Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science

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Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 | ISSN 1556-5696

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William Jennings Bryan’s last speech (never delivered) for the Scopes’ Monkey Trial in 1925 was reprinted the next year as a pamphlet: a tool for believers to combat what they perceived to be a cultural threat — the theory of evolution. He deemed it “the most powerful argument against evolution ever made.” In this week’s eSkeptic, we present the speech which we also printed in Skeptic magazine volume 4, number 2 in 1996.

Mr. Bryan’s Address to the Jury
in the Scopes’ Case
The Speech Which Was Never Delivered

by William Jennings Bryan


May it please the court, and gentlemen of the jury: Demosthenes, the greatest of ancient orators, in his “oration on the crown,” the most famous of his speeches, began by supplicating the favor of all the gods and goddesses of Greece. If, in a case which involved only his own fame and fate, he felt justified in petitioning the heathen gods of his country, surely we, who deal with the momentous issues involved in this case, may well pray to the ruler of the universe for wisdom to guide us in the performance of our several parts in this historic trial.

Let me in the first place, congratulate our cause that circumstances have committed the trial to a community like this and entrusted the decision to a jury made up largely of the yeomanry of the state. The book in issue in this trial contains on its first page two pictures contrasting the disturbing noises of a great city with the calm serenity of the country. It is a tribute that rural life has fully earned.

I appreciate the sturdy honesty and independence of these who come into daily contact with the earth, who living near to nature, worship nature’s god and who, dealing with the myriad mysteries of earth and air, seek to learn from revelation about the Bible’s wonder working God. I admire the stern virtues, the vigilance and the patriotism of the class from which the jury is drawn, and am reminded of the lines of Scotland’s immortal bard, which, when changed but slightly, describe your country’s confidence in you:

O, Scotia, my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent,
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content.

And, Oh, may heaven their simple lives present
From luxury’s contagion, weak and vile
Then, howe’er crowns and coronets be rent
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand, a wall of fire, around their much loved isle.

Let us now separate the issues from the misrepresentations, intentional and unintentional, that have obscured both the letter and the purpose of the law.

This is not an interference with freedom of conscience. A teacher can think as he pleases and worship God as he likes, or refuse to worship God at all. He can believe in the Bible or discard it; he can accept Christ or reject him. This law places no objections or restraints upon him. And so with freedom of speech, he can, so long as he acts as an individual, say anything he likes on any subject.

This law does not violate any rights guaranteed by any constitution to any individual. It deals with the defendant, not as an individual, but as an employee, an official or public servant, paid by the state, and therefore under instructions from the state.

The right of the state to control the public schools is affirmed in the recent decision in the Oregon case, which declares that the state can direct what shall be taught and also forbid the teaching of anything “manifestly inimical to the public welfare.” The above decision goes even farther and declares that the parent not only has the right to guard the religious welfare of the child, but is in duty bound to guard it. That decision fits this case exactly. The state had a right to pass this law, and the law represents the determination of the parents to guard the religious welfare of their children.

It need hardly be added that this law did not have its origin in bigotry. It is not trying to force any form of religion on anybody. The majority is not trying to establish a religion or to teach it — it is trying to protect itself from the efforts of an insolent minority to force irreligion upon the children under the guise of teaching science. What right has a little irresponsible oligarchy of self-styled “intellectuals” to demand control of the schools of the United States, in which 25,000,000 of children are being educated at an annual expense of nearly $2,000,000,000? Christians must, in every state of the union, build their own colleges in which to teach Christianity; it is only simple justice that atheists, agnostics and unbelievers should build their own colleges if they want to teach their own religious views or attack the religious views of others.

The statute is brief and free from ambiguity. It prohibits the teaching, in the public schools, of “any theology that denies the story of divine creation as taught in the Bible,” and teaches, “instead, that man descended from a lower order of animals.” The first sentence sets forth the purpose of those who passed the law. They forbid the teaching of any evolutionary theory that disputes the Bible record of man’s creation and, to make sure that there shall be no misunderstanding, they place their own interpretation on their language and specifically forbid the teaching of any theory that makes man a descendant of any lower form of life.

The evidence shows that defendant taught, in his own language as well as from a book outlining the theory, that man descended from lower forms of life. Howard Morgan’s testimony gives us a definition of evolution that will become known throughout the world as this case is discussed.

Howard, a 14-year-old boy, has translated the words of the teacher and the textbook into language that even a child can understand. As he recollects it, the defendant said “a little germ of one cell organism has formed in the sea; this kept evolving until it got to be a pretty good sized animal, then came on to be a land animal, and it kept evolving, and from this was man.”

There is no room for difference of opinion here, and there is no need of expert testimony. Here are the facts, corroborated by another student, Harry Helton, and admitted to be true by counsel for defense. White, superintendent of schools, testified to the use of Hunter’s civic biology, and to the fact that the defendant not only admitted teaching evolution, but declared that he could not teach it without violating the law. Robinson, the chairman of the school board, corroborated the testimony of Superintendent White in regard to the defendant’s admissions and declaration. These are the facts; they are sufficient and undisputed; a verdict of guilty must follow.

But the importance of this case requires more. The facts and arguments presented to you must not only convince you of the justice of conviction in this case, but, while not necessary to a verdict of guilty, they should convince you of the righteousness of the purpose of the people of the state in the enactment of this law.

The state must speak through you to the outside world and repel the aspersions cast by the counsel for the defense upon the intelligence and the enlightenment of the citizens of Tennessee. The people of this state have a high appreciation of the value of education. The state constitution testifies to that in its demand that education shall be fostered and that science and literature shall be cherished. The continuing and increasing appropriations for public instruction furnish abundant proof that Tennessee places a just estimate upon the learning that is secured in its schools.

Religion is not hostile to learning; Christianity has been the greatest patron learning has ever had. But Christians know that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’’ Now, just as it has been in the past, and they therefore oppose the teaching of guesses that encourage Godlessness among the students.

Neither does Tennessee undervalue the service rendered by science. The Christian men and women of Tennessee know how deeply mankind is indebted to science for benefits conferred by the discovery of the laws of nature and by the designing of machinery for the utilization of these laws. Give science a fact and it is not only invincible, but it is of incalculable service to man. If one is entitled to draw from society in proportion to the service that he renders to society, who is able to estimate the reward earned by those who have given to us the use of steam, the use of electricity, and enable us to utilize the weight of water that flows down the mountainside? Who will estimate the value of the service rendered by those who invented the radio? Or, to come more closely to our home life, how shall we recompense those who gave us the sewing machine, the tractor, the threshing machine, the tractor, the automobile and the method now employed in making artificial ice? The department of medicine also opens an unlimited field for invaluable service.

Typhoid and yellow fever are not feared as they once were. Diphtheria and pneumonia have been robbed of some of their terrors, and a high place on the scroll of fame still awaits the discoverer of remedies for arthritis, cancer, tuberculosis and other dread diseases to which mankind is heir.

Christianity welcomes truth from whatever source it comes, and is not afraid that any truth from any source can interfere with the divine truth that comes by inspiration from God Himself. It is not scientific truth to which Christians, therefore, can be scientific unless it is true.

Evolution is not truth; it is merely an hypothesis — is millions of guesses strung together. It had not been proven in the day of Darwin; he expressed astonishment that with two or three million species, it had been impossible to trace any species to any other species. It had not been proven in the days of Huxley, and it has not been proven up to today. It is less than four years ago that Professor Bateson came all the way from London to Canada to tell the American scientists that every effort to trace one species to another had failed — every one.

He said he still had faith in evolution, but had doubts about the origin of species. But of what value is evolution, if it cannot explain the origin of species? While many scientists accept evolution as if it were a fact, they all admit, when questioned, that no explanation has been found as to how one species developed into another.

Darwin suggested two laws, sexual selection, and natural selection. Sexual selection has been laughed out of the class room, and natural selection is being abandoned, and no new explanation is satisfactory even to scientists. Some of the more rash advocates of evolution are wont to say that evolution is as firmly established as the law of gravitation, or the Copernican theory. The absurdity of such a claim is apparent when we remember that anyone can prove the law of gravitation by throwing a weight into the air, and that anyone can prove the roundness of the earth by going around it, while no one can prove evolution to be true in any way whatever.

Chemistry is an insurmountable obstacle in the path of evolution. It is one of the greatest of the sciences; it separates the atoms — isolates them and walks about them so to speak. If there were in nature a progressive force, an eternal urge, chemistry would find it. But it is not there.

All of the 92 original elements are separate and distinct; they combine in fixed and permanent proportions. Water is H2O, as it has been from the beginning. It was here before life appeared and has never changed; neither can it be shown that anything else has materially changed.

Man A Special Creation

There is no more reason to believe that man descended from some inferior animal than there is to believe that a stately mansion had descended from a small cottage. Resemblances are not proof, they simply put us on inquiry.

As one fact, such as the absence of the accused from the scene of the murder, outweighs all resemblances that a thousand witnesses could swear to, so the inability of science to trace any one of the millions of species to another species, outweighs all the resemblances upon which evolutionists rely to establish man’s blood relationship with the brutes.

But while the wisest scientists can not prove a pushing power, such as evolution is supposed to be, there is a lifting power that any child can understand. The plant lifts the mineral up into a higher world, and the animal lifts the plants up into a world still higher. So, it has been reasoned by analogy, man rises, not by a power within him, but only when drawn upward by a higher power.

There is a spiritual gravitation that draws all souls toward heaven, just as surely as there is a physical force that draws all matters on the surface of the earth towards the earth’s center. Christ is our drawing power; he said, “I, if I be lifted from the earth, will draw all men unto Me,” and his promise is being fulfilled daily all over the world.

It must be remembered that the law under consideration in this case does not prohibit the teaching of evolution up to the line that separates man from the lower form of animal. The law might well have gone farther than it does and prohibit the teaching of evolution in lower forms of life; the law is a very conservative statement of the peoples’ opposition to an anti-Biblical hypothesis. The defendant was not content to teach what the law permitted; he, for reasons of his own, persisted in teaching that which was forbidden for reasons entirely satisfactory to the law makers. Many of the people who believe in evolution do not know what evolution means. One of the science books taught in the Dayton high schools has a chapter on “The Evolution of Machinery.” This is a very common misuse of the term. People speak of the evolution of the telephone, the automobile, and the musical instrument. But these are merely illustrations of man’s power to deal intelligently with inanimate matter; there is no growth from within in the development of machinery.

Equally improper is the use of the word “evolution” to describe the growth of a plant from a seed, the growth of a chicken from an egg, or the development of any form of animal life from a single cell. All these give us a circle, not a change from one species to another.

Evolution — the evolution involved in this case, and the only evolution that is a matter of controversy anywhere — is the evolution taught by defendant, set forth in the books now prohibited by the new state law, and illustrated in the diagram printed on page 194 of Hunter’s Civic Biology.

The author estimates the number of species in the animal kingdom at 518,900. These are then divided into 18 classes, and each class indicated on the diagram by a circle, proportioned in size to the number of species in each class and attached by a stem to the trunk of the tree. It begins at protozoa and ends with mammals. Passing over the classes with which the average man is unfamiliar, let me call your attention to a few of the larger and better known groups. The insects are numbered at 360,000, over two-thirds of the total number of species in the animal world. The fishes are numbered at 13,000, the amphibians at 1,400, the reptiles at 3,500, and the birds at 13,000, while 3,500 mammals are crowded together in a little circle that is barely higher than the bird circle. No circle is reserved for man alone. He is, according to the diagram, shut up in the little circle entitled “mammals,” with 3,499 other species of mammals. Does it not seem a little unfair not to distinguish between man and lower forms of life? What shall we say of the intelligence, not to say religion of those who are so particular to distinguish between fishes and reptiles and birds, but put a man with an immortal soul in the same circle with the wolf, the hyena, and the skunk? What must be the impressions made upon children by such a degradation of man?

In the preface of this book, the author explains that it is for children, and adds that “the boy or girl of average ability upon admission to the secondary school is not a thinking individual.” Whatever may be said in favor of teaching evolution to adults, it surely is not proper to teach it to children who are not yet able to think.

The evolutionist does not undertake to tell us how protozoa, moved by interior and resident forces, sent life up through all the various species, and can not prove that there was actually any such compelling power at all. And yet, the school children are asked to accept their guesses and build a philosophy of life upon them. If it were not so serious a matter, one might be tempted to speculate upon the various degrees of relationship that, according to evolutionists, exists between man and other forms of life. It might require some very nice calculation to determine at what degree of relationship the killing of a relative ceases to be murder and the eating of one’s kin ceases to be cannibalism. But it is not a laughing matter when one considers that evolution not only offers no suggestion as to a creator but tends to put the creative act so far away to cast doubt upon creation itself. And, while it is shaking faith in God as a beginning, it is also creating doubt as to heaven at the end of life.

Evolutionists do not feel that it is incumbent upon them to show how life began or at what point, in their long drawn out scheme of changing species man became endowed with hope and promise of immortal life.

God may be a matter of indifference to the evolutionists, and a life beyond may have no charm for them, but the mass of mankind will continue to worship their Creator and continue to find comfort in the promise of their Saviour that he has gone to prepare a place for them. Christ has made of death a narrow, starlit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the reunion of tomorrow, and evolution strikes out the stars and deepens the gloom that enshrouds the tomb.

If the results of evolution were unimportant, one might require less proof in support of the hypothesis, but before accepting a new philosophy of life, built upon a materialistic foundation, we have reason to demand something more than guess; “we may well suppose” is not a sufficient substitute for “thus saith the Lord.”

If you, your honor, and you, gentlemen of the jury would have an understanding of the sentiment that lies back of the statute against the teaching of evolution, please consider these facts: First, as to the animals to which evolutionists would have us trace our ancestry. The following is Darwin’s family tree, as you will find it set forth on pages 180-181 of his “Descent of Man.”

“The most ancient progenitors in the kingdom of vertebrata, at which we are able to obtain an obscure glance, apparently consisted of a group of marine animals, resembling the larvae of existing asidians. These animals probably gave rise to a group of fishes, as lowly organized as the lancelot; and from these the canoids, and other fishes like the lepidosiren, must have been developed. From such fish a very small advance would carry us on to the amphibians. We have seen that birds and reptiles were once intimately connected together; and the monotrematata now connect mammals with reptiles in a slight degree. But no one can at present say by what line of descent the three higher and related classes, namely, mammals, birds and reptiles, were derived from the two lower vertebrate classes, namely, amphibians and fishes.

In the class of mammals the steps are not difficult to conceive which led from the ancient monotremata to the ancient marsupials; and from these to the early progenitors of the placental mammals. We may thus ascend to the lemuridae; and the interval is not very wide from these to the simiadac. The simiadae then branched off into two great stems, the new world and the old world monkeys; and from the latter, at a remote period, man, the wonder and glory of the universe, proceeded. Thus we have given to man a pedigree of prodigious length, but not, it may be said, of noble quality.”

Darwin, on page 171 of the same book, tries to locate his first man, that is, the first man to come down out of the trees, in Africa. After leaving man in company with gorillas and chimpanzees, he says: “But it is useless to speculate on this subject.” If he had only thought of this earlier, the world might have been spared much of the speculation that his brute hypothesis has excited.

On page 79 Darwin gives some fanciful reasons for believing that man is more likely to have descended from the chimpanzee than from the gorilla. His speculations are an excellent illustration of the effect that the evolutionary hypothesis has in cultivating the imagination. Professor J. Arthur Thomson says that the “idea of evolution is the most potent thought economizing formula the world has yet known.” It is more than that; it dispenses with thinking entirely and relies on the imagination.

On page 141 Darwin attempts to trace the mind of man back to the mind of lower animals. On page 118 and 114 he endeavors to trace man’s moral nature back to the animals. It is all animal, animal, animal, with never a thought of God or religion. Our first indictment against evolution is that it disputes the truth of the Bible account of man’s creation and shakes faith in the Bible as the word of God. This indictment we prove by comparing the process described as evolutionary with the text Genesis. It not only contradicts the Mosaic record as to the beginning of human life, but it disputes the Bible doctrines of reproduction according to kin — the greatest scientific principle known.

Evolution Incompatible With Faith

Our second indictment is that the evolutionary hypothesis carried to its logical conclusion, disputes every vital truth of the Bible. Its tendency, naturally, if not inevitably, is to lead those who really accept it, first to agnosticism and then to atheism. Evolutionists attack the truth of the Bible, not openly at first, but by using weasel-words like “poetical,” “symbolical,” and “allegorical” to search out the meaning of the inspired record of man’s creation.

We call as our first witness Charles Darwin. He began life as a Christian. On page 39, volume l, of the life and letters of Charles Darwin, by his son, Francis Darwin, he says, speaking of the period of 1828 to 1831. “I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible.” On page 412 of volume 2, of the same publication, he says, “when I was collecting facts for ‘The Origin’ my belief in what is called a personal God was firm as that of Doctor Puzey himself.”

It may be a surprise to your honor, and to you, gentlemen of the jury, as it was to me, to learn that Darwin spent three years at Cambridge studying for the ministry. This was Darwin as a young man, before he came under the influence of doctrine that man was from a lower order of animals. The change wrought in his religious views will be found in a letter written to a German youth in 1879, and printed on page 277 of volume 1 of the life and letters above referred to. The letter begins:

“I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and I can not spare time to answer your questions fully, nor indeed can they be answered. Science has nothing to do with Christ, except insofar as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.”

Note that “science has nothing to do with Christ, except insofar as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence,” stated plainly, that simply means that “the habit of scientific research” makes one cautious in accepting the only evidence that we have of Christ’s existence, mission, teaching, crucifixion, and resurrection, namely the evidence found in the Bible.

To make this interpretation of his words the only possible one, he adds “for myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation.” In rejecting the Bible as a revelation from God he rejects the Bible’s conception of God, and he rejects also the supernatural Christ of whom the Bible, and the Bible alone, tells. And, it will be observed, he refuses to express any opinion as to a future life. Now let us follow with his son’s exposition of his father’s views as they are given in extracts from a biography written in 1876. Here is Darwin’s language as quoted by his son:

“During these two years (October, 1838, to January, 1839) I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. When thus reflecting I felt compelled to look for a first cause, having an intelligent mind, in some degree analogous to man; and I deserved to be called an atheist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the ‘Origin of Species.’ It is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. Then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?

“I can not pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insolvable by us; and I, for one, must be content to remain an agnostic.”

When Darwin entered upon his scientific career he was “quite orthodox and quoted the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.”

Even when he wrote “Origin of Species,” the thought of “a first cause, having an intelligent mind, in some degree analogous to man,” was strong in his mind. It was after that time that “very gradually, with many fluctuations, his belief in God became weaker.” He traces this decline for us and concludes by telling us that he can not pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems — the religious problems above referred to. Then comes the flat statement that he “must be content to remain an agnostic,” and, to make clear what he means by the word agnostic, he says that “the mystery of the beginning of all things is insolvable by us” — not by him alone but by everybody. Here we have the effect of evolution upon its most distinguished exponent; it led him from an orthodox Christian, believing every word of the Bible and in a personal God, down and down to helpless and hopeless agnosticism.

But there is one sentence upon which I reserve comment — it throws light upon its downward pathway: “Then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

Here is the explanation; he drags man down to the brute levels, and then, judging man by brute standards he questions “‘whether man’s mind can be trusted to deal with God and immortality.’”

How can any teacher tell his students that evolution does not tend to destroy his religious faith? How can an honest teacher conceal from his students the effect of evolution upon Darwin himself ? And is it not stranger still that preachers who advocate evolution never speak of Darwin’s loss of faith, due to his belief in evolution? The parents of Tennessee have reason enough to fear the effect of evolution upon the mind of their children. Belief in evolution can not bring to those who hold such a belief any compensation for the loss of faith in God, trust in the Bible and belief in the supernatural character of Christ. It is belief in evolution that has caused so many scientists and so many Christians to reject the miracles of the Bible, and then give up, one after another, every vital trust in Christianity. They finally cease to pray and sunder the tie that binds them to their Heavenly Father.

The miracle should not be a stumbling block to anyone. It raises but three questions: First, could God perform a miracle? Yes, the God who created the universe can do anything he wants to do with it. He can temporarily suspend any law that he has made or he may employ higher laws that we do not understand.

Second: Would God perform a miracle? To answer that question in the negative one would have to know more about God’s plans and purposes than a finite mind can know and yet some are so wedded to evolution that they deny that God would perform a miracle merely because a miracle is inconsistent with evolution.

If we believe that God can perform a miracle and might desire to do so, we are prepared to consider with open mind the third question, namely: Did God perform the miracles recorded in the Bible? The same evidence that establishes the authority of the Bible establishes the truth of miracles performed. Now let me read of one of the most pathetic confessions that has come to my notice. George John Romanes, a distinguished biologist, sometimes called the successor of Darwin, like Darwin, was reared in the orthodox faith, and like Darwin, was led away from it by evolution.

For 25 years he could not pray. Soon after he became an agnostic, he wrote a book entitled, “A Candid Examination of Theism,” publishing it under the assumed name “Physicus.” In his book he says:

“And for so much as I am far from being able to agree with those who affirm that the twilight doctrine in the ‘new faith’ is a desirable substitute for the waning splendor of ‘the old’ I am not ashamed to confess that with this virtual negation of God the universe to me has lost its soul of loveliness; and although from hence the precept ‘work while it is day’ will doubtless but gain an intensified force from the terribly intensified meaning of the words that ‘the night cometh when no man can work,’ yet when at times I think, as think at times I must, of the appalling contrast between the hallowed glory of that creed which once was mine, and the lonely mystery of existence as now I find it — at such times I shall ever feel it impossible to avoid the sharpest pang of which my nature is susceptible.”

Do these evolutionists stop to think of the crime they commit when they take faith out of the hearts of men and women and lead them out into a starless night? What pleasure can they find in robbing a human being of “the hallowed glory of that creed” that Romanes once cherished, and in substituting the “lonely mystery of existence” as he found it? Can the fathers and mothers of Tennessee be blamed for trying to protect their children from such a tragedy?

If any one has been led to complain of the severity of the punishment that hangs over the defendant, let him compare this crime and its mild punishment with the crimes for which a greater punishment is ascribed. What is the taking of a few dollars from one in day or night in comparison with the crime of leading one away from God and away from Christ?

He who spake as never man spake, thus describes the crimes that are committed against the young: “It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him through whom they come. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he be cast into the sea than he should offend one of these little ones.”

Christ did not overdraw the picture. Who is able to set a price upon the life of a child — a child into whom a mother poured her life and for whom a father has labored? What may a noble life mean to the child itself, to the parents and to the world?

And, it must be remembered that we can measure the effect on only that part of life which is spent on earth; we have no way of calculating the effect on that infinite circle of life which existence here is but a small arc. The soul is immortal and religion deals with the soul; the logical effect of the evolutionary hypothesis is to undermine religion and thus affect the soul. I recently received a list of questions that were to be discussed in a prominent eastern school for women. The second question in the list read: “Is religion an obsolescent function that should be allowed to atrophy quietly, without arousing the passionate prejudice of outworn superstitions?” The real attack of evolution, it will be seen, is not upon orthodox Christianity or even upon Christianity, but upon religion — the most basic fact in man’s existence and the most practical thing in life.

James H. Leuba, a professor of psychology at Bryn Mawr college, Pennsylvania, published a few years ago a book entitled, “Belief in God and Immortality.” In this book he relates how he secured the opinions of scientists as to the existence of a personal God and a personal immortality. He issued a volume entitled, “American Men of Science,” which he says, included the names of “practically every American who may properly be called a scientist.”

There are 5,500 names in the book. He selected 1,000 names as representative of the 5,500, and addressed them personally. Most of them, he said, were teachers in schools of higher learning. The names were kept confidential. Upon the answer received, he asserts that over half of them doubt or deny the existence of a personal God and a personal immortality, and he asserts that unbelief being greatest among the most prominent. Among biologists, believers in a personal God numbered less than 31 percent while unbelievers in a personal immortality numbered only 37 percent.

He also questioned the students in nine colleges of high rank and from 1,000 answers received, 97 per cent of which were from students between 18 and 20, he found that unbelief increased from 15 per cent in the Freshman class up to 40 to 45 per cent among the men who graduated. On page 280 of this book, we read “the students’ statistics show that young people enter college, possessed of the beliefs still accepted, more or less perfunctorily, in the average home of the land, and gradually abandon the cardinal Christian beliefs.” This change from belief to unbelief he attributed to the influence of the persons “of high culture under whom they studied.”

The people of Tennessee have been patient enough; they acted none too soon. How can they expect to protect society, and even the church, from the deadening influence of agnosticism and atheism if they permit the teachers employed by taxation to poison the mind of the youth with this destructive doctrine? And remember, that the law has not heretofore required the writing of the word “poison” on poisonous doctrines. The bodies of our people are so valuable that the druggists and physicians must be careful to properly label all poisons; why not be as careful to protect the spiritual life of our people from the poisons that kill the soul?

There is a test that is sometimes used to ascertain whether one suspected of mental infirmity is really insane. He is put into a tank of water and told to dip the tank dry while a stream of water flows into the tank. If he has not sense enough to turn off the stream he is adjudged insane. Can parents justify themselves if, knowing the effect of belief in evolution, they permit irreligious teachers to inject skepticism and infidelity in the minds of their children?

Do bad doctrines corrupt the morals of students? We have a case in point. Mr. Darrow, one of the most distinguished criminal lawyers in our land, was engaged about a year ago in defending two rich men’s sons who were on trial for as dastardly a murder as was ever committed. The older one, “Babe” Leopold, was a brilliant student, 19 years old. He was an evolutionist and an atheist. He was also a follower of Nietzsche, whose books he had devoured and whose philosophy he had adopted. Mr. Darrow made a plea for him, based upon the influence that Nietzsche’s philosophy had exerted on the boy’s mind. Here are extracts from his speech:

“Babe took to philosophy… He grew up in this way; he became enamored of the philosophy of Nietzsche. Your honor, I have read almost everything that Nietzsche ever wrote. A man of wonderful intellect; the most original philosopher of the last century. A man who made a deeper imprint on philosophy than any other man within a hundred years. In a way he has reached more people, and still he has been a philosopher of what we might call the intellectual cult.

“He wrote one book called ‘Beyond Good and Evil,’ which was a criticism of all moral precepts, as we understood them, and a treatise that the intelligent was beyond good and evil; that the laws for good and the laws for evil did not apply to anybody who approached the superman. He wrote on the will to power.“I have just made a few short extracts from Nietzsche that show the things that he (Leopold) has read, and these are short and almost taken at random. It is not how this would affect you. It is not how it would affect me. The question is, how it would affect the impressionable, visionary, dreamy mind of a boy — a boy who should never have seen it — too early for him.”

Quotations from Nietzsche: “Why so soft, oh my brethren? Oh why so soft, so unresisting and yielding? Why is there so much disavowal and abnegation, in your heart? Why is there so little faith in your looks? For all creators are hard and it must seem blessedness unto you to press your hand upon millenniums and upon wax. This new table, ah, my brethren, I put over you; become hard. To be obsessed by moral consideration presupposes a very low grade of intellect. We should substitute for morality the will to our own end and consequently to the means to accomplish that. A great man, a man whom nature has built up and invented in a grand style, is colder, harder, less cautious and more free from the fear of public opinion. He does not possess the virtues which are compatible with respectability with being respected, nor any of these things which are counted among the virtues of the herd.”

Mr. Darrow says: That the superman, a creation of Nietzsche, has permeated every college and university in the civilized world.

“There is not any university in the world where the professor is not familiar with Nietzsche, not one… Some believe it and some do not believe it. Some read it as I do and take it as a theory, a dream, a vision, mixed with good and bad. but not in any way related to human life. Some take it seriously… There is not a university in the world of any high standing where the professors do not tell you about Nietzsche and discuss him or where the books are not there.

“If this boy is to blame for this, where did he get it? Is there any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche’s philosophy seriously and fashioned his life upon it? And there is no question in this case but what that is true. Then who is to blame? The university would he more to blame than he is; the scholars of the world would be more to blame than he is. The purposes of the world … are more to blame than he is. Your honor, it is hardly fair to hang a 19 year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university. It does not meet my ideas of justice and fairness to visit upon his head the philosophy that has been taught by university men for 25 years.”

In fairness to Mr. Darrow, I think I ought to quote two more paragraphs. After this bold attempt to excuse the student on the ground that he was transformed from a well-meaning youth into a murderer by the philosophy of an atheist, and on the further ground that his philosophy was in the libraries of all the colleges and discussed by the professors — some adopting the philosophy and some rejecting it — on these two grounds, he denied that the boy should be held responsible for the taking of human life. He charges that the scholars in the universities were more responsible than the boy, and that the universities were more responsible than the boy, because they furnished such books to the students, and then he proceeds to exonerate the universities and scholars, leaving nobody responsible. Here is Mr. Darrow’s language:

“Now I do not want to be misunderstood about this. Even for the sake of saving, the lives of my clients, I do not want to be dishonest and tell the court something that I do not honestly think in this case. I do not think that the universities are to blame. I do not think they should be held responsible. I do think however, that they are too large and that they should keep a closer watch, if possible, upon, the individual.

“But you can not destroy thought, because forsooth, some brain may be deranged by thought. It is the duty of the university as I conceive it, to be the greatest storehouse of the wisdom of the ages, and to have its students come there and learn, choose. I have no doubt but that it has meant the death of many, but that we can not help.”

This is a damnable philosophy, and yet it is the flower that blossoms on the stalk of evolution. Mr. Darrow thinks the universities are in duty bound to feed out this poisonous stuff to their students, and when the students become stupefied by it and commit murder, neither they nor the universities are to blame. I protest against the adoption of any such a philosophy in the state of Tennessee. A criminal is not relieved from responsibility merely because he found Nietzsche’s philosophy in a library which ought not to contain it. Neither is the university guiltless if it permits such corrupting nourishment to be fed to the souls that are entrusted to its care. But, go a step farther, would the state be blameless if it permitted the universities under its control to be turned into training schools for murder? When you get back to the root of this question, you will find that the legislature not only had a right to protect the students from the evolutionary hypothesis, but was in duty bound to do so.

While on this subject, let me call your attention to another proposition embodied in Mr. Darrow’s speech. He said that Dicky Loeb, the younger boy, had read trashy novels, of the blood and thunder sort. He even went so far as to commend an Illinois statute which forbids minors reading stories of crime. Here is what Mr. Darrow said:

“We have a statute in this state, passed only last year, if I recall it, which forbids minors reading stories of crime. Why? There is only one reason; because the legislature in its wisdom, thought it would have a tendency to produce these thoughts and this life in the boys who read them.’’

If Illinois can protect her boys, why can not this state protect the boys of Tennessee? Are the boys of Illinois any more precious than yours?

But to return to the philosophy of an evolutionist, Mr. Darrow said:

“I say to you seriously that the parents of Dickey Loeb are more responsible than he, and yet few boys had better parents.”

Again he says:

“I know that one of two things happened to this boy: That this terrible crime was inherent in his organism and came from ancestor or that it came through his education and his training after he was born.”

He thinks the boy was not responsible for anything; his guilt was due, according to this philosophy, either to heredity or environment. But let me complete Mr. Darrow’s philosophy based on evolution. He says:

“I do not know what remote ancestor may have sent down the seed that corrupted him, and I do not know through how many ancestors it may have passed until it reached Dicky Loeb. All I know, it is true, and there is not a biologist in the world who will not say I am right.”

Psychologists who build upon the evolutionary hypothesis teach that man is nothing but a bundle of characteristics inherited from brute ancestors. This is the philosophy which Darrow applied to his celebrated criminal case. “Some remote ancestor — he does not know how remote — “sent down the seed that corrupted him.” You can not punish the ancestor — he is not only dead, but, according to the evolutionists, he was a brute and may have lived 1,000,000 years ago. And he says that all the biologists agree with him — no wonder so small a percent of the biologists, according to Leuba, believe in a personal God.

This is the quintessence of evolution, distilled for us by one who follows that doctrine to its logical conclusion. Analyze this dogma of darkness and death. Evolutionists say that back in the twilight of life a beast, name and nature unknown, planted a murderous seed and that the impulse that originated in that seed throbs forever in the blood of the brute’s descendants, inspiring killings innumerable, for which murderers are not responsible because coerced by a fate fixed by the laws of heredity. It is an insult to reason and shocks the heart. That doctrine is as deadly as leprosy; it may aid a lawyer in a criminal case, but it would, if generally adopted, destroy all sense of responsibility and menace the morals of the world. A brute, they say, can predestine a man to crime, and yet they deny that God-incarnated flesh can release a human being from his bondage or save him from ancestral sins. No more repulsive doctrine was ever proclaimed by man; if all the biologists of the world teach this doctrine — as Darrow says they do — then may Heaven defend the youth of our land from their impious babblings.

We Must Not Forget God

Our third indictment against evolution is that it diverts attention from pressing problems of great importance to trifling speculation. While one evolutionist is trying to imagine what happened in the dim past, another is trying to pry open the door of the distant future. One recently grew eloquent over ancient worms, and another predicted that 75,000 years hence everyone will he bald and toothless. But those who endeavor to clothe our remote ancestors with hair and those who endeavor to remove the hair from the heads of our remote descendants ignore the present with its imperative demands. The science of “how to live” is the most important of all the sciences. It is desirable to know the physical sciences, but it is necessary to know how to live. Christians desire that their children shall be taught all the sciences, but they do not want them to lose sight of the rock of ages while they study the age of the rocks; neither do they desire them to become so absorbed in measuring the distance between the stars that they will forget Him who holds the stars in his hand.

While not more than two per cent of our population are college graduates, these, because of enlarged powers, need a “heavenly vision,” even more than those less learned, both for their own restraint and to assure society that their enlarged powers will be used for the benefit of society and not against the public welfare.

Evolution is deadening to spiritual life of a multitude of students. Christians do not desire less education, but they desire that religion shall be entwined with learning so that our boys and girls will return from college with their hearts aflame with love of God and love of fellow men, and prepared to lead in the altruistic work that the world so sorely needs. The cry in the business world, in the industrial, even in the religious world — is for consecrated talents — for ability plus a passion for service.

Our fourth indictment against the evolutionary hypothesis is that, by paralyzing the hope of reform, it discourages those who labor for the improvement of man’s condition. Every upward-looking man or woman seeks to lift the level upon which mankind stands, and they trust that they will see beneficent changes during the brief span of their own lives. Evolution chills their enthusiasm by substituting aeons for years. It obscures all beginnings in the midst of endless ages. It is represented as a cold and heartless process, beginning with time and ending in eternity, and acting so slowly that even the rocks can not preserve a record of the imaginary changes through which it is credited with having carried an original germ of life that appeared sometime from somewhere. Its only program for man is scientific breeding, a system under which a few supposedly superior intellects, self-appointed, would direct the mating and the movements of the mass of mankind — an impossible system. Evolution, disputing the miracle and ignoring the spiritual in life, has no place for the regeneration of the individual. It recognizes no cry of repentance and scoffs at the doctrine that one can be born?

It is thus the tolerant and unrelenting enemy of the only process that can redeem society through the redemption of the individual. An evolutionist would never write such a story as the Prodigal Son; it contradicts the whole theory of evolution. The two sons inherited in the same parents, and through their parents from the same ancestors, proximate and remote. And these sons were reared at the same fireside and were surrounded by the same environment during all the days of their youth; and yet they were different.

If Mr. Darrow is correct in the theory applied to Loeb, namely, that his crime was due either to inheritance or to environment, how will he explain the difference between the elder brother and the wayward son? The evolutionist may understand from observation, if not by experience, even though he can not explain why one of these boys was guilty of every immorality, squandered the money that the father had laboriously earned, and brought dis- grace upon the family name; but his theory does not explain why a wicked man underwent a change of heart, confessed his sins and begged forgiveness, and because the evolutionist can not understand this fact one of the most important in the human life, he can not understand the infinite love of the Heavenly Father who stands ready to welcome home any repentant sinner, no matter how far he has wandered, how often he has failed, or how deep he has sunk in sin.

Your honor has quoted from a wonderful poem written by a great Tennessee poet, Walter Malone. I venture to quote another stanza which puts into exquisite language the new opportunity which a merciful God gives everyone who will turn from sin to righteousness:

“Tho’ deep in mire wring not your hands and weep,
“I lend my arm to all who say ‘I can.’
“No shamefaced outcast ever sank so deep,
“But he might rise and be a man.”

There are no lines like these in all that evolutionists have ever written. Darwin says that science has nothing to do with the Christ who taught the spirit embodied in the words of Walter Malone, and yet this spirit is the only hope of human progress. A heart can be changed in the the twinkling of an eye, and, a change in the life follows a change in the heart. If one heart can be changed, then a world can be born in a day. It is the fact that inspires all who labor for man’s betterment. It is because Christians believe in individual regeneration and in the regeneration of society through the regeneration of individuals that they pray: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Evolution makes a mockery of the Lord’s prayer!

To interpret the words to mean that the improvement desired must come slowly through unfolding ages — a process with which each generation could have little to do — is to defer hope, and hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Evolution Demoralizing & Deadly

Our fifth indictment of the evolutionary hypothesis is that if taken seriously and made the basis of a philosophy of life, it would eliminate love and carry man back to a struggle of tooth and claw. The Christians who have allowed themselves to be deceived into believing that evolution is a beneficent, or even a rational, process have been associating with those who either do not understand its application or dare not avow their knowledge of these implicators. Let me give you some authority on this subject. I will begin with Darwin, the high priest of evolution, to whom all evolutionists bow.

On pages 149 and 150, in “The Descent of Man,” already referred, he says:

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination, we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to smallpox. Thus the weak members of civilized society propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race, but, excepting in the case of man himself, hardly a one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

“The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of nature… We must therefore, bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind.”

Darwin reveals the barbarous sentiment that runs through evolution and dwarfs the moral nature of those who become obsessed with it. Let us analyze the quotation just given. Darwin speaks with approval of the savage custom of eliminating the weak so that only the strong will survive and complains that “we civilized men do our utmost to check the process of elimination.” How inhuman such a doctrine as this! He thinks it injurious to “build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick.” Or to care for the poor. Even the medical men come in for criticism because they “exert their utmost skill to save the life of everyone to the last moment,” and then note his hostility to vaccination because it has “preserved thousands who, from a weak constitution, would, but for vaccination, have succumbed to smallpox.” All of the sympathetic activities of civilized society are condemned because they enable “the weak members to propagate their kind.” Then he drags mankind down to the level of the brute and compares the freedom given to man unfavorably with the restraint that we put on barnyard beasts.

The second paragraph of the above quotation shows that his kindly heart rebelled against the cruelty of his doctrine. He says that we “feel impelled to give to the helpless,” although he traces it to a sympathy which he thinks is developed by evolution; he even admits that we could not check this sympathy “even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration of the noblest part of our nature.” “We therefore bear,” what he regards as “the undoubtedly bad effect of the weak surviving and propagating their kind.” Could any doctrine be more destructive of civilization? And what a commentary on evolution! He wants us to believe that evolution develops a human sympathy that finally becomes so tender that it repudiates the law that created it and thus invites a return to a level where the extinguishing of pity and sympathy will permit the brutal instincts to again do their progressive work.

Let no one think that this acceptance of barbarism, as the basic principle of evolution, died with Darwin. Within three years a book has appeared whose author is even more frankly brutal than Darwin. The book is entitled “The New Decalogue of Science,” and has attracted wide attention.

One of our most reputable magazines has recently printed an article by him defining the religion of a scientist. In his preface he acknowledges indebtedness to 21 prominent scientists and educators, “nearly all of them doctors” and “professors.”

One of them who has recently been elevated to the head of a great state university read the manuscript over twice and made many valuable suggestions. The author describes Nietzsche, who, according to Mr. Darrow, made a murderer out of Babe Leopold, as the bravest soul since Jesus.

He admits Nietzsche was “gloriously wrong,” but he affirms that Nietzsche was “gloriously right in his fearless questioning of the universe and of his own soul.”

In another place the author says:

“Most of our morals today are jungle products.”

And then he affirms that:

“It would be safer, biologically, if they were more so.”

Now, after these two samples of his views, you will not be surprised when I read you the following:

“Evolution is a bloody business, but civilization tries to make it a pink tea. Barbarism is the only process by which man has ever organically progressed and civilization is the only process by which he has ever organically declined.

“Civilization is the most dangerous enterprise on which man ever set out. For when you take man out of the bloody, brutal, but beneficent hand of natural selection you place him at once in the soft, daintily gloved, but far more dangerous hand of artificial selection.

“And unless you call science to your assistance and make this artificial selection as efficient as the rude methods of nature, you bungle the whole task.”

This aspect of evolution may amaze some of the ministers who have not been permitted to enter the inner circle of the iconoclasts whose theories menace all the ideals of civilized society. Do these ministers know that evolution is a “bloody business”? Do they know that barbarism is the only process by which man has ever organically progressed, and “that civilization is the only process by which he has ever organically declined” ?

Do they know that the bloody, brutal hand of natural selection is beneficent and the artificial selection “found in civilization is dangerous”? What shall we think of the distinguished educators and scientists who read the manuscript before publication and did not protest against this pagan doctrine?

To show that this is a world-wide matter, I now quote from a book issued from the press in 1918, seven years ago. The title of the book is “The Science of the Power,” and its author, Benjamin Kidd, being an Englishman, could not have any national prejudice against Darwin. On pages 46 and 47 we find Kidd’s interpretation of evolution:

“Darwin’s presentation of the evolution of the world as the product of natural selection in never-ceasing war, as a product that is to say, of a struggle in which the individual efficient in the fight for his own interests was always the winning type — touched the profoundest depths of the psychology of the west.

“The idea seemed to present the whole order of progress in the world as the result of a purely mechanical and materialistic process resting on force. In so doing it was a conception which reached the springs of that heredity born of the unmeasured ages of conquest out of which the western mind has come. Within half a century the ‘Origin of Species’ had become the Bible of the doctrine of the omnipotence of force.”

Kidd goes so far as to charge that “Nietzsche recited the interpretation of the popular Darwinism, delivered with the fury and intensity of genius.” And yet Nietzsche denounced Christianity as the “doctrine of the degenerate,” and mercy as “the refuge of weaklings.”

Kidd says that Nietzsche gave Germany the doctrine of Darwin’s efficient animal in the voice of his sermon, and that Bernhardi and the military textbooks in due time gave Germany the doctrine of the superman translated into the national policy of the superstate aiming at world power.

And what else but the spirit of evolution can account for the popularity of the selfish doctrine, “each one for himself, and the devil take the hindmost,” that threatens the very existence of the doctrine of brotherhood ?”

In 1900 — 25 years ago, while an international peace congress was in session at Paris, the following editorial appeared in L’Univers:

“The spirit of peace has fled the earth because evolution has taken possession of it. The plea for peace in past years has been inspired by faith in the divine nature and the divine origin of man; men were then looked upon as children of one father and war therefore was fratricide. But now that men are looked upon as children of apes, what matters it whether they were slaughtered or not?”

When there is poison in the blood, no one knows on what part of the body it will break out, but we can be sure that it will break out unless the blood is purified.

One of the leading universities of the south, (I love the state too well to mention its name), publishes a monthly magazine entitled, “Journal of Social Forces.” In the January issue of this year a contributor has a lengthy article on “Zoology and Ethics,” in the course of which he says:

“No attempt will be made to take up the matter of the good or evil of sexual intercourse among humans aside from the matter of conscious procreation, but as an historian it might be worth while to ask the exponents of the impurity complex to explain the fact that without exception the great herds of cultural affloescence have been those characterized by a large amount of freedom in sex relations and that those of the greatest cultural degradation and decline have been accompanied with greater sex repression and purity.”

No one charges or suspects that all or any large percentage of the advocates of evolution sympathize with this loathsome application of evolution to social life, but it is worth while to inquire why those in charge of a great institution of learning allow such filth to be poured out for the stirring of the passions of its students.

Just one more quotation: “The Southeastern Christian Advocate” of June 25, 1925, quotes five eminent college men of Great Britain as joining in answer to the question: “Will civilization survive?”

Their reply is that “Greatest danger to our civilization is the abuse of the achievements of science. Mastery over the forces of nature has endowed the twentieth century man with a power which he is not fit to exercise. Unless the development of morality catches up with the development of technique, humanity is bound to destroy itself.”

Can any Christian remain indifferent? Science needs religion to direct its energies and to inspire with lofty purpose those who employ the forces that are unloosed by science. Evolution is at war with religion because religion is supernatural, it is therefore the relentless foe of Christianity which is a revealed religion.

Let us, then, hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Science is a magnificent material for force, but is not a teacher of morals. It is perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. It can also build gigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for control of storm tossed human vessels.

It not only fails to supply the spiritual element needed, but some of its unproven hypotheses rob the ship of its compass and thus endanger its cargo.

In war, science has proven itself an evil genius, it has made war more terrible than it ever was before. Man used to be content to slaughter his fellowman on a single plane — the earth’s surface.

Science has taught him to go down into the water and shoot up; to go up into the clouds and shoot down from above, thus making the battlefield three times as bloody as it was before; but science does not teach brotherly love.

Science has made war so hellish that civilization has but to commit suicide; and now we are told that newly discovered instruments of destruction will make the cruelties of the late war seem trivial in comparison with the cruelties of war that may come in the future.

If civilization is to be saved from the wreckage threatened by intelligence not consecrated by love, it must be saved by the moral code of the meek and lowly Nazarene. His teachings and His teachings alone can solve the problems that vex the heart and perplex the world.

The world needs a saviour more than it ever did, and His is the only name under Heaven whereby we must be saved. It is this name that evolution degrades, for carried to its logical conclusion, it robs Christ of the glory of a virgin birth, of the majesty of His deity and mission, and of the triumph of His resurrection. It also disputes the doctrine of the atonement.

It is for the jury to determine whether this attack upon the Christian religion shall be permitted in the public schools of Tennessee by teachers employed by the state and paid out of the public treasury.

This case is no longer local; the defendant ceases to play an important part.

The case assumes the proportions of a battle royal between unbelief that attempts to speak through so called science and the defenders of the Christian faith, speaking through the legislators of Tennessee.

It is again a choice between God and Baal.

It is a renewal of the issue in Pilate’s court. In that historic trial — the greatest in history — force, impersonated by Pilate, occupied the throne.

Behind it was the Roman government, mistress of the world, and behind the Roman government were the legions of Rome. Before Pilate stood Christ, the apostle of love.

Force triumphed, they nailed Him to the tree and those who stood around mocked and jeered and said, “Christ is dead.” But from that day the power of Caesar waned and the power of Christ increased.

In a few centuries the Roman government was gone and its legions forgotten; while the crucified and risen Lord is the greatest fact in history and the growing figure of all time.

Again love and force meet face to face and again, “What Shall I Do With Jesus” must be answered. A bloody doctrine, evolution demands, as the rabble did 1,900 years ago, that He be crucified.

This can not be the answer of the jury representing a Christian state and sworn to uphold the laws of Tennessee. Your answer will be heard throughout the world; it is eagerly awaited by a praying multitude.

If the law is nullified there will be rejoicing where ever God is repudiated, the Saviour scoffed at and the Bible ridiculed. Every unbeliever of every kind and degree will be happy.

If, on the other hand, the law is upheld and the religion of the school children protected, millions of Christians will call you blessed, and with hearts full of gratitude to God will again sing that old song of triumph:

“Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy,
Whene’er we hear that glorious word:—
Faith of our fathers—holy faith,
We will be true to thee till death.”

Skeptical perspectives on evolution and creationism
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Dr. Eugenie Scott of the NCSE describes the battle for quality science education in America’s schools. Her presentation is funny, frightening, and clear. She explains why so many people are scared enough of evolution to keep it out of public schools. Were humans destined to evolve into being? Skeptic Publisher Dr. Michael Shermer presents the case for evolutionary contingency — if evolution started over, the appearance of humans would not be a certainty; in fact, it would probably never happen again…
READ more and order the DVD.

cover The New Creationism: Intelligent Design Theory
(DVD $]23.95) by Jared Diamond

Dr. Pennock has written the most authoritative book on the new creationism, and he delivers a superbly organized lecture and a thorough analysis and refutation of the latest new arguments from the new creationists. Covers Intelligent Design theory, Irreducible Complexity, and makes a brilliant analogy between the evolution of life and the evolution of language (neither one had a top-down designer), to show the deep flaws in creationists’ reasoning.
READ more and order the DVD.

cover A Darwin Day 200th Birthday Celebration
(DVD $23.95 CD $15.95) with Donald Prothero, Michael Shermer and Joel Smith

Dr. Michael Shermer reviews the remarkable life of Darwin and explains how he arrived at his theory of evolution. Paleontologist and geologist Dr. Donald Prothero gives a brief overview of how evolutionary theory has changed since Darwin’s time. Caltech biologist Dr. Joel Smith explains systems biology which allows us to construct detailed logic maps of the “circuitry” of living organisms known as Regulatory Networks. READ more and order the DVD.



  1. Lawrie Cherniack says:

    Thanks to eSkeptic for reprinting this. Although wrong, of course, it is beautifully and powerfully written, and a testament to a fine orator and in many ways a fine (with a blind spot) man. He is particularly telling when he quotes Darrow in the Leopold and Loeb case.

    • Jeanne says:

      “Social Darwinism” is a scary thing. And not what Darwin intended, I’m sure. Hitler also comes to mind.

  2. Tony Q. King says:

    Well, by God, he convinced me!
    A rousing speech sir!
    Monkeys… BAH!
    Isn’t about time you skeptics came to your senses? Repent! There is still time.

  3. Richard says:

    Is William Jennings Bryan a member of the Tea Party? I hope he’s not elected to Congress next month!

  4. Chaitanya Penmetsa says:

    I lost it right about here “This is a very common misuse of the term. People speak of the evolution of the telephone, the automobile, and the musical instrument. But these are merely illustrations of man’s power to deal intelligently with inanimate matter; there is no growth from within in the development of machinery”

    He is saying we are mere machines!

  5. Jeanne says:

    Well he surely was long-winded, (and a great orator) I’ll give him that. Richard Dawkins said it best when he said something about “ignorant crowds of braying ignoramuses” who say evolution is false. Run, don’t walk, and get a copy of “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Yes, Bryan would have been a Tea Party member. (I’ve been thinking how “\The Kool-Aid Party” might be more accutate?

  6. jpbikerfreak says:

    A great orator? Sure… if you prefer all style and no substance. When you’re ignorant of basic science, you must rely on a lot of whitewash and appeal to emotion. But as Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce once said, “It does not require many words to speak the truth”

  7. jonny dee says:

    he would bore you into submission… he picks apart evolution from an ill-informed and slanted perspective and would not even have contemplated turning the same spotlight on his own belief,

    isn’t that the main difference between us, we without ‘faith’ do not pretend to have all the answers but are happy to work or wait for science to pick away at the ‘monolith’ of the unknown… while believers ‘know’ everything already… lazy and ignorant!

    and it’s true, they won’t evolve!… which is why, on a serious note, we must strive to keep these fools away from the gears of power, they will drag us all down with them.

  8. Everett Willams says:

    It is interesting that Darrow can be correct in almost every prediction without saying a true thing about the issue of evolution. It is clear that the cartoon version of evolution met by the cartoon version of Christianity on the uneven field of Darrow’s conclusion that religion is both a fact and benign cannot result in anything that resembles logic. Many misused their own interpretation of Darwin to justify actions for which there was no factual basis. They could be pardoned for believing the part about evolution being altered by society because it is obviously true. The words “organic” in respect to evolution was even quoted by Darrow, and then completely ignored in the majesty of his overall conclusion about the evils of believing evolution. Of course, even at this date, with the science that absolutely proves evolution, we have very little idea about how human evolution has been altered by society. It is clear that human groups have been fairly well organized for at least 70-80 thousand years and possibly for an order of magnitude beyond that. Separating the effects of “society” and artificial selection from natural selection was and is a very tall order, and further, deciding whether either course is positive or negative is an even larger question, one not likely to be answered by a tinpot lawyer whose high flown rhetoric far exceeded his grasp of our Constitution or of science.

  9. Everett Willams says:

    Eek…did I ever screw up. Please reread my post with Williams Jennings Bryan in place of Darrow. One should never post from memory.

  10. Tim says:

    I admit I could not finish reading the entire document. From a historical perspective this may be usefull as a reference, not more than that. Moving on.

  11. Jimmy Levendia says:

    I love people who complain about Bryan’s long-windedness, yet wouldn’t complain if a speech by, say, the incredible agnostic/theist orator Colonel Robert Ingersoll were posted. If you want lengthy, ornate and flowery rhetoric Bryan ain’t got nothing on Ingersoll. I guarantee you wouldn’t hear a word about long-windedness…or about the comment of Chief Joseph.

  12. Jimmy Levendia says:

    Sorry, that would be “atheist” rather than “agnostic/theist”. My “a” key…

  13. Loughlin Tatem says:

    I pointed out to a friend of mine that a planet situated in an ideal location for the sustenance of life, as is planet earth, has recently been discovered. He smiled and said that Scientists must have stumbled upon heaven. Thinking people simply cannot win this debate.

  14. Rob says:

    What alway’s strikes me when I read this is the way that, if one is unaware of the background of the situation, Bryan sounds like the absolute definition of the level-headed, rational, sensible defender of obvious common sense. The complete confidence he exudes is FRIGHTENING to me.
    If we then remind ourselves that he his defending the claim that an omnipotent, invisible, all powerful etc. etc, God magicked EVERYTHING in the universe into existance(all of which contains sneaky, misleading evidence obscuring it’s TRUE age; e.g. light, fossils, geological strata)… I don’t know whether to be horrified, or amused, or what? I mean, the legal argument is obviously in his favor, according to the applicable local laws. But the idea of PASSING such a law IN THE FIRST PLACE, and to do it with such self-assurance, based on something that is SO ACADEMICALLY RIDICULOUS! I just can’t believe it. To even imagine acting like that, over something so seemingly SILLY, really makes me stop and think, every time I think about it.

  15. jdevine says:

    Great oration?! Its just another example of baffling the masses with BS because you cannot dazzle them with brilliance. For brilliant oration of 100% total substance I’ll take Lincolns Gettysburg address over anything WJB ever had to say.

  16. crogers says:

    If you think this speech was boring and inane,despite the flowery language, try reading Bryan’s bloviating and self-serving autobiography. He reminds me of many of the guests on “coast to coast AM”. Totally schitzoid and/or paranoid nutters who can espouse all manner of drivel in a most rational way. They even purport to write scholary tomes on crop circles or remote viewing or some such. There is no lack of ignorance in this world.

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