Today in History: John Scopes found guilty

monkeyOn July 21, 1925, John Thomas Scopes was found guilty of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of evolution. Generations later, the teaching of evolution is standard and creationism (in the form of Intelligent Design) is the new challenger. Michael Lienesch, author of In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, the Scopes Trial, and the Making of the Antievolution Movement, examines the history of the creationist movement from its origins in the 1920s to today.

Lienesch-IntheBeginning-coverWith fresh insights, Lienesch retells the story of the 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial and reinterprets its meaning. In tracking the movement from that time to today, he explores the rise of creation science in the 1960s, the alliance with the New Christian Right in the 1980s, and the development of the theory of intelligent design in our own time. Lienesch concludes by speculating on its place in the politics of the twenty-first century. (By the way, the Creation Museum just celebrated its first anniversary.)

We’ve just missed the Scopes Trial Play and Festival, held this time every year in Dayton, Tennessee, site of the original trial. The festival includes music and re-enactments, as well as multiple screenings of Inherit the Truth, a 2-hour DVD recording of the re-enactments produced by Bryan College (apparently the locals’ response to Inherit the Wind).