For the First Time Ever, a Darwin Day Resolution Has Been Introduced in the Senate

A few days ago, Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT, below) introduced House Resolution 67 (a.k.a. the Darwin Day Resolution) to designate Charles Darwin’s birthday, February 12, as a national day to recognize “the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.”

Now, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT, below) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, making it the first time the Darwin Day Resolution has been introduced in that body. The text of S.Res. 66 hasn’t been released yet, but it should be pretty similar to the House version:

RESOLUTION

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
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.

The Secular Coalition for America along with its Connecticut chapter worked with the Senator to make this happen.

Kelly Damerow, Secular Coalition for America Interim Executive Director, praised Sen. Blumenthal for introducing the bill, noting the timeliness of supporting scientific contributions given the ongoing national vaccine debate.

“We are seeing a backlash against the benefits science has created for humanity — which highlights the importance for all of us to stand up in support of science and continued scientific progress,” Damerow said. “We applaud Senator Blumenthal for introducing this resolution and encourage other Senators to support it as well.”

The American Humanist Association praised the resolution:

“With climate change deniers endangering our environment and the anti-vaccination movement threatening our children’s health, there has never been a greater need for our politicians to stand up for science,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has made immeasurable contributions to science and humanity.”

These should be non-controversial resolutions as they have no legal weight, but I’m sure conservatives somewhere will be flipping out very soon.

This marks the fifth such resolution in Congress. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced a Darwin Day Resolution in 2011, while Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) did it in 2013 and 2014. Stark was voted out of office in 2012, while Holt chose not to run for re-election last year.

(Bottom image via Wikipedia)

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