75 years after the Scopes trial pitted science against religion, the debate goes on

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Evolutionary theory in brief

Evolutionary theory says all life derived from previous life forms and differences between one plant and animal species to another results from genetic and physical modifications in successive generations.

The evolutionary view has long been in existence. The Greeks believed in a form of evolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries, European scientists and philosophers --particularly the French -- put forth formal theories.

Clarence Darrow, shown here several years after the trial, defended John Scopes pro bono


Then Charles Darwin of England wrote "Origin of Species" in 1859, a book that would revolutionize all of biology and spark widespread social changes.


ased on observations of species and fossils in the Galapagos Islands, Darwin came up with the theory of natural selection, which essentially said the fittest species would survive in the long run. Survivors pass on their characteristics to succeeding generations to ensure continued survival, Darwin postulated.

Today, the scientific community largely believes evolution is fact. What troubles some Christians, especially fundamentalists who regard the Bible as God's literal word, is that "godless" evolution runs counters to the doctrine of divine creation.

Creationism grew as an antithesis to the evolutionary movement. Its proponents say creationism is valid science that exposes the weaknesses and fallacies of evolutionary theory.

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