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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
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Would Charles Darwin Have Made a Good Congressman?
9 November 2012 4:02 pm
It's a good 130 years too late to answer that question empirically, but at least symbolically Charles Darwin has won support from more than 4000 voters in the 10th congressional district of Georgia, thanks to an initiative headed by James Leebens-Mack, a plant biologist at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Like many others, Leebens-Mack was deeply troubled by a speech his Congressman, Paul Broun (R-GA), gave at an Athens church in October deriding teachings on evolution, embryology, and the big bang theory as "lies straight from the pit of Hell." Broun, a medical doctor, is a member of the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and chair of its Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight.
The researcher decided to channel his outrage by setting up a Facebook page titled "Darwin for Congress" that invited voters in the district to vote for Darwin as a write-in candidate against Broun—who was running unopposed.
Broun won comfortably. But Darwin got enough write-in votes to gladden the hearts of Leebens-Mack and other organizers of the campaign. Write-in votes of unregistered candidates are not tallied by election officials, so Leebens-Mack did the tallying himself after getting the write-in list from officials in his county. "There are 24 additional counties for which we don't have a tally," he tells ScienceInsider. "The total number of write-ins for Darwin could be a lot more than 4000."
Leebens-Mack says the "protest vote should make it clear to future opponents that there are a lot of people in the district who are not happy with antiscience statements."
Why doesn't Leebens-Mack run against Broun himself in 2014? "I am a scientist, not a politician," he says. "I enjoy my job as a plant biologist. It would be too big a sacrifice to give that up to run for Congress."