The Issue at Hand

Article excerpt

THE NEW YEAR brings special cause for celebration, as 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. In an apology posted on the Church of England's website last fall, the Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown expressed regret to Darwin for the treatment he'd received from the church and also warned that the struggle to secure his reputation isn't over yet, pointing not only to religious foes but also to "those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests."

Insomuch as humanists' interests are humanity's interests, we celebrate Darwin as a humanist of the highest caliber, a man whose curiosity about the origins of humankind and strict scientific approach to supporting his theory of evolution created intellectual chaos and fascination, out of which philosophical naturalism broke stride with religious dogma. But humanists don't claim Darwin. Rather, Darwin helped claim humanity for us all.

This issue of the Humanist is therefore dedicated to Darwin and his legacy as we examine how humans are alike and how we differ, and what it all means for our success. Dr. Robert Stephens argues that Darwin Day should evolve as a global, unifying celebration. Frederic March, stating that "non-rational instincts have their own Darwinian logic" examines the evolution of the mind and issues a provocative challenge to view science as myth in order to identify what is truly important for human wellbeing. In his fascinating look at the presently evolving human genome, Kenneth Krause warns: "We should never confuse the social construct with the scientific reality. Denial is the least mature and, certainly, the least progressive response to fear." Also in this issue, Judge John E. Jones eloquently recalls his landmark Kitzmiller v. …