Also referred to as the Scopes Monkey trial or the Scopes Evolution trial, Scopes Trial is a trial that started on July 10th, 1925. In the trail, John Thomas Scopes who was a high school coach and substitute teacher was charged with having violated the Butler Act by giving lessons on the theory of evolution to his students. According to the act, it was regarded as offensive to teach about any theory that was against the biblical theory of creation. Thus, Thomas Scopes was charged with going against the law by teaching his students that man had descended from apes.
The trial of Thomas Scopes occurred in Dayton, Tennessee. However, it is indicated that the trial was a move that had earlier on been planned together with other events in order to raise public attention. Those who orchestrated the events were local businessmen whose main intentions were that from the publicity stunt, they would be able to get more money trickling into the town. One thing about the entire trial is that the defendant was not even sure of whether he had at one point in time, taught his pupils about the evolution theory.
Just as expected by the businessmen who orchestrated the Scopes Trial, the events attracted many reports from the region. In fact, the trial became the first one to be broadcast on radio. Thomas James accepted to incriminate himself and undergo trial in the hope that the Butler Act would be challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union. Many students were encouraged to testify against Scopes during the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Scopes was found guilty and fined $100. However, the verdict was later on thrown out after an appeal. The impact was that for the next five years, all textbooks in Tennessee were not to bear any mention of the phrase, evolution.
The ruling of Scopes case was a victorious signal for anti-evolutionists. As a result of the ruling, the law would remain in place for the next 42 years. However, it was repealed in 1967. The ruling came as a scare to many teachers such that teaching evolution in class was forgotten. It was only after the act was repealed that evolution began appearing in textbooks and being mentioned in classrooms.
As expected by the orchestrators, the Scopes trial drew a lot of publicity that eventually was good for business in town. The streets that led to the local courthouse were filled with hawkers, vendors and people doing various kinds of businesses. In fact, even booksellers made a killing from the trial since many people were flocking the courts to get a piece of the story. Evangelists too were not left out, most created open-air tabernacles where they encouraged the faithful to read their bibles.
The Scopes trial brought into the light, a trial as well as a theological contest on whether it is right to teach modern science with regards to the creation theory in schools.
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