The College of Science and Health organized its annual celebration of Darwin Day Feb. 15 in the Science Building to commemorate the contribution Charles Darwin made to science.
“We’re celebrating science in general and the influence that [Darwin] and a lot of the other biologists had on our world today,” said Jacob Coulson, senior biology major at UVU.
Faculty and students gathered at the atrium in the Science Building to view images of evolutionary timelines, eat cake, give out T-shirts and listen to Daniel Fairbanks, dean of CSH and professor of biology. His lecture and research related to Darwin’s influence on Gregor Mendel, a botanist and contributor to the theory of evolution in the mid-1800s.
In his keynote address, Fairbanks related his experience translating Mendel’s work from German and publishing his findings in an academic paper in collaboration with his colleague Scott Abbott, professor of integrated studies, philosophy and humanities.
The work of Fairbanks and Abbott deals with new evidence that suggests how Mendel’s 1865 “Experiments in Plan Hybridization” was influenced by Darwin’s “Origin of Species.”
“It appeared that there were some really Darwinian-type terms in Mendel’s paper [that] lead me to think we really did need a new translation,” Fairbanks said.
Jordan Holt, senior bio-technology major at UVU, enjoyed the speech and felt that he had come away from it with new information.
“It was interesting to see [Darwin and Mendel] come together,” Holt said.
Heath Ogden, associate professor of biology and co-organizer of the event, said that the theory of evolution often receives criticism from those who deny its scientific legitimacy.
“The idea [of Darwin Day] is to promote evolutionary thinking as a reality,” Ogden said. “It is pretty clear that evolution is the best answer for the diversity of life on the planet.”
However, Ogden stressed that evolution and religion don’t have to be in disagreement.
“In our biology classes at UVU [we] teach people that evolution and other ways of knowing, like religion, or music, or art, don’t have to be in conflict. There are ways to reconcile these world views.”