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The Scopes Trial was officially The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. The trial is usually referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial. It was held in Tennessee in 1925. In it, John Scopes was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.

The trial was deliberately staged in the town of Dayton, Tennessee to attract publicity. Scopes was unsure whether he actually had taught evolution, but he purposely incriminated himself so the case would have a defendant.

William Jennings Bryan argued for the prosecution, Clarence Darrow for Scopes and the defense. The trial publicized the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy. This pitted Modernists who believed evolution and religion were reconcilable against Fundamentalists, who believed the word of God (as revealed in the bible) was the encapsulation of all human knowledge.

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Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, though the verdict was overturned on a technicality. Despite all the publicity and hoopla, the issue was never settled to anyone’s satisfaction. Even today, it is a political, religious and emotional issue today, which doesn’t say much about our ability to advance our society.

Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy and needs feeding.

It’s a great line from “Inherit the Wind.” It’s an amazing film based on an historic trial.

Despite all the headlines, the trial settled nothing. The controversy between science and what is now called creationism has remained a surprisingly hot topic. It’s as much of a political hot potato now as it was 120 years ago.

The script for “Inherit the Wind” (1960), based on this trial, was directed by Stanley Kramer. It is largely based on real trial transcripts. A few changes were made to update the language, but if you read the transcripts, the movie is it’s more modern mirror.

Categories: #American-history, film, Movies, Religion, Science, You Tube

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14 replies

  1. Love has no theology.
    My Mum was a REAL Christian.
    She practiced Love and Good Will to all.
    That was Jesus’ single simple message.
    Mum was the president of the Red Cross in New Brunswick for 3 years.
    Never took a dime. She finally had to leave, but they kept asking her to stay.
    She said she just needed to care of things at Home.
    And she did.


    • I have often thought that dogma and theology are not what “religion” should be about. More people are involved in the “rules” than what the religion is about. The golden rule existed long before Christianity and probably before Judaism. It is one of the fundamentals of ALL faiths because it’s true. Whether you say it in the negative “Do not to other what you would not have done to you” or positively “Do to others what you would have done to you,” it’s the same. It’s a basic in every religion I’ve read about or studied.

      It’s is the first thing we learn and often, the first thing that gets forgotten, more’s the pity.


  2. I remember the impact this movie had on me


  3. The “so called” fathers of our country were adept at creating our history, but negatively proficient at hiding it, especially when it proved to be working against them. Now they just want to erase it altogether as if it never happened (examples: Slavery, The Holocaust, attempted absorption of indigenous people(Original Americans) etc.). This they’ve decided, is too traumatic to teach to our children.., the truth, that is. And now we are banning books. Does “Nazi Germany” ring a bell here? Maybe “Fahrenheit 451”


    • I’ve been reading a lot of very intense history of this country’s founding and what happened thereafter. Ironically, what’s happening is exactly what they thought was going to happen and it’s happening for the reason they expected: slavery. They knew what would happen and it happened. All of it.

      Now I’ve moved on to Rome, though this is a novel heavily based on history. You know what took down Rome from a republican state? MOBS. The people formed mobs, then bigger and more violent mobs. There is NO amount of policing that can control mobs — not then, not now. January 6 was a warning. It rang a very loud bell. Are we going to do anything about it?

      The thing is, Nazi Germany was ONE tyranny, but all tyrannies follow essentially the same path to power and ultimately, collapse. Germany did it rather faster than most, but it wasn’t different anywhere else. I suppose the biggest difference was that Hitler was NOT military and the guys that take over usually are military with a military following. But otherwise, not very different than any other slaughtering megalomaniac tyrant. He was just our most recent major villain but looking around the world, there are plenty more. Putin and that asshole in Brazil. Probably many more that I can’t remember. The world is a shithole.


  4. This is truly (in my humble opinion) one of the greatest movies. One of my favorite lines is when Drummond asks Brady, “What do you think?”

    Brady replied, “I do not think about things that I do not think about.”

    Drummond responded, “Do you ever think about things that you do thing about?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So crazy that people are still opposed to science if it conflicts with some moldy old fairy tale!


    • Even if it ISN’T moldy old fairy tale, there is no reason why one thing negates the other. I’ve know a lot of medical people and researchers. Some were atheists, many weren’t. What you believe doesn’t negate science. It never has. If you believe there’s a great mind that directs the universe, it doesn’t mean that you don’t EXPLORE that universe and no matter what some people say, there is absolutely NOTHING in the Torah that says that what is written includes everything we will ever need to know. NOR in the Gospels.

      Liked by 1 person

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