We extend Curmudgeonly greetings to all creationists as they celebrate their most hallowed day of the year. Yes, dear reader, today, 21 July, is the 86th anniversary of the conviction of that arch-fiend, John Scopes, defendant in the world-famous Scopes Trial. He had been accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act by teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. That law, duly enacted by the wise legislators of Tennessee, provided:
That it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.
According to the Wikipedia article on the Scopes Trial:
After eight days of trial, it took the jury only nine minutes to deliberate. Scopes was found guilty on July 21 and ordered to pay a US$100 fine (approximately $1,250 in 2010 when adjusted from 1925 for inflation). [Judge] Raulston imposed the fine before Scopes was given an opportunity to say anything about why the court should not impose punishment upon him and after Neal [John R. Neal, a law school professor from Knoxville, one of Scopes’ attorneys] brought the error to the judge’s attention the defendant spoke for the first and only time in court:
Your honor, I feel that I have been convicted of violating an unjust statute. I will continue in the future, as I have in the past, to oppose this law in any way I can. Any other action would be in violation of my ideal of academic freedom — that is, to teach the truth as guaranteed in our constitution, of personal and religious freedom. I think the fine is unjust.
To help you celebrate, you can revisit an old post of ours: Scopes Trial: Bryan’s Closing Argument.
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