The U.S. is regarded as the land of the free people because it hosts individuals that have fled their home countries because of lack of religious freedom. Religious fanatics from Europe imposed their beliefs on locals and insisted that they act according to their deities’ rules. Notably, these zealots interpreted the Bible literally and insisted that people should follow rules that affirm monotheism. Randy Moore’s article, The Lingering Impact of the Scopes Trial on High School Textbooks, articulates the way these fundamentalists who opposed Darwin’s theory imposed their opinion on politicians. The writer recounts how the opponents of Darwin’s argument illegalized the theory of evolution and forced politicians to convict John Scopes, a teacher who imparted the theory on his students. Moore discusses American education before and after the conviction and aims at illustrating the long-term effects of the trial on the American syllabus.
Moore describes people's reaction to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and explains that Christians regarded it as a blasphemous concept. However, one botanist supported the theory despite being an evangelist. Moore states that the botanist proposed an argument in which he combined Christian views and the Darwinian Theory[footnoteRef:1]. The writer also introduces religious fundamentalism, which he defines as a literal interpretation of the Bible. The scholar posits that the fundamentalists opposed the Darwinian Theory and blamed it for the decline of moral values in the country[footnoteRef:2]. Therefore, religious leaders pushed policymakers to enact a law that declared the theory blasphemous. The lawmakers obliged and declared the theory illegal; therefore, forbade teachers from talking about the theory in classrooms. [1: Randy Moore “The Lingering Impact of The Scopes Trial on High School Biology Textbooks.” In The Textbook as Discourse, (New York, Routledge, 2011, 102-116] [2: Randy Moore “The Lingering Impact of The Scopes Trial on High School Biology Textbooks.” In The Textbook as Discourse, (New York, Routledge, 2011, 102-116]
In the subsequent segment, the writer discusses the content of biology textbooks before Scopes’ trial. Moore states that some textbook authors wrote about the theory, among others. In other cases, the writers dedicated chapters or entire biology books to discuss evolution[footnoteRef:3]. The scholar says that although some textbook writers focused on evolution, others omitted it and claimed that it was complicated for high school students. However, Moore believes that these authors used the statement as an excuse to omit the theory from their books. In the same fragment, the writer elaborates on the trial of John Scopes, a substitute teacher who gave his students an assignment about evolution. The writer also expresses doubt over the allegations against the teacher who was absent from school on the date that the prosecutors claimed he taught the forbidden subject. [3: Randy Moore “The Lingering Impact of The Scopes Trial on High School Biology Textbooks.” In The Textbook as Discourse, (New York, Routledge, 2011, 102-116]
After Scopes’ prosecution, publishers omitted the subject of evolution from their texts, as Moore explains. Few instructors taught the theory for fear of persecution and criticism. According to Moore, the Texas governor tore pages that entailed information about Darwin’s theory from a biology textbook, and from then on, publishers printed sanitized textbooks for Texas’ public schools. At the same time, textbook writers omitted the theory whenever they revised their texts and published new editions. Moore observes that after two decades, textbook writers included evolution in their books. Pioneers of the second wave of evolution theory in books emphasized that it was a theory and not a fact. The effort was meant to prove that the writers did not dispute the creation story; instead, they maintained that Darwin’s argument was a second opinion about the origin of species. As time passed, authors gained courage, made bold statements about the theory, and declared it a proved scientific argument[footnoteRef:4]. The opinions about science syllabus intensified when a public concern erupted because of the Soviet Union whose science projects overtook the American ones. In a quest to compete with the European country, the United States government increased investment in sciences. The policymakers eliminated the law that forbade the teaching of the theory in schools. Still, the fundamentalists insisted that teachers reduce coverage of the theory in classrooms, and while some authors complied, others wrote about the theory. Moore adds that after the confrontation between the religious leaders and politicians, the biology textbook composers included the theory in their works. However, the writers used mild word choice such as “change” and “development” to disassociate their books with the theory[footnoteRef:5]. Some writers, according to Moore, emphasized the evolution theory’s scientific proof since the elements seemed sensible compared to the creation theory, which bases arguments on faith. At the conclusion, Moore states that some scholars teach the method apologetically while others still emphasize the creationist theory[footnoteRef:6]. Lastly, the writer observes that textbook writers insist on the approach, as part of biology syllabus, since it provides an alternative explanation for people's development. Moore proves his hypothesis about John Scopes' trial since its occurrence affected the biology syllabus. [4: ibid] [5: Randy Moore “The Lingering Impact of The Scopes Trial on High School Biology Textbooks.” In The Textbook as Discourse, (New York, Routledge, 2011, 102-116)] [6: ibid]
Moore, Randy. “The Lingering Impact of The Scopes Trial on High School Biology Textbooks.” In The Textbook as Discourse, New York, Routledge, 2011, 102-116.