At least one member of Congress hopes to make the birthday of one of the most influential biologists a national celebration. Democratic Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey has introduced legislation that would designate February 12, 2013, as "Darwin Day."

The day "recognizes Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge," according to the legislation, which was introduced on Tuesday. Holt worked with the American Humanist Association to introduce the resolution.

“Only very rarely in human history has someone uncovered a fundamentally new way of thinking about the world -- an insight so revolutionary that it has made possible further creative and explanatory thinking," the congressman explained in a statement. "Without Charles Darwin, our modern understandings of biology, ecology, genetics, and medicine would be utterly impossible, and our comprehension of the world around us would be vastly poorer. By recognizing Darwin Day, we can honor the importance of scientific thinking in our lives, and we can celebrate one of our greatest thinkers."

The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology -- where it is almost certain to die.

The committee is controlled by Republican lawmakers who are notably hostile to the theory of evolution. One committee member, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), described evolution as "lies from the pit of hell."

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