The Scopes “Monkey trial”, Part 1: Issues, Fact, and Fiction
This weekend sees the 93rd anniversary of the Scopes Trial, and I am reposting this and its companion piece to celebrate.
I would point out two things. One is that the actual William Jennings Bryan was nothing like the ogre of Inherit the Wind, which was an allegory of McCarthyism. The other is how remarkably well the scientific evidence has stood up to almost a century of examination. There is even a mention, based on serological evidence, of how closely related whales are to hoofed land animals.
What is the purpose of this examination?
We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States, and that is all.
Inherit the Wind, the prism through which the public sees the Scopes Trial, is a travesty. William Jennings Bryan, who prosecuted Scopes, was neither a buffoon nor a biblical literalist but moved by deep concerns that continue to merit attention. He did not protest at the leniency of Scopes’s punishment, but offered to pay the fine out of his own pocket. Nor did he collapse in defeat at the end of the trial, but drove hundreds of miles, and delivered two major speeches, before dying in his sleep a week later. Scopes, on trial for the crime of teaching evolution in Tennessee state school, was never at risk of prison. He was no martyr, but a willing participant…
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Posted on July 22, 2018, in Accommodationism, Darwin, Education, Evolution, Politics, Religion, Science and tagged Butler Act, Clarence Darrow, Edwards v. Aguillard, Epperson v.Arkansas, Inherit the Wind, Scopes Trial, William Jennings Bryan. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.