Essay about Science V. Religion: The Scopes Monkey Trial

Essay about Science V. Religion: The Scopes Monkey Trial

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The 1920’s were a time of change. New ideas were becoming more readily experimented with and even accepted by large portions of the population. Some of these included jazz music and the fight against the alcoholic prohibition. The radical idea I will focus on in this paper, however, is Evolution. It is a theory that had been around for over half a century before the 20’s but had only more recently caught on in the US. It contradicted the Christian theory of Divine Creation as described in the Bible. This caused many religious fundamentalists to fight against it. They took their battle to the law books, and they were challenged by pro-evolution modernists in the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925.
The theory of Evolution was developed by Charles Darwin throughout his life and published in 1859 in a book called "The Origin of Species." In brief, it states that all living things on earth evolved over time and that natural selection is how they evolve. Natural selection is the process by which entire populations change in response to their environment. It works because those who are better adapted to the environment reproduce at a higher rate than those who are less suited for the environment (Biology, 2001). It is widely accepted that humans evolved from primates. That is why the trial had the nickname of "Monkey Trial". In contrast, the theory of Divine Creation states that the universe was created in seven days by God and that animals have not evolved since. One can see clear differences between these two theories.
The history of the Scopes trial begins in Tennessee with the Butler Act, which passed on March 13, 1925. The Butler Act stated that “it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other pub...


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.... 16 May 2007

American Civil Liberties Union. 2007. Wikipedia. 16 May 2007

“Scopes Trial” The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2005

Scopes Trial. 2007. Wikipedia. 16 May 2007

“Scopes trial” World Book. Chicago: World Book, Inc., 2004
The Scopes 'Monkey Trial' - July 10, 1925 - July 25, 1925. University of Virginia American Studies. 16 May 2007

Tennessee Evolution Statutes. 1925. University of Missouri–Kansas School of Law. 16 May 2007

Timeline: Monkey Trial. 2002. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 16 May 2007

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