For the past couple of years, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) has introduced a resolution in the House to honor Charles Darwin on his birthday. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) did the same thing in 2011 before he was voted out of office.
But Holt didn’t run for re-election last year, so the resolution was not a sure thing this time around.
Thankfully, Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) has picked up where Holt left off. Today, he introduced House Resolution 67 (a.k.a. the Darwin Day Resolution) in order to “recognize Charles Darwin’s birthday, February 12, as a national day to celebrate science, education and humanity.”
“Charles Darwin’s discoveries gave humankind a new, revolutionary way of thinking about the natural world and our place in it. His insatiable quest for knowledge and decades of meticulous observation and analysis opened new pathways for advancements in biology, medicine, genetics and ecology,” said Rep. Himes. “Without Darwin’s contributions to science, philosophy and reason, our understanding of the world’s complexity and grandeur would be significantly diminished.”
The American Humanist Association worked closely with Rep. Himes, his staff and other members of Congress to introduce this resolution. The resolution is co-sponsored by Representatives Matthew Alton Cartwright (PA-17), Stephen Cohen (TN-09), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Bill Foster (IL-11), Mike Honda (CA-17), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Louise Slaughter (NY-25) and Adam Smith (WA-09).
“With climate change deniers and others with anti-science views threatening our planet, there is an urgent need for our politicians to openly voice their support for scientists and science education,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We are grateful to Rep. Himes and the resolution’s co-sponsors for their recognition of Charles Darwin’s contributions to science and humanity.”
It’s nice to see a member of Congress honoring science instead of denying it.
The text of the resolution isn’t available online yet, but I’ll post that information as soon as I have it.
***Update***: Here is a draft of the bill. The official version should be on Congress’ website soon:
Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2015, 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, 2015, 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
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.
Wow. Blunt, beautiful words.
***Update 2***: Here is the final version (identical to the draft) posted on Congress’ website.
(Image via Wikipedia)