Live from Dayton: Using twitter to shed light on the Scopes Monkey Trial, 87 years later

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve taken to twitter to “live-tweet” the Scopes Monkey Trial, as it happens, 87 years after the event. Through the news reports of H.L. Mencken and several historical documents, I attempted to capture the atmosphere of 1925 Dayton, Tennessee, the tension of the trial, the exciting, and sometimes irreverent, nature of the proceedings.

To accomplish this, I drew from several publications, most notably Mencken: The American Iconoclast by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers and A Religious Orgy in Tennessee: A Reporter’s Account of the Scopes Monkey Trial a collection of Mencken’s Scopes Trial reports assembled by Art Winslow. The website The Evolution-Creationism Controversy: A Chronology was very helpful in establishing the dates for various events during the trial State v. Scopes: Trial Excerpts provided access to the public testimony for several key trial events.

Below the fold is the entire archive of my Scopes Trial tweets, with added resources and additional content. Enjoy!

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Southern Fried Science: Origins

On a cold Thanksgiving morning, three years ago, I sat down at my old computer, a desktop long disused which had served me throughout high school, logged on to, and launched Southern Fried Science. This little blog has changed so much since those early posts, but the heart of the blog, that science is wonderful, conservation is essential, and we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously all the time, remains. In honor of our three year anniversary, here is the very first post, excepting the generic “hello world” introduction, published on this blog.

In order to start with something interesting, I thought I’d dig up and old article I wrote on a visit to the Kentucky Creation Museum in 2007, enjoy.

Two giant crosses and a giant adult film warehouse

Two giant crosses and a three-building adult film warehouse

Down a long country road outside Petersburg, Kentucky, past giant roadside crosses and even larger adult entertainment centers, stands a new monument to the old time religion of William Jennings Bryant. The Creation Museum was built by Answers in Genesis, an evangelical non-profit, as a state-of-the-art natural history museum promoting young earth creationism. The museum is not new – it’s been here for more than 20 years – but now it’s stylish and sleek, sexy and inviting.

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Bone-eating worms and contorted creationist thinking

I tend to avoid the creationist blogs. Every time I get sucked into that vortex of pseudoscience, I find the exact same debunked claims that were bunk when I was 12. There are better bloggers out there who have the energy and patience to systematically dissect the same tired old rubbish day after day, but I’m not one of them.

This claim, however, is special. There’s nothing new in the rhetoric behind it, it’s just another “how could this commensalism/symbiosis/mutualism evolve? It must be magic!” mantra. And the analysis isn’t terribly sophisticated, anyone could do the basic googling to find out why every argument in it is either wrong or deceptive. What’s special is that it’s about one of my favorite critters, Osedax – the bone eating worm.

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