Darwinism and the Scopes Monkey Trial Term Paper by jaberwocky

Darwinism and the Scopes Monkey Trial
An examination of Charles Darwin's controversial theory of human evolution and the Scopes Monkey Trial.
# 103065 | 1,777 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2004 | US

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This paper discusses how Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has met with much controversy throughout history. The paper points out that the issue of whether an all-mighty God created the universe and people or whether people evolved from monkeys remains a heated topic. To illustrate this, the paper focuses on the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee in the Rhea County Courthouse. John Scopes, a substitute biology teacher, was accused of breaking the Butler Act, prohibiting the teaching of the evolution theory in all the universities and public schools of Tennessee. The paper asserts that the trial went beyond being just the trying of a man who taught evolution against the law. It became a trial of religion vs. evolution. The paper concludes that, although Scopes lost the case, he won the public's favor.

From the Paper:

"Dayton Tennessee was a small town and many Daytonians viewed the Scopes trial as an opportunity to put their town on the map. Under normal circumstances, the law would not have been challenged but a plan was hatched out by George Rappleyea, a staunch evolutionist and local businessman in Rhea County, who saw the trial as a way to attract money and attention to the small town, helping to raise up its failing economy. During the trial, the normally quiet yet prosperous town became, for about two hot weeks in July, a fair of lemonade and hotdog stands, banners and monkey pennants, caged apes, hawkers of religious tracts and biology texts, Holy Rollers and evangelists, and hundreds of members of the press. Dayton was, however, a very religious community, and with nine churches in town, it was apparent why the people did not want evolution taught in the classrooms. H. L. Mencken, a writer who once visited the town said it was "full of charm and even some beauty" but also complained that because of its strong religious beliefs the town had "no bootleggers, no gambling, no place to dance, and that no fancy women." During the trial however, it was said that the town "was literally drunk on religious excitement." There was seating available in the courthouse for 700, but 300 more standees crammed in to watch Dayton's most historic event take place. Rappleyea's plan was coming into play and working just as he had hoped. Attention to the town was coming from all over as the trial began."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Barbour, I.G., Issues in Science and Religion. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1966.
  • Barlow, N. The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882. London: Collins, 1958.
  • Darwin, Charles. The Origin of the Species, New York: Modern Library, 1962.
  • Ginger, Ray. Six Days or Forever?: Tennessee vs. John Thomas Scopes, Boston : Beacon, 1959.
  • Larson, E. J. Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution, New York : Oxford University Press, 1985.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Darwinism and the Scopes Monkey Trial (2008, April 13) Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/darwinism-and-the-scopes-monkey-trial-103065/

MLA Format

"Darwinism and the Scopes Monkey Trial" 13 April 2008. Web. 26 February. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/darwinism-and-the-scopes-monkey-trial-103065/>