Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Journal #9 - The Scopes Trial - One of the Trials of the Century

The Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee was labeled the "Trial of the Century" when it occurred in July 1925. Editors across the country called it thus b/c the case represented so much of what was going on in the 1920s:
1. Old vs. New
2. Rural vs. Urban
3. God vs. Science
4. Faith vs. Reason
5. Traditional values vs. city morals

Celebrity lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan battled for eleven days with very different intentions: Darrow wanted to put the Butler Act (Tennessee's state law banning the teaching of evolution) on trial while Bryan sought to rid the world of Darwinian thought seeing World War 1 and Social Darwinism as its end result). Scopes was eventually found guilty, fined $100 (which both the ACLU and Bryan offered to pay for him). Unfortunately, five days after the trial, Bryan died in Dayton.


In 1926, Mississippi becomes the 2nd state to outlaw the teaching of evolution. The next year, the Tennessee state Supreme Court affirms the Butler Act but overturns Scopes conviction on a technicality. 1928, Arkansas becomes the 3rd state to ban evolution.

Eventually, Tennessee would repeal the Butler Act in 1967 but pass a law in 1973 that requires science teachers to give equal time to creation as a competing theory to the origin of man. In 1968, 1982, and 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court declares these laws banning evolution (or requiring creation to be taught) as unconstitutional. It seemed that by 1987, the debate was over.

But, it's not. According to the article I handed out, "Monkey See, Monkey Do", Intelligent Design (ID) has taken the place of creation in classrooms and school board meetings around the country. There is even a think tank university dedicated to promoting ID teaching in public schools. President Bush thinks ID should be presented as a competing theory. The only problem with ID is that there is no scientific basis for it.

A school district in Dover, Penn. was recently prohibited by a judge from teaching ID in its biology classes, and the three school board members who pushed for its inclusion in the high school curriculum were recently ousted from the board after national embarassment. See the CNN link for this case: http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/12/20/intelligent.design/index.html

So my question is two fold:
1. Does the teaching of creation / Intelligent Design in public schools cross the line when it comes to separation of church and state (where the government should not endorse or favor one religion -in this case the Judeo-Christian religion - over another) as specified in the 1st Amendment? Why or why not?
2. Should creation / ID be presented as a competing theory for the origin of man along with evolution in public schools? And why in the world hasn't this controversy gone away even 81 years after the Scopes Trial?

Great timeline on the Scopes Trial and Creation / Evolution controversy: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4723956

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

When intelligent disign seperates church from state, I don't really think it cross a line. People need to learn that people have different beliefs and they have to deal with those differences. America isn't following it's saying "The land of the free" if they're not allowing the teaching of evolution. Evolution and creation may go hand in hand. When people say that those who belive in evolution don't belive in God, the accusers are most likely more doubtful about God. Why else would they do this?

Elise Lieberman
1/5/07
5th hour

Anonymous said...

I Don't think that when intelligent design seperates from church and state it is crossing the line. I beleive everyone has their right to believe in what they want, and people need to understand not everyone is going to be the exact same as them. Because people have different opinions, i think that evolution and ID should be competing theories in public schools. I think that people don't no what to beleive unless they have learned everything. So, i guess this would be a way of learning all the theories and deciding what you believe in.

Shayna Stillman
6th Hour

Ian Kohler said...

It comes very close to crossing the line when public schools begin to teach the concept of intelligent design in social studies and science classes. The concept of creationism/evolution is more science based than the concept of intelligent design which seems to be more religion and god based. As we learned in class, the constitution does not allow a mixing between church teachings and government. Public schools are governmental based. Yet, it is important for the public schools to provide both theories to a student who can then make a choice. The schools are therefore not "endorsing" a religious belief. Instead, they are provoking an educational thought process and comparison. When one gets right down to it, both are actually theories and neither of them have ever been "proven.” It is good for students to know both sides of an issue as long as the school is neutral in its approach. The controversy will never go away even 81 years after the Scopes Trial, because organized religion teaches one thing and science tries to show something else. There will never be reconciliation.
In conclusion, I hope that creation and intelligent design will continue to be taught in school. I believe that people who do not believe in creation or in intelligent design may truly not “believe in God.” That should not be the consideration.

Anonymous said...

Intelligent design does not cross a line when it comes to church and state. Schools teach about a lot of controversial things such as the death penalty and homosexuality. The state has never stepped in and said that it's wrong, so why should this one topic not be taught. This theory should not go away. People are entitled to their own opinions because it is a free country. Whether or not the church agrees is a whole different story. This controversy hasn't gone away in 81 years because scientists still don't know the truth and this controversy will continue until people studying this figure out what the truth is.
- Steven Haddad
5th Hour

Anonymous said...

I do not think that teaching creation in public schools crosses the line of religion. What the teachers teach is a mix of both out of the text books and what they believe. Also people have their right to speak what they believe with out getting charged. Overall I thought the Scopes case was a waste of time and effort to prove that John Scopes was teaching evolution in class. People all around the world say what they think and don’t get charged. It’s all a matter of the right to speech.
-Kellie H.
5th hour

Anonymous said...

Intelligent design does not cross the line when it comes to the seperation of chruch and state. People should be allowed to hear both and choose which they believe. People should not believe something just because it is all they have access to, so having both at public schools opens up more. The government should not favor one religion and be open to all of them. I don't think the intelligent design and creation theories should be competing either. They should be able to accept not everyone will believe in a certain one. Religions are sometimes peoples lifestyle and should not be toyed around with but accepted.

Madelyn Polzin
Hour 6

Anonymous said...

I don't think that intelligent design crosses the line between church and state. There are many different believes in the world and everybody should accept the way others think about things. America is always called "a free country", so why should the evolution not be taught in public schools? The teachers don't just teach what is in the books, often they say out loud what they think about this topic. So everybody should have the right to believe what they want but there should be also the possibility of having evolution at public schools.

Simone G.
5th hour

Anonymous said...

When it comes to teaching creation, there is no boundary being crossed whatsoever, as long as the scientific theory of evolution is also expressed to equal degrees. As a student, I should have the right to know about every theory when it comes to evolution, then decide for myself what I think is true. Just because the subject is surrounded by contraversy, doesn't mean I shouldn't know what's being debated. In any other case, I would have the right to know what's going on. For instance, the war is also a heated subject, there are several sides and opinions, but I should still have the right to know what's happening in Iraq so I can form my own opinions. Although religion is involved with The Scopes Trial, I should still have the right to know what's going on, then decide for myself.

~Chelsea R. Sixth Hour

~

Anonymous said...

To me, the teachings of creation doesn't cross the line, but that could be because I'm not offended. In some people's opinions it does cross the line and I think that their opinions should be taken into consideration. It does cross the boundary of the seperation of church and state, and I guess that it technically against the law and shouldn't be used. This is because if some people don't believe in the creation theory, and some students are offended then it shouldn't be taught in public schools.
Because creation/ID and Evolution can be a touchy subject, I think that it should be as competing theories and the teachers should let the students know that they may believe which ever one they would like but that they just want to educate the student and show them that this is what other people believe and it is possible for others to believe differently than themselves. I think the reason why the controversy hasn't gone away in 81 years is that so many people believe different things and are adamant about their believes and won't compromise, which isn't getting anyone anywhere.

Mariah Van Ermen
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

The religious theory of evolution should be taught as long as it’s not imposing on other religions. I believe that the religion taught in school is strictly history and school related. Teachers are not converting the students but merely discussing religious views as a whole. As of now, students do not seem to be having a problem with the way teachers teach when it comes to history related religion. Regarding the second question, the public has the right to know all theories related to evolution/creation. There is no reason why the public cannot decide for themselves which they think is right. I believe that neither religion nor science should interfere with knowing the truth. As an individual in America, we have the right to form our own opinions. Just because science and religion is being taught, doesn’t mean that the students will automatically change their religious or scientific beliefs. They deserve the right to know.

Evie C.
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

I feel that the teaching of creation/intelligent design in public schools crosses the line between church and state. First of all, even though I am Christian, it still favors one religion over another. But, teaching both in public schools is risky business. The theory of evolution can be proven more than intelligent design. One is science-based and the other is based off of religion. If a parent wants their son/daughter to learn both, maybe public school isn't the best choice. I'm sure private schools teach both. The reason that this topic hasn't gone away 81 years after the Scopes trial is because the seperation between church and state is so arguable.
-John Ross
6th hour

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the teaching of creation and evolution interfer with religion. In my opinion you can still learn about both without having to choose between the two theories. Teachers should be able to teach about evolution. Religion is time less, it's always been around. So for something to compete with it is very hard for some people to agree with. People will always have their own beliefs and opinions so i think we should just have the option to pick what you want to believe in. It's the closest thing to fair, to me. Old vs. new and god vs. science will probably always be an issue. So it just comes down to what you believe in.

Maddie M. 6th hour

Anonymous said...

I don’t think the teaching of creation / Intelligent Design in public schools crosses the line when it comes to separation of church and state. In World Cultures last year we learned about different religions such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity. To me learning about different religions is in the same category as leaning about creation / I.D. Intelligent Design / creation could be a way of thinking for someone just like Islam is the way of thinking for those practicing Islam. These are all different ways in which people believe that life was created or come to be. Creation / ID should be presented as a competing theory for the origin of man along with evolution in public schools. I think all kids should learn just as much about it as they learn about any other religion. Kids should be given a chance to learn about every religion so they will have a broad prospective and some understanding of each one. This does not mean that they have to believe in all of them, but that they will have little bit of understanding on how different people believe origin of life came to be and then they won’t be ignorant

Emily Betts
5th

Anonymous said...

Everyone has their own concept of whether intelligent design separates from church and state and if teaching it in schools crosses the line. I do not believe that it crosses the line or the rest of that nonsense. At a young age children pick up and follow their parent’s habits and beliefs. Why narrow their choices? Why not have them learn about evolution and open their minds to new ideas and brilliant theories and discoveries? People who believed every word in the bible were so horrified by really nothing at all. Everyone could have balanced faith and reason without ‘turning against’ God or questioning their faith. Yes, I do understand why many people questioned their faith and the bible, actually I would have probably done the same too but would have gladly welcomed this new thought and want to learn about it a little bit more. Haha, actually I’m very surprised this issue didn’t start a World War 3. (it was a joke)… anyways back to this, I agree, it is important for the public schools to provide both theories to students so they can open their minds. But of course they have the right to disagree with reason but in no circumstances should they prevent the word and idea of it to reach others and to be thought about. If people disagree they should ignore it and not start any issues and if people are for it or thinking about whether or not they are for it they should not be punished or have that idea be taken away from them. Scopes had the freedom of speech and spoke of what he wanted to teach.
Luciana D.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion teaching Intelligent Design does not cross the line. People already have their own opinions and religions. Intelligent Design is just another idea about life. People need to be open to learn about other peoples beliefs. Just because you are taught something in school doesn’t mean its going to completely change your idea if you already have faith in what you believe in. But I also believe that teachers shouldn’t show favoritism to one certain religion, they should just teach and tell about more then one opinion about the subject. People should know by now that not everyone is going to agree on everything.
~Brandi B.
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

I don’t think that teaching both the creation and intelligence design crosses the line when it comes to separation of church and state. If you want to believe the creation then you can believe that, and if you want to believe intelligence design that believe that instead. No one if making you believe one or the other, they are just teaching it to you. Learning about something new will not hurt you and you don’t have to believe what every one tells you. We learn about different religions in other classes but that doesn’t mean we are going to start believing in that religion. I think that the same as teaching evolution in school. When the kids learn about evolution and Darwin’s theories, it doesn’t mean that the kids will believe in it. The children are most likely to believe in whatever their parents believe.

-Claire M.
5th hour

Anonymous said...

I think that was was going on at this time was wrong saying that yeachers shouldnt teach evolution in the classrooms. I think that people need to respect everyone's beliefs but at the same time keep an open mind to what other people believe. I think that people should accept that christians belive in the Adam and Eve story, and Christians should respect that other people think that the story of evolution is the way to go. People need to not make a big deal out of it and let everyone beleive wht they wnt. I know this is easier said then done and I know that this really was a bug deal back then, thats just what i think should have happened. the adam and eve story can be taught in catholic schools and and the kids choose wether they beleive it or not. In public schools the kids can beleve in their religion while also looking at things scientifically. I am Christian and I beleive in the adam and eve story because its my faith, but I dont get all mad when people talk about the evolution story. So i think that the law was not right and it gets tricky when government and religion try to mix so I think it should just avoid that all together.

colleen moran

Anonymous said...

I Don't think that when intelligent design seperates from church and state it is going over the line. I think everyone has their right to believe in what they want, and people need to understand that people re their own person. Because these are both theories, I think that evolution and ID should be competing theories in public schools. I think that people don't no what to beleive unless all about it. So, i guess this would be a way of knowing the theories and deciding what you believe in.

Gilbert C 6th hour

Anonymous said...

Since I am a christain, I don’t believe that it should be a requirement to learn abouot evolution. First of all, I don’t think that it is fair because it might present points questioning your beliefs in ways that should be allowed to question. It’s a matter of belief, and when we’re arguing about how evolution is in fact true or not, it’s no different than today in this society where different religions are protected to the point where we can’t even say “Merry Christmas!”. If we have this much respect for other religions, how can we allow education in our schools? I don’t think that even ID should be taught in schools as a competing theory along with the origin of man and creation debate in public schools. You can learn about geneology and how the universe started but getting religion mixed into science is very tricky business for all of the reasons I have already stated above. This controversy hasn’t gone away in 81 years probably because it is wrong for us to be taught something that goes against our morals and views. We are taught the religion our parents practice and sure, if it’s in our interest to explore, then that’s our business, schools shouldn’t get in the way.
Stephanie Nagel, 5th hr

Anonymous said...

Personally, yes, I do think that there should be a separation between church and state. I don't think that the public school should teach the creation. Because there are different ethnic backgrounds, there are many different religions within the school. Some people do believe in creation while others believe in evolution. I believe in creation and the only reason why evolution is ok to me is because I have to pass the class. If a teacher teaches me something, I am still responsible for covering the material on a test. I would never believe we got here by evolution though. So, again, I do think that there should be a separation of church and state, unless you go to a private school. For instance, a catholic or christian school would probably teach the creation. But that should be the only time it is taught.

Eboni Bell
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

I think that people should have their own beliefs about certain things the don't have to go by what everybody else is doing. If some people believe in Evolution and some people don't then they should just go by with what they think. I don't think there is a line being crossed if they are doing it. People can believe or feel whatever way they want to, this is America right (we are supposedly free. I also think if people want to teach their beliefs they have a right to but as long as they don't back down the person who believes the opposite.
Martia Bender

Anonymous said...

I think that people should have their own beliefs about certain things the don't have to go by what everybody else is doing. If some people believe in Evolution and some people don't then they should just go by with what they think. I don't think there is a line being crossed if they are doing it. People can believe or feel whatever way they want to, this is America right (we are supposedly free. I also think if people want to teach their beliefs they have a right to but as long as they don't back down the person who believes the opposite.
Martia Bender

Anonymous said...

I think that when the intelligent disign sepesates the church from state it did not cross the line because it's science. I think it should be taught as a theory, instead of the orgin of man. because theory means a sciencetific geuss and it would make evolotion look like it was the right way of explaining mans creation. So yeah i think it did not cross the line as long as it is used for Sci instead of religion

6Th hour
Myles Williams

Anonymous said...

I think that intelligent design does not seperate church from state and that it does some lines. The government should leave all religion out of teaching because if can just get way to messy and there are probably tons of other ways to teach the subject without involving religion. However if there is not than have the teacher state that they are not trying to force upon and religious views to you only trying to state what they believe in.

Jeff Kohl
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

When intelligent design seperates church from state I think that it crosses the line. When people go to church they come their to learn things that they will come across in life. If we learn different things at school then in church we have a problem. Then children will start to question their faith and it will be a big mess.
But on the other hand the schools are able to teach us whatever they want if they think it will help us in the future.
Chris H.
6th hour

Anonymous said...

Intelligent design does not seem to be confliciting with crossing the line. It seems to me that a person, in the United States, needs to learn to think for themself, and no one has the right to tell a person what to think. So, if one person thinks that the religious evolution is true, then they have the right to think that. But, I do believe in public schools teaching intelligent design because students who learn in private, religious schools most commonly will learn the other theory. One individual can not tell other which thinking is the right one because we live in the United States and free thinking is supported in our constitution.

Leah C.
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

Teaching intelligent design in classrooms is definitely crossing the line of separation between church and state. This is clearly a violation of the 1st amendment, and should not be taught in public schools. Not everyone belongs to the Judeo-Christian religion, so even considering teaching creationism in a public school is absurd. There is no scientific basis for this theory at all, and teaching something with solid evidence behind it (like the theory of evolution) is much more logical. Intelligent Design can not, and will not ever be proved, while there is solid evidence for the theory of Evolution. Intelligent design is proved to be a euphemism of creationism, and it was found in some textbooks that the word “Creationism” was simply replaced with “Intelligent Design.” I do not think that Intelligent Design should even be presented as an opposing theory. As I said before, there is no evidence to back up Intelligent Design/Creationism, while the theories taught in Public Schools now actually have concrete evidence to back them up. I think that this issue hasn’t gone away even after the Scopes trial because it is such a big issue. When science challenges a person’s belief in God, that person will defend their beliefs, and not even consider the other side of the argument.
Emily Fitzgerald
6th Hour

Anonymous said...

I think that the intelligent design separates church and state, and that it is not crossing the line. I think that teachers should teach what they want, but in-a-way that other people or students should be able to disagree on wether or not they believe in it or not. People should still be able to believe in what they want and not follow others without wanting to. Then I don't think people should care about what other people believe in.

Ken M
6th hour

Geoff Wickersham said...

What I mean by crossing the line of separation of church and state is - does the teaching of intelligent design, the idea that a higher power, possibly God, be it the Judeo-Christian Muslim God, helped guide the creation of the universe? The First Amendment deliberately states that the government shall not endorse any particular one religion over another, even if that means Christianity. Non-believers have the right to not have intelligent design or creation forced upon them in public schools though evolution is mostly taught there. Something like this is highly unlikely, but ya never know.

Anonymous said...

When intelligent design seperates church from state I think that it crosses the line. When people go to church they come their to learn things that they will come across in life. If we learn different things at school then in church we have a problem. Then children will start to question their faith and it will be a big mess.
But on the other hand the schools are able to teach us whatever they want if they think it will help us in the future.
eric wynns 5th hour

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the teaching of creation and evolution interfer with religion. In my opinion you can still learn about both without having to choose between the two theories. Teachers should be able to teach about evolution. Religion is time less, it's always been around. So for something to compete with it is very hard for some people to agree with. People will always have their own beliefs and opinions so i think we should just have the option to pick what you want to believe in. It's the closest thing to fair, to me. Old vs. new and god vs. science will probably always be an issue. So it just comes down to what you believe in.
eric wynns 5th hour

Anonymous said...

I believ in God so the thoery of Evolution is in vocabulary but i dont beleve in it. I believe the state did a good job of getting publicity and to get the best lawyers in the world at the time in there city. I belive that it wasnt right to get the man in trouble for a set up case like that but any ways i believe in Jesus so no darwanism.


Ralph
~5TH~

Anonymous said...

im in class right now.
this is a journal.
yay journals.
lets have a party.
i love history.
im a weirdo.