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Scopes Trial

By J. Kingston Pierce
6/12/2006 • American History

Scopes Trial Summary: The Scopes Trial, commonly referred to as the Scopes Evolution Trial or the Scopes Monkey trial, began on July 10th, 1925. The defendant, John Thomas Scopes, was a high school coach and substitute teacher who had been charged with violating the Butler Act by teaching the theory of evolution in his classes. The Butler Act forbid the teaching of any theory that denied the biblical story of Creationism. By teaching that man had descended from apes, the theory of evolution, Scopes was charged with breaking the law.

The trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee, and was the result of a carefully orchestrated series of events that were intended to bring publicity, and therefore money, into the town by a group of local businessmen. In reality, Scopes was unsure of whether he had ever technically taught the theory of evolution, but he had reviewed the chapter in the evolution chapter in the textbook with students, and he agreed to incriminate himself so that the Butler Act could be challenged by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). Several students were encouraged to testify against Scopes at the trial.


The Scopes Trial brought in hundreds of reporters from all over the country, and it was the first trial to be broadcast on radio. Both the prosecuting attorney and Scopes’ defense attorney were charismatic men and drew significant attention to the case, which for the defense was more about defeating the Butler Act then about defending Scopes. Scopes was found guilty and charged a fine of $100, but the verdict was thrown out on a technicality on an appeal. For the next few years, textbooks in Tennessee had all mention of evolution removed. The Butler Act was repealed in 1967.



Travelers wandering through Dayton, Tennessee, in mid-July 1925 might have been excused for thinking that the tiny hill town was holding a carnival or perhaps a religious revival. The street leading to the local courthouse was busy with vendors peddling sandwiches, watermelon, calico, and books on biology. Evangelists had erected an open-air tabernacle, and nearby buildings were covered with posters exhorting people to ‘read your Bible’ and avoid eternal damnation.

If there was a consistent theme to the garish exhibits and most of the gossip in Dayton it was, of all things, monkeys. Monkey jokes were faddish. Monkey toys and souvenirs were ubiquitous. A soda fountain advertised something called a ‘monkey fizz,’ and the town’s butcher shop featured a sign reading, ‘We handle all kinds of meat except monkey.’

As comical as this scene sounds, its background was anything but amusing. Sixty-six years after Charles Darwin published his controversial Origin of Species, the debate he’d engendered over humankind’s evolution from primates had suddenly reached a fever pitch in this hamlet on the Tennessee River. Efforts to enforce a new state statute against the teaching of evolution in public schools had precipitated the arrest of Dayton educator John T. Scopes. His subsequent prosecution drew international press attention as well as the involvement of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It also attracted two headliners of that era–Chicago criminal attorney Clarence Darrow and former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan–to act as opposing counsel.

Bryan characterized the coming courtroom battle as a ‘duel to the death’–one that would pit religious fundamentalists against others who trusted in scientific conclusions, and would finally determine the right of citizens to dictate the curricula of the schools their tax dollars supported. The case rapidly took on a farcical edge, however, as attorneys shouted at each other and outsiders strove to capitalize on the extraordinary publicity surrounding this litigation. (At one point, for instance, a black man with a cone-shaped head who worked New York’s Coney Island sideshows as Zip, the ‘humanoid ape,’ was offered to the defense as the ‘missing link’ necessary to prove Darwin’s scientific claims.) The ‘Scopes Monkey Trial,’ as history would come to know it, also included a personal dimension, becoming a hard-fought contest not just between rival ideas, but between Bryan and Darrow, former allies whose political differences had turned them into fierce adversaries.

Crusades to purge Darwinism from American public education began as early as 1917 and were most successful in the South, where Fundamentalists controlled the big Protestant denominations. In 1923, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill banning the use of all school texts that included evolutionist instruction. Later that same year, the Florida Legislature approved a joint resolution declaring it ‘improper and subversive for any teacher in a public school to teach Atheism or Agnosticism, or to teach as true, Darwinism, or any other hypothesis that links man in blood relationship to any other form of life.’

To Fundamentalists, for whom literal interpretation of the Bible was central to their faith, there was no room for compromise between the story of God’s unilateral creation of man and Darwin’s eons-long development of the species. Moreover, these critics deemed evolutionist theories a threat not only to the belief in God but to the very structure of a Christian society. ‘To hell with science if it is going to damn souls,’ was how one Fundamentalist framed the debate.

John Washington Butler couldn’t have agreed more. In January 1925, this second-term member of the Tennessee House of Representatives introduced a bill that would make it unlawful for teachers working in schools financed wholly or in part by the state to ‘teach any theory that denies the story of the divine creation of man as taught in the Bible.’ Violation of the statute would constitute a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500 for each offense.

Butler’s bill flummoxed government observers but delighted its predominately Baptist backers, and it sailed through the Tennessee House on a lopsided 71 to 5 vote. It went on to the state Senate, where objections were more numerous, and where one member tried to kill the legislation by proposing an amendment to also ‘prohibit the teaching that the earth is round.’ Yet senators ultimately sanctioned the measure 24 to 6. As the story goes, many Tennessee lawmakers thought they were safe in voting for this ‘absurd’ bill because Governor Austin Peay, a well-recognized progressive, was bound to veto it. However, Peay–in a prickly political trade-off that won him the support of rural representatives he needed in order to pass educational and infrastructural reforms–signed the Butler Act into law. As he did so, though, he noted that he had no intention of enforcing it. ‘Probably,’ the governor said in a special message to his Legislature, ‘the law will never be applied.’

Peay’s prediction might have come true, had not the ACLU chosen to make the statute a cause célèbre. Worried that other states would follow Tennessee’s lead, the ACLU agreed in late April 1925 to guarantee legal and financial assistance to any teacher who would test the law.

John Scopes wasn’t the obvious candidate. A gawky, 24-year-old Illinois native, he was still new to his job as a general science teacher and football coach at Rhea County Central High School. Yet his views on evolution were unequivocal. ‘I don’t see how a teacher can teach biology without teaching evolution,’ Scopes insisted, adding that the state-approved science textbook included lessons in evolution. And he was a vocal supporter of academic freedom and freedom of thought. Yet Scopes was reluctant to participate in the ACLU’s efforts until talked into it by Dayton neighbors who hoped that a prominent local trial would stimulate prosperity in their sleepy southeastern Tennessee town.

On May 7, Scopes was officially arrested for violating Tennessee’s anti-evolution statute. Less than a week later, William Jennings Bryan accepted an invitation from the World’s Christian Fundamentals Association to assist in Scopes’ prosecution.

No one who knew the 65-year-old Bryan well should have been surprised by his involvement in the case. Bryan had been trained in the law before being elected as a congressman from Nebraska, and he made three spirited but unsuccessful runs at the presidency on the Democratic ticket. He had served as secretary of state during President Woodrow Wilson’s first term but had spent the last decade writing and lecturing more often about theology than politics. With the same silver tongue he’d once used to excoriate Republican office seekers and decry U.S. involvement in World War I, Bryan had since promoted religious ethics over man’s exaltation of science. ‘It is better to trust in the Rock of Ages than to know the ages of the rocks,’ Bryan pronounced; ‘It is better for one to know that he is close to the Heavenly Father than to know how far the stars in the heavens are apart.’ Ever the rural populist– ‘the Great Commoner’–Bryan saw religion as the crucial backbone of agrarian America, and he reserved special enmity for accommodationists who struggled to reconcile Christianity and evolution. Such modernism, he wrote, ‘permits one to believe in a God, but puts the creative act so far away that reverence for the Creator is likely to be lost.’

Bryan’s role elevated the Scopes trial from a backwoods event into a national story. Clarence Darrow’s agreement to act in the teacher’s defense guaranteed the story would be sensational. A courtroom firebrand and a political and social reformer, the 68-year-old Darrow was still riding high from his success of the year before, when his eloquent insanity defense of Chicago teenagers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who had kidnapped and murdered a younger neighbor, had won them life imprisonment instead of the electric chair. The ACLU would have preferred a less controversial and more religiously conservative counsel than Darrow, an agnostic who characterized Christianity as a’slave religion’ that encouraged complacency and acquiescence toward injustices. According to biographer Kevin Tierney, the Chicago attorney ‘believed that religion was a sanctifier of bigotry, of narrowness, of ignorance and the status quo.’ The ACLU feared that with Darrow taking part, the case would, to quote Scopes, ‘become a carnival and any possible dignity in the fight for liberties would be lost.’ In the end, Darrow took part in the Dayton trial only after offering his services free of charge–’for the first, the last, and the only time in my life,’ the attorney later remarked.

After spending the previous Friday impaneling a jury (most members of which turned out to be churchgoing farmers), all parties gathered for the start of the real legal drama on Monday, July 13, 1925. Approximately 600 spectators–including newspaper and radio reporters, along with a substantial percentage of Dayton’s 1,700 residents–elbowed their way into the Eighteenth Tennessee Circuit Court. Presiding was Judge John T. Raulston, who liked to call himself ‘jest a reg’lar mountin’er jedge.’ The crowded courtroom made the week’s stifling heat even more unbearable. Advocates on both sides of the case quickly resorted to shirtsleeves. The prosecution included Bryan, Circuit Attorney General Arthur Thomas Stewart, and Bryan’s son, William Jennings Bryan, Jr., a Los Angeles lawyer. For the defense were Darrow, New York lawyer and co-counsel Dudley Field Malone, ACLU attorney Arthur Garfield Hays, and Scopes’ local lawyer, John Randolph Neal.

The prosecution’s strategy was straightforward. It wasn’t interested in debating the value or wisdom of the Butler Law, only in proving that John Scopes had broken it. ‘While I am perfectly willing to go into the question of evolution,’ Bryan had told an acquaintance, ‘I am not sure that it is involved. The right of the people speaking through the legislature, to control the schools which they create and support is the real issue as I see it.’ With this direction in mind, Bryan and his fellow attorneys took two days to call four witnesses. All of them confirmed that Scopes had lectured his biology classes on evolution, with two students adding that these lessons hadn’t seemed to hurt them. The prosecution then rested its case.

Scopes’ defense was more problematic. Once a plea of innocence had been lodged, Darrow moved to quash the indictment against his client by arguing that the Butler Law was a ‘foolish, mischievous, and wicked act . . . as brazen and bold an attempt to destroy liberty as ever was seen in the Middle Ages.’ Neal went on to point out how the Tennessee constitution held that ‘no preference shall be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.’ Since the anti-evolution law gave preference to the Bible over other religious books, he concluded, it was thus unconstitutional. Raulston rejected these challenges.

From the outset, defense attorneys focused their arguments on issues related to religion and the influences of a fundamentalist morality. Early in the proceedings, Darrow objected to the fact that Judge Raulston’s court opened, as was customary, with a prayer, saying that it could prejudice the jury against his client. The judge overruled Darrow’s objection. Later the defense examined the first of what were to be 12 expert witnesses–scientists and clergymen both–to show that the Butler Law was unreasonable and represented an improper exercise of Tennessee’s authority over education. When the state took exception, however, Raulston declared such testimony inadmissible (though he allowed affidavits to be entered into the record for appeal purposes).

With the defense’s entire case resting on those 12 experts, veteran courtroom watchers figured that this decision effectively ended the trial. ‘All that remains of the great case of the State of Tennessee against the infidel Scopes is the formal business of bumping off the defendant . . . ‘ harrumphed journalist H.L. Mencken after the sixth day of litigation. ‘[T]he main battle is over, with Genesis completely triumphant.’ So sure were they of a swift summation that Mencken and others in the press corps simply packed their bags and left town. Yet Darrow had a surprise up his sleeve. When the court reconvened on Monday, July 20, the ACLU’s Arthur Hays rose to summon one more witness–William Jennings Bryan. ‘Hell is going to pop now,’ attorney Malone whispered to John Scopes.

Calling Bryan was a highly unusual move, but an extremely popular one. Throughout the trial, the politician-cum-preacher had been the toast of Dayton. Admirers greeted Bryan wherever he went and sat through long, humid hours in court just for the opportunity to hear him speak. He’d generally been silent, listening calmly, cooling himself with a fan that he’d received from a local funeral home, and saving his voice for an hour-and-a-half-long closing argument that he hoped would be ‘the mountain peak of my life’s effort.’ But Bryan didn’t put up a fight when asked to testify. In fact, he agreed with some enthusiasm, convinced–as he always had been–of his righteous cause.

Judge Raulston, concerned that the crowd massing to watch this clash of legal titans would prove injurious to the courthouse, ordered that the trial reconvene on the adjacent lawn. There, while slouched back in his chair and pulling now and then on his signature suspenders, Darrow examined Bryan for almost two hours, all but ignoring the specific case against Scopes while he did his best to demonstrate that Fundamentalism–and Bryan, as its representative–were both open to ridicule.

Darrow wanted to know if Bryan really believed, as the Bible asserted, that a whale had swallowed Jonah. Did he believe that Adam and Eve were the first humans on the planet? That all languages dated back to the Tower of Babel? ‘I accept the Bible absolutely,’ Bryan stated. As Darrow continued his verbal assault, however, it became clear that Bryan’s acceptance of the Bible was not as literal as his followers believed. ‘[S]ome of the Bible is given illustratively,’ he observed at one point. ‘For instance: `Ye are the salt of the earth.’ I would not insist that man was actually salt, or that he had flesh of salt, but it is used in the sense of salt as saving God’s people.’ Similarly, when discussing the creation, Bryan conceded that the six days described in the Bible were probably not literal days but periods of time lasting many years.

With this examination dragging on, the two men’s tempers became frayed, and humorous banter gave way to insults and fists shaken in anger. Fundamentalists in the audience listened with increasing discomfort as their champion questioned Biblical ‘truths,’ and Bryan slowly came to realize that he had stepped into a trap. The sort of faith he represented could not adequately be presented or justly parsed in a court of law. His only recourse was to impugn Darrow’s motives for quizzing him, as he sought to do in this exchange:

BRYAN: Your Honor, I think I can shorten this testimony. The only purpose Mr. Darrow has is to slur at the Bible, but I will answer his questions . . . and I have no objection in the world. I want the world to know that this man, who does not believe in God, is trying to use a court in Tennessee–

DARROW: I object to that.

BRYAN: –to slur at it, and, while it will require time I am willing to take it.

DARROW: I object to your statement. I am examining you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes.

It was a bleak moment in what had been Bryan’s brilliant career. He hoped to regain control of events and the trust of his followers the next day by putting Darrow on the stand. But Attorney General Stewart, who’d opposed Bryan’s cross-examination, blocked him and instead convinced the judge to expunge Bryan’s testimony from the record.

Before the jury was called to the courtroom the following day, Darrow addressed Judge Raulston. ‘I think to save time,’ he declared, ‘we will ask the court to bring in the jury and instruct the jury to find the defendant guilty.’ This final ploy by Darrow would ensure that the defense could appeal the case to a higher court that might overturn the Butler Law. The defense also waived its right to a final address, which, under Tennessee law, deprived the prosecution of a closing statement. Bryan would not get an opportunity to make his last grandiloquent speech.

The jury conferred for only nine minutes before returning a verdict of guilty. Yet Bryan’s public embarrassment in Dayton would become legend–one that the prosecutor could never overcome, for he died in his sleep five days after the trial ended.

Following the trial, the school board offered to renew Scopes’ contract for another year providing he complied with the anti-evolution law. But a group of scientists arranged a scholarship so he could attend graduate school, and Scopes began his studies at the University of Chicago in September. Mencken’s Baltimore Sun agreed to pay the $100 fine Judge Raulston levied against Scopes. On appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the jury, rather than the judge, should have determined Scopes’ fine, but it upheld the Butler Law’s constitutionality. Darrow had hoped to take the matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Any chance of that, though, was foreclosed when Tennessee’s chief justice nullified Scopes’ indictment and threw what he called ‘this bizarre case’ out of the courts.

Not until April 1967–42 years after the Butler Law was passed, and 12 years after Inherit the Wind, a play based on the Scopes Monkey Trial, became a Broadway hit–did the Tennessee Legislature repeal the anti-evolution law.

Since then, a series of court decisions has barred creationists’ efforts to have their beliefs taught in public schools. Yet 75 years after the Scopes trial, debate over evolution still continues to simmer as states and education boards struggle with the subject that pits science against religion.



This article was written by J. Kingston Pierce and originally published in the August 2000 issue of American History Magazine. For more great articles, subscribe to American History magazine today!




65 Responses to Scopes Trial

  1. ahshantee smith says:

    very boring

    • bob69 says:

      THis is true!!!

    • Nigelsquare says:

      “the subject that pits science against religion…” is the most miguiding statement in the whole article. Evolution is the origins story of the Humanist religion, while Creation is the origins story of Judeo/Christianity. It is most cartainly NOT a debate of science against religion, but Christianity against Humanism. Rocks, fossils, bones, etc, are not discovered with date tags attached. Certain experiments are conducted on these articles and the results are interpreted using the scientists’ pre-conceived ideas. For example, the radioactive decay of elements does not give a ‘date’ for the sample, but certain assumptions are brought to bear – speed of decay, amount of parent and child substance and the original ratio. Also diamonds are not routinely tested by Carbon-14 decay, as it has been assumed that no C-14 can be present anyway as they are far too ancient. However, C-14 does exist in diamonds showing that they’re no-where near as ancient as once assumed, but far more in line with biblical dates.

      • Agimaso Schandir says:

        >Humanist religion…while Creation is the origins story of Judeo/Christianity.Rocks, fossils, bones, etc, are not discovered with date tags attached.Certain experiments are conducted on these articles and the results are interpreted using the scientists’ pre-conceived ideas.For example, the radioactive decay of elements does not give a ‘date’ for the sample, but certain assumptions are brought to bear – speed of decay, amount of parent and child substance and the original ratio.Also diamonds are not routinely tested by Carbon-14 decay, as it has been assumed that no C-14 can be present anyway as they are far too ancient.However, C-14 does exist in diamonds showing that they’re no-where near as ancient as once assumed, but far more in line with biblical dates.<
        Diamonds not only contain C-14, there are mostly made from carbon .
        Measuring C-14 dating does not work for diamonds because it cannot be used for items older then 60,000 years and the possibility of contamination.

  2. octavia thompson says:

    this is extremely borin and it makes me wanna cry!!!!

  3. Kristen Raine says:

    this is the dumbest article i’ve ever read in my life, and it makes me want to jump off a bridge head first into a pool of acid.

    • Carl Eslava says:

      Its not dumb the reason why people like you are dumb is because people think that we came from monkeys. If you believe in god then you know you are the doing the right thing. For example, if you look at the human eye… do you think that it came by chance or was it designed?

      • Jaime says:

        the human eye looks just like animal eyes what point are you trying to make exactly?

      • carl eslava says:

        the eye is intricately designed…. we never have any characteristics of any animal. we as people, like animals are created with complex design. DO YOU THINK IT CAME BY CHANCE?! what idiot would believe what darwin wrote… he is the stupidest guy i ever heard of.

      • What says:

        How does that mean God created us. What God are you referring to? What religion do you reference?

      • elise says:

        the human eye is intricately designed. and so is the animal eye… havent you ever dissected a cow’s eye? i think it would be good for you because IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS A HUMAN’S EXCEPT BIGGER.

      • Logical Tolerance says:


        Have you ever taken the time to actually read “On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin. Nowhere in his work does he state that we evolved from monkeys, nor does he even discuss human evolution. He merely alludes to the possibility of his theory of natural selection as a theory that could shed light onto our own origins as a species. I would also encourage you to look at the fossil record of early hominids. I do not have a problem with any follower of any religion; everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but I cannot stand it when one bashes something of which they have absolutely no knowledge. Before you can intelligently debate a topic and successfully prove your point, you have to know BOTH sides of the argument. Learning about evolution is not wrong, it gives you the opportunity to logically argue against it instead of making outlandish comments that make you look like an uneducated fool.

      • brian says:

        this is very true people like that r jus retarted and they dnt believe in god so thts there problem and they can take it up with the man upstairs

      • Jaime says:

        Retarted? Really? how can you possibly be saying that other people are retarded for not believing in God, when you can’t even spell the word correctly?

        And it is unbelievable to me the arguments that people are making against evolution here. “look at the human eye,” “we never have any characteristics of any animal,” and “people like you are dumb because people think that we came from monkeys.” You are seriously making yourself look dumb. I’m not even saying that I completely believe in evolution, but at least I can see the hundreds of similarities between humans and animals.

        Ultimately none of you were there when the world was created, so how can you possibly say that either side is true for sure? Even the people who wrote the Bible weren’t there. So how does anyone really know? It is all theory, evolution and creationism alike.

      • Michael Weber says:

        look up ‘irreducible complexity’ on google. The issue is not so much that the human eye is *different* from an animal’s as it is that THE EYE, animal or human, is too irreducibly complex to exist at all by evolutionary standards..

      • logic says:

        To all of you church believers do you not know that ancient civilizations flourished before the bible says god made Adam and eve

      • Trevor says:

        ‘Any engineer would naturally assume that photocells would point towards the light, with their wires leading backwards towards the brain. He would laugh at any suggestion that the photocells might point away from the light.. Yet this is exactly what happens in all vertebrate retinas. Each photocell is, in effect, wired in backwards.

        The wire has to travel over the surface of the retina to a point where it dives through a hole to join the optic nerve. This means the light, instead of being granted unrestricted passage to the photocells, has to pass through a forest of connecting wires, presumably suffering at least some attenuation and distortion (actually, probably not much but, still, it is the principle of the thing that would offend any tidy-minded engineer).

        I don’t know the exact explanation for this strange state of affairs. The relevant period of evolution is so long ago.’

        Richard Dawkins

      • Dianna says:

        Not everyone believes in God because there’s pretty much no evidence. There’s this thing called SCIENCE that shows cells and how they’re formed; that is how the human eye was made. Go to school. You can believe in God, go ahead; I’m not stopping you, but stop trying to push your idiotic religious beliefs on other people.

    • Tom Johnson says:

      Agreed, the stupidity of certain humans/religions is too damn high

  4. mr.keane says:

    do not read this if you want to keep yourself awake

  5. Bo Jangles says:

    its only boring if your mentally challenged and don’t take the time to read it you idoits. if you understood it you’d be interested fricking retards. you all probably should go jump off a bride head first into a pool of acid. (good one kristen raine) real orginal…

    • Alyssa says:

      People on the internet are so rude and threatening to each other because there are no real consequences. grow up

  6. alex odom says:


  7. ben dover says:

    I kind of like it. Whomever thinks its boring can get off

  8. Jacqueline Bandel says:

    I found this article to be fascinating, informative, and of course, not a little sad, although the contemporary results of this historic trial are heartening and hopeful.

    What an impressive service you provided, in this presentation, to those of us interested in the story of the Scopes’s trial. [Yes, apostrophe s is how to make possessive the word Scopes, despite the bad time my computer is giving me vis-à-vis this name.]

  9. Bri says:

    This helped me out with my thesis paper. Now I must site the darn thing. xD Thank you, whoever posted it.

    • elise says:

      i have to cite it too who is the g*****n author i cant find it for the life of me.

      • elise says:

        wow never mind no one pay attention to my idiocy…

      • Gerald Swick says:

        To anyone who is having trouble finding the name of the author of “Scopes Trial,” the information appears in this paragraph at the end of the article:

        This article was written by J. Kingston Pierce and originally published in the August 2000 issue of American History Magazine.

  10. Charlotte says:

    Well octavia, then why in the world did you read it?

  11. Wesley Mitchell says:

    if you are to ignorant to understand the meaning of this the shut up and go elsewhere….i myself find this to be some intresting info that just shows how much state and church seperation is…it may be seperated but it still affects us just as good…..politically and mentally on everything.

  12. Heather says:

    this is a very interesting article, i enjoyed reading it very much.

  13. sabrinna hanley says:

    I am from the area were this trial took place. I never new the details on it. I found this very intresting, to learn the actual meaning behind the scopes trial. If more people would follow the bible maybe the schools would be a better place an all the killings and guns an violence in school would stop. I wish there was an eaiser way to teach people that the bible is still the basis of the future, i no that i am not a monkey an i dont want my kids to learn this way either.

    • Em says:

      You clearly don’t KnoW the difference between “new” (an adjective) and “knew” (the past tense of the verb “to know”). Neither do you know the difference between “an” (which is an article) anD “and” (a conjunction).
      It’s good that you know you are not a monkey. I’d be worried that the local zoo was missing a few residents otherwise.
      As for the Bible (yes it is capitalized) preventing violence, it didn’t seem to prevent the Crusades in the Middle Ages, the Bosnian Crisis in the 1990’s, nor have Christian conservatives turned the other cheek to the Middle East. Yet all these crises have involved Christians who claim to study the Bible. Now tell me how the Bible will prevent children from committing acts of violence?

      • Denduron says:

        I have to agree with Em. People are using the Bible as an excuse for imprisoning and blockading Palestine, which is clearly NOT peaceful. Evolution may actually help us gain a sense of being one people, and reduce violence.

      • elise says:

        i completely agree with em except, that the punctuation advice is a little annoying. and as for adding more of the bible into the public education system, well, take it up with the bill of rights.

    • Logical Tolerance says:

      *sigh* This is why people need to learn about evolution. Even if you don’t believe in it you need to understand it to provide a valid argument against it. It’s uneducated people of faith that make the rest of religious followers look bad. I’m sorry but “The Bible says so,” is not a good enough answer. It’s a cop out that Christian Fundamentalist use to avoid having to actually give a reasonable answer. The theory of evolution does not imply that we are monkeys. Is it that hard to google? Try reading…you might learn something.

  14. brittany says:

    I found this to be very helpful for my research paper..

  15. kayla loves soch boy says:

    HAHAHAH i love you all for these wonderful posts. i havnt even read the article yet, because ive been to engrossed in reading your comments. i especially like the pool of acid comments, and how the guy who was calling everyone stupid couldnt actually spell words of the english language. y’all made my day so thankyaa

  16. Gus R. says:

    I have to agree; these comments are quite entertaining. I really don’t take a side on the issue of Darwinism vs. Creationism because I do not think they are truly opposites. If one would take both to the extreme they would be. But it is possible that both are right and both are wrong. They can even coincide. God could have created the Heavens and the Earth in a span of six days, or periods dubbed days that could be an infinite amount of time, and populated the Earth with creatures. He could then have guided the evolution of these organisms into dinosaurs, cleaned the slate, and then guided them into humans through evolution. Or the Garden of Eden could have been secluded from the rest of the primordial world as the dinosaurs held their reign. Just putting my input out there to say that no one can truly say that one side or the other is wrong as no one truly knows the answer to life’s questions.

    • elise says:

      you totally have a point. has anyone of you religous fanatics heard of how to god every minute is a thousand years? (or maybe its million, i can never remember) well, six days to god… millions of years.

      • robert says:

        That would be a “Day as a thousand years, and thousand years as a day”

  17. russell says:

    these are some delicious comments bro

  18. […] evolution in schools and teaching creationism, we do. It comes up like clockwork, despite the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Oklahoma is the latest state to breach the subject. […]

  19. […] evolution in schools and teaching creationism, we do. It comes up like clockwork, despite the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Oklahoma is the latest state to breach the subject. […]

  20. C'aira says:

    Who cares what others say? It’s what you believe. And come on people name calling….GROW UP!! No one cares what you say if you can’t take time to spell out what you say. The bible, monkeys, god… It’s what you believe not anyone else. Grow a pair and stand up for what you believe and DO NOT push what you believe onto others!!

  21. mmy says:

    Its so interesting, omg this is the topic for my american history project.

  22. Borago says:

    I found this article to be thorough and informative, and did not bore me. It’s been a real help for my research paper. :) 70 notecards to go…

  23. Donald Sensing says:

    Scopes was not even a regular teacher, but a substitute. In fact, he wasn’t even present at the school on the specific day cited in the indictment.

    When the Dayton town fathers learned that the ACLU had announced it would challenge the Butler Act, they very quickly contacted the ACLU to be the venue before any other town took all the action.

    Scopes was actually recruited by Dayton’s leadership to be the patsy. Everyone already knew Scopes was teaching evolution because every science teacher in town taught it, causing no religious turmoil there. Whatever the good Christians of Dayton were, they weren’t the mindless fundamentalists Hollywood later made them out to be.

    As much a Dayton booster as anyone, Scopes shortly agreed to be the defendant. George Rappelyea, the key Dayton figure behind the scenes, contacted the ACLU again to let them know everything was ready, including the defendant.

    The trial was, of course, every bit the circus the town leaders hoped. Newsmen descended from all over the country. The courtroom was so sweltering the judge moved the trial onto the town quadrangle, which simply made more room for more people to come and spend their money. Finally, Scopes was found guilty as charged and fined a hundred dollars by the judge, which was paid by the town’s leaders.

    When the fall semester of 1925 began in Dayton, the teachers there went right on teaching evolution, and the good people of Dayton were as equally unperturbed by it as before, having laughed all summer all the way to the bank.

  24. […] Genital mutilation of infant girls and boys; Censorship of science teaching (EG Evolution and the Tennessee Stopes ‘monkey’ trial) in schools; Holy wars; State-sanctioned apartheid & slavery; Loss of sexual freedom; Religious […]

  25. […] in the Church began to change.  Maybe you remember or at least remember reading about the “Scopes Monkey Trials” in the twenties.  In Tennessee they passed a law that it was illegal to teach evolution in the […]

  26. billy says:

    this is a total waste of time becouse in fact the evolution of man is true becouse how did we get here in the first place (technology), becouse the way i see it god didnt help us threw all those terrible troubles when our four fathers came to america and settled it and im not shure if its just me but i dont think god ordered or even built the nuke that was bombed on japan. the only reason why we have a god in the first place i so people have something to beleive in- something greater than themselves to uplift there spirits, and it was also a way for empires back in history could influence or control there people that much more.

  27. Rnong says:

    Yes, Darwin never said that human descended from monkey, but he implied it. I am still believing in God, despite all verbal abuse from the intellectual out there. Which one should I accept humanist religion or the Bible religion? The answer is clear. I accept the Bible religion. Science and Science philosophy is humanist religion. It is the way to worship anything that is human. I understand that there were people in the past who claim to be Christian and committed crime in the Christian name, but it has nothing to do with Jesus. It is the same way about corrupt scientist and humanist philosopher who would say and do anything just to gain fame and wealth. It is not difference. I learn about evolution in college, and it did not convince me. I respect Darwin as a person and a truth scientist, but he is not God. I can make hypotheses and rationalized anything as human being. It does not mean that I am correct in any given time because a corrupt human. I can see that we are human here because we abuse each other just to make our point.

  28. Tom Johnson says:

    I can’t believe how stupid humans can be. Life has been around for about 3.8 billion years and that is not enough for the animal’s eyes to evolve to be so sophisticated? That ‘intelligent design’ theory has been repeatedly refuted by the scientific community and even Christian scientists. That god of yours has got to come from somewhere, and I do not believe that even before the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago that an intelligent being more complex than humans have been formed. The IRONY… Yet now, we have sufficient neanderthal fossils and using carbon dating they are only found to be about 40000 years old. The skulls clearly proved evolution right, while up to now, there isn’t any hard proof on the ‘God’ that created the earth.

  29. Ian Sangster says:


  30. Idiocy's guise is logic says:

    I cannot and WILL NOT conform the the idiocy of militant Atheism and Nietzsche! IF YOU READ ONE COMMENT on this thread, let it be mine.

    The eye being wired \backwards\ is a myth that is as old as Darwin and just as mistaken. There are nerve cells (the retina) above the rods and cones in our eyes. However, only a fool with no medical knowledge would believe such a lie such as the \wired backwards\ conundrum.

    The \alternative\ to our setup WOULD RENDER US COMPLETELY blind! Those nerves HAVE NO effects on incoming light. However, the CAPILLARIES currently behind our Rods and cones (light sensitive cells) would blind us if \wired correctly\. Fact is stranger than fiction.

    Our eyes aren’t \perfect\, as many Religious people say. God Himself (it?) in his account from the Bible, never says his creation is \perfect\. He does say \It is good\. Good, meaning that it is the best design for its purpose.

    Now before you digress into the inane foolishness of \Why can’t we fly?\ or \Why are we so weak?\, do realize that we are \created in HIS (its?) image.

    Why am I quoting the Bible? It isn’t to affirm my beliefs through omission. It is just to show a logical solution to the problem. After all, isn’t that what science is all about? Observations in current data are the founding of science. Not clinging to the beliefs of the \popular\.

    You must justify your own beliefs through YOUR OWN toil. That is why I cannot become even an agnostic.

    Why do you believe doctors are primarily theists? As we say, \There are no Atheists in trenches\.

    By the way, that trial (scopes) was deliberately set up. A common tactic of the weak, deceitful and self-righteous. Not to mention it was littered with Ad-hominems and moronic questions! Read the transcript!

    • girl says:

      Piltdown Man

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Jump to: navigation, search

      Not to be confused with The Piltdown Men.

      \Piltdown\ redirects here. For the village in East Sussex, see Piltdown, East Sussex.

      Group portrait of the Piltdown skull being examined. Back row (from left): F. O. Barlow, G. Elliot Smith, Charles Dawson, Arthur Smith Woodward. Front row: A S Underwood, Arthur Keith, W. P. Pycraft, and Ray Lankester. Painting by John Cooke, 1915
      The Piltdown Man was a paleoanthropological hoax in which bone fragments were presented as the fossilised remains of a previously unknown early human. These fragments consisted of parts of a skull and jawbone, said to have been collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, East Sussex, England. The Latin name Eoanthropus dawsoni (\Dawson’s dawn-man\, after the collector Charles Dawson) was given to the specimen. The significance of the specimen remained the subject of controversy until it was exposed in 1953 as a forgery, consisting of the lower jawbone of an orangutan deliberately combined with the cranium of a fully developed modern human.

      The Piltdown hoax is perhaps the most famous paleoanthropological hoax ever to have been perpetrated. It is prominent for two reasons: the attention paid to the issue of human evolution, and the length of time (more than 40 years) that elapsed from its discovery to its full exposure as a forgery.

      • girl says:

        The bible clearly states in genisis chapter 4:9 that when cane was sent out of the garden. “Then cane said to yahweh, My punishment is greater than I can bear. See today you drive me from this ground. I should hide from youand be a fugitive and a wonderer over the earth. Why, who ever comes across me will kill me. Very well then Yahweh replied. If anyone kill Cane 7 fold vengence shall be taken for him. So Yahweh put a mark on Cane to prevent whoever might come across him from strikeing him down. ”

        This clearly shows that the bible when used to support creationism goes back farther thand adam and eve. and that God (Yahweh states and referres to other humans (not animals) may harm him. Question is who are these people???

  31. Alice says:

    Thank you for such an in-depth article, it certainly has helped me with my essay. I think it was a nice, neutral explanation of the facts that wasn’t influenced by your personal opinions.

  32. […] One-LIner Wednesday comes from the recorded transcript of the Scopes Trial, which took place in a Dayton, Tennessee courtroom in July of […]

  33. tj phelps says:

    not guilty

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