Scopes Trial: Reason vs. Religion, An Historical Turning Point in Public Control of Education in America
Popejoy, Michael W., Profed
Copyright by Michael W. Popejoy. This material is copyrighted, and any further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without the permission of the copyright owner.
Scopes Trial; Monkey Trial; Evolution; Religion and science; Scopes, John Thomas --Trials, litigation, etc.; Education -- Political aspects; Education -- Curricula;
This paper provides historical evidence supporting Peter F. Oliva’s Second Axiom: A school curriculum not only reflects but is a product of its time. The Scopes Trial became the focal point of conflict, in more than just a legal sense, between science and religion, and in a larger, more ideological sense, between Hamiltonianism and Jeffersonianism. The trial would help determine, for a time anyway, which world-view would predominate as the legitimate foundation in the curriculum of public education. Who would control the curriculum; the “experts” who represent the state (the government) or those, the majoritarian community, who pay for the schools? On an even deeper level, traditional family values were being challenged by the modernist, progressive, analytical values of science that informed a strengthening central government populated by experts at both the federal and state level (a Hamiltonian worldview). With its scientific method, science began to whittle away at long held principles based on faith and the agrarian values of the South (Jeffersonian philosophy). But, science changes—its paradigms shift, science plants its foundation in sandy soil—the bedrock of faith does not change much for the faithful.