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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Jim Himes has taken on the role of being a chief proponent of Darwinism in the House of Representatives.

For the third year in a row, the Connecticut Democrat has proposed perennial, longshot legislation that commemorates the birth date of Charles Darwin. The late British naturalist developed the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection.

Himes realizes the bill's chances of passage are slim. But he took it over from a retiring lawmaker because "science and truth remarkably always need advocacy against the forces of nostalgia and fear and irrationality."

Himes says that message is especially important now as skepticism surrounds science.

Himes was accused by his recent political challenger, Republican John Shaban of Redding, of offering the bill as a political stunt.

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