Scoping Out the Alleged Monkey Trial

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Like many people even today, you may have been shown the 1960 movie Inherit the Wind, based on the 1955 play by the same name. Although it claims to be fiction, historical facts from the 1925 Scopes "Monkey" Trial are mixed in, making it appear to be historically reliable. In fact, Inherit the Wind is highly misleading, but used in education. Kirk Hastings gave some interesting comments and comparisons between fact and fantasy in Part XIII of his book What is Truth? For those of you who do not have that book handy, I have some links available for you.

How much do you actually know about the events of the Scopes trial? Take the quiz. People "know" about the trial from Inherit the Wind, but the facts are radically different from the "docudrama". It has even deceived Christians who draw upon it as source material for a Bible study! People should check out the facts before letting movies influence their beliefs.

Clarence Darrow (left) and William Jennings Bryan (right) during the Scopes Trial in 1925/Wikipedia
Did you know that the whole thing was a set-up by the ACLU? John Scopes never taught evolution, but he was a willing patsy for a show trial that did not actually stick to the subject, but was used to ridicule Christianity. William Jennings Bryan made several mistakes, including allowing himself as opposing counsel to be called upon to testify about the Bible and not actually believing the literal days of Genesis. Also, the "proofs" of evolution have since been rejected (including Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man and the Haeckel fraud) — which helps illustrate the pitfalls of relying on "science" and "evidence" as foundations for your faith instead of the Word of God.

If you follow the links above, you will easily be able to see that Inherit the Wind may be a good bit of storytelling, but it misrepresents the truth.

Moving on...
In 2010, a movie titled "alleged" was released, dealing with the Scopes trial. I had heard about it, and found out that it was on Netflix (a service that does little for me). This movie took a significantly different approach. Like Inherit the Wind, there were fictional elements, such as the romantic drama between reporter Charles B. Anderson and his fiancée, Rose Elizabeth Williams. The interplay between Anderson and H.L. Mencken is interesting to watch; Mencken mentors Anderson, and Anderson modifies his principles (and his clothing so he can dress like his hero).

Other aspects of the 1925 culture are relevant, including a subplot involving eugenics (a fruit of evolution; Margaret Sanger is alive and well and helping to exterminate black people) and the rising bigotry toward Christians are introduced. It is interesting to see that intolerant evolutionists were doing then what they do now: Misrepresent Christians and the Bible, use loaded terminology attack people and tear down straw men.

Unlike Inherit the Wind, significant historical facts in "alleged" are accurate. The fictional aspects still contain relevant material. I was not all that thrilled with the movie. It will not be something to show to your evolutionist friends and have them convert to creationism. However, there were items that were brought up, sometimes subtly, that could be worth some discussion time. Or at least, spark some thought and further research. As you can see from the abundance of links, it happened to me.

I would give this three out of five stars. If you have Netflix, you can catch it there. Also, if you want to buy a copy, it can be found online for a low price. Maybe you want to watch it with other people and have some discussions?