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Darwin Day in The New York Times

The New York Times

"Two congressmen, two Christians and two very different views of the man who in 1859 published 'On the Origin of Species,'" writes Mark Oppenheimer in The New York Times (February 1, 2013). The two opposing figures of his article are Rush Holt (D-New Jersey), who introduced a resolution to designate February 12, 2013, as Darwin Day, and hopes to hold hearings "where people can hear about Darwin and science and the jobs it creates, the lives it saves, everything," and Paul Broun (R-Georgia), who was in the news in 2012 for describing evolution as "lies, straight from the pit of hell ... lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior."

Attitudes such as Broun's are not new, of course, and they are primarily motivated by moral, rather than scientific, concerns. The historian Ronald L. Numbers told Oppenheimer that the 1925 Tennessee law banning evolution was passed because "people were concerned about its ethical teaching," and the science journalist Chris Mooney suggested that evolution reemerged as a target for evangelical Christians in the 1970s due to a perceived connection with abortion. Thus while many Christians "believe that Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is compatible with a Christian worldview," Darwin "still gets a whupping from politicians trying to scare up the votes of conservative Christians."