Scandals of teachers doing bad stuff in the classroom are all too common and usually full of ick. But sometimes a teacher breaks the rules and it’s the right thing, such as with 24-year-old John Scopes, who decided Tennessee’s law against teaching evolution was simian stupidity.
The law was named after an evangelical Christian. Let’s not mention his name, because fuck that guy. Let’s call it the Dumbfuck Act. John Scopes was the football coach and only subbed in to teach when needed. And he wasn’t a lone rogue, but rather part of a test case prompted by the ACLU and local businessmen who thought a trial would bring some news coverage to their small town of Dayton.
Scopes wasn’t even sure he had taught evolution. He agreed to say he had because the ACLU approached him and said, “This no teaching evolution law is bullshit and we want to challenge it. Lil’ help?” and John said, “K.”
The defense team included Clarence Darrow, the prosecution had Williams Jennings Bryan. And the defense lost. On July 21, 1925, after nine minutes of jury deliberation, Scopes was found guilty, and fined $100. Which is like $1,500 today. A lot for a teacher because we don’t pay them enough.
The Dumbfuck Act was upheld, prompting other states such as Mississippi and Texas to enact their own laws promoting ignorance and dumbfuckery regarding the teaching of evolution. The Tennessee Dumbfuck Act remained in effect until 1967, when it was finally repealed.
John Scopes suffered much public humiliation from religious zealots for his role in the trial, and he said fuck this hick town and did a master’s degree at the University of Chicago then became a petroleum engineer.
In 1968, the Supreme Court of the United States finally said laws against teaching evolution were contrary to the First Amendment, but that didn’t stop the unintelligent trying to get “intelligent design” bullshit taught in school alongside that heathen Darwin stuff. One such case in Kansas in 2005 wanted to “teach the controversy” of intelligent design in science class. This prompted another 24-year-old hero to take a stand. Bobby Henderson proclaimed that if the schools were made to teach intelligent design, they must also teach his equally valid creation story of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The internet loved the Spaghetti Monster, and it may have influenced the outcome. In 2007, the Kansas School Board voted 6-4 against amending science standards to include teaching intelligent design.
by James Fell