RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM
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THE SCOPES TRIAL


Thesis: The Scopes Trial created a clean split between religion and the scientific theories about the beginning of life into fundamentalists and modernists.

The Unsolvable Controversy
      • Schools teaching religious views when Darwin introduced theory of evolution
      • The theory of evolution was new and different and was rejected and opposed by many people.
      • Adam and Eve Vs Monkey to Adam
      • Those favoring religion argue that evolution is just a theory that has not been proven as a fact
      • The same could be applied to religion
      • Evolutionists use trends as evidence of evolution
      • Religion uses faith
      • If religion is taught in schools, then the theory of evolution is denied the right to be taught
      • If evolution is taught in schools, it conflicts with many religious views

Religion Taught = Evolution Loses
Evolution Taught = Religion Loses

Neither Taught = Both Lose
Both Taught Cannot be Attained
"We do not believe that the right of freedom or religious liberty warrants any man... to teach our children any theory which has as its purpose or tendency the discreditng of our religion"
~Dayton Methodist Ministers



The People Involved:

John Scopes:
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  • 24-year-old High school biology teacher
  • Decided to teach his class about evolution and the theory of darwinism
  • Arrested on account of "teaching 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 animal." (A Tennessee law)
  • Worked with businessman George Rappelyea in order to get arrested and raise attention to the case, boosting Dayton's economy

William Jennings Bryan:
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  • Anti-evolution democrat who ran for president three times
  • Served as the secretary of state
  • Gave speeches later on in his life, opposing evolution
  • Introduced in Florida a resolution that states it improper for a public school teacher " to teach as true Darwinism or any other hypothesis that links man in blood relation to any form of lower life."
  • Believed the masses opposed evolution and that "those who pay the taxes have a right to determine what is taught; the hand that writes the paycheck rules the schools"

Clarence Darrow:


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  • Famous trial lawyer
  • Volunteered to join the ACLU without being paid, revealing that the matter was somewhat personal
  • For the teaching of evolution
  • Wants to "encourage skepticism and scientific inquiry"




The Verdict:
  • Inconclusive, there were no winners
  • Scopes was found guilty
  • Bryan was interrogated publicly, brutally attacked by Darrow, revealing Bryan's weak argument
  • Freedom of speech, by the end of the Scopes Trial, was to be restrained according to being taught in public schools

Today we have done the exact opposite of what was done in the 1920's. Religion is now the subject that cannot be taught in public schools. It is seen as forcing religious beliefs on children in schools.Teaching evolution does not violate the first amendment right to freedom of religion. Scientific theories like evolution have been created through careful studying of evidence and are facts and theories that are extrapolated from the facts. However, there is still a division among schools where evolution is forbidden, like in private catholic schools.
Science and religion have separated for the most part. There are still things like intelligent design that still try and push the two together, but many moral debates have science vs. religion bases. Prochoice vs. prolife is one of the more heated debates.
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