Monday, August 11, 2008

A few uncomfortable truths about the Scopes Trial you won't find in "Inherit the Wind"

Just when you thought all those Darwinists who were protesting that the movie "Expelled" made too much of the connection between evolution and racism, turns out that the book that was the subject of the Scopes Trial--the one being defended by the supposed forces of scientific truth--was a racist book:
The trial has usually been remembered merely as a conflict between a primitive religiosity and disinterested science, but the facts of the case are rather more complicated. Bryan was in his youth one of the most passionate and populist of 'progressive' politicians, a champion of labour and of the poor, an enemy of race theory, and a firm believer in democracy. In his day, evolutionary theory was inextricably associated with eugenics, an from early on he had denounced Darwinism as a philosophy of hatred and oppression, ardently believing that the Christian law of love was the only true basis of a just society. As yet, the rather obvious truth that evolutionary science need involve no social ideology whatsoever was not obvious even to Darwinian scientists.

Moreover, Civic Biology [the book that was the subject of the Scopes suit] was a monstrously racist text, which ranked humanity in five categories of evolutionary development (with blacks at the bottom and whites at the top), advocated eugenic cleansing of the race, denounced intermarriage and the perpetuation of 'degenerate' stock and suggested 'humane' steps for the elimination of social 'parasites'. These were the ideas that Bryan had long believed would lead humanity into an age of war, murder, and tyranny; and given what came in the decades following the trial, it would be hard to argue that Bryan--whatever his faults--was simply an alarmist.
From the excellent book, The Story of Christianity, by David Bentley Hart

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