Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Today is the Anniversary of the Scopes “Monkey” Trial

July 10, 1925: jury selection begins on Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan’s famous trial in Dayton, Tennessee on the teaching of evolution in schools. The story is a little more complicated that one might think. Scopes, it turns out, agreed to be arrested. And the town was seeking some publicity.

NPR‘s All Things Considered ran a great piece on this.

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What’s all the hubbub about the “Dangers of Darwinism”?

Well, Darwin experienced a lot of the same struggles with his religion, and he writes about them in his letters. We post one every Friday here on this site. Tomorrow, I’ll have to find one rife with conflicted religious beliefs. Until then, I’ll leave you with another good little nugget courtesy of NPR — a song about monkeys and religion by country music legend Vernon Dalhart.

Then to Dayton came a man
with his new ideas so grand;
And he said we came from monkeys long ago;
But in teaching his beliefs Mr. Scopes found only grief;
For they would not let their old religion go.
You may find a new belief;
it will only bring you grief;
For a house that’s built on sand is sure to fall;
And wherever you may turn
there’s a lesson you will learn;
That the old religion’s better after all.

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