“Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state.”
In 1925 one of the most controversial legal events, known as the Scopes Trial, in the history of America, unfolded. And, even after 90 years of influence, the Scopes Trial still has a lasting impact on American education because of the teaching known as “evolution” and its implications that there is no God.
In the stuffy, hot town of Dayton, in Rhea County Courthouse, the jury, John T. Scopes (the one being charged with teaching evolution is school), Bryan (the prosecutor) and Darrow (defense lawyer) met on the 10th of July (Byers). It was here that they would be spending the next twelve days in heated debate. Although the original trial was in order because of a violation of law, caused by Scopes, the trial itself had nothing to do with the violation.
In the same year as the trial, Scopes was approached by a friend and asked if he would participate in a trial set forth by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU wanted to overthrow a series of bills put forth to prohibit the teaching of the evolution of molecules-to-man in Tennessee schools. It was for this reason that the ACLU wanted Scopes to be charged for teaching evolution and tried in trial. (Byers)
Dr. David Menton, an anatomist from Answers in Genesis, said that the only qualification Scopes had as a science teacher was that he filled in for an ill biology teacher. Nonetheless, Scopes was talked into being part of the ACLU’s case. Although Scopes never taught evolution during his time as a biology teacher, and didn’t violate the Butler Act [series of bills preventing the teaching of evolution], he was still tried. (Menton 278-79)
Now that the case was being set up and the ACLU had their guilty party, the trial gained national publicity as Clarence Darrow, a very famous lawyer, and William Jennings Bryan joined the group and pitted against each other in a battle of morals, beliefs, and values that Bryan called a “duel to the death” (Keller 663).
As the trial unfolded and came to an end, Scopes was fined and released. The national debate on whether or not evolution should be taught in schools was over in a mere 12 days. But, the atmosphere of the debate was not over then; in fact, the effects of the trial still live on until this day.
One of the main impacts would deal with evolution being able to be taught in public schools, something that was initiated about 40 years after the trial, with very few schools teaching both creation and evolution or creation solely. And, since a majority of kids K-12 attend a public school that teaches evolution, the popularity and impact of this theory has spread like wildfire ever since. (Hovind)
However, ever since evolution has been taught in schools, the American society has changed. The most devastating, and most dramatic, change was related to violent crimes.
After evolution was allowed to be taught the violent crime rate went up 995%. Before evolution it was about 200,000 each year, after evolution and within 20 years, it jumped to some 1,400,000 annually. (Seminar 5 – The Dangers of Evolution)
Along with violent crimes, divorce rates also escalated. Before evolution was allowed into schools, divorce rates were 2.5 couples per 1,000 population. After evolution was allowed into schools, the divorce rates went to 5.2 couples per 1,000 population in just 10 years. (Seminar 5 – The Dangers of Evolution)
Furthermore, after evolution was allowed, the rates of babies born out of wedlock went from 5% of babies to 17% in 10 years. Also, the rate of unmarried couples living together rose 775% from half-a-million to 1.5 million in ten years. (Seminar 5 – The Dangers of Evolution)
Yet, the rates didn’t just vaguely rise with the teaching of evolution. No, now, with the evolutionary theory getting more popularity from atheists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, some suicides and school shootings have been directly related to evolutionary teaching.
In 2008, one man spent his day mourning his son, Jesse Kilgore, after learning the boy had committed suicide. The dad, Keith Kilgore, soon figured out that his son’s suicide was linked to an evolutionary book called, “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. Kilgore told reporters, “one of his friends, and his uncle (they did not know each other) both told me that Jesse called them hours before he took his life and that he had lost all hope because he was convinced that God did not exist, and this book [“The God Delusion”] was the cause.” (Unruh)
Similarly, another suicide action made by two twin girls, with one dying and another living the attempt, in Colorado was linked to “The God Delusion” that was found in their belongings. These two girls were also very interested in the horrible 1999 Columbine shooting that was caused by two senior students who were “fascinated by the German Nazi belief, fueled by ideas of Darwinian struggle, in a ‘master race.’” (Catchpoole 22)
The Finnish high school shooting, in which nine people (including the killer) died, in Finland was caused by a young man known as Pekka-Eric Auvinen. Auvinen made many evolutionary statements backing up his thoughts of murder and suicide. Many of his statements reflected evolutionary teaching and others bluntly proclaimed it. Auvinen relayed a belief of evolutionary thinking when he said, “life is just a coincidence … result of long process of evolution and many several factors, causes and effects.” (Catchpoole)
Also, Auniven made many statements about natural selection, a prime necessity in evolutionary thinking, and that there is no God and thus no reason for him to maintain to laws or rely on anyone except himself. It was this thinking that eventually led him to murder and suicide (Catchpoole).
In 1998, a high school student by the name of Kip Kinkle entered his school and injured 26 people, killed two students and his two parents and, once arrested, attempted to kill the detective of his investigation. The motives behind his actions were fueled by evolutionary thinking; Kinkle was recorded saying an evolutionary statement of “there is no God”. (Seminar 5 – The Dangers of Evolution)
Many people wonder how evolution could possibly have such an impact on American society. Catchpoole summarized the acts in his statement, saying, “having been told since childhood that man is just an animal, that death and violence are a natural part of evolution, and that ‘only the fittest survive,’ it is no wonder that this generation of young people are wallowing in utter hopelessness.” (Catchpoole 22)
Hovind also, in his speech covering the effects of evolution on society, said, “if evolution is true: Who owns the world? Who makes the rules? How do we decide what is right and wrong? There is no absolute standard to tell right from wrong.” (Seminar 5 – The Dangers of Evolution)
Consequently, with evolutionary thinking being taught in school, the rates of divorce, murder, and other violent crimes raised an average of 580% in just ten years and that doesn’t even include many suicides and school shootings, including the Columbine shooting, being directly related to evolutionary teaching revealed during school hours.
After being brought to real publicity, nearly 90 years ago, and being taught for almost 50 years, the theory of evolution of molecules-to-man still impacts American culture with their teaching of no God, and, thus, as Hovind says, “no absolute standard to tell right from wrong.”
Bob, Unruh. “Dad links son’s suicide to ‘The God Delusion’” World Net Daily. November 20th, 2008. WND.com. Web. March 12th, 2013. <http://www.wnd.com/2008/11/81459/>.
Catchpoole, David. “How to build a bomb in the public school system.” Creation 22 (1999): 17.
David, Catchpoole. “Inside the mind of a killer.” Creation Ministries International. September 16th, 2009. Creation Ministries International. Web. March 12th, 2013 <http://creation.com/inside-the-mind-of-a-killer>.
Eric, Hovind. “Jacob’s Story | Winter 2012”. Creation Today. n.d. Creation Today. Web. March 12th, 2013 <http://www.creationtoday.org/jacobs-story-winter-2012/>.
Keller, Morton. The American Odyssey. Ranoake: K12 Inc., 2009.
Menton, David, Ken, Ham. The New Answers Book 2. Green Forest: Master Books, 2008.
Seminar 5 – The Dangers of Evolution. Kent Hovind. Creation Today, 2007.
Stacia, Byers. “The Scopes Trial . . . What’s the Big Deal?” Answers in Genesis. July 24th, 2000. Answers in Genesis. Web. March 8th, 2013 <http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2000/07/24/the-scopes-trial-big-deal>.