“Darrow has lost this case. It was lost long before he came to Dayton. But it seems to me that he has nevertheless performed a great public service by fighting it to a finish and in a perfectly serious way. Let no one mistake it for comedy, farcical though it may be in all its details. It serves notice on the country that Neanderthal man is organizing in these forlorn backwaters of the land, led by a fanatic, rid sense and devoid of conscience. Tennessee, challenging him too timorously and too late, now sees its courts converted into camp meetings and its Bill of Rights made a mock of by its sworn officers of the law. There are other States that had better look to their arsenals before the Hun is at their gates.”
H.L. Mencken on the Scopes Monkey Trial, writing for The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 18, 1925
* * * *
AUSTIN – State Board of Education members tentatively approved new science curriculum standards Friday that scrap a longtime requirement that students be taught the “weaknesses” in the theory of evolution.
The action came after board members aligned with social conservatives were unable to muster enough support on the 15-member board to retain the rule in a preliminary vote Thursday. The decision was a major setback for the seven Republican board members, who argued vigorously for keeping the “weaknesses” requirement.
However, evolution critics scored a minor victory when a majority of board members agreed to an amendment that calls for students to discuss the “sufficiency or insufficiency” of Charles Darwin’s tenet that humans and other living things have common ancestors.
The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based organization that sought to preserve the “weaknesses” rule, said the amendment and another similar change adopted by the board would make it easier for teachers and students to raise questions about the theory of evolution. The institute promotes an alternative explanation for the origin of man, one that says life on earth is the result of “intelligent design” by an unknown being or entity.
John West, an associate director of the institute, said the changes will let students analyze “some of the most important and controversial aspects of modern evolutionary theory such as the fossil record and universal common descent.”
Terrence Stutz, writing for The Dallas Morning News, some 84 years later