Directions: Read the following text carefully. You will then answer four questions, which ask you to respond to various aspects of the essay.
Focus Discipline: Physical Anthropology
Topic: In the play, Inherit the Wind, both Henry Drummond and Matthew Brady presented strong arguments to support their position on the issue of evolution versus creation. Describe the Scopes Trial and write a summary of the arguments on each side of the question. Which of these arguments do you find more convincing? Explain why.
The Scopes Monkey Trial
The Scopes Trial took place in Dayton Tennessee in 1925. This trial was about science teacher who was convicted of breaking a Tennessee statue that prohibited schools from teaching Darwin's theory of Evolution. Darwin's theory suggested that "Humans descended from the apes." The statue that prohibited any state supported schools from teaching this theory is known as the Butler Act. The state of Tennessee used this law to stop any idea, which is believed to be subversive.
The Scopes Trial was a very hot issue in the U.S back in 1920`s because it was dealing with new evolutionary beliefs, and this trial was covered by the media. The trial began on July 10th, 1925 and lasted eight days. The trial became a major issue in the media in that time because 200 newsmen covered it, and it was the first trial to be covered by a national radio broadcast. In addition to that, this trial was covered internationally, as 65 telegraph operators sent daily reports.
In this trial, there were two different points of view represented by the law prosecutor Matthew Brady and the defense attorney Henry Drummond. Brady represented the Creationist viewpoint, and Drummond represented the Evolutionist viewpoint. Brady argued for the creationist position by saying that science cannot explain the most basic of god's creations. Brady believed that since god made everything on the earth he could change everything even the natural law. He quoted Bishop Usher who said that the earth was created in the fall of 4004 BC, at 9:00 AM as evidence for his argument. This is not the kind of the evidence that is usually presented in the court of law because this kind of evidence is not physical evidence; it is a religious belief.
Drummond represented the Evolutionist viewpoint held by Clarence Darrow. Drummond`s legal argument was different and was based on scientific law. Drummond argued that the individual mind is holy and that an idea is a greater monument then a cathedral. He asked Brady why, if we must accept everything on the faith, did God plague us with the power to think. Drummond countered Brady `s argument that we should only believe in things that are in the Bible by using Brady's own theory to prove that evolution can be blended with a belief in creation.
I believe that Henry Drummond's argument was more convincing because his argument was based on logical evidence and convincing dialogue. Drummond said that God created the power of thought for Humans. Also, Drummond stated that we should not take the Bible literally, and he gave an example of Copernicus' theory of natural law to support his statement. The Bible says that the sun stood still and that the sun moves around the earth. It is well known that this theory is not correct. Drummond also used the 10 million-year-old fossil remains of a prehistoric marine creature, and he asked Brady if it were possible that at the time of creation, a day were longer than 24 Hours. Drummond`s argument was strong enough to make Brady admit that he did not know how long a day was at the time of the creation.
Although Drummond's arguments were very convincing, he lost the trial. The Judge found Scopes blamable and fined him $100.00 for his offense.
In conclusion, I can say that the Scope's trial represented religious beliefs versus science. It was unusual for teachers in many of the public schools in the 1920`s to teach any theory that violated the theory of human creation as it is taught in the Bible. Drummond and Brady both made powerful and passionate statements in support of their respective antithetical positions.
Mubarak A. Abdella