The Scopes Trial

Quinten Frederick

Theology vs. Science

The Scopes trial is very popular in U.S. history because it was a major debate of evolution versus creation. Evolution is defined as the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth. Creationism is defined as the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, rather than by natural processes such as evolution. When an American schoolteacher named John Scopes in 1925 taught the idea of evolution to a class, he violated a state law called the Butler Act. There were two very prominent lawyers involved in this case. Scopes was prosecuted by William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow defended him. The trial was very public and a lot of people went to watch it. The defence was not aloud to use scientists as witnesses, so they relied on getting creationists to contradict their own beliefs. After a lot of debate, Darrow changed John Scopes' plea to guilty, and he was fined $100 for violating the law. The conviction was thrown out though because of a technicality issue. Then in 1967, the law against evolution was taken down because it violated the constitutional right for establishment of religion.
Scopes Trial


"The Scopes Trial." Digital History. Digital History, 2012. Web. 02 Mar. 2015.

"Scopes Trial." PBS. WGBH Educational Foundation, 2001. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.