For the past few years, I’ve been wanting to pay my respects to John Scopes by visiting the site where the famous “Monkey Trial” was conducted especially since I learned there was a museum at the Rhea County Courthouse where the trial was held. Today is the 90th anniversary of the decision date.
When I was at Oxford College, in history class we had a group project and as I was declaring myself an Anthropology major, I swayed the group to do Scopes. This was the first time I ever heard of the trial despite going to a science magnet high school. In short, the Scopes Monkey trial occurred in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, when a high school teacher John Scopes was charged with teaching evolution then forbidden by a Tennessee law called the Butler Act. He did teach evolution and was fined $100. He later became a geologist.
The details of the trial really don’t matter very much however this was one of the first times this issue came up and it is an issue that to this day is STILL being fought. While we (the evolutionists) did technically lose the trial, we did have a partial win. The prosecutor, William Jennings Bryan, lost a lot of evangelical support when he admitted that the 6 days of the Bible could have been longer than 24 hours. He also died not terribly long after the trial probably of exhaustion from all the traveling he was doing.
The amusing thing to see is how times have changed (or you could say “evolved”). Bryan was a Democrat courting the evangelicals.
But back to the museum. It took me much longer to drive there than to walk through it. Heck it took me longer to walk to the building and get through the joke-of-security to get in. The entrance at the basement is not where they want you to enter and you have to go all the way to the back of the building, walk through an unmanned metal detector, then go down a flight of stairs to the basement. The museum handling Scopes is about half of the basement. It was cute, but only a few small rooms. Then you can go upstairs to see what the courtroom was like, really though, I wonder how accurate that was since it looked pretty modern plus even had a modern sign saying that circuit court was at 9 am. Apparently every year, the town does a play called “Front Page News” in July which reenacts part of the trial. I was actually going to consider doing that however, since I needed to move to a location further away, I figured I might as well do it when I was closer to it.
I am not ashamed to be an evolutionist, I do however fear for the rest of this country which doesn’t seem to understand what evolution is even about and how it does not conflict with faith. I posted a photo of the sign about the Scopes trial to a Photo-a-day challenge and an anti-evolutionist complained about how people are still trying to teach it. I had to ask if she was talking evolution or “creation science.” She said evolution because it’s not still happening. Then I had to explain what it was and give several examples of experiments which supported evolution. I am starting to fear for this world.
When will people learn that we should leave science to the people qualified to teach science?
Completed : 2014