As the political scene is quite boring at this time, I dove into ‘this day in history’ and found that in 1925 John Scopes was indicted for teaching Darwinian theory in school. That’s just 87 years ago. I have two living cousins who were 7 and 5 at the time. Imagine that! And the religious idiocy continues unabated in much of this nation- the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
Will future generations look back on the religious idiocy of 2012 the same way that most of us look back on the Scopes Trial? I say most of us because there are millions of Americans alive today whose whose ‘belief system’ is unaltered from that day in 87 years ago. Recall the recent op-ed in my local newspaper last week by a fundamentalist preacher who began, ‘Some 6000 years ago God created marriage.’
In fact, Clarence Darrow, defense attorney for Scopes, called out this same religious idiocy during the trial: “You insult every man of science and learning in the world because he does not believe in your fool religion.” In an odd courtroom move, Darrow placed the state’s attorney, William Jennings Bryan, on the stand. He asked Bryan,’If God created Eve from the rib of Adam, where did Cain get his wife?’ Darrow used these examples to suggest that the stories of the Bible could not be scientific and should not be used in teaching science. Bryan retorted that the purpose of this type of questioning was ‘to cast ridicule on everybody who believes in the Bible.’ To that Darrow charged, “We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States.”
He said that 87 years ago, but sadly, those bigots and ignoramuses are still controlling the education of the United States. They are everywhere today- on school boards, state legislatures and in the halls of Congress. Some even ran for president. Note the Santorum Amendment in the United States Senate in 2001 which promoted the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in U.S. public schools. In August 2011, the Louisiana Science Education Act was passed into law. The legislation is to ‘assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills.’ Imagine that! Mixing critical thinking with ‘fool religion.’ Nine other state legislatures have adopted similar legislation although none have yet passed into law.
Six-day creation, Adam, Eve, apple, ribs and a snake in dialogue in a garden. And millions of Americans want this stuff to be taught in science classrooms in the year 2012. We haven’t moved forward very far 87 years later…