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Scopes Trial


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(July 1925)

The US legal case in which John T. Scopes, a biology teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, was charged with violating state law by teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. The state legislature had enacted (1925) that it was unlawful to teach any doctrine denying the literal truth of the account of the creation as presented in the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible. The judge ruled out any discussion of constitutional legality, and since Scopes clearly had taught Darwin's theory of evolution he was convicted and fined $100. On appeal to the Supreme Court the constitutionality of the state's law was upheld, but Scopes was acquitted on the technicality that he had been “fined excessively”. The law was repealed in 1967. However, Christian fundamentalists in the USA continue to campaign vigorously for a return to creationist teaching.

Subjects: History.


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