Darwinism vs. Creationism: the Scopes Trial of 1926

Topics: Scopes Trial, William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow Pages: 3 (793 words) Published: September 21, 2008
Two vastly different worlds known as religion and science collide, giving birth to the infamous Scopes Trial of 1926. Twenty-four year old high school teacher John Thomas Scopes of Dayton, Tennessee decided to test a law called the Butler Act. Many teachers felt that honor and academic freedom along with the separation of church and state were at risk. In y 1925 Scopes was accused of teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to his class which violated the Butler Act of 1925. Scopes was provoked by the American Civil Union Act because of their promise to pay for the defense of anyone willing to violate the Butler Act. The trial brought upon two outstanding lawyers of the time, William Jennings Bryan (three-time Democratic candidate for President and a populist) in prosecution and Clarence Darrow (leading member of American Civil Liberties Union and famous for world renown criminal defense) in defense. It was believed by most scientists that biology could not be taught without making some sort of reference to the theory of evolution, but being that the people of Tennessee were such strong believers of the bible, many of the Christian Fundamentalist saw that the theory of evolution denied their religious beliefs. This trial was definitely a conflict between religion and science; hence the people of Tennessee were gravely angered by the teachings of Darwin’s theory because it contradicted the creation of man that was stated in the bible. This case was a watershed in this religion-science conflict that eventually led to three major following the trial: The Butler Act was discontinued, the Scopes Trial upheld defeat of religion over science, and the trial reflected the social conflict that took place in the American Society during the 1920s.

Eventually schools would start to teach the theory of evolution which indicates the abolishment of the Butler Act (which was officially eliminated in the late 1960s.) It became quite clear that teaching science...
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