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Essay on The Monkey Trial Disputes the Theory of Evolution and Creationism

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The Scopes Trial, which was also known as ‘The Monkey Trial’ or The State of Tennessee vs. Scopes, was a very popular legal dispute in court that was between the theory of evolution and creationism, and played a major role which shaped the 1920’s. What was just as popular was the interpretation of the case, if not more than the actual result of the dispute. This case received world-wide attention and the media coverage produced many different opinions world-wide. A major factor of why the Scopes trial had received so much attention in such an insignificant town was because of the stage the trial was played out on. The Butler Act is what made the Scopes trial possible. The Butler Act stated that it was prohibited for public schools in Tennessee from teaching evolution, or to go against the words of the Biblical story of creationism. The Act made it ‘unlawful for any teacher in in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the state which are supported in whole or in part by the public funds of the state, 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 described from lower order of animals’.
The Act was put in place in 1925 with almost no opposition in Tennessee’s Congress, if the law were to be broken, the offender would be placed a fine of $100 to $500. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which was a union who defended every person’s constitutional rights, offered to defend anyone in court who was accused of teaching evolution in schools. This was to of no shock to the people of Tennessee. ‘A fellow legislator estimated at the time that no fewer than 95 percent of all Tennesseans opposed the teaching of evolution’. Howeve...


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...s. The scopes case was fought on two levels which have still continued to be discussed today. The first with legal and political questions about what was allowed and what was not allowed to be taught in public schools and who was to make the decision, but other than these arguments, there was clearly another level. Both Bryan and Darrow thought that the theory of evolution and religion did conflict and that one had to be right and one had to be wrong. America, along with the rest of the world, began to decide their take on the Scopes Trial. ‘Most southern Baptists saw the trial as a morality play in which goodness had vanquished evil’. There was great offense taken by the fundamentalists when they were compared to a lower species of animals by the evolution theory. The theme good vs. evil was the point of the trial for Fundamentalists where evolution was the evil.



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