On Tuesday, the 204th anniversary of British naturalist Charles Darwin's birth, Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) will take to the House floor to formally introduce his resolution calling for February 12, 2013 to be officially designated Darwin Day.
In his bill, Holt -- a "Jeopardy!" champion with a doctoral degree in physics -- offers a strong defense of evolution, as well as Darwin's influence on scientific understanding and the "betterment of humanity."
Holt also takes aim at opponents, arguing that "the advancement of science must be protected from those unconcerned with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change." He goes on to warn that the "teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States education systems."
The measure has already been referred to the House Science, Space and Technology committee and has the support of seven co-sponsors. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Del. Eleanor Norton (D-D.C.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) have all joined with Holt on the effort.
American Humanist Association executive director and HuffPost blogger Roy Speckhardt hailed Holt's push as a necessary acknowledgment of Darwin's legacy.
“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 Speckhardt in a statement. “Charles Darwin’s significant contributions to the advancement of science and our understanding of the world deserve recognition.”
Holt's public push comes as people around the world celebrate Darwin Day in their own ways. While some do it by paying homage to the father of evolutionary theory among likeminded individuals, others carry out a more public campaign to have Darwin recognized.
In Asheville, N.C., the city council is set to consider a resolution that would officially proclaim Tuesday as International Darwin Day.