Today marks evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin’s 204th birthday — a noted holiday for atheists, humanists and non-believers who wish to see the famed scientist gain increased respect and adoration. In fact, the American Humanist Association (AHA)’s International Darwin Day Foundation seeks to reserve Feb. 12 each year as a day to celebrate “science and reason.”
While there are events planned across the globe to celebrate Darwin’s life, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) also introduced House Resolution 41 today, an effort to officially designate Feb. 12 as “Darwin Day.”
If successful, atheists believe the action would send an important message to the nation and world. In working with Holt on the bill, the AHA was also able to help get seven co-sponsors on board with the bill. The organization lists them as follows: Rep. Michael Capuano (MA), Rep. Mike Honda (CA), Rep. Ed Markey (MA), Del. Eleanor Norton (DC), Rep. Jared Polis (CO), Rep. Charles Rangel (NY), and Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY).
“The passage of Rep. Rush Holt’s proposed resolution in Congress would send a strong message to the world that the United States supports science education,” said the organization’s executive director Roy Speckhardt. “Charles Darwin’s significant contributions to the advancement of science and our understanding of the world deserve recognition.”
Below, watch Holt speak in favor of Darwin, praising him as “one of humankind’s greatest thinkers”:
The event’s intention is to honor Darwin’s scientific accomplishments, notably his creation of evolutionary theory. The AHA press release describing the initiative explains, in part:
Charles Darwin’s evolutionary discovery of natural selection as the basis for biological transformations responsible for the diversity of life on earth is the foundation of modern biology, genetics, and medicine. Other areas of science and the humanities can also trace advancements to Darwin’s ideas. Since his publication On the Origin of Species in 1859, additional advances in knowledge have fine-tuned and repeatedly verified his insights.
Previously, the AHA attempted to get Darwin Day passed, but former Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) was unsuccessful in moving Congress to do so.