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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It Ain’t Inherit the Wind

posted by on November 13 at 9:35 AM

… but then again, reason lost that round.

The NOVA episode I slogged about earlier is airing tonight at 8 pm. (And again 9 pm Thursday for people in Seattle.) It’s about Kitzmiller v. Dover, the landmark trial that ended with Judge John Jones, a Bush appointee, thoroughly repudiating the “theory” of intelligent design. Fascinating stuff.

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Inherit the Wind is pretty fictionalized. The "guilty" verdict in the Scopes trial was returned because Scopes was found to have violated the statute prohibiting the teaching of evolution. The idea behind the show trial was to force a higher court to rule on the constitutionality of that law. The Tennessee judge had no choice but to rule that the law was violated, because Scopes admitted to teaching evolution.

Although it was billed as a battle between reason and religion (particularly in the ficionalized version), the actual ruling had nothing to do with which view of human origins was correct.

Posted by flamingbanjo | November 13, 2007 11:33 AM

I seem to recall that the Scopes judge also awarded a puny fine on the schoolteacher. Not exactly a mighty blow for creationism.

Posted by Greg | November 13, 2007 12:06 PM

Scopes later stated (not sure if this contradicted his trial testimony) that he couldn't remember if he did actually teach evolution.

Much of the impetus for the trial was drummed up by the local leaders to put Dayton on the economic map...which it successfully did. Tourist still flock to this little town.

Check out Edward Larson's book on the subject. Excellent historian and book.

Posted by cw | November 13, 2007 3:53 PM

This show was freakin' brilliant! Three cheers for the GOOD people of Dover, PA (and fuck the rest of you).

Posted by DOUG. | November 14, 2007 8:04 AM

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