Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Fundamentalist's View of Scopes

Well, Gunner kept going on and on about the "Scopes Monkey Trial" and how it's decision put up a "Wall Between Church and State" in our little blog-debate. So, I sent him a nice little link showing how Scopes was actually rather ineffective from a legal perspective. For those of you that don't know the history of the case, here's a brief synopsis:

In the mid 1920s, Scopes tried to teach evolution to his biology
class. This broke Tennessee law, causing him to go to court. His
defense attorney ultimately asked the jury in the case to find him guilty so it
could go to higher courts. He hoped it would make it to the Supreme
Court. Scopes was fined $100. When the case made it to the Tennessee
appellate court, it was overturned on a technicality instead of for
constitutional reasons. Thus, from a precedent setting perspective, the
Scopes trial was a wash. Here's a link with all the fun facts, including
bits about the prosecution and defense, both famous names for one thing or
another: Scopes Trial

That's not the link I sent Gunner to, but it's pretty good. I like Wikipedia. Anywho, I haven't checked in lately, but I doubt it'll do any good. Scopes is one of the rallying cries of the fundamentalist movement. While it wasn't a legal precedent setter, it did have a lot of social impact. It was the first shot fired in the court-fought war between biblical literalism and the scientific method. No matter how much history you cram down a guy's throat, and Gunner's a history teacher, by the way, it won't matter not one bit.

Fundies are going to continue to wave the Scopes trial before their congregations like a red flag in front of a bull, because it's effective. It doesn't matter if what they're saying is accurate. Accuracy is irrelevant to these people. That's part of what bugs me so much about my fight with my pal Gunner. He used to be such a stickler for details back when we were in school together, but now he spouts inaccurate and downright false garbage, just because someone who has similar religious beliefs to his told him it was so. If he had a student turn in a paper that was so poorly researched, I imagine he'd flunk the idiot.

But that's the nature of fundamentalism: "I know I'm right, no matter what the facts are!"


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"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain


Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu