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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Release: Atheist Youth Movement Leads Charge Against Anti-Darwin Book Project

November 10, 2009


Contact: August Brunsman – (614) 441-9588 – august@secularstudents.org

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Secular Student Alliance is mobilizing student groups to counter the Living Waters Ministry program to distribute an edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species containing a special introduction misrepresenting the book’s claims. The SSA national leadership is encouraging its campus affiliates to schedule protests, host speakers, write letters to the editor, show films, and distribute the original version of Darwin’s 150-year old masterpiece.

“We’re asking students to respond proactively. We believe the best way to respond to misinformation is with a positive, educational campaign,” says August Brunsman, executive director for the Secular Student Alliance.

Living Waters Ministry, an evangelical ministry group headed by Ray Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron, calls the project The Origin into Schools Project. It plans to print an edition of Origin of Species with a 50-page introduction that attempts to cast doubt on the theory of evolution and connect Charles Darwin to Adolf Hitler. Over 100,000 copies are set to be distributed to over 100 college campus across the country and in Canada.

Students are aware that the distributors have the first amendment right to pass out their anti-evolution literature, but are being encouraged by the Secular Student Alliance to use their own rights to respond with a friendly, science-based message.

The Secular Student Alliance at Yale University, for example, has plans to set up a table promoting "alternative theories on sexual education," appropriately named Students for Stork Acknowledgment.

"People engaged in such lunatic endeavors are legitimized by opponents who attempt to take them seriously. My organization intends no such legitimization," stated Michael Wright, president of SSA at Yale, adding that past attempts at rational debate with creationists have failed, "but where reason fails, satire triumphs."

The Secular Student Alliance is assisting campus groups by providing resources from national groups like The Center for Inquiry, National Center for Science Education, the Brights, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science in order to combat misinformation on campus. Secular Student Alliance has also partnered with the creators of Flock of Dodos, the 2006 documentary highlighting the debate over evolution, granting the rights to students who wish to show the film on campus.

Nov. 24 marks the 150th anniversary of the original Origin of Species, and books and protests are set to hit campuses around that time. Students can find ways to get involved at www.secularstudents.org/origininschools.

The Secular Student Alliance is an educational nonprofit whose mission is to organize, unite, educate and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific rationality, secularism, democracy, and human-based ethics. Learn more at http://www.secularstudents.org.

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