The Scopes "Monkey" Trial

By William Pegg, Ryan Smith, Caden Driskill

Summary

The Scopes "Monkey Trial" was a case involving a substitute teacher who supposedly violated the Butler Act by teaching a biology class about the evolution of only one predominant species. The Butler Act made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state funded institution and those that violated it could be fined what was considered quite a formidable sum of money back then of $100. However, according to popular speculation, such a trial was only done in order to attract publicity to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee where it occurred. John Scopes was found guilty, but due to some rather interesting technicalities within the case, the verdict was eventually overturned.

Significance

John a Scopes would eventually be convicted of violating the Butler Act and would be fined $100. However, a technacality within the case would cause the verdict to be oveturned. This case would define the constant conflict of evolution vs creationism in the public school system that still continues to this very day. Such a trial brought the conflicting interests of both the modernists and fundamentalists into the light and truly defined the internal conflict between relgion and science.

Themes

Throughout the duration of this trial, both modernism and fundamentalism were constantly able to be seen in the tense atmosphere that surrounded the courtroom. Modernism primarily focused on science being the answer to the unknown while fundamentalist primarily focused on God being the answer to the unknown. Such polar opposites were bound to have conflict and although already visible within the bounds of society, had not been put into th public spotlight until this case. This case attracted huge amount of press and would allow for both believers of these themes to express their opinion on the matter to the whole country and beyond.