The Infamous Trial of Science vs. Religion: The Scopes Monkey Trial

Topics: Scopes Trial, Clarence Darrow, Creationism Pages: 4 (1470 words) Published: March 25, 2008
The 1920’s were a time of change. New ideas were becoming more readily experimented with and even accepted by large portions of the population. Some of these included jazz music and the fight against the alcoholic prohibition. The radical idea I will focus on in this paper, however, is Evolution. It is a theory that had been around for over half a century before the 20’s but had only more recently caught on in the US. It contradicted the Christian theory of Divine Creation as described in the Bible. This caused many religious fundamentalists to fight against it. They took their battle to the law books, and they were challenged by pro-evolution modernists in the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925. The theory of Evolution was developed by Charles Darwin throughout his life and published in 1859 in a book called "The Origin of Species." In brief, it states that all living things on earth evolved over time and that natural selection is how they evolve. Natural selection is the process by which entire populations change in response to their environment. It works because those who are better adapted to the environment reproduce at a higher rate than those who are less suited for the environment (Biology, 2001). It is widely accepted that humans evolved from primates. That is why the trial had the nickname of "Monkey Trial". In contrast, the theory of Divine Creation states that the universe was created in seven days by God and that animals have not evolved since. One can see clear differences between these two theories. The history of the Scopes trial begins in Tennessee with the Butler Act, which passed on March 13, 1925. The Butler Act stated that “it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the... to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” This was considered by many to be an...

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State v. John Scopes ("The Monkey Trial"). Douglas O. Linder. 2002. University of Missouri–Kansas School of Law. 16 May 2007
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Timeline: Monkey Trial. 2002. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 16 May 2007
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