2019 Darwin Day Resolutions Have Been Filed in Both the House and Senate February 12, 2019

2019 Darwin Day Resolutions Have Been Filed in Both the House and Senate

For the past several 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 today, introducing the resolution, officially known as House Resolution 123. It designates “February 12, 2019, 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. 63, which is not publicly available yet. (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. They’re calling on readers to contact their representatives to co-sponsor the resolutions. (I did. It took about one minute.)

“Charles Darwin represents the power of science and reason to change our world and the way we view our place in the universe,” said Rep. Himes. “Overcoming the challenges we face — the destruction of our environment, the need for renewable energy, and global population growth — will require the best humanity has to offer. We must inspire a new generation of Americans to enter the fields of science, technology, math and engineering. There is no nobler pursuit than acquiring an education in order to better the lot of humanity. There is no nobler title one can wear than “scientist.”

“I am proud to champion and celebrate Charles Darwin and the countless scientists and explorers who’ve built on his remarkable discoveries and achievements,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “Darwin Day recognizes Darwin’s invaluable contributions, which fundamentally changed the field of natural science and dramatically advanced our understanding of the world. Today, we reflect and remember that the dogged pursuit of science and human knowledge are profoundly important to the progress of humankind and the preservation of our planet.

“While we take care not to deify our heroes of the past, and we take time to recognize their flaws, we are proud to continue recognizing the work of famed scientist Charles Darwin,” notes American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “Humanism and reason go hand in hand, as we use scientific advancements to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty, and take responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live.”

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

The text of the resolution goes like this:

RESOLUTION

Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2019, 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, 2019, 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 in this political climate, who knows.

(Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were published earlier.)

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