Wednesday 21 July 2021

the state of tennessee v. john thomas scopes

Ending on this day in 1925 with a guilty verdict for the defendant for being found in violation of state statute, the Butler Act, making it unlawful to teach or promulgate the concept of human evolution in a public school, the show trial, test case had been deliberately staged as a publicity stunt for the plaintiff town with Scopes himself unsure whether his syllabus had ever actually risen to that threshold. The media event was engineered to pit progressive Modernism against biblical literalist and Fundamentalism that held that the word of God was primary to mundane research and exegesis with celebrity lawyers and was broadcast on the radio nationwide. The ensuing manufactured crisis and attendant entrenchment on both sides of the inchoate conflict and helped codify an anti-evolution movement that had heretofore been active in only a few jurisdictions but was now regarded as a countrywide moral panic despite the initial characterisation of Inherit the Wind as a win for science and reason over fable and superstition and only serves to illustrate how one ought to adhere to the status quo and create an ostensibly fake flashpoint for a false dichotomy.