Science & Technology

Ohio Town Not So Sure About Darwin Day—or Scientific Inquiry in General


Citizen Nothing reports in from the Heart of It All:

A Columbus [Ohio] suburb that went through controversy over its Nativity scene is now being asked to celebrate science for the birthday of Charles Darwin.

Whitehall City Councilwoman Jacquelyn Thompson last week suggested that the council declare "Darwin Day" for Feb. 12, the 200th anniversary of the day the evolution theorist was born.

Thompson says the idea came from the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. A different secularist group, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, complained about Whitehall's manger display last month.

After some initial resistance over Darwin Day, Thompson submitted a new proposal Tuesday night to designate February as "Science Month."

Councilman Wesley Kantor said the community doesn't want that but does want the Nativity scene.

More here.

I'm all against special days or months set aside by governments, especially if it costs a dime of tax money (then again, distraction from really awful state action ain't so bad, either). Really, is it so terrible to insist that public servants work on Christmas Day and the Fourth of July? We live in a small "r" republic and civic spectacle should be reduced to nothingness. Or certainly something short of the bazillion-dollar display we saw just earlier in January (note: ex-presidents should also pay for their own security detail; it might make them behave better in office).

I am generally in favor of evolution, though I do worry that in the future we will, as Reason contributor Tim Cavanaugh noted, all look like Rick Santorum or Linda Hunt.

Update: As Citizen Nothing notes in the comments below, a Columbus Dispatch article records this exchange in a public forum:

"The whole idea of this was to recognize the events," [councilwoman Jacquelyn Thompson] said at a council meeting yesterday. "I thought it was a great opportunity to show that we value science, we value inquiry and we encourage our students to open up to the world."

A few council members replied with shouts of "Not my children!"

More here.