Wednesday, May 25, 2005

This Day in History: Scopes Indicted

From the "Eighty Years Later, The Debate Goes On" file:


On May 25, 1925, John T. Scopes was indicted in Tennessee for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.

Let's Light a Fire Under Someone
Early in 1925, Tennessee had passed legislation forbidding the teaching of evolution.

In his book Summer For The Gods, Edward Larsen recounts that the local head of the Cumberland Coal and Iron Co., George Rappalyea, didn't like a new Tennesee law . Rappalyea instigated the search for a teacher who would agree to go to court. Scopes, a substitute biology teacher, was their man.

According to the New York Times, the indictment stated that Scopes taught "certain theory and theories that deny the story of Divine creation of man as taught in the Bible and did teach thereof that man descended from a lower order of animals."

Honey, Do I Look Like That?
Jeffery Moran, in his book The Scopes Trial: A Brief History With Documents, notes that after the indictment, zoos in the south saw a 50% increase in attendence.

Trial of the Century
William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow were the lawyers at this "trial of the century." Bryan, as prosecuting attorney poked fun at the theory of evolution, noting that the theory had man descending,

"not even from American monkeys, but from old world monkeys. (Laughter.)"(From the trial transcript)

On the 7th Day...
...the trial ended with a guilty verdict; Bryan had lost. Six days after that, Bryan died "not of a broken heart, but of a busted belly," according to Darrow.

Now what?
When the intelligent designers, in their infinite wisdom, bring this issue to trial again, will churches see a 50% rise in attendance?

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