Another Scopes Trial?

By Mike Willis

In 1925, John T. Scopes, a biology teacher in Dayton, Tennessee was charged with violating a state law which prohibited the teaching of any theories which deny the divine creation of man. The counsel for the defense was Clarence Darrow; William Jennings Bryan assisted in the prosecuting of Scopes. Scopes had been teaching evolution in the classrooms of Dayton, Tennessee. The trial lasted three weeks. Scopes was fined $100 after being found guilty. However, the fine and verdict were set aside by the state supreme court without any comment about the legality of the law.

The Scopes trial brought national attention to the controversy between the fundamentalists and the modernists. The trial itself was the culmination of a movement which had been going on for years. Alarmed by the steady growth of religious liberalism, the fundamentalists banded themselves together to stay the rising tide of modernism. The Scopes trial was somewhat of a test case as to whether or not the state schools could be restricted in their teaching. Though Scopes was found guilty, the ultimate result has been that this trial has been used to guarantee the modernists the right to present their theories of evolution in schools across this nation. Perhaps the time has come for another Scopes trial to be held.

Evolution in the Schools

Whereas the first Scopes trial was held in the hopes of guaranteeing those who believe in evolution the right to present their material in the public schools, if another Scopes trial ever occurs, it will likely be to guarantee the creationists the right to present their views regarding the origin of man. For today, evolutionists have such complete controls over the schools that in some universities a person cannot obtain a degree in certain fields of study without believing in evolution.

Evolution is not considered a theory by such teachers; it is considered a fact. The person who stands in opposition to evolution is not even given a hearing, in many cases. Regarding the manner in which evolution is presently being treated, Arthur Custance said,

Theories are essential to the progress of understanding in science because they structure experiment and inspire the asking of pertinent questions. When facts do not support the theory, it may be modified and continue to serve as inspiration for further investigation. But when a theory which is tentative is presented as fact, it no longer serves to inspire questions but rather to predetermine answers. To my mind, this is the present position of evolutionary theory. It has become “fact” and to challenge it is to run the risk of excommunication. In Medieval times, too, excommunication was one of the penalties for challenging the accepted view of things. At that time the test of whether any new theory was true or false was, as John Randall points out, whether it fitted harmoniously into the orthodox systems of belief and not whether it could be verified by experiment. This is exactly the position today; ecclesiastical dogma has been replaced by biological dogma which, as “dogma,” has been detrimental to the truth (Genesis and Early Man, p. 75).

Custance has accurately presented the situation with reference to the subject of evolution in most of our public schools. Today, there is no room for an examination of the arguments favoring creation over evolution. To teach creation in the classroom is to be guilty of combining church and state; to teach evolution does not involve this problem, according to those teaching the subject. Hence, one can teach evolution in the classrooms but dare not read the Genesis account of creation.

Not a few people have fallen down on their knees before the god of Science. Arlie J. Hoover explained what scientism is; he said,

The word scientism has been used for a long time to mean an uncritical worship of the empirical scientific method, an excessive veneration of laboratory technique. To a person who commits this error, “science” is a sacred word, and the phrase, “Science has proved,” has the force of a papal bull. To such people science has become a religion (Fallacies of Evolution, p. 16).

Such veneration of the scientists has created the disposition that science possesses all of the infallibility which Catholics believe the Pope has when he speaks ex cathedra. We cannot question whether or not evolution is true, because “science has proven” that it is true!

Evolution Still Remains Unproven

Despite the arrogance of those who believe evolution has been proven, the theory of evolution remains unproven. Let us consider exactly what would be necessary for evolution to be proven scientifically.

Bertrand Russell maintained that: “In arriving at a scientific law there are three main stages: the first consists in observing the significant facts; the second in arriving at a hypothesis, which, if it is true, would account for these facts; the third in deducing from this hypothesis consequences which can be tested by observation. If the consequences are verified, the hypothesis is provisionally accepted as true, although it will usually require modification later on as the result of the discovery of further facts (James D. Bales, Evolution and the Scientific Method, p.32).

What does this require specifically for evolution? What is necessary in order to prove the theory? In order to prove the theory of evolution, the following must be scientifically established: first, scientific proof must be given of the origin of our universe, solar system and earth; second, the origin of life; third, it must be scientifically established by the fossil record; fourth, it must be proved to be taking place in nature today; fifth, it must be proved experimentally in the lab; sixth, it must enable scientists to predict (cf. Bales, ibid., p. 56). This has not been done with the theory of evolution.

However, experimental repeatability is essential to the scientific verification of an hypothesis. “Science is built upon repeated results . . . .” By the very nature of the problem, evolution cannot be verified in this manner; therefore, it can never be established as a scientific law. No one has been able to demonstrate in the lab the changes which are absolutely essential to the scientific verification of evolution (Ibid., p. 72).

Evolution is a philosophy; it is not a science and certainly not a proven scientific fact. No one has presented sufficient evidence to prove the theory of evolution. The question of the origins of man is still open so far as the demonstrable evidence of science is concerned. Any person who maintains that “science has proven evolution” manifests his own ignorance of what constitutes science and the problems confronting the belief in the theory of evolution.

We Need Another Scopes Trial

Yet, the situation has evolved to such a degree that the proponents of evolution are almost in complete control of the educational facilities of the state. They are unwilling to present evolution as one of several unproven theories regarding the origin of man; they want to present it as an established fact. Furthermore, they browbeat those who believe in creation and make it extremely difficult to obtain a degree in certain fields of study unless that person will accept evolution.

What is the result of this? Science was allowed to present its theory of evolution but will not allow the presentation of the creationists’ point of view. As a result, our state is propagating a scientific humanism at the taxpayer’s expense. The theory of evolution may be properly defined as follows:

The word “evolution” is also used as a cover term for the total explanation of life’s origins and manifold forms. It involves the idea that the earth through a variety of natural processes became a place in which it was possible for life to exist. Life arose from the non-living, it arose by natural causes, and without intelligent oversight or direction. From the first form or forms of life, all the manifold forms have evolved through natural processes. All of this has been done without any supernatural intervention. It was not the result of intelligence, but of the blind workings of the forces of nature (Bales, op. cit., p. 25).

Hence, the indoctrination of our children in the theory of evolution constitutes the state’s involvement in the denial of supernatural creation. Instead, our state schools teach our children that the natural process must be explained without any reference to intelligent intervention into the course of nature.

The big question we now face is: How much longer are parents going to allow the selective indoctrination of their children-at taxpayer’s expense-with an exclusively, prejudiced, anti-religious view of origins that has no scientific -roof? (Hoover, op. cit., p. 85).

Hence, the world might be ripe for another Scopes trial-a trial designed to guarantee the creationist the right to present his view of origins alongside those views presented by the humanists who believe in evolution.

Truth Magazine XXII: 12, pp. 195-196
March 23, 1978