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A monkey's uncle - Essay Example

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Monkey Trial Drastic social changes in the 1920s in the United states were marked by the competition for cultural domination between traditionalists and modernists. Modernism whipped up by the technical progress could not but introduce the new values and way of thinking…
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A monkeys uncle
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Download file to see previous pages John Scopes a school teacher from Tennessee was indicted in violation of law by teaching a evolution theory in the public school. The case promised to be an unprecedented show due to the controversial topic and number of eminent participants. Local town leaders could not but use the publicity in order to help their small town. Jennings Bryan considering the evolution theory improbable worried about the erosion of the young people’s moral health. According to his logic the evolution theory and the low percentage of the believers among youth presented a real threat to the future of the society. Having received the strong support from the worried parents he decided to fight teaching Darwinism at schools. In early 1925 his political campaign resulted in a legislative changes, known as the Butler Act which prohibited the denial of the Biblical account of man’s origin and teaching of the evolution theory in the public schools of Tennessee.1 So it was no surprise when Bryan received a request to join the prosecution team in the Dayton trial on behalf of the World’s Christian Fundamentals Association and local prosecutor Sue Hicks (Linder, “William Jennings Bryan”). In contrast Clarence Darrow, as a modernist, had opposite views on the religion vs. science issue. He was convinced that religious fundamentalism threatened the entire system of public education by doubting the skepticism of inquiry that moved the progress (Linder, “Clarence Darrow”). When Darrow found out that Bryans was going to lead the prosecution team, he decided to volunteer to challenge Bryan’s program and him personally. In spite of the reluctant attitude of the American Civil Liberties Union leadership, the defendant John Scopes insisted on the Darrow’s participation as a defender. Though the case resembled with the eternal struggle of the opposite good and evil, it still was a prosecutor and defender matter which strategy was rigidly prepared by both sides. The Prosecution focused on two things: the prove of the actual violation of the Butler?s Act by John Scopes; and influence on the public and jury by using the religious rhetoric and socializing with the local population. The defense in its turn made a stake on the repealing the indictment on the state and federal constitutional levels seeking the declaration in higher instance of that the prohibiting evolution theory in public schools was unconstitutional. Here should be made a short remark over the constitutional grounds of the issue. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment guaranties the protection of the of the US citizens from the using public fund or establishments to favor any particular religious tradition over another, or non-religion over the religion, or religion over non-religion. Hence, teaching of evolution as a scientific theory does not contradict to the First Amendment. Today the controversy between evolution and creationism remains as an important question in the American society. The status of teaching these topics is under constant debate in legal, religious and political circles. While some religions do not reject the evolution theory several fundamentalist branches of Christianity zealously resist its teaching. However, after normally it is taught in the science courses. Teaching of creationism and intelligent design as science due to its obvious religious background were declared unconstitutional. The core of the current debate lies in the different views on whether evolution/intelligent design ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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