Outcome of The Scopes Monkey Trial

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The Scopes Trial, formally known as The State of Tennessee vs. Scopes but given the nickname “The Monkey Trial”, has been credited as starting the popular legal dispute between evolution and creationism in the court, and its impact in the 20’s was immeasurable.

The interpretation of the case is just as popular, if not more, than the actual result of the case. The worldwide attention and media coverage the case received produced many opinions. Scholar’s opinions range from describing the case as an irrelevancy and a good show to describing it as a “Watershed in American religious history” (Ronald L. Numbers, 1998, p. 76). A large factor in why the Scopes trial has received so much attention in an insignificant town is because of the stage that the trial was played out on.

To begin with, The Butler Act made the Scopes trial all possible. To state it simply, The Butler Act prohibited public schools in Tennessee from teaching Evolution, or to falsify the Biblical story of Creationism.

The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill making it unlawful for state-supported schools to teach any theory that denies the story of divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals (Numbers, 1998, p. 77).

Put in place in 1925 with virtually no opposition in Tennessee’s Congress, breaking the law resulted in a misdemeanor offense with a fine of $100 to $500. The American Civil Liberties Union – a union that fought for every citizen’s constitutional rights – offered to defend anyone in court who was accused of teaching evolution. The bill was no shock to Tennesseans, “A fellow legislator estimated at the time that no fewer than 95 percent of all Tennesseans oppos...

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...pment” of humans.

“Today in Dayton, they are selling more books on evolution than any other kind and the bookshops in Chattanooga and other cities of the state are hardly able to supply the demand for works on evolution. The trial has at least started people to thinking.” (Lienesch, 2007, p. 168)

Darrow’s interrogation of the scientific credibility of the Bible caught many eyes

Theoretically, fundamentalist had won, for the law stood. But In reality, both sides were neither victorious. They won the fight lost the war. Civilized opinions were convinced by Dayton and the idea of the genesis story of creation and fundamentalism slowly began to drift away. Of course not everyone was convinced, as they store their religion in a science proof container in the brain.

Both sides felt they won.

It is not what the trial accomplished but what the trial represents.
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