1925

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Eugenics and the Scopes Monkey Trial

Buckle in. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

Tennessee has passed a law forbidding the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution in government schools. In short, you cannot deny the biblical account of Divine Creation by teaching that men evolved from apes. Of course, the Bible is somewhat vague on how man was created, and "apes" are not "monkeys". Nevertheless, most folks believe that God created man somehow, but if you claim (within the bounds of a state school) that God used evolution to do it, you are in violation of the law. The newly formed American Civil Liberties Union puts out an ad pledging to defend any teacher who violates this law. Please. Please. Please. The businessmen of Dayton take the challenge. They figure it will put them on the map! A few students complain that their teacher, John Scopes, taught evolution. He is fined $100 which is close to $2,900 in modern dollars. But this isn't about the money. (Please don't make me say "principle" because principles have very little to do with this.) Everyone is in on it... the judge, the jury, the prosecutor, William Jennings Bryan, and the students. The defense attorney, Clarence Darrow, begs the jury to return a guilty verdict. (Hmm...) NINE MINUTES LATER, Scopes is found guilty. Two years later the state Supreme Court will find the law to be constitutional, but irrelevant because 1) the law has already been repealed, 2) John Scopes is no longer a teacher, and most importantly, 3) judges cannot impose fines in Tennessee over $50. Only juries can do that. The Creationists win! [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, although John Scopes admitted that he regularly taught from the standard biology textbook he later admitted that he had skipped the whole section on evolution. He never violated the law. (The students lied? I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!) Somehow the movie "Inherit the Wind" left this part out, but there is a reason why good, rational people might support the Tennessee law... because teaching that God created each of us in His own Image had to be better than what the textbook was actually teaching... that the "parasite" races should be killed off. Here is a quote from the textbook itself... [4]
The Remedy. – If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with some success in this country.
-- A Civic Biology by George William Hunter, 1914. [5]

If We Could Talk to the Animals

Eugenics is definitely a fad made possible by the assumptions scientists are willing to make, and we all know where assumptions lead. For example, the number of chromosomes in the human genome has been determined to be 48. (If you were awake during your high school biology class you know this number is WRONG! Yet "48" will remain "fact" for the next 30 years.) Since it is assumed that human beings are descended from the Great Apes, and they have 48 chromosomes, naturally humans must have the same number. A quick scan and they are done. The assumption that apes are simply primitive humans drives the eugenics research in chimps. Dr. Robert Yerkes (YER-kees) assumes he knows how chimps think. As you read his book "Chimpanzee Intelligence" you get the creepy feeling that he is reading their minds. Later his colleagues will raise a chimp as a child, hoping it will learn the human language as a baby does, but they will eventually conclude that chimps lack the physical ability to form human words. Unfortunately, the work of Yerkes will lead to the development of intelligence tests used in government schools and the Army. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]


My Take by Alex Shrugged
You may be thinking of the Koko the Gorilla who learned sign language, but it is not clear that she is doing anything more than mimicking gestures to get food. My dog knows how to make it understood that she wants something or wants me to do something, but she isn't using sign language. Whatever Koko is doing, it is certainly NOT American Sign language. Here is a quote from a deaf person on the team working with Koko...
All the hearing people turned in logs with long lists of signs. They always saw more signs than I did.... I watched really carefully. The chimp's hands were moving constantly. Maybe I missed something, but I don't think so. I just wasn't seeing any signs. The hearing people were logging every movement the chimp made as a sign. Every time the chimp put his finger in his mouth, they'd say 'Oh, he's making the sign for drink,' and they'd give him some milk. [13]

Notable Births

  • Margaret Thatcher. UK Prime Minister. She will be instrumental in destroying the Soviet Union. [14]
  • William F. Buckley Jr.. Leading spokesman for conservative philosophy. [15]
  • Barbara Bush. (Living) First Lady and mother of President Bush the Younger. [16]
  • Pol Pot. Cambodian leader and mass murderer. [17]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Sammy Davis Jr. Best known for the song, "The Candy Man". [18]
  • -- Peter Sellers. Actor, in films like The Pick Panther, and Dr. Strangelove. [19]
  • -- B. B. King. Blues singer who will get a Grammy for "The Thrill Is Gone". [20]

**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked on 2017-Jan-5.

In Other News

  • The term 'Cosmic rays' is coined. Energetic charged particles are measured in the upper atmosphere. [21] [22]
  • The New Madison Square Garden opens. This is the 3rd location for the indoor arena. They will relocate once more in 1968. [23]
  • Mount Rushmore is dedicated. Construction itself will begin in 1927. [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1925, Wikipedia.

See Also

References

  1. Farrell, John A.. Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned. Doubleday. “From its inception, the Scopes trial was conceived and promoted and staged as a circus stunt. No one presumed that a Dayton jury would have the final say on the matter. All agreed that John Scopes, a twenty-four-year-old high school science teacher who was summoned to Robinson's pharmacy from a nearby tennis court and coaxed to stand trial, would be found guilty--giving the ACLU a martyr whose conviction it could take to a higher court. The local constable, prosecutors, and superintendent of schools were among those sipping Coca-Cola and working on the scheme at the drugstore, for Dayton was that kind of small town. F. E. Robinson was not just the druggist, but doubled as the textbook vendor who supplied the schools with A Civic Biology. His sales were made easier by the fact that he also chaired the Rhea County board of education, and so purchased the texts from himself.” 
  2. Weis, Judith S. (January 2001). [0003:sotfot2.0.co;2 "Survival of the Fittest—or the Best Organized"]. BioScience (Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences) 51 (1): 3. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1641/0006-3568(2001051[0003:sotfot]2.0.co;2. Retrieved 05 January 2017. 
  3. Hodak, George. "Precedents: MAY 25, 1925". ABA Journal (American Bar Association) 93 (5): 72. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27846456. Retrieved 05 January 2017. 
  4. Inherit the Wind (1960 film) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “The film engages in literary license with the facts and should not be relied upon as a historical document. For example, Scopes (Bertram Cates) is shown being arrested in class, thrown in jail, burned in effigy, and taunted by a fire-snorting preacher. William Jennings Bryan (Matthew Harrison Brady) is portrayed as an almost comical fanatic who dramatically dies of a 'busted belly' while attempting to deliver his summation in a chaotic courtroom. The townspeople are shown as frenzied, mean-spirited, and ignorant. None of that actually happened in Dayton, Tennessee during the actual trial.”
  5. Civic Biology - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “The Remedy. – If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with some success in this country.”
  6. Evolution: Library: Human Chromosome 2. pbs.org (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “While the genetic similarity between human and ape strengthened Darwin's theory, a significant, unexplained discrepancy remained. While great apes all have 48 chromosomes (24 pairs), humans have only 46 (23 pairs). If humans and apes shared a common ancestor, shouldn't both have the same number of chromosomes in their cells?”
  7. Yerkes, Robert Mearns and Learned, Blanche W., Chimpanzee Intelligence and Its Vocal Expressions. Baltimore: The Williams & Wilkins Company. 1925. (BOOK)
  8. Robert Yerkes - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Yerkes National Primate Research Center - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Gua (chimpanzee) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Viki (chimpanzee) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  12. Aryn Martin (December 2004). "Can't Any Body Count? Counting as an Epistemic Theme in the History of Human Chromosomes". Social Studies of Science,Vol. 34 (Sage Publications, Ltd.) (6): 923-948. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4144351. Retrieved 05 January 2017. 
  13. Pinker, Steven. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. New York: HarperPerennial. 2007. ISBN 9780062032522. (BOOK) Quote: " To begin with, the apes did not 'learn American Sign Language.' This preposterous claim is based on the myth that ASL is a crude system of pantomimes and gestures rather than a full language with complex phonology, morphology, and syntax. In fact the apes had not learned any true ASL signs. The one deaf native signer on the Washoe team later made these candid remarks:</p>

    Every time the chimp made a sign, we were supposed to write it down in the log.... They were always complaining because my log didn't show enough signs. All the hearing people turned in logs with long lists of signs. They always saw more signs than I did.... I watched really carefully. The chimp's hands were moving constantly. Maybe I missed something, but I don't think so. I just wasn't seeing any signs. The hearing people were logging every movement the chimp made as a sign. Every time the chimp put his finger in his mouth, they'd say 'Oh, he's making the sign for drink,' and they'd give him some milk. When the chimp scratched itself, they'd record it as the sign for scratch. When [the chimps] want something, they reach. Sometimes [the trainers would] say, 'Oh, amazing, look at that, it's exactly like the ASL sign for give!' It wasn't."

  14. Margaret Thatcher - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, and the first woman to have held the office.”
  15. William F. Buckley Jr. - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “laying groundwork for the new American conservatism of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and President Ronald Reagan, both Republicans. Former Senate Republican leader Bob Dole said 'Buckley lighted the fire'.”
  16. Barbara Bush - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “She served as the Second Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.”
  17. Pol Pot - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “He presided over a totalitarian dictatorship,[6] in which his government made urban dwellers move to the countryside to work in collective farms and on forced labour projects. The combined effects of executions, strenuous working conditions, malnutrition and poor medical care caused the deaths of approximately 25 percent of the Cambodian population.[7][8][9][10] In all, an estimated 1 to 3 million people (out of a population of slightly over 8 million) died due to the policies of his four-year premiership.”
  18. Sammy Davis Jr. - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “American entertainer. Primarily a dancer and singer, he was also an actor of stage and screen, comedian, musician, and impressionist, noted for his impersonations of actors, musicians and other celebrities.”
  19. Peter Sellers - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “became known to a worldwide audience through his many film characterisations, among them Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther series of films.”
  20. B.B. King - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer.”
  21. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 484-485. 
  22. Cosmic ray - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “In the 1920s the term 'cosmic rays' was coined by Robert Millikan who made measurements of ionization due to cosmic rays from deep under water to high altitudes and around the globe. Millikan believed that his measurements proved that the primary cosmic rays were gamma rays, i.e., energetic photons. And he proposed a theory that they were produced in interstellar space as by-products of the fusion of hydrogen atoms into the heavier elements, and that secondary electrons were produced in the atmosphere by Compton scattering of gamma rays. But then, sailing from Java to the Netherlands in 1927, Jacob Clay found evidence,[21] later confirmed in many experiments, of a variation of cosmic ray intensity with latitude, which indicated that the primary cosmic rays are deflected by the geomagnetic field and must therefore be charged particles, not photons.”
  23. Madison Square Garden - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “A third Madison Square Garden opened in a new location, on 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, from 1925 to 1968.”
  24. Construction of Mount Rushmore - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 5 January 2017. “Mount Rushmore”

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