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Saturday, May 5, 2007

An Historical Milestone

"It certainly is most absurd, the fact can never be!
My great grand daddy never was a monkey up a tree!"
Grace Carleton, "Darwin's Little Joke," 1874

“Parents have a right to insist that godless evolution not be taught to their children”-former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan

On May 5, 1925, a high school science teacher named John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution in a public school in a Tennessee public schools in violation of state law. The day before, on May 4, the ACLU had run an ad in the Chattanooga Times, offering to pay the legal fees of any Tennessee teacher who would agree to take the state on in a test case, and Scopes became the guinea pig. Although he was eventually acquitted on a technicality, the Tennessee State Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state law, cementing Tennessee and the south's reputation as an intellectual cesspool for decades to come. Not until nearly forty years later, in 1967, did the Tennessee legislature overturn the law, finally allowing teachers to teach evolution-a law many on the right wing fringe would like to see overturned.

On May 3, two days before the eighty-second anniversary of the historic arrest, three Republican candidates for president-Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado-indicated they did not believe in evolution, thus cementing the Republican party as an intellectual cesspool, not to mention a coalition of pandering lackeys. Huckabee only made things worse for himself when he later tried to straddle the fence:

"If you want to believe that you and your family came from apes, I'll accept that....I believe there was a creative process...We shouldn't indoctrinate kids in school. I wouldn't want them teaching creationism as if it's the only thing that they should teach." He then indicated he thought students should be given credit for having the "intelligence" to think through various theories for themselves and come to "their own conclusions."

Ok, to all who think that makes it then ok if students judge for themselves whether a musical note is an F sharp or a B flat? Or whether or not the exterior angle of a triangle is always equal to the two angles of the triangle that it is not adjacent to? Or whether or not water is composed of one part oxygen and two parts hydrogen? Or whether or not I comes before E, except after C?

Uh-huh. Thought so.

Wikipedia notes, "At that time in history the theory of evolution was considered controversial in public opinion, and a large faction of its detractors linked it with atheism."

Sound familiar? Remember, they're talking about the 1920s here, not 2007. The more things change, the more they stay the same, apparently.

Where's Clarence Darrow when you really need him?

(Church threat lifted from

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