The American Evolution

Nicole Celli

The Mock Trial Honor Society presented a short reenactment of the The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes trial on Feb. 9, in the Grand Courtroom of the Quinnipiac Law School, in honor of Darwin Day.

The trial, often called the Scopes Monkey Trial, focuses on the 1925 court case in which John Scopes was put on trial for violating the Butler Act. The act stated that it is unlawful for any teacher to teach a theory that denies creation as taught through the Bible, and to teach the theory that men descended from animal. The jury found him guilty, and he was fined $100. Later, in 1967, the Butler Act was ruled unconstitutional.

Professor James Kirby is the president of the QU chapter of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, and teaches chemistry here at QU.

“Sigma Xi’s purpose is to inform students about science,” Kirby said. “With the 200th birthday of Darwin, I thought this would be the best way to show evolution and how it changes. Educationally, it’s a big deal in the country and throughout the world.”
The mock trial was just one of the many events around the world for Darwin Day.

According to the official Web site ( there were 653 events scheduled in 42 countries for Darwin Day 2009. Such events included civic ceremonies with official proclamations, educational symposia, birthday parties, art shows, books discussions, lobby days, games, protests, lectures and debates, and reenactments of the Scopes trial.

All participants were members of the Mock Trial Honor Society, including Vice President Natalie Rezek.

“It’s important for both science and history,” Rezek, a third- year law student, said. “I think it represents how society has changed since then, and also how different legal trials are. It’s important to recognize the advancements and achievements of Darwin.”