Eric Meikle's picture

Nebraska Man (No, not Hesperopithecus) and a 1920s Evolution Lawsuit

Those with an interest in the history of anti-evolutionism should check out this recent article by Adam Shapiro in Nebraska History. It discusses a 1924 slander trial in Nebraska where a teacher sued, successfully, after being denied a college English position. The teacher was accused of being unfit, in part because, as stated in a newspaper article at the time, “… he professed a disbelief in Genesis, a belief in Darwin’s theory, and that he wrote ‘no fund checks’…”.

Shapiro explains that this trial was not a simple predecessor to the far more well-known Scopes case of the next year, and was unrelated in many essential features. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating glimpse of another facet of the development of American opposition to evolution, and a specific case with which none of us here in the office were familiar.

By coincidence, we just received for our library a copy of Adam Shapiro’s new book, Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools, which I’m looking forward to reading.