Another Darwin Day Resolution in Congress

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have just posted Darwin Day resolution in Congress. They say:

House Resolution 548 (PDF), introduced in the United States House of Representatives on December 3, 2015, would, if passed, express the House’s support of designating February 12, 2016, 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.”

It’ll never pass. The resolution has some “Whereas” clauses that will drive the creationists crazy. For example:

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;

And how about this one:

Whereas the teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States education systems;

This thing is doomed, just like similar resolutions in prior years. Here’s one we wrote about back in 2011: Darwin Day Resolution in Congress — Divisive?

NCSE reports that the lead sponsor of this year’s resolution is Jim Himes (D-Connecticut), and other sponsors are Elizabeth Esty (D-Connecticut), Charles Rangel (D-New York), Adam Schiff (D-California), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia), Alan Grayson (D-Florida), Louise Slaughter (D-New York), Alan Lowenthal (D-California), Jackie Speier (D-California), Matt Cartwright (D-Pennsylvania), and Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin).

Notice anything? Right, they’re all Democrats. Why is that important? Okay, we’ll spell it out. The House is controlled by Republicans. On 03 December, the resolution was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. That Committee’s chairman, Lamar Smith of Texas, is a Republican. He’s one of 22 Republican members. There are only 17 Democrats. Do we need to say more?

If you want to follow the fate of the resolution, here’s a link to information about its status and progress: H.Res.548 – Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2016, as “Darwin Day” . Nothing has happened yet. Nothing will happen. But it’s a noble effort. If the Republicans end up looking like idiots — which is certainly a motivation here — it’s their own fault.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Another Darwin Day Resolution in Congress

  1. The US political system is broken. In the House, the Republicans command an almost unbreakable majority despite having received a minority of the votes, and the same is true in many State Legislatures responsible for the gerrymandered districts that keep things that way. Finally, we have the unforeseen consequences of the Primary system, the well foreseen consequences of Citizens United, and the resultant breakdown of the most important of all checks and balances – that between political and economic power.

  2. The Republican advantage in the House and on its Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in particular doesn’t automatically mean this resolution will be voted down (though it doesn’t help). Most Republicans aren’t faith-crazed wackos; it’s just that the ones who are make a lot of noise.

  3. @Eric Lipps:

    Although it’s true not all Republican congressmen are religious fundamentalists, they are coming from districts inhabited by many who are. If they are seen as being “RINOs” (Republican In Name Only, for those of you like me who hate unexplained acronyms), they risk having competition in the next primary.

    Therefore, they will toe the Fundamentalist Party line. There may be moderate Republicans left in congress, but they are afraid to come out of the closet. They saw what happened to Richard Lugar, senator from Indiana.

  4. Lamar Smith is serious climate change denier, and is currently on a campaign to harrass as many NOAA and NASA scientists as possible. I can easily see him saying, “What? This says that science is good!?!? HOW DARE THEY!?!?”

  5. Remember that scientists (and other intellectuals) don’t play by the rules. They won’t compromise. They will not respect friendships – they won’t back you up just because they owe you something. They will “flip flop” – but not because it is to their advantage, but because of reasons. It takes work to convince them of something.