Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Darwin Day!

Yeah, I know - Darwin Day isn't until tomorrow, but I thought I'd beat the rush and send my best wishes tonight.

Hope you have a GREAT time dressing up like Darwin and fingering your fossils (or doing whatever else you might be moved to do in celebration).

Did you hear that Rep. Pete Stark's way of celebrating included introducing a special little resolution in Congress?

Here's how the Oakland Tribune reported the details yesterday:

Stark, D-Fremont, introduced H. Res. 81 on Wednesday. It praises Darwin's theory of evolution and the "monumental amount of scientific evidence he compiled to support it," which "provides humanity with a logical and intellectually compelling explanation for the diversity of life on earth."

The resolution goes on to state that "the advancement of science must be protected from those unconcerned with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change," and that "the teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States' education systems."

Stark on Thursday explained he's "just trying to get people to understand that we're trying to get our kids to be scientists, were pushing for green jobs and green development, and you can't stick your head in the sand and not recognize that we're in a modern age. To get there, it seems to me, we have to understand that science is all part of what we're doing.

"I'm sure there are people out there who'd say I'm the devil's advocate, but I'll give the devil as much chance as any god that people choose to deal with," he said. "To say some unknown god up there in the stratosphere directs all of our lives and our development is naive.

Of course not everyone is as happy about this as they should be.

The Oakland Tribune went on to describe the thinking of one of these party poopers:

Tom McClusky, senior vice president of the conservative Family Research Council's legislative action arm, said after reading Stark's bill he "had to look at my calendar to see if it was April 1. If he really thinks this is a priority, I guess it shows why he's not in the majority anymore.

"I don't think he gives a good reason of why someone like Charles Darwin needs to be celebrated and recognized by the federal government. It's a waste, I think, of taxpayers' time," McClusky said, asking why Congress shouldn't instead honor someone like Booker T. Washington or Thomas Edison "who actually invented things, not just threw out theories."

"There is a distinct war on science, it's just not coming from the direction that Democrats say it is," McClusky said, citing climate change as an example of where Democrats have let politics trump science. He said U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., correctly has steadfastly rejected much of the prevailing wisdom on climate change, and he also cited the "Climategate" e-mail memos of 2009, which actually later were found not to have cast much doubt upon predominant climate change theory.

Oh well. I guess there's no pleasing some people.

And of course by "some people" I mean religiously deluded ideologues who think the US can continue to do first-rate scientific research while blindly embracing first century superstitions.

Alas, such people seem terribly over-represented in the new Congress, so don't expect Stark's resolution to pass any time soon.

At least Stark (the only self-proclaimed non-theist in Congress) had the courage to try.

Let's hope that many others evolve towards his enlightened views in the years and decades ahead.


  1. I wonder if McClucksky knows Thomas Edison threw out some interesting theories, too, like this one, "So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk."
    And this one, "I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States."
    So I say hell yes, let's honor Edison.

  2. So only inventions count as science? lol What a moron. Yay Stark!

  3. Happy Darwin Day to you, too! And thanks for showing the Stark contrasts to be found in our representatives' philosophies today. One can only hope that the best idea wins!

    *Raising a toast to Darwin and his astonishing ideas!*