Let’s go over some of our national holidays, shall we? Our biggest celebration is based on Christian beliefs, themselves based on Pagan rituals, and it’s altogether a consumer-driven holiday. We celebrate the Pilgrims’ arrival on already populated soil, which was then usurped by violent means. On a smaller scale, we acknowledge the achievements of some of our greatest presidents, in George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We pay respects to Martin Luther King Jr., the most tragic of all civil leaders. So with religion, liberty, and leadership already recipients of our praise — along with days off of work and school — why is science so obviously neglected?
Working with the American Humanist Association (AHA), U.S. House Democrat Russ Holt has introduced a resolution into Congress that would make February 12, 2013 the first annual recognition of Darwin Day. Depending on who you are, you either just nodded in agreement, feeling this should have happened years ago, or you’re completely outraged that anyone would spit in the ghost-face of God by partaking in such blasphemy. Sadly, it will be the religious front that probably kills this idea before it even has time to evolve.
Consider Georgia’s Republican House Rep. Paul Broun, who was quoted as saying evolution is “lies straight from the pit of Hell.” I know I use fictional realms as support for my beliefs all the time. “Brussel sprouts don’t exist in Narnia, and I’m not eating them.”
Still, it’s a lofty goal that deserves to be seriously considered. Whether or not you believe in evolution — and why are you on this website if you don’t? — Darwin still made vast achievements in many areas of science, and deserves national recognition for his efforts.
In an AHA press release, Hold had this to say:
Only very rarely in human history has someone uncovered a fundamentally new way of thinking about the world — an insight so revolutionary that it has made possible further creative and explanatory thinking. Without Charles Darwin, our modern understandings of biology, ecology, genetics, and medicine would be utterly impossible, and our comprehension of the world around us would be vastly poorer. By recognizing Darwin Day, we can honor the importance of scientific thinking in our lives, and we can celebrate one of our greatest thinkers.
Considering Darwin, Galileo, and many other pioneer thinkers’ problems actually started by unsuccessfully appealing to religious authorities, many present-day naysayers would do themselves well to pick up a history or science text every now and again, preferably one that begins with a bang and not a naked man in a garden.
Check out Holt’s full proposal here.