Religion Versus Science In The Scopes Trial

1011 words - 5 pages

This trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, and the central figure was a

twenty five-year-old science teacher named John Scopes. Scopes was under the umbrella

of advancing America, and the trial was dubbed The Scopes “Monkey” Trial. In 1925,

John Scopes was encouraged to challenge the Butler Law. This law was passed in the

state of Tennessee to bar teachings contrary to those in the Bible. Teachings from an

evolutionary text, Scopes broke the law and drew the attention of the media. The focus of

the media on the Scopes trial clearly presented the difference in the ideas of a religious

town and an evolving country.

Dayton, Tennessee ...view middle of the document...

The people

of Dayton were not interested in moving forward with the roaring twenties. William

Jennings Bryan who was the head of the prosecution was also the leader of the Butler

Law defenders. He was determined to defend as literally true every word in the Bible. In

the deepest sense, Bryan had to defend it, he wanted certainty and reassurance, and had

learned to depend on the bible since childhood for certainty and reassurance. He would

lead a people who held on to the past and religion.

The sexual revolution also progressed. “In the vanguard of the revolt was the so-

called New Woman, the model of the educated, independent feminist who repudiated the

sexual morality of the past”. ( Moran 2 ). Both flappers and movie stars dancing the

Charleston supported this advancement. America was turning into a world set free of

Victorian restraints. America was advancing in every aspect.

The first day of the trial which was Friday, July 10, 1925 quickly turned into a

media frenzy, journalist from all over the country came to cover the trial. Ministers,

fortune seekers and all sorts of people descended on the city of Dayton just because of

it. Entrepreneurs sold stuff like posters, banners, food and even the bible trying to

take advantage of the widely publicized trial. This was the first of its kind to be

broadcast over the radio and Scopes played a very minimal role in this trial which was

mainly a verbal war between defense attorney Darrow and the lead prosecutor Bryan.

“Because Judge Raulston feared that the courtroom floor could no longer support so

many people, he moved the trial outside to the sunny courthouse lawn for the afternoon

of Bryan’s testimony. There, before a crowd of three thousand, with soda vendors

weaving in and out of the masses, Bryan writhed under Darrow’s attack” ( Moran 47 ).
Efe 3
The defense was dealt a heavy blow when Judge Raulston refused to accept the

expert testimony supporting Darwin’s theory and Darrow decided that if he couldn’t get

Darwin’s theory validated, he would attack the bible’s literal interpretations. The high

point of the trial was when Darrow asked Bryan to take the stand and he continued to

hammer Bryan with difficult questions on his strong acceptance of the stories in the Bible

like the creation of Eve from a rib taken from Adam while he was asleep, and the story of

Jonah being...

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