History - Book Critique - Scopes Trial

History - Book Critique - Scopes Trial - 1 Christine...

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Christine Valentin Professor C. Taylor History 1005H 10 November 2007 Book Critique: Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion The Scopes Trial of 1925 was one of the most controversial cases in American History. The trial challenged the issue of teaching evolution in public schools in the 1920s. Edward J. Larson’s book Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion , is a detailed account of the complex events involving the Scopes Trial, which took place in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee. In his book, Larson makes use of many different sources to include information about the events leading up to the trial, the trial itself, and the long lasting effects that the trial has had in our nation’s history. The first third of Larson’s text deals with the events that lead up to the Scopes Trial of 1925. The first few chapters give key background information about the issue. Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species and the discovery of the Paleolithic Skull in Piltdown were two key details that introduced and supported the theory of evolution. However, while scientists were celebrating their discoveries, many fundamentalists began to stir up a controversy about the issue of evolution. There were three major different groups involved in the Scopes Trial. Fundamentalist Christians had full belief in the bible and interpreted its text literally. They strongly opposed the theory of evolution. Modernists were a different group of Christians. Modernists believed in the bible but they also 1
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accepted evolution as God’s way of creating. They were liberal-minded when interpreting the bible and were much more accepting of scientific theories. Evolutionists and other scientists believed in scientific theories and did not believe in religion. Fundamentalists, Modernists, and Evolutionists all had their own opinions on religion and science and these opinions conflicted with each other. In the late 19 th century the evolution theory was incorporated into leading textbooks and it began to be taught as true information in public schools. In the 1900s the number of students attending public schools increased. Many fundamentalist Christians opposed the teaching of evolution to children in public schools. In the state of Tennessee, a law was passed that prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools. The American Civil Liberties Union, along with many others, opposed the new law in Tennessee. The ACLU teamed up with a group of people who were willing to challenge the new law in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee. The ACLU used a young general science instructor by the name of John T. Scopes and charged him with teaching evolution in a Tennessee high school after it was made illegal.
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This note was uploaded on 05/11/2008 for the course HIS 1005 taught by Professor Taylor during the Fall '08 term at CUNY Baruch.

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History - Book Critique - Scopes Trial - 1 Christine...

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