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The Scopes Trial Essay

The Scopes Trial is a famous trial that had one main topic to focus on: evolution. This trial was brought on because John Scopes taught his students about evolution. The trial happened in 1925 in Tennessee. For creationists and evolutionists, this was a huge trial because it was the first major account of the teaching of evolution. Although this seems as a simple matter between creationists and evolutionists, there is more to meets the eye. The Scopes Trial was more complicated. The three reason why the trial was more complicated than just a simple debate between evolutionists and creations are being able to bring up and discuss the newly passed law that evolution was not to be taught in schools, evolutionists could finally point out examples of evolution through science to show how it is important to learn, and to bring up an argument of traditional and modern views.

The first reason it was more complicated was that because someone finally got caught and this brought up the discussion of the newly passed law of being prohibited from teaching about evolution. From a website I found online, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/08/2/l_082_01.html, I found out that evolutionists brought up the new law. “Narrowly, the trial was about challenging a newly passed Tennessee state law against teaching evolution or any other theory denying the biblical account of the creation of man”; this was the law that was passed in Tennessee which created a more big controversy than the actual act John Scopes himself. But, this was a perfect opportunity for evolutionists to make a stand and to create a more modern way of thinking.

The second reason is that evolutionists could finally show examples and prove evolution. The website says, “But Clarence Darrow and the ACLU had succeeded in publicizing scientific evidence for evolution, and the press reported that though Bryan had won the case, he had lost the argument.” This shows that even though the evolutionists lost the case, they were able to put themselves out there and show the people what the government was not letting them know about evolution by science. Because of this trial, Clarence Darrow and the ACLU now had people to back them up and though the evolutionists did not win the trial, they still had an opportunity to reveal evolution to the world and used it wisely. John Scopes was just the base to start evolution.

The third reason why it was more complicated was that traditional and modern views came into play. The website says, “Broadly, the case reflected a collision of traditional views and values with more modern ones: It was a time of evangelism by figures such as Aimee Semple McPherson and Billy Sunday against forces, including jazz, sexual permissiveness, and racy Hollywood movies, which they thought were undermining the authority of the Bible and Christian morals in society.” This shows that creationists were traditional and evolutionists were modern. This causes a bigger controversy because creationists were against anything that they thought was disrespecting the Bible. When, the evolutionists, were thinking that it was ok to modernize because science backed them up. They could prove what they were doing where the Bible, on the other hand, does not really have an author and has no witnesses.

All these small ideas and problems all affected the trial. And, even though the evolutionists lost, they were victorious later on in time. It was not until the 1960’s that evolution started to show up in the textbooks again. This trial was not just about creationists and evolutionists. It was about modernizing and creating a more understandable future. I think people were sort of questioning the Bible because there was no evidence behind it. This caused us today to have so many different views of evolution and religions. We need to know that this trial is more than just about creationists and evolutionists because it affected us on how we live and think today.


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