Introducing “The Trial of the Century” xxi endorsements of these biologists were often portrayed as evidence for their claims: Paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn—who invoked unknown forces to explain the “continuous ascent” and “increasing perfection” he saw in the fos- sil record—announced in 1925 that “No living naturalist . . . differs as to the immutable truth of evolution. . . . [Evolution] is as well and as soundly estab- lished as the eternal hills . . . [and] is a law of Nature as universal in living things as is the law of gravitation in material things.”20 Botanist Ira Cardiff (1873–1964) claimed that “evolution is an accepted fact [that] needs no more special attention than the teaching of the rotundity of the earth. . . . [Evolution is] probably the greatest generalization the human mind has ever made . . . [and] has probably contributed more toward the . . . improvement of humanity than any other single factor in civilized society.”21 James McKeen Cattell (1860–1944), the editor of Science and Science Monthly, wrote in early 1922 that “We might have supposed that evolution had pro- ceeded far enough to have made extinct any species that objected to the teaching of evolution in public schools.”22 Plant breeder Luther Burbank (1849–1926), who was well known among Ten- nessee’s farmers, sarcastically claimed that “Those who would legislate against the teaching of evolution should also legislate against gravity, electricity, and the unreasonable speed of light.” Burbank later told United Press reporters that “every nation that does not believe in evolution will disappear from the Earth.”23 George Hunter’s (1863–1948) best-selling textbook A Civic Biology, which John Scopes used when he taught biology in Dayton, praised Darwin’s work as “the theory on which we today base the progress of the world.”24 Several scientists combined their endorsements of evolution with attacks on creationism and creationists. Osborn denounced fundamentalists’ “reli- gious fanaticism,” and several other biologists dismissed creationism as an antiquated superstition of the past. Biologist Maynard Shipley (1872– 1934), a witness for the defense at the Scopes Trial who considered funda- mentalism to be a return to the Dark Ages, realized that “for the first time in our history, organized knowledge has come into open conflict with organized ignorance.”25 Zoologist Horatio Newman (1875–1957), another witness for the defense, caustically claimed in his Outlines of General Zool- ogy (1923) that “there is no rival hypothesis to evolution except the out- worn and completely refuted one of special creation, now retained only by the ignorant, dogmatic, and the prejudiced.”26 American biologist and eugenicist David Starr Jordan (1851–1931), the founding president of Stan- ford University, went even further with his vitriol, dismissing traditional Protestant revivalism as “simply a form of drunkenness no more worthy of respect than the drunkenness that lies in the gutter.”27
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