Charles Darwin's Theory Of Evolution And The Scopes Monkey Trial

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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…
In actuality, research supporting evolution is plentiful, and it spans many branches of biology. Traditional evidence of evolution comes from paleontology, the study of fossils. For example, paleontologists have discovered several fossils of ancient whale relatives. Although the fossils have some characteristics now found only in whales, they also have characteristics found in their terrestrial relatives, including limbs (Gee, Howlett, & Campbell, 2009). These fossils show a clear link between modern whales and prehistoric land mammals, indicating that the former is descended from the latter and providing evidence that animal species have changed drastically over millions of years. Though evidence of change in related organisms support evolution, similarities between vastly diverse species also provide evidence for the theory. According to Quammen (2004), “All plants and fungi, as well as animals, have nuclei within their cells. All living organisms contain DNA and RNA” (para. 20). These common traits of all or almost all living things suggest that all living organisms can be traced back to a single ancestor from which all organisms evolved. The abundant evidence and long, unchanging history of evolutionary theory show that, as time has progressed, support for evolution has only grown, and will likely continue to do …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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