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New book offers: What the Scopes “monkey” trial was really about

Here’s cultural commentator Fred Siegel, interviewed by Ed Driscoll, on the significance of the Scopes “monkey” Trial, as discussed in his new book, The Revolt Against the MassesReferring to key 20th century trials, Siegel says,

The second trial was the Scopes Trial, and this was even more important — far more important, because the Scopes Trial lives on today in liberal mythology. Liberals now want to call themselves progressives.

Because the Scopes Trial is about the case in Tennessee where a school teacher is supposedly persecuted for teaching Darwinism. None of this is true. And this is all written up by H.G. Wells, or an account of this is comes from a play really based on H.G. Wells’ account of the trial, which is still widely produced.

There was no repression in this town in Tennessee. Essentially what happened was the town fathers got together with the ACLU who both saw a chance to promote themselves. The town saw a chance to promote itself; the ACLU saw a chance to promote itself, the ACLU then being a nascent organization, a young organization. And so this was done in a jolly spirit. There was no — there was no threat of violence in the streets. This was one great big carnival.

At the trial itself, William Jennings Bryan, the former presidential candidate, is depicted as a rancid buffoon; just an evil, malevolent character. This is bizarre. In World War I it’s William Jennings Bryan who opposed World War I. It was his opponent, H.L. Mencken, who supported Germany in World War I and hoped for a German victory, and Mencken was very public about this.

This talking about things being airbrushed out of history. Mencken’s germanophilia has been airbrushed out of history.

Mencken loved Ludendorff, the German commanding general. He loved the Kaiser. And just about the time of the Scopes Trial, or shortly thereafter, he wrote a book explaining why democracy was a bad idea. And earlier he had hoped that Germany would conquer America and eliminate small-d-democracy.

So the case of who these people were, what they represented, has been grossly distorted over time. Bryan was anything but a buffoon.

In 1905, Bryan had already read Darwin and he debated Henry Osborn of New York’s Museum of Natural History about Darwinism. And his opposition to Darwinism was based on its Nietzschean consequences, the same Nietzsche who Darrow had invoked in the Leopold and Loeb trial.

This idea of backwards America, yearning to lynch people who were in disagreement with them, really takes hold right there, right around the Scopes Trial. We never quite recover from it.

And until then, there’s really no divergence in America between religious belief and the public culture. That gap is created by this Scopes Trial and has grown annually ever since.

Others have pointed out the same sorts of things, for example Edward Larson in Summer for the Gods. But if one’s neighbours actually listen to and believe deadtree media’s version, which supports the new autocrats, it pretty much doesn’t matter what really happened in this or any other situation. Free peoples must make a duty of remembering their history correctly.

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12 Responses to New book offers: What the Scopes “monkey” trial was really about

  1. William Jennings Bryan was a fascinating man. He knew the evidentiary problems and sociological implications of Darwinism. It’s unfortunate that he supported laws banning the teaching of the theory. But it is perfectly reasonable to insist that the theory be taught with factual information, which both the Civic Biology textbook used in Tennessee in the 1920′s and the Pearson biology textbook recently approved in Texas fail to do.

  2. The media are hirelings, period. Infotainment, far from being ‘the pits’, is surely their best offering to the public. The rest is propaganda.

    In the UK, and I’m sure it’s similar in the US, both political wings have met in the middle. The right has abandoned its recourse to the First Commandment, as a front, the left, the Second Commandment.

    Now, they both agree on pushing sexual licence and ultrapredatory economics.

  3. An article, both incisive and highly significant, if I may say so.

  4. Axel at 2: The thing is, the legacy media did not see the Internet coming. They don’t have the skills to survive in a no-gatekeeper environment. The bad news people used to tolerate from them because they were necessary are now seen as just bad (and increasingly dispensable) news period.

  5. As with the twisting of the Scope’s Monkey Trial by ‘Inherit the Wind’, and the subsequent tarring of anybody who disagrees with Darwin’s outrageous hypothesis as ignorant,,,

    “It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”
    – Richard Dawkins

    ,,,the whole Darwinian gambit is a shell game of misinformation and intimidation. In the beginning, from Darwin through Scope’s Monkey Trial, Darwin and Darwin’s defenders had pleaded for a fair hearing of the evidence. But once they, slowly but surely, began to gain influence in Academia, they began ‘Expelling’ anyone who opposed them and their atheistic/materialistic worldview.

    Origins – Slaughter of the Dissidents with Dr. Jerry Bergman – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6rzaM_BxBk

    Now, after they have gained power, the last thing Darwinists want is a fair hearing of the evidence. This is no conspiracy theory as is made evident clear by the Atheists legal history and current actions in Academia

    On the Fundamental Difference Between Darwin-Inspired and Intelligent Design-Inspired Lawsuits – September 2011
    Excerpt:
    *Darwin lobby litigation: In every Darwin-inspired case listed above, the Darwin lobby sought to shut down free speech, stopping people from talking about non-evolutionary views, and seeking to restrict freedom of intellectual inquiry.
    *ID movement litigation: Seeks to expand intellectual inquiry and free speech rights to talk about non-evolutionary views.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50451.html

    Censor of the Year: Who Will It Be? – David Klinghoffer January 17, 2014
    Excerpt: Charles Darwin himself, whose birthday is commemorated on the day bearing his name, insisted that getting at the truth, sorting true from false, requires an unimpeded airing of views: “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” Ironically, it is his latter-day advocates and defenders who are the most eager to muffle dissenting opinions, and the most unashamed about doing so. And again, not just unashamed, but proud. A victory in shutting down a college class, punishing a teacher, thwarting a law intended to protect educators from administrative reprisals, intimidating a publisher into a canceling a book contract, erasing words from the wall of a public museum — such things are not merely done, they are candidly, brazenly bragged about.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....81261.html

    Majority of American University Professors have Negative View of Evangelical Christians – 2007
    Excerpt: According to a two-year study released today by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR), 53% of non-Evangelical university faculty say they hold cool or unfavorable views of Evangelical Christians – the only major religious denomination to be viewed negatively by a majority of faculty.
    Only 30% of faculty hold positive views of Evangelicals, 56% of faculty in social sciences and humanities departments hold unfavorable views. Results were based on a nationally representative online survey of 1,269 faculty members at over 700 four-year colleges and universities. Margin of error is +/- 3%. ,,,
    Only 20% of those faculty who say religion is very important to them and only 16% of Republicans have unfavorable views of Evangelicals; the percentages rise considerably for faculty who say religion is not important to them (75%) and among Democrats (65%).,,,
    “This survey shows a disturbing level of prejudice or intolerance among U.S. faculty towards tens of millions of Evangelical Christians,,,
    One-third of all faculty also hold unfavorable views of Mormons, and among social sciences and humanities faculty, the figure went up to 38%. Faculty views towards other religious groups are more positive: Only 3% of faculty hold cool/unfavorable feelings towards Jews and only 4% towards Buddhists. Only 13% hold cool/unfavorable views of Catholics and only 9% towards non-Evangelical Christians. Only 18% hold cool/unfavorable views towards atheists.
    A significant majority – 71% of all faculty – agreed with the statement: “This country would be better off if Christian fundamentalists kept their religious beliefs out of politics.” By comparison, only 38% of faculty disagreed that the country would be better off if Muslims became more politically organized.
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ne.....y/07050808

    which is ironic given that 106 out of 108 of the first colleges in America were founded by Christians:

    The History of Christian Education in America
    Excerpt: The first colleges in America were founded by Christians and approximately 106 out of the first 108 colleges were Christian colleges. In fact, Harvard University, which is considered today as one of the leading universities in America and the world was founded by Christians. One of the original precepts of the then Harvard College stated that students should be instructed in knowing God and that Christ is the only foundation of all “sound knowledge and learning.” http://www.ehow.com/about_6544.....erica.html

    Another reason why the last thing Darwinists want is a fair hearing of the evidence, besides it contradicting their preferred materialistic/atheistic philosophy, is because they, in reality, have no substantiating evidence that Darwinism is true in the first place.

    Dr. David Berlinski: Dogs stay dogs, Bacteria Stay Bugs – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW2GkDkimkE

    Where’s the substantiating evidence for neo-Darwinism?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q-PBeQELzT4pkgxB2ZOxGxwv6ynOixfzqzsFlCJ9jrw/edit

    It is a crying shame that Materialists/Atheists should take over Universities, and blackball anyone who disagrees with their misinformation campaign, because Materialism is antagonistic to science. Materialism/Atheism was not at the founding of science:

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Nor can Atheism/Materialism sustain science:

    “Modern science was conceived, and born, and flourished in the matrix of Christian theism. Only liberal doses of self-deception and double-think, I believe, will permit it to flourish in the context of Darwinian naturalism.”
    ~ Alvin Plantinga

    The reason why materialism is antagonistic to science is because it undermines the ability to reason:

    “One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears… unless Reason is an absolute, all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.”
    —C.S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry (aka the Argument from Reason)

  6. No where is the Materialist’s/Atheist’s undermining of reason more self evident that in the Materialists/Atheists denial of free will:

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    But, contrary to what Darwinists would like to ‘freely’ presuppose, it is now shown that we are not merely hapless victims of our genes,

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

    Moreover, free will is shown to be integral to Quantum Mechanics,,

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my free will choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past? This experiment is simply impossible for any coherent materialistic presupposition!

    Antoine Suarez has also done some very fine work in this area establishing free will’s primacy in Quantum Mechanics,,

    Free will and nonlocality at detection: Basic principles of quantum physics – Antoine Suarez – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhMrrmlTXl4

    Needless to say, finding ‘free will conscious observation’ to be ‘built into’ our best description of foundational reality, quantum mechanics, as a starting assumption, ‘free will observation’ which is indeed the driving aspect of randomness in quantum mechanics, is VERY antithetical to the entire materialistic philosophy which demands that a ‘non-telological randomness’ be the driving force of creativity in Darwinian evolution!

    To solidify this theistic claim for the importance of free will and how reality is actually constructed::

    Can quantum theory be improved? – July 23, 2012
    Excerpt: Being correct 50% of the time when calling heads or tails on a coin toss won’t impress anyone. So when quantum theory predicts that an entangled particle will reach one of two detectors with just a 50% probability, many physicists have naturally sought better predictions. The predictive power of quantum theory is, in this case, equal to a random guess. Building on nearly a century of investigative work on this topic, a team of physicists has recently performed an experiment whose results show that, despite its imperfections, quantum theory still seems to be the optimal way to predict measurement outcomes.,
    However, in the new paper, the physicists have experimentally demonstrated that there cannot exist any alternative theory that increases the predictive probability of quantum theory by more than 0.165, with the only assumption being that measurement (*conscious observation) parameters can be chosen independently (free choice/free will assumption) of the other parameters of the theory.,,,
    ,, the experimental results provide the tightest constraints yet on alternatives to quantum theory. The findings imply that quantum theory is close to optimal in terms of its predictive power, even when the predictions are completely random.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-quantum-theory.html

    *What does the term “measurement” mean in quantum mechanics?
    “Measurement” or “observation” in a quantum mechanics context are really just other ways of saying that the observer is interacting with the quantum system and measuring the result in toto.
    http://boards.straightdope.com.....p?t=597846

    i.e. it was shown in the paper that one cannot ever improve the predictive power of quantum mechanics by ever removing free will as a starting assumption in Quantum Mechanics!

    Moreover, as was pointed out before, if someone denies that free will is essential to science then he undermines his own ability to practice science rationally! Quantum mechanics brings the whole point to a boiling point!

    Supplemental note:

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    - C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    Two very different ‘eternities’ revealed by physics:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-489771

    Verse and Music:

    Psalms 40:8
    I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

    Leann Rimes – Amazing Grace
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT88jBAoVIM

  7. The Scopes trial is surrounded by misconceptions, and their exposure provides as good a way as any for recounting the basic story. In the heroic version, John Scopes was persecuted, Darrow rose to Scope’s defense and smote the antediluvian Bryan, and the antievolution movement then dwindled or ground to at least a temporary halt. All three parts of this story are false. ~ Stephen Jay Gould

  8. This author does right to expose it but what took so long eh? Just getting a book out of it now .
    i know nothing about it but understand it was a set up to demonstrate to america creationism was wrong and any opposition to evolution would be repressed.
    They truly wanted to lead and teach america to accept evolution. They decided in the establishment the bible was wrong. Hollywood added to it also.
    It was a fraud of the new arriving liberal establishment.
    No one was there to make counter charges and defence.
    Times have changed.
    the same principals that worked to define the svopes trial for anti christian liberalism worked in bringing fascism and communism in Europe.
    I mean the same mechanisms of media and concentration of fire at a point.
    Same as today.

  9. News

    I agree that history, contra Ford’s “History is bunk” and the cynical po-mo “hisatory is the propaganda of the victors,” sound and courageously told history — where good news and views journalism (print or online) is “a first, rough draft . . .” — is vital:

    altogether far too many ordinary people in our day tend to regard History as irrelevant, boring, suspect as an “academic” exercise, and so forth.

    Among the post-modern, progressivist educated, there is a strong tendency to dismiss and “deconstruct” history as little more than the propaganda of the victors trying to legitimise their aggression and oppression.

    I think, for cause, that such are ill-advised, dangerous and foolish trends, a march of folly, in Barbara Tuchmann’s famous words.

    I say that for a very simple reason:

    History, well founded, diligently researched and well reported, sound and fair history, is a summary of the hard-bought lessons of the past, lessons that too often were paid in full for in blood.

    That is why good history is so powerful, and so costly: it was bought with the most precious of commodities . . . .

    Only a piggish fool, then, would treat such hard-bought wisdom as pigs would treat pearls that — as our Lord famously said on that mountain in Galilee — were somehow tossed down in front of them.

    Unfortunately, there is no shortage of such fools, on the streets, in the classrooms, behind teacher’s desks or lecturer’s podiums, in Board Rooms, on the too often justly nicknamed idiot boxes in the corner of our living rooms that so many of us are addicted to watching for hours on end, all over the Internet, in legislatures, in Cabinets and — God have mercy on us — even in pulpits.

    So, George Santayana’s two pivotal lessons of history are very important, though quite soberingly sad.

    First, that those who refuse to learn from it are doomed to repeat its worst chapters, and second, that by and large we refuse to learn from it.

    Hence, the deep-set folly that no less a figure than Karl Marx summed up as to how history repeats itself twice, once as tragedy, the next time as farce. (And unfortunately, that sick farce “The March of Folly” [after: Tuchmann] has had a very long run with many revivals, indeed.)

    In this case, the Scopes Monkey Trial smear that has cost our civilisation so dearly, I took time in the IOSE draft course, to address the lessons we need to draw:

    ___________

    >> . . . [Following the lessons of Plato's parable of the Cave] we should not be guilty of misleading and manipulating those who look to us for enlightenment and knowledge through half-truths or outright falsehoods.

    That becomes immediately troubling once we look at the a priori materialism that we have had to discuss, and at the icons often used to teach evolutionary materialism. That concern deepens when we see the retort of the US National Academy of Science and the National Science Teachers Association [[NSTA] to an attempt by the Kansas State Education Board in 2005 to correct a radical redefinition of science that would have imposed Lewontinian a priori materialism:

    2001 novel definition then in force: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations of the world around us.”

    2005, proposed corrective: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

    NAS-NSTA retort: “. . . the members of the Kansas State Board of Education who produced Draft 2-d of the KSES [[Kansas Science Education Standards] have deleted text defining science as a search for natural explanations of observable phenomena, blurring the line between scientific and other ways of understanding. Emphasizing controversy in the theory of evolution — when in fact all modern theories of science are continually tested and verified — and distorting the definition of science are inconsistent with our Standards and a disservice to the students of Kansas. Regretfully, many of the statements made in the KSES related to the nature of science and evolution also violate the document’s mission and vision. Kansas students will not be well-prepared for the rigors of higher education or the demands of an increasingly complex and technologically-driven world if their science education is based on these standards. Instead, they will put the students of Kansas at a competitive disadvantage as they take their place in the world.” [[Sources: definitions, excerpt of retort. Emphases and explanatory parentheses added.]

    On the face of it, however,

    (1) students exposed to a longstanding traditional schools-level concept of what science is — as can easily be seen in high quality dictionaries — will be at no serious conceptual disadvantage to those exposed only to a radically materialistic Lewontinian redefinition.

    Similarly,

    (2) origins sciences that seek to reconstruct a remote and unobserved past (which makes empirical testing and potential falsification difficult challenges at best) simply cannot be at the same level of warrant as theories that are supported by direct observation. And,

    (3) because of this factor and its associated connexions to worldviews and longstanding ethical concerns, [[Neo-]Darwinian Macro- Evolutionary theory has long been controversial. So,

    (4) the NAS-NSTA assertions about students exposed to traditional views on what science is and shown that such a controversy exists, sadly, amount to little more than a veiled threat in defense of materialist indoctrination being done in the name of science education.(Cf. also Kuhn, here.)

    But, a typical reply — often based on uncritical viewing of the 1950′s movie Inherit the Wind — is that the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial shows what happened when the shoe was on the other foot. So we need to take a little closer look at this case, as it is instructive in perhaps surprising ways, through also rather saddening:

    i –> In response to a wave of origins science education debates and textbooks such as Hunter’s Civic Biology (which as “Civic” suggests supported Eugenics and related ideas) in the 1920′s, several American states banned the teaching of evolution in taxpayer funded state institutions.

    ii –> The basis of this response can be seen from an observation made by William Jennings Bryan in his 1921 book, The Menace of Darwinism:

    The question in dispute is whether atheists and agnostics have a right to teach irreligion in public schools — whether teachers drawing salaries from the public treasury shall be permitted to undermine belief in God, the Bible, and Christ by teaching not scientific truth but unproven and unsupported guesses which cannot be true unless the Bible is false [[pp. 5 - 6] . . . .

    On page 180 of ”Descent of Man” (Hurst & Company, Edition 1874), Darwin says: “Our most ancient progenitors in the kingdom of the Vertebrata, at which we are able to obtain an obscure glance, apparently consisted of a group of marine animals, resembling the larvae of the existing Ascidians.” Then he suggests a line of de-scent leading to the monkey . . . His second sentence (fol-lowing the sentence quoted) turns upon the word “probably” . . . His works are full of words indicating uncertainty. The phrase “we may well suppose,” occurs over eight hundred times in his two principal works. (See Herald & Presbyter, November 22, 1914.) The eminent scientist is guess-ing . . . .

    Darwin does not use facts ; he uses conclusions drawn from similarities. He builds upon presumptions, probabilities and infer-ences, and asks the acceptance of his hypothesis “not-withstanding the fact that connecting links have not hitherto been discovered” (page 162). He advances an hypothesis which, if true, would find support on every foot of the earth’s surface, but which, as a mat-ter of fact finds support nowhere . . . .

    Science has rendered invaluable service to society; her achievements are innumerable—and the hypotheses of scientists should be considered with an open mind. Their theories should be carefully examined and their arguments fairly weighed, but the scientist cannot compel acceptance of any argument he advances, ex-cept as, judged upon its merits, it is convincing. Man is infinitely more than science; science, as well as the Sabbath, was made for man . . . [[pp. 19 – 22; emphases added.]

    iii –> The Butler Act of Tennessee therefore stipulated that evolutionary teachings — though labelled “Science” — should be treated as a sectarian, speculative, controversial skeptical position; one directly comparable to the distinctive and similarly controversial particular dogmas of religious denominations (as opposed to the then prevailing generic Bible-based Christian theistic consensus), and so it should not be state-funded in schools:

    . . . it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any . . . public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.

    iv –> The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sought a test case to challenge such laws, and in co-operation with a local business circle in Dayton Tennessee who hoped to gain publicity for their town, Mr John Scopes agreed to stand trial on the charge of having taught the evolution of man from primates [[“monkeys” or “apes” in popular language], based on Hunter’s Civic Biology.

    v –> Mr Scopes engaged lawyer and public skeptic Clarence Darrow, who had just won the highly publicised Loeb and Leopold Nietzschean “Superman” murder case in part on the closing argument that:

    . . . They [[Loeb and Leopold] wanted to commit a perfect crime . . . . Do you mean to tell me that Dickie Loeb had any more to do with his making than any other product of heredity that is born upon the earth? . . . .

    He grew up in this way. He became enamored of the philosophy of Nietzsche. Your Honor, I have read almost everything that Nietzsche ever wrote. He was a man of a wonderful intellect; the most original philosopher of the last century. Nietzsche believed that some time the superman would be born, that evolution was working toward the superman. He wrote one book, Beyond Good and Evil, which was a criticism of all moral codes as the world understands them; a treatise holding that the intelligent man is beyond good and evil, that the laws for good and the laws for evil do not apply to those who approach the superman. [[Shades of Plato's critique . . . ] He wrote on the will to power. Nathan Leopold is not the only boy who has read Nietzsche. He may be the only one who was influenced in the way that he was influenced . . .

    vi –> This was not quite true. For, we may read later on in The Menace of Darwinism, by Bryan (NB: who appeared for the state in the [Scopes] trial):

    Darwinism leads to a denial of God. Nietzsche carried Darwinism to its logical conclusion and it made him the most extreme of anti-Christians . . . . As the [[First World] war [[of 1914 - 1918] progressed I [[Bryan was from 1913 - 1915 the 41st US Secretary of State, under President Wilson] became more and more impressed with the conviction that the German propa-ganda rested upon a materialistic foundation. I se-cured the writings of Nietzsche and found in them a defense, made in advance, of all the cruelties and atrocities practiced by the militarists of Germany. [[It didn't start with the Nazis!] Nietzsche tried to substitute the worship of the “Su-perman” for the worship of God. He not only re-jected the Creator, but he rejected all moral standards. He praised war and eulogized hatred because it led to war. He denounced sympathy and pity as attributes unworthy of man. He believed that the teachings of Christ made degenerates and, logical to the end, he regarded Democracy as the refuge of weaklings. He saw in man nothing but an animal and in that animal the highest virtue he recognized was “The Will to Power”—a will which should know no let or hin-drance, no restraint or limitation . . . . His philosophy, if it is worthy the name of philos-ophy, is the ripened fruit of Darwinism — and a tree is known by its fruit . . . .

    The corroding influence of Darwinism has spread as the doctrine has been increasingly accepted. In the American preface to “The Glass of Fashion” these words are to be found: “Darwinism not only justifies the sensualist at the trough and Fashion at her glass; it justifies Prussianism at the cannon’s mouth and Bol-shevism at the prison-door. If Darwinism be true, if Mind is to be driven out of the universe and accident accepted as a sufficient cause for all the majesty and glory of physical nature, then there is no crime or vio-lence, however abominable in its circumstances and however cruel in its execution, which cannot be justi-fied by success, and no triviality, no absurdity of Fash-ion which deserves a censure: more — there is no act of disinterested love and tenderness, no deed of self- sac-rifice and mercy, no aspiration after beauty and excel-lence, for which a single reason can be adduced in logic.” [[pp. 52 - 54. Emphases and explanatory parentheses added.]

    vii –> That would have made for a devastating comeback in the “duel” between these lawyers (who had agreed to call one another as witnesses), but Darrow used legal tactics to block that from happening, and the disgusted judge cut off further debate the next morning . . . .

    viii –> In his closing summation (also not delivered due to the same tactics), Bryan would have pointed out that:

    A criminal is not relieved from responsibility merely because he found Nietzsche’s philosophy in a library which ought not to contain it. Neither is the university guiltless if it permits such corrupting nourishment to be fed to the souls that are entrusted to its care . . . . [[Again, strongly echoing Plato's analysis; and also his recommendations.]

    Mr. Darrow said: “I say to you seriously that the parents of Dicky Loeb are more responsible than he, and yet few boys had better parents.” Again he says: “I know that one of two things happened to this boy; that this terrible crime was inherent in his organism and came from some ancestor, or that it came through his education and his training after he was born.” . . . . He says “I do not know what remote ancestor may have sent down the seed that corrupted him, and I do not know through how many ancestors it may have passed until it reached Dicky Loeb. All I know is, it is true, and there is not a biologist in the world who will not say I am right.”

    Psychologists who build upon the evolutionary hypothesis teach that man is nothing but a bundle of characteristics inherited from brute ancestors. That is the philosophy which Mr. Darrow applied in this celebrated criminal case. “Some remote ancestor” – he does not know how remote – “sent down the seed that corrupted him.” You cannot punish the ancestor – he is not only dead but, according to the evolutionists, he was a brute and may have lived a million years ago. And he says that all the biologists agree with him. No wonder so small a percentage of the biologists, according to Leuba, believe in a personal God.

    This is the quintessence of evolution, distilled for us by one who follows that doctrine to its logical conclusion.

    ix –> But, five days after the trial, Bryan was dead from complications of untreated diabetes, and the general impression we have of the trial is strongly shaped by the anti-Fundamentalist themes and regrettable distortions in the Movie (and associated plays), Inherit the Wind; as well as in the popular mind.

    (For instance,

    a: it is unlikely that Mr Scopes actually taught evolution,

    b: he was not held in gaol, so

    c: he was not mobbed therein;

    d: Mr Darrow was welcomed and treated courteously by the businessmen hoping to promote their town through the trial;

    e: the movie dialogue distorts the trial transcript to make Mr Bryan into a strawman,

    f: nor did he go insane and die in a fit at the conclusion of the trial. To cap off,

    g: Mr Bryan offered to pay Mr Scopes’ mandatory fine, US$ 100.

    It should also be noted, again, that Hunter’s Civic Biology — the textbook in question — advocated eugenics, in the name of science.)

    We clearly need to address several pointed education and policy issues that the Scopes trial and its aftermath highlighted, issues that are still with us today, over eighty years later:

    (1) Educators, students and the public alike need to be aware that science, at its best, is: an unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) progressive pursuit of the truth about our world, based on empirical observations and facts, experiment, logical-mathematical analysis and discussion among the informed.

    (2) We should also recognise that since origins sciences are about a remote, unobserved past, their explanations, models and theories are necessarily more limited in scope, tested reliability and degree of warrant than the results of operations sciences that can directly access empirical facts through current experiments and observations.

    (3) Similarly, since origins studies are about the roots of our existence and nature, it is to be expected that these studies will have significant impacts on and associated controversies linked to major worldview alternatives.

    (4) A major objective of origins science studies should therefore be not only to survey dominant schools of thought the relevant facts, concepts and explanatory models and theories, but — in light of relevant scientific and philosophical critiques of those schools — to explore the nature, strengths, limitations and significance of science for the individual and for the society, in as balanced and objective a way as possible.

    (5) Given the history of contentions, polarisation, misinformation, distortion, misrepresentation and ideologisation of topics related to origins science, it would also be helpful to provide a balancing corrective on pivotal incidents in the scientific, policy level and general public debates.

    (6) Similarly, painful through it is to do so, the history of major abuses linked to ideologised origins sciences — which beyond reasonable doubt include some of the worst abuses of science in all history — should be explored, and used to motivate reflection on key questions of scientific and general ethics, to help equip future citizens and policy-makers to make better decisions in light of that history. (And, such should not be done in a way that seeks to shift or dilute blame through diversionary finger-pointing; though it is appropriate to point out with examples that as a rule the worst abuses in history have been done in the name of good, and that typically many factors and individuals contribute to the worst evils of any given age.)

    (7) Finally, it is clear that origins science issues form an inextricably intertwined whole. Accordingly, while such studies will inevitably focus on the particular relevant aspect — whether astronomical, geo-chemical, biological, or psychological/cognitive etc. — curricula should provide at least brief surveys of the whole framework, so that students and educators may place their particular focal studies in context.

    Thus, the education paradigm case provides a microcosm of the challenges our civilisation faces as we address the controversies that surround origins science. >>
    ___________

    We may not wholly agree with Mr Bryan’s solution from nearly a century ago, but surely, we can have the responsibility to truth, fairness and prudence to fix the mess we now find ourselves in.

    KF

  10. PS: This video of the parable of Plato’s Cave will be useful, sobering viewing. Ponder especially the constructed shadow show that the denizens confuse for reality, and the consequences of that when they are confronted with the less expertly presented plain, unvarnished truth. Recall, too, that this is a thinly veiled summary of the fate of Socrates at the hands of his fellow Athenians, at age 70, for the thought crime of being a challenging intellectual gadfly.

    PPS: I see my blockquote- closing troubles somehow continue.

  11. F/N: Nor, should we forget Plato’s warning in the voice of the Athenian Stranger, in The Laws, Bk X:

    _________

    >> [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality, and of course, this is a pivotal issue with Nietzsche's thought and associated wider issues, debates and concerns . . . as well as some pretty sad and bloody lessons from history], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . . . [[I]f impious discourses were not scattered, as I may say, throughout the world, there would have been no need for any vindication of the existence of the Gods-but seeing that they are spread far and wide, such arguments are needed; and who should come to the rescue of the greatest laws, when they are being undermined by bad men, but the legislator himself? . . .[[Jowett translation. Emphases and explanatory parentheses added.] >>
    _________

    We need to think through these concerns and related issues on how controversial issues should be taught especially in the context of science, ethical concerns and society.

    KF

  12. It’s odd, but Darrow’s public support for the eugenic infanticide of two children by Harry Haiselden, the notorious “Bollinger case”, doesn’t seem to be generally known of in ID circles. (Ref. WP and The Black Stork by Martin Parnick.)

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