Happy Darwin Day! On this day in 1809, Charles Darwin — the insecure, beard-sporting father of evolutionary theory — was born, kicking off the world’s spiraling descent into blasphemous reason and godforsaken scientific rigor. Now, 207 years later, the U.S. Congress is still arguing about it: Last December, Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes introduced a resolution proposing to officially designate February 12 “Darwin Day.”
To nobody’s surprise, the Republican-dominated, largely evolution-denying Congress ensured that Himes’ bill hasn’t gone anywhere. The debate, unfortunately, rages on.
Himes introduced the resolution after working together with the sweetly naïve American Humanist Association, which is part of the larger Secular Coalition for America, a lobby group representing the voice of non-theistic Americans. The Darwin Day resolution was meant to express support for “the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.” On the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, it proposes, Americans should “[recognize] Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge.”
We’ve got to give Himes credit for having the balls to push this resolution through to the House for the fourth time in four years, considering he’s up against the notoriously anti-science GOP. Back in 2012, the House Science Committee comprised such scientific stalwarts as Sandy Adams (R-Florida), who’s publicly denied evolution and Todd Akin (R-Missouri), who believes there’s “no science” behind evolution (and that “legitimate rape” is a thing). Adams and Akin have since been dropped from the committee, but the rest of its Republican members, including climate change skeptic Chairman Lamar Smith, certainly aren’t going to make Himes’ mission any easier.
Despite Darwin Day’s supporters — including the usual suspects from Nature and the Royal Society, as well as the delightfully unexpected, like Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo — there’s pretty much zero chance that the Darwin Day resolution will ever make it through the house. This sad truth just goes to show how little we respect the devotion to logic and empirical evidence on which Darwin based his life’s work — hell, it forced him to betray his own deep-seated religious beliefs. America is nowhere near that point.
“I am very poorly today,” Darwin once wrote in October 1861, “and hate everybody and everything.” We’ll celebrate Darwin when we deserve it.