionary genetics and adaptive evolution within human populations. Rogers recently published a book entitled, “Evidence of Evolution.”
Rogers addressed a crowd of students and faculty members on Wednesday, Feb. 8 in the library auditorium to discuss the theory of evolution and some of Darwin’s contributions to the theory, as well as some modern day research within the field. Rogers started the lecture by stating that in a 2005 survey, people of different nationalities were asked if they would say the following statement was true: “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.
“I think this is a really good question because it doesn’t involve religion,” Rogers said.
The results of the survey showed the United States being second to last in the ratings with only 40 percent in agreement. Iceland had the most people agreeing with the statement.
Rogers then brought up the work of Darwin, citing that during the time Darwin published his work on evolution, a lot of scientific discoveries and theories hadn’t been developed, such as genetics, continental drift, the age of the earth and human fossils. Rogers then posed an interesting question: It is understandable why people were skeptical of evolution in 1870, but why are people skeptical today?
“Now most of the most important questions have been answered,” Rogers said. “Today, I believe there isn’t any reason to be skeptical of evolution.”
Rogers’s presentation drew not only students but also various faculty members. Danny Nielsen, an adjunct professor for the biology department was also in attendance.
“I like Darwin day. I like learning about evolution. I find the topic fascinating,” Nielsen said. While there may be some doubt as to the theory of evolution, Nielsen accepts the theory. “I don’t have any problem with evolution,” Nielsen said. “I think it’s a beautiful thing to think we’re all connected.”
By Kelly Cannon