Gibson falsely claimed Scopes trial was argued "successfully" by the defenseAugust 24, 2005 4:59 PM EDT ››› JOE BROWN
On the August 19 broadcast of The Radio Factor, guest host John Gibson falsely claimed that the 1925 trial of John Thomas Scopes, a substitute biology teacher accused of violating a Tennessee law banning the teaching of evolution in the state's public schools, was argued "successfully" by the defense and resulted in the elimination of "Bible-based science" from public school curricula.
In fact, the 1925 "Monkey Trial" resulted in the conviction of Scopes, who was fined $100 for violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of evolution on the grounds that it contradicted the Biblical account of creation. The Supreme Court of Tennessee upheld the Butler Act but reversed Scopes's conviction, ruling that the jury, not the judge, should have determined the fine because it exceeded what state law allowed a judge to impose. The Butler Act remained on the books in Tennessee until its repeal in 1967, a year before the Supreme Court struck down an Arkansas law banning the teaching of evolution in public schools.
Additionally, in the 1987 case of Edwards v. Aguillard, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for states to mandate the teaching of "creation science" along with evolutionary theory in public schools.
From the August 19 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
GIBSON: Hey, everybody. It's John Gibson in for Bill O'Reilly. And uh, this hour threatens to be big trouble. Big, big, big, big, big trouble. Because this subject has been big trouble in this country since at least -- 1925? Wasn't that when the Scopes trial happened? Inherit the Wind [the play and film based on the Scopes trial], 1925? And we're still arguing about it, although the argument has transmogrified in a lot of ways and is something different. And it's probably not even fair to talk about the Scopes trial of 1925. When the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] found John Scopes and was able to challenge, uh, the teaching of Bible-based science in schools. Successfully. And ever since then, we've had science-based science in schools.