Why I Can’t Support the Darwin Day Resolution

So I received a tweet asking for support for the Darwin Day Resolution.

The full text of the resolution is here:

Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2011, as Darwin Day and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.
Whereas Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection, together with the monumental amount of scientific evidence he compiled to support it, provides humanity with a logical and intellectually compelling explanation for the diversity of life on Earth;
Whereas the validity of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is further strongly supported by the modern understanding of the science of genetics;
Whereas it has been the human curiosity and ingenuity exemplified by Darwin that has promoted new scientific discoveries that have helped humanity solve many problems and improve living conditions;
Whereas the advancement of science must be protected from those unconcerned with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change;
Whereas the teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States’ education systems;
Whereas Charles Darwin is a worthy symbol of scientific advancement on which to focus and around which to build a global celebration of science and humanity intended to promote a common bond among all of Earth’s peoples; and
Whereas, February 12, 2011, is the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809 and would be an appropriate date to designate as Darwin Day: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) supports the designation of Darwin Day; and
(2) recognizes Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge.

I was reading it with some interest, but then I get to the part about “the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change”. Why is climate change in there? There are so many obvious, uncontroversial topics directly related to evolution in medicine, pharmaceuticals, ecology, physiology, etc… that it seems to be both irrelevant and counterproductive to include it. Sure, the climate change folks think that denying it is like denying the holocaust or denying evolution, but it really isn’t nearly at that level. There are not the number of independent investigations and data supporting man-influenced climate change as there are for either evolution or the holocaust, even if the science were completely unambiguous on the topic (which it isn’t). To conflate the two is a serious tactical mistake, and a serious scientific mistake.

Although I support Darwin Day, I can’t support this resolution because of this ridiculous add-on.

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About brianblais

I am a professor of Science and Technology at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, and a research professor in the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems, Brown University. My research is in computational neuroscience and statistics. I teach physics, meteorology, astonomy, theoretical neuroscience, systems dynamics, artificial intelligence and robotics. My book, "Theory of Cortical Plasticity" (World Scientific, 2004), details a theory of learning and memory in the cortex, and presents the consequences and predictions of the theory. I am an avid python enthusiast, and a Bayesian (a la E. T. Jaynes), and love music.
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