Reader Rick called my attention to a New York Times piece about a new statue in Dayton, Tennessee, which. you’ll recall, is where the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial” took place in 1925. John Scopes was convicted of teaching human evolution to high-school students, thus violating Tennessee’s “Butler Act” prohibiting the teaching of non-Biblical accounts of human origins. (Teaching evolution of non-humans was not illegal, underscoring the perennial human exceptionalism in evolution.)
It was a titanic trial, pitting William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution versus Clarence Darrow as the lead defense attorney. Scientists weren’t allowed to testify, yet Bryan himself was allowed to take the stand and testify on his views about the Bible. Darrow ripped him apart, and it was duly reported by H. L. Mencken in a series of wonderfully acerbic pieces for the Baltimore Evening Sun (you can see Mencken’s full coverage here).
Scopes was convicted…
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