“It’s already a thing, but whether it will be blessed by Congress depends on how highly evolved the members of Congress are,” Holt told Whispers. (We see what you did there, congressman.) It’s true that groups across the country and the world already celebrate Darwin, considered the father of evolutionary theory, on that day.
The official Darwin Day, if Holt gets his way, wouldn't be a federal holiday or anything like that. “This would not be a shopping day where...offices are closed and businesses are open,” Holt told Whispers. (Besides, Presidents’ Day already reserves a Monday in February off for the American public.) “Maybe it’s a day where we should, instead of taking the day off, it’s a day where we should think extra hard,” Holt said laughing.
The purpose of Darwin Day is to recognize the “importance of science in the betterment of humanity” according to the bill, which is backed by the American Humanist Association.
“The basic point is Darwin is an admirable model for us to look to,” Holt said. “Someone who...could teach us all a thing or two about how to think.”
That sounds innocent enough, but doesn't mean the resolution isn't politically tinged. The bill asks that “the advancement of science must be protected from those unconcerned with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change.” Additionally, it says the “teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States education systems.”
The bill already received the headline “Resolution Recognizing ‘Darwin Day,’ Slamming Creationism, Introduced to Congress,” in the Christian Post, potentially making it a difficult horse for Republicans to get behind.
That being said, Holt says he’s hopeful it will get through the GOP-led House. “Oh, I’m always optimistic,” he said. “Every once in awhile Congress leads and shows that we’re far thinking and broad-minded, so even though this hasn't reached a crescendo as a great national movement, I think there would be a lot of support out there, a lot of approval if Congress did this.”
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The committee is chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who in past interviews has voiced skepticism of climate change, making it unlikely the resolution would make it to the House floor before Darwin’s big day this year.
With or without Congress, Holt plans to celebrate. ”You know what I might do is re-read the closing chapter of the ‘Beak of the Finch,’ which is just a wonderfully interesting book,” Holt said. “Written by some people in my congressional district,” he added.