A Darwin Day Resolution Has Been Filed in Both the House and Senate

For the past few years, a member of Congress has introduced a resolution in the House to honor Charles Darwin on his birthday. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) did it in 2011, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) did it in 2013 and 2014, and Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) has done it in the years since.

Himes just did it again yesterday, introducing the resolution, officially known as House Resolution 699. It designates “February 12, 2018, as ‘Darwin Day’ and [recognizes] the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.”

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The bill had a companion in the Senate, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sponsoring S. Res. 374. (He has sponsored similar resolutions since 2015.)

The American Humanist Association appreciates the nod to science at a time when reason and common sense in government are hard to find:

“In our modern political climate, when the very facts and truths revealed by science are under attack, honoring the efforts of scientists, the true heroes of human history, is vitally important,” said Rep. Himes. “By celebrating and commemorating the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, we not only acknowledge his enormous contributions to our better understanding of the origins of life, but send a message that we value education, knowledge and science as our guiding principles.”

“I am proud to champion and celebrate Charles Darwin’s achievements and those of every scientist and explorer who followed in his footsteps,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Darwin Day recognizes the invaluable contributions of Darwin, without whom our understanding of this world would be fundamentally altered. Today, we reflect and remember that the advancements of science and human knowledge are profoundly important to the progress of humankind.”

“With the current administration passing bills that undermine science and education, dropping climate change from the list of national security threats, and removing environmental protections from national parks and monuments, now is the time to look to the rationality of Charles Darwin and other scientists who carry on his legacy of curiosity and critical thinking in the pursuit of truth,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We urge Congress to support the Darwin Day Resolution to uphold science, reason and innovation, values that we need now more than ever.”

As I’ve said before, it’s nice to see members of Congress honoring science instead of denying it. It would be nice if Republicans joined the list of co-sponsors.

The text of the resolution, which is not yet available but likely identical to last year’s, will probably look something like this:

RESOLUTION

Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2018, as “Darwin Day” and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.

Whereas Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection, together with the monumental amount of scientific evidence he compiled to support it, provides humanity with a logical and intellectually compelling explanation for the diversity of life on Earth;

Whereas the validity of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is further strongly supported by the modern understanding of the science of genetics;

Whereas it has been the human curiosity and ingenuity exemplified by Darwin that has promoted new scientific discoveries that have helped humanity solve many problems and improve living conditions;

Whereas the advancement of science must be protected from those unconcerned with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change;

Whereas the teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States education systems;

Whereas Charles Darwin is a worthy symbol of scientific advancement on which to focus and around which to build a global celebration of science and humanity intended to promote a common bond among all of Earth’s peoples; and

Whereas February 12, 2018, is the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809 and would be an appropriate date to designate as “Darwin Day”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) supports the designation of “Darwin Day”; and

(2) recognizes Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge.

Considering that this bill requires no money, isn’t changing any laws, and is a straightforward endorsement of science, it ought to pass without a problem. But with this GOP-led government, who knows.

You can help out by contacting your member of Congress and urging him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor.

(Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were published earlier. Correction: I said earlier that this was Sen. Blumenthal’s first time introducing the resolution in the Senate, but he’s done it since 2015; I’ve fixed that in the article.)

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