As Darwin Day is celebrated, numerous creationist bills sit before U.S. state legislatures
On February 12, 2012 At 10:20 pm
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Today was Darwin Day, an international celebration of science and humanity on the anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth on February 12, 1809. "Specifically, the event celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin — the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor," writes the International Darwin Day Foundation. "More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity."
The International Darwin Day Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 educational corporation, and its mission is to promote the public education about science and to encourage the celebration of science and humanity. It is managed by the American Humanist Association as an autonomous program. The Continuum for Humanist Education offers free online courses about evolution and other topics.
The religious right tries to characterize the theory of evolution as a theory of the origin of life, one of many misunderstandings. Despite court rulings that teaching creationism in public schools is unconstitutional, there are already six bills currently pending in New Hampshire and Missouri (both having two bills each), and one each in Indiana and Oklahoma that would require "teaching the debate," intelligent design and/or creationism in the public schools. As the UK's Guardian notes, it is only February — the start of the legislative season — and more of these anti-science bills could be introduced. Writes Katherine Stewart of the Guardian,
For the most part, the authors of these bills are singing a song we've heard before. Jerry Bergevin, the Republican sponsor of one of the New Hampshire bills, says of evolution that "It's a worldview and it's godless." He blames the teaching of evolution for Nazism and Columbine. Josh Brecheen, the sponsor of the Oklahoma bill, wants to stop the teaching of "the religion of evolution." These legislators, and their colleagues in Missouri and Indiana, trot out the hoary line that evolution is "just a theory" and that real science means saying that every point of view is just as good as any other.