The Scopes trial of 1925 brought the controversy over the theory of evolution to a court
show down. Clarence Darrow defended John T. Scopes who admitted to teaching evolution in
Tennessee, a state that passed the Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of evolution.
William Jennings Bryan argued the case for the prosecution. Darrow argued there was no
contradiction between the biblical account and the theory of evolution. He stated that
he would require an expert on the Bible to prove his case, and Bryan volunteered. Darrow
then called Bryan, the prosecuting attorney, as a
Bryan admitted the the Bible could not be interpreted to literally mean
24 hour days. Never-the-less the judge through out all the testimony and
insisted the case turned on whether Scopes had taught evolution, and this he had admitted.
The jury was left with no alternative but to find him guilty. They returned this verdict,
"We claim that the defendant is not guilty, but as the court has excluded any testimony,
except as to the one issue as to whether he taught that man descended from a lower order
of animals, and we cannot contradict that testimony, there is no logical thing to come
except that the jury find a verdict that we may carry to the higher court, purely as a
matter of proper procedure." Bryan then volunteered to pay Scope's fine.
It wasn't until 1968 that the US Supreme Court supported evolution in their Epperson v. Arkansas
393 U.S. 97 (1968) ruling that the purpose of teaching creationism is religious, and
therefore violates the first amendment banning the establishment of religion.
Today creationists are still trying to prevail against science, now using the
argument from design. I support groups opposing creationism, including the
Secular Humanist Society of New York (SHSNY), although I consider myself a
Logical Pantheist, rather than a secular humanist.
I was corresponding with John Rafferty, the editor of Pique, the newsletter of SHSNY, and
I opined that SHSNY needed an emblem to embody their anti-creationist message.
Editor Rafferty agreed he did not find the emblem of the
American Humanist Association
compelling, and SHSNY did not have an emblem of their own.
a while, and the most powerful image of creationism that came to mind was Michelangelo's
"Creation of Adam," from the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. I then offered SHSNY, "No Creation of Adam,"
which is pictured above. Editor Rafferty replied that the variation on Michelangelo's
image which best expressed his feelings was the one pictured below.