Homework Question on The Scopes Trial
- For this assignment I want you to examine two accounts of the 1925 Scopes Trial. This trial of Tennessee biology teacher John Scopes for teaching evolution in the classroom brought national attention to the growing tension between modernity and religion in this country. First, read the two accounts by reporters Marcel Haldeman-Julius and H.L. Mencken linked above. Then respond to the following questions.
- How do these two accounts, widely published nationally, frame the debate around the Scopes Trial?
- What degree of bias, if any, do you discern in these accounts and what does that say about their intended audiences?
- Given that many elements of this debate still remain active, can religion and science peacefully co-exist?
- Your response to these questions should be around 1-2 pages, double spaced.
Homework Answer on The Scopes Trial
The scopes trial was a legal case that took place in 1925 that accused a teacher known as John Scopes. He taught human evolution. It was an unlawful act according to the State of Tennessee and so it led to Scopes being incriminated. The trial proceedings caused a lot of publicity in the town. In the end, Scopes lost the case that attracted a fine of 100 dollars but the ruling was overturned technically.
The case however had achieved its goal of publicity and attracted famous lawyers like William Jennings Brian who was representing the prosecution while lawyer Clarence Darrow was for Scopes.The case was more of a theological contest rather than a trial on whether creation versus evolution should be a subject taught in schools.Reporters Marcet and Mencken in their accounts were in support of the defense side and Conspired against Brian by convincing defense lawyers to make him look funny.
The two accounts by these journalists aimed at delegitimizing the trial before it began. The debate as a result of these accounts changed in favor of the modernists. There was a high extent of bias against Brian and fundamentalists in a way that ensured stories are covered in support for enlightenment and freedom from shame and sorrow as well as against the prohibiting the law. They portrayed Brian as a person who represented the ignorant.