Science

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

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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.

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  1. To me, the second graf below is the money quote (from the Columbus Dispatch):

    “The whole idea of this was to recognize the events,” she 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.”

  2. If this wasn’t so obviously a “hey, let’s put our thumbs in the eyes of the Christers!” day, I’d say something like “there are worse things they could be choosing to do with their time” but… it’s obviously a “hey, let’s put our thumbs in the eyes of the Christers!” day.

  3. Did Darwin ever walk on water? Turn water into wine? Bring someone back from the dead? I thought not.

    Christ:1
    Darwin:0

    Swish!

  4. “Did Darwin ever walk on water? Turn water into wine? Bring someone back from the dead? I thought not.

    Christ:1
    Darwin:0

    Swish!”

    Or maybe the Bible is full of shit.

  5. note: ex-presidents should also pay for their own security detail; it might make them behave better in office

    To be sure, Secret Service protection for ex-presidents only lasts for ten years. After that, they are responsible for any further security they wish.

  6. Nick,

    Thats crazy talk. Unless you mean that the bullshit stories spun up around real events that were less than miraculous. Then yes, the bible is full of shit. I believe there isn’t even any record of a Jesus of Nazareth in Roman records.

  7. I would imagine that one of the steps toward becoming enlightened freethinking humanists is to do away with the deferential declaration of bank holidays in honor of Some Guy who died a long time ago.

  8. “It’s been a while since I read it – isn’t there also a legend about him lifting a longship single-handed or something?”

    It’s unfair to compare real people to imaginary friends. Let’s pit Jesus against Thor, my guess is that Jesus’s hands would soon be aching…

  9. “I would imagine that one of the steps toward becoming enlightened freethinking humanists is to do away with the deferential declaration of bank holidays in honor of Some Guy who died a long time ago.”

    You forgot to add “and watching the faces of the Christers twist in anger is a lot of fun! HEY JESUS-BOY!!! NOT ONLY WAS JESUS GAY, HE DIDN’T EXIST!!!! SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!!!”

  10. Let’s pit Jesus against Thor

    After Jesus wins, maybe he can regrow Tyr’s left arm, and together they’ll hunt down that fucking wolf Fenrir and make him pay.

  11. I can see the objection to x-mas. But a secluar servant of our constitution should be able to get the 4th of July off. You’d think reason would support a holiday celebrating revolution against tyranny.

  12. …it’s obviously a “hey, let’s put our thumbs in the eyes of the Christers!” day.

    “Obvious” to you, maybe, but I don’t see any evidence that they did this to offend anyone.

    For those of us who don’t have bizarre persecution fantasies, the simpler explanation is that these folks simply want a day honoring their dude.

    If you’re going to have days honoring everyone and everything, then why is Darwin Day any more or less egregious than, say, George Washington Carver Day?

    Agree that any of these days are ultimately a waste of time, and nowhere near a core function of government. However, if it keeps the city council from passing onerous regulations or raising taxes, then it’s a good thing.

  13. “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!”

    Goddamn, that’s hilarious.

  14. This is the most recent I could find after an exhaustive 3 second search.

    109th U.S. Congress (2005-2006)

    Christians are almost as bad off here as in Afghanistan.

  15. J sub D – That is one bizarre effing link, seems to be some sub-sub-schism of an obsucure protestant denomination. Check out the entries for Kucinich “Catholic, Vegan” and Tammy Baldwin “GLBT.” WTF?

  16. “For those of us who don’t have bizarre persecution fantasies”

    Dude, I’m an atheist.

    But I didn’t watch “Rabbit Proof Fence” and come to the conclusion that the Colonials were doing a favor to the abos by taking time out of their day to make sure that the kids got educated correctly.

  17. I believe there isn’t even any record of a Jesus of Nazareth in Roman records.

    There was, but it was redacted.

  18. Invisible Finger,

    Is that a pun towards the Bible?

  19. Really, is it so terrible to insist that public servants work on Christmas Day and the Fourth of July?

    Oh, you’re just loads of fun, aren’t you Ebernezer?

  20. Was there not an award named after Darwin?

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