In 1925, one of the most famous trials in American history took place. The question being debated was evolution, and a young teacher by the name of John Scopes was on trial for teaching it to his students. After an enormous amount of publicity, the famous William Jennings Bryan decided to prosecute the case, and Clarence Darrow took the defense for John Scopes. The controversy was deeply rooted and tensions ran high in the small, religious town of Hillsboro. The trial epitomized the war between rationalism and religion because it placed the question of faith vs. science at its center. Those who followed a rational ideology were unable to reconcile the ideas of evolution and with biblical teachings, and people who have believed in creationism all their lives were angered by the ungodliness of Darwin's theory. The Scopes Trial put the truth regarding the origin of man on trial, and after the famous case, evolution was never viewed in the same light.
[...] She found the truth, and she felt that it was her responsibility to tell Americans the reality of the Scopes Trial rather than allow Hollywood to form their opinions. The PBS documentary and the case of Edwards vs. Aguillard demonstrate that Americans are still debating the question of evolution and creationism. The case was the result of an Act in Louisiana that required teachers to teach creationism in schools along with evolution. An assistant principle by the name of Don Aguillard filed suit in 1981 and won the case in 1987. [...]
[...] After the Scopes Trial, the teaching of evolution became more acceptable and more teachers became willing to teach it, especially in the north. Many southern states still had laws that outlawed the teaching of evolution, but as time went on, many of these states became more progressive in their views. Today, the Scopes Trial is often regarded as an important turning point in American ideology. It is cited today to disprove religious ideas, and many Americans still debate the question of evolution openly. [...]
[...] For this reason, it can be argued that the Scopes Trial was an expression of the freethinking mind, and therefore, the freedom to think and teach in this fashion should not be inhibited in any way. This tension between what the majority believed was valid vs. the minority's view escalated the importance and significance of this trial. Bryan defended the literal interpretation of the Bible because he had a larger objective in mind, even if it was for a “Noble lie.” Bryan wanted people to hold on to their spirituality and not become atheists as a result of Darwin's theory. [...]
[...] According to Larson, Political historians covering a broad sweep of modern American history faced a dilemma: Bryan stood at the center of two supposedly watershed events in American history—the populist revolt of the 1890's and the Scopes trial of the 1920's—but he had shifted sides. The same historians who deified the young Bryan of the nineties demonized the elderly Bryan of the twenties (Larson 234). In the movie “Inherit the Bryan was portrayed in exactly this way. He was a loud, ambitious, and passionate man who would not let anything stand in his way. [...]
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