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Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Scopes Monkey Trial

25 May 1925. Upon the testimony of seven students, high school teacher John T. Scopes is indicted thus opening the curtain for the theatrical "Trial of the Century" popularly known as the "Scopes Monkey Trial" held in the formerly obscure mining town of Dayton, Tennessee. The case was calculated to test the Butler Act of 21 March 1925 which barred the teaching of the Theory of Evolution in Tennessee. The 12-day trial (10-21 July 1925) matched Democratic presidential wannabe and Fundamentalist preacher William Jennings Bryan against ACLU lawyer and confessed agnostic Clarence Darrow in a celebrated polemical combat. Substantial details of the case can be found online @ the UMKC website. A review of the movie, "Inherit the Wind" -- a fictionalized version of the trial -- can be read @ John Clayton's site. (see also article by Robert Harsh).

For an objective treatment of the Trial and the Creation-Evolution controversy, I recommend the following:

Giberson, Karl W. and Donald A. Yerxa. Species of Origins: America's Search for a Creation Story. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002.

Larson, Edward J. Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.

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