Creationism vs. Evolution

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Since the Age of the Enlightenment, the institution of religion has had to contend with the opposition of science regarding the issues of the origins of the world and of the human species. Up until around the end of the 17th century, the church was the authority on how the world and everything in it had come to be. However, with the great intellectual revolution came thinkers such as Galileo, Copernicus, Bacon, Descartes, and many others who challenged the biblical assumptions with empirically deduced scientific theories. The Catholic Church had a nasty habit of persecuting such ideological dissent toward creationism, calling it heresy and thereby somewhat suppressing a complete upheaval of the Scriptures. For many centuries to come, the scientific research grew and developed into theories like the Big Bang and evolution, though primarily in places where such progress was tolerated. The state of Tennessee in 1925 was not such a place. In the town of Dayton in Tennessee, a high school biology teacher was found to be in violation of a recently passed law, the Butler Act, because he taught the theory of evolution in his classroom. The debate that ensued has yet to be resolved, what with the modification of creationism into the theory of intelligent design. The argument in favor of creationism was solely based in scripture, though it had to be changed in light of its revamping, whereas the argument for evolution has only been strengthened by continued scientific discoveries.

In Dayton, Tennessee in May of 1925, John Scopes was prompted by the American Civil Liberties Union (the ACLU) to defy the Butler act, a law that was passed earlier that May. The Act declared it unlawful “for any teacher in any of the Universities, No...

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Bryan, William J. State of Tennessee V. John Thomas Scopes. No. No. 5232. Circuit Court of Rhea County. 21 July 1925. 30 Mar. 2008 .

Herndon, Peter N., comp. The Constitution, Censorship, and the Schools: Tennessee V. John Thomas Scopes. 1997. Yale University. 31 Mar. 2008 .

Malone, Dudley F. State of Tennessee V. John Thomas Scopes. No. No. 5232. Circuit Court of Rhea County. 21 July 1925. 30 Mar. 2008 .

Nachman, M W., W M. Brown, M Stoneking, and C F. Aquadro. "Nonneutral Mitochondrial DNA Variation in Humans and Chimpanzees." NCBI PubMed (1996). 30 Mar. 2008 .

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