The Scopes Monkey Trial

By July of 1925, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was 66 years old and well-established in the scientific community. Based on the controversy boiling in one Tennessee courtroom, however, one might have thought that the theory was published just the day before the trial. The State of Tennessee versus John Scopes trial, better known as the Scopes Monkey trial, was the first time that biology education standards were seriously debated. John Scopes, a teacher, was accused of teaching evolution when state law banned such instruction. Though the judge found Scopes guilty, the case for evolutionary instruction was made. In 1967, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Tennessee’s ban on the teaching of evolution was unconstitutional because …show more content…
For example, one of the most common and easily dismissed creationist refutations is the question of why monkeys still exist if evolutionists claim humans descended from monkeys. Though they likely think of themselves as clever and logical, their question only makes it obvious that they lack understanding of evolution. According to Rennie (2002), “Evolution does not teach that humans descended from monkeys; it states that both have a common ancestor” (para. 21). In other words, there was never a sudden change when monkeys became humans. Instead, both the human species and that monkey’s species evolved over millions of years from a common ancestor as they adapted to their different environments. Though this creationist rebuttal is quickly refuted, almost nothing slows the advocates down. Many creationists have adopted a new, rebranded form of creationism known as “intelligent design,” which promotes the idea that the components of living things are too complex to have come in to existence by chance. However, this stance is fundamentally wrong: Darwinian theory of evolution is based on natural selection, which states that the environment “chooses” which traits to pass on based on their adaptability. Chance plays a relatively small role in …show more content…
In this regard, they are somewhat correct. Evolution is “just a theory” – a scientific theory, that is. Evolution is not, however, an unproven conjecture or a mere guess, as many creationists seem to think. Scientific theories, according to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (2008), refer “to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence” (p. 11). Scientific theories, to include the theory of evolution, are “supported by so many observations and confirming experiments that scientists are confident that the basic components of the theory will not be overturned by new evidence” (IOM, 2008, p.11). Creationism does not fit this description. There is no vast body of scientific, empirically collected evidence to support it as anything more than a hypothesis. Many creationists argue that their holy book is sufficient evidence, but from a scientific perspective, the accuracy of religious scripture cannot be objectively verified. Furthermore, the existence of the creator which creationism necessitates cannot be verified empirically. Thus, creationism cannot be considered a scientific

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