Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) on Tuesday night took to the House floor to honor the birth of Charles Darwin 205 years ago.
“Through his work, Darwin discovered that the drive for survival of each species produces an evolution by natural selection,” he remarked. “This discovery fundamentally changed our understanding of the world. It paved the way for innumerable advancements in the fields of medicine, technology, and education. Without his recognition that natural selection enables increasing complexity, our comprehension of the world around us would be vastly poorer.”
“To me, Charles Darwin represents much more than a discovery or a theory,” the lawmaker and former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory continued. “He represents a way of thinking, a philosophy. His approach to life and to the world around him should be celebrated as much as his discoveries. It was his thirst for knowledge and his scientific approach that led to new truths that enabled him to uncover the theory of evolution. This lesson is as valuable as the discovery he made and the explanations he gave.”
“Thinking like a scientist is all too absent from our public dialogue, and this is why we should continue to celebrate Darwin as a master of clear, evidence-based thinking. We, in this House, would do well to emulate his vision and his thinking, and I urge my colleagues to join me in marking Darwin Day,” Holt concluded.
In late January, Holt introduced a resolution expressing support for “Darwin Day,” an annual celebration on February 12 started by the American Humanist Association. The secular group says there were over 90 registered Darwin Day events in 27 states this year.
“We’re proud to support Rep. Holt and the resolution’s co-sponsors in their effort to recognize Charles Darwin’s contributions to science and humanity,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Given the anti-science views held by some in Congress, it’s important for our future that scientific advancements—and the scientists that achieve them—are appropriately honored.”
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Rush Holt, below.
[Image via Flickr user Partnership for Global Learning, Creative Commons licensed]