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Darwin Day resolution in Congress

Rush HoltRush Holt

House Resolution 467 (PDF), introduced in the United States House of Representatives on January 29, 2014, would, if passed, express the House's support of designating February 12, 2014, as Darwin Day, and its recognition of "Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge."

Rush Holt (D-New Jersey), one of the few members of Congress with a Ph.D. in a scientific field, is the sole sponsor of the bill. In a January 29, 2014, press release from the American Humanist Association, he explained, "Charles Darwin is even more than the author of the theory of evolution, as great as that is. He represents a way of thinking, a philosophy, a methodology. It was his thirst for knowledge and his scientific approach to discovering new truths that enabled him to develop the theory of evolution. This lesson, about the value of scientific thinking, is almost as valuable as the theory he uncovered."

H. Res. 467 is identical to H. Res. 41, introduced by Holt in 2013, and to H. Res. 81, introduced by Pete Stark (D-California) in 2011. Explaining the earlier resolution, Stark said, "Charles Darwin is worthy of recognition and honor. His birthday should be a time for us to celebrate the advancement of human knowledge and the achievements of reason and science." Both of the previous resolutions eventually died in committee.

"2014 has already seen three states introduce antievolution measures, so it's wonderful to see a resolution that recognizes the importance of teaching evolution," commented NCSE's executive director Ann Reid. "I encourage members and friends of NCSE to urge their representatives to support H. Res. 467. The problem is real: one of eight U.S. public high school biology teachers are explicitly presenting creationism, and six of ten are reluctant to teach evolution properly. So, yes, support H. Res 467, but don't neglect the many ways to defend the teaching of evolution locally."

 



RESOLUTION

Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2014, 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, 2014, 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.