In recent years, Spanish-speaking atheist bloggers and activists invented a new holiday in order to raise awareness about Darwinian evolution via natural selection and to challenge the shame that religionists experience around our simian origins. In making the announcement, the Blog Sin Dioses (the Blog Without Gods) published a manifesto with the following eight points:
1. We are proud to be members of the primate order. Inclusion in the primate group is not only a taxonomic aspect but also reveals the evolutionary relationship we have with other primates.
2. We are proud to “descend from an ape”–not a kind of current ape, an extinct one, but an ape after all. We are not ashamed of our evolutionary origin.
3. We wish to acknowledge the tireless and sometimes thankless work of paleontologists who have helped to decipher our evolutionary origins and we hope that the work of paleontologists will continue to be developed, as well as the dissemination of their research.
4. We want to recognize all biologists and conservationists working to help conserve current primate species.
5. We declare that human beings are not separate from nature, but are part of nature thanks to ecological interactions and our evolutionary origin.
6. We say that we are proud to be hominids and that our closest relatives are the African apes. Comparative anatomy and genetics show us this phylogenetic relationship and such a fact does not make us less human.
7. We want the knowledge of human origins revealed by science to be available in all schools and we denounce the blockade of religious fundamentalist groups.
8. We point out that the opposition of creationists to human kinship with other primates and to the theory of evolution is scientifically dishonest and responds only to doctrinal interests. Creationists have the right to believe what they want, but they can not pretend to ignore the fossil testimony, or the DNA, or pass their religious convictions as an explanation at the same level as science.
The new holiday has taken the Spanish-language blogosphere by storm, and this could not be a more morally urgent cause! Trump’s early and notorious disregard of scientific insight has been noted by The New Yorker, Scientific American (where an editorial piece expressed alarm at his “lack of respect for science”), and many other media outlets. We are entering dangerous times!
In an old article written for Darwin Day titled Darwin and the Planet of the Apes, I explored how PotA folklore has become a powerful and imaginative way in which pop culture explores the idiocy and arrogance of creationists. Trump’s threat to appoint people with strong anti-scientific values reminds us of Doctor Zaius, who was both Minister of Science and Chief Defender of the Faith–and we should all be preparing to fight a good fight to protect the constitutional separation of church and state, and to promote teaching and respect for true science.