The Climate Change Debate
Evolved from the Scopes Monkey Trial

This is the first time in two weeks of essays that Friedrich Nietzsche won’t be mentioned. Rather this essay is about the morphing of creationism into the denial of climate change. Therefore, let’s revisit the Scopes Monkey Trial. It has been nearly a century since Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryant faced off in Dayton, TN.

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryant

The trial started on July 10, 1925 and lasted eight days. The reason for the trial was that John T. Scopes, a teacher in the local high school, had taught evolution in one of his classes.

John T. Scopes

The jury was made up of all men and predominantly Baptists and Southern Methodists. After nine minutes of discussing the trial, they found him guilty of teaching evolution.

The jury.…

Tennessee had just passed an anti-evolution bill called the Butler Act on March 13, 1925, which read in part,

That it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.

Interestingly, Butler was a true believer. Someone told him that some teacher was teaching evolution, which rattled him. He said,

…the Bible is the foundation upon which our American Government is built. ... The evolutionist who denies the Biblical story of creation, as well as other Biblical accounts, cannot be a Christian. It goes hand in hand with Modernism, makes Jesus Christ a fakir, robs the Christian of his hope and undermines the foundation of our Government.

This backlash to what was called Modernism actually began with the large influx of European immigrants in the late 1800s. This was the first time that the numbers of immigrants outnumbered native born Americans in many large cities.

One researcher, Ray Ginger wrote, “The sense of losing one's birthright, of alienation, of betrayal, was heightened by World War I.” This sense at America and Christianity was beset with foreigners, which caused conservative Christians to follow the Social Gospel.

The feeling of having sinned, of being on the verge of eternal damnation, was intolerable, and men had to assure themselves of their basic goodness. This effort required a simple definition of morality: a good man is a man who does not drink, or smoke, or gamble, or commit adultery, or contravene the Word of the Bible, and who punishes the sins of others.

Jumping to 2019, it is clearly apparent that we have inherited many of the social fears of millions of conservative Christians. We have a president that doesn’t like people who are not as white as he is. Donald the Dumb, our fake president, doesn’t like blacks, Mexicans, or Central Americans. Additionally, he and others don’t like anyone who is not Christian. He wanted to banned American Muslims from returning to the States.

If evolution rattled conservatives nearly a century ago, global warming is considered a hoax coming from the Chinese, according to Donald the Dumb. Interestingly, I wrote this without a couple famous one-liners by Nietzsche. As I conclude this essay, I recall one that that he wrote regarding ignorant people. “Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed.”

Therefore, we have a choice in America to live and learn or to sit and believe mistakes that our predecessors have made. Either we will move toward Übermensch or remain hollow people. The choice is ours to make. We can come of age, or we can wander in the past. Choose wisely.