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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
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At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. 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."