William Jennings Bryan's Last Statement

Bryan and Darrow at Dayton (1925)

ed. and compiled by Leslie H. Allen[*]


[172] FIVE days after the conclusion of the trial, on Sunday afternoon, July 26, William Jennings Bryan died--within a week after he had been on the stand and had said:

"The Bible is all I need to live by and die by."

There was both prophecy and literalness in this statement, for Mr. Bryan just before his death was planning an anti- evolution crusade along national lines. His last days were spent most actively in making speeches throughout the countryside and in editing and preparing the address which, through unanticipated developments, he had been prevented from delivering at the trial itself.

On July 28, Mrs. Bryan made public this address, which at once sums up the State's case and presents Mr. Bryan's own views on the Bible, God, and evolution:

Mr. Bryan's Last Statement

"Let us now separate the issues from the misrepresentations, intentional or unintentional, that have obscured both the letter and the purpose of the law. This is not an interference with freedom of conscience. A teacher can think as he pleases and worship God as he likes, or refuse to worship God at all. He can believe in the Bible or discard it; he can accept Christ or reject Him. This law places no obligation or restraints upon him.

"And so with freedom of speech, he can, so long as he acts as an individual, say anything he likes on any subject. This law does not violate any rights guaranteed by any constitution to any individual. It deals with the defendant, not as an individual, but as an employee, an official or public servant, paid by the State and therefore under instructions from the State."

Mr. Bryan then referred to the recent Oregon case as having affirmed the State's right to control the public schools and the parent's duty to guard the religious welfare of the child. He had made a similar reference during the trial. [173]

"It need hardly be added," he continued, "that this law did not have its origin in bigotry. It is not trying to force any forte of religion on anybody. The majority is not trying to establish a religion or to teach it--it is trying to protect itself from the effort of an insolent minority to force irreligion upon the children under the guise of teaching science.

"What right has a little irresponsible oligarchy of self- styled 'intellectuals' to demand control of the schools of the United States, in which twenty-five millions of children are being educated at an annual expense of nearly two billions of dollars ?

"Christians must, in every State of the Union, build their own colleges in which to teach Christianity; it is only simple justice that atheists, agnostics, and unbelievers should build their own colleges if they want to teach their own religious views or attack the religious views of others.

After reviewing the Tennessee law itself and the facts about its violation as brought out in the trial as justifying the jury in bringing in a verdict of guilty, Mr. Bryan continued:

"But the importance of this case requires more. The facts and arguments presented to you must not only convince you of the justice of conviction in this case, but, while not necessary to a verdict of guilty, they should convince you of the righteousness of the purpose of the people of the State in the enactment of this law.

"The State must speak through you to the outside world and repel the aspersions cast by the counsel for the defense upon the intelligence and the enlightenment of the citizens of Tennessee. The people of this State have a high appreciation of the value of education. The State Constitution testifies to that in its demand that education shall be fostered and that science and literature shall be cherished. The continuing and increasing appropriations for public instruction furnish abundant proof that Tennessee places a just estimate upon the learning that is obtained in its schools.

"Religion is not hostile to learning; Christianity has been the greatest patron learning has ever had. But Christians know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom' now, just as it has been in the past, and they therefore oppose the teaching of guesses that encourage godlessness among the students.

"Neither does Tennessee undervalue the service rendered by science. The Christian men and women of Tennessee know how [174] deeply mankind is indebted to science for benefits conferred by the discovery of the laws of nature and by the designing of machinery for the utilization of these laws. Give science a fact and it is not only invincible, but it is of incalculable service to man.

"If one is entitled to draw from society in proportion to the service that he renders to society, who is able to estimate the reward earned by those who have given to us the use of steam, the use of electricity, and enabled us to utilize the weight of water that flows down the mountainside? Who will estimate the value of the service rendered by those who invented the phonograph, the telephone, and the radio ?

"Or, to come more closely to our home life, how shall we recompense those who gave us the sewing machine, the harvester, the threshing machine, the tractor, the automobile, and the method now employed in making artificial ice ? The department of medicine also opens an unlimited field for invaluable service....

"Christianity welcomes truth from whatever source it comes and is not afraid that any real truth from any source can interfere with the divine truth that comes by inspiration from God Himself. It is not scientific truth to which Christians object for true science is classified knowledge and nothing therefore can be scientific unless it is true.

"Evolution is not truth, it is merely an hypothesis--it is millions of guesses strung together. It had not been proved in the days of Darwin; he expressed astonishment that with two or three million species it had been impossible to trace any species to any other species. It had not been proved in the days of Huxley, and it has not been proved up to today.

"It is less than four years ago that Professor Bateson came all the way from London to Canada to tell the American scientists that every effort to trace one species to another had failed --every one. He said he still had faith in evolution, but had doubts about the origin of species.

"But of what value is evolution if it cannot explain the origin of species ? While many scientists accept evolution as if it were a fact, they all admit when questioned that no explanation has been found of how one species developed into another.

"Darwin suggested two laws, sexual selection and natural [175] selection. Sexual selection has been laughed out of the class room, and natural selection is being abandoned, and no new explanation is satisfactory even to scientists. Some of the more rash advocates of evolution are wont to say that evolution is as firmly established as the law of gravitation or the Copernican theory

"The absurdity of such a claim is apparent when we remember that any one can prove the law of gravitation by throwing a weight into the air and that any one can prove the roundness of the earth by going around it, while no one can prove evolution to be true in any way whatever.

"Chemistry is an insurmountable obstacle in the path of evolution. It is one of the greatest of the sciences; it separates the atoms--isolates them and walks about them, so to speak. If there were in nature a progressive force, an eternal urge, chemistry would find it. But it is not there.

"All of the ninety-two original elements are separate and distinct; they combine in fixed and permanent proportions. Water is H2O, as it has been from the beginning. It was here before life appeared and has never changed; neither can it be shown that anything else has materially changed.

"There is no more reason to believe that man descended from some inferior animal than there is to believe that a stately mansion has descended from a small cottage. Resemblances are not proof--they simply put us on inquiry. As one fact, such as the absence of the accused from the scene of the murder, outweighs all the resemblances that a thousand witnesses could swear to, so the inability of science to trace any one of the millions of species to another species outweighs all the resemblances upon which evolutionists rely to establish man's blood relationship with the brutes.

"But while the wisest scientists cannot prove a pushing power, such as evolution is supposed to be, there is a lifting power that any child can understand. The plant lifts the mineral up into a higher world, and the animal lifts the plant up into a world still higher. So, it has been reasoned by analogy, man rises, not by a power within him, but only when drawn upward by a higher power. There is a spiritual gravitation that draws all souls toward heaven, just as surely as there is a physical force that [176] draws all matter on the surface of the earth toward the earth's center.

"Christ is our drawing power; He said, 'I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me,'[1] and His promise is being fulfilled daily all over the world.

"It must be remembered that the law under consideration in this case does not prohibit the teaching of evolution up to the line that separates man from the lower form of animal life. The law might well have gone further than it does and prohibit the teaching of evolution in lower forms of life; the law is a very conservative statement of the people's opposition to an anti-Biblical hypothesis....

"Most of the people who believe in evolution do not know what evolution means. One of the science books taught in the Dayton High School has a chapter on 'The Evolution of Machinery.' This is a very common misuse of the term. People speak of the evolution of the telephone, the automobile, and the musical instrument. But these are merely illustrations of man's power to deal intelligently with inanimate matter; there is no growth from within in the development of machinery.

"Equally improper is the use of the word 'evolution' to describe the growth of a plant from a seed, the growth of a chicken from an egg, or the development of any form of animal life from a single cell. All these give us a circle, not a change from one species to another.

"Evolution--the evolution involved in this case, and the only evolution that is a matter of controversy anywhere--is the evolution taught by defendant, set forth in the books now prohibited by the new State law, and illustrated in the diagram printed on page 194 of Hunter's 'Civic Biology.'

"The author estimates the number of species in the animal kingdom at 518,900. These are divided into eighteen classes, and each class is indicated on the diagram by a circle. It begins with protozoa and ends with the mammals

"No circle is reserved for man alone. He is, according to the diagram, shut up in the little circle entitled 'mammals,' with 3,499 other species of mammals. Does it not seem a little unfair not to distinguish between man and lower forms of life ? [177]

"What shall we say of the intelligence, not to say religion, of those who are so particular to distinguish between fishes and reptiles and birds, but put a man with an immortal soul in the same circle with the wolf, the hyena, and the skunk? What must be the impression made upon children by such a degradation of man ?

"In the preface of this book the author explains that it is for children, and adds that 'the boy or girl of average ability upon admission to the secondary school is not a thinking individual.'

"Whatever may be said in favor of teaching evolution to adults, it surely is not proper to teach it to children who are not yet able to think.

"The evolutionist does not undertake to tell us how protozoa, moved by interior and resident forces, sent life up through all the various species, and cannot prove that there was actually any such compelling power at all. And yet, the school children are asked to accept guesses and build a philosophy of life upon them.

"If it were not so serious a matter, one might be tempted to speculate upon the various degrees of relationship that, according to evolutionists, exist between man and other forms of life. It might require some very nice calculation to determine at what degree of relationship the killing of a relative ceases to be murder and the eating of one's kin ceases to be cannibalism.

"But it is not a laughing matter when one considers that evolution not only offers no suggestions regarding a Creator, but tends to put the creative act so far away to cast doubt upon creation itself. And, while it is shaking faith in God as a beginning, it is also creating doubt regarding a heaven at the end of life.

"Evolutionists do not feel that it is incumbent upon them to show how life began or at what point in their long drawn out scheme of changing species man became endowed with hope and promise of immortal life. God may be a matter of indifference to the evolutionists, and a life beyond may have no charm for them, but the mass of mankind will continue to worship their Creator and continue to find comfort in the promise of their Saviour that He has gone to prepare a place for them.

"Christ has made of death a narrow, star-lit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the reunion of tomorrow; [178] evolution strikes out the stars and deepens the gloom that enshrouds the tomb.

"If the results of evolution were unimportant, one might require less proof in support of the hypothesis, but before accepting a new philosophy of life, built upon a materialistic foundation, we have reason to demand something more than guesses; 'We may well suppose' is not a sufficient substitute for 'Thus saith the Lord.'

"If you, your Honor, and you, gentlemen of the jury, would have an understanding of the sentiment that lies back of the statute against the teaching of evolution, please consider the facts that I shall now present to you. First, regarding the animals to which evolutionists would have us trace our ancestry. The following is Darwin's family tree, as you will find it set forth on pages 180-181 of his 'Descent of Man':

" 'The most ancient progenitors in the kingdom of vertebrate, at which we are able to obtain an obscure glance, apparently consisted of a group of marine animals resembling the larvae of existing ascidians. These animals probably gave rise to a group of fishes, as lowly organized as the lancelot; and from these the ganoids, and other fishes like the Lepidosiren, must have been duplicated.

" 'From such fish a very small advance would carry us on to the amphibians. We have seen that birds and reptiles were once intimately called together, and the Monotremata now connect mammals with reptiles in a slight degree.

" 'But no one can at present say by what line of descent the three higher and related classes, namely mammals, birds, and reptiles, were derived from the two lower vertebrate classes, namely, amphibians and fishes. In the class of mammals the steps are not difficult to conceive which led from the ancient Monotremata to the ancient Marsupials and from these to the early progenitors of the placental mammals. We may thus ascend to the Lemuridae; and the interval is not very wide from these to the Simiadae.

"'The Simiadae then branched off into two great stems, the New World and Old World monkeys; and from the latter, at a remote period, man, the wonder and glory of the universe, proceeded. Thus we have given to a man a pedigree of prodigious length, but not, it may be said, of noble quality.' [179]

"Note the words implying uncertainty: 'obscure glance,' 'apparently,' 'resembling,' 'must have been,' 'slight degree,' and 'conceive.'

"Darwin, on page 171 of the same book, tries to locate his first man--that is, the first man to come down out of the trees-- in Africa. After leaving man in company with gorillas and chimpanzees, he says: 'But it is useless to speculate on this subject.' If he had only thought of this earlier the world might have been spared much of the speculation that his brute hypothesis has excited.

"On page 79, Darwin gives some fanciful reasons for believing that man is more likely to have descended from the chimpanzee than from the gorilla. His speculations are an excellent illustration of the effect that the evolutionary hypothesis has in cultivating the imagination. Professor J. Arthur Thomson says that the 'idea of evolution is the most potent thought economizing formula the world has yet known.' It is more than that; it dispenses with thinking entirely and relies on the imagination.

"On page 141, Darwin attempts to trace the mind of man back to the mind of lower animals. On pages 113 and 114, he endeavors to trace man's moral nature back to the animals. It is all animal, animal, animal, with never a thought of God or of religion.

(1) Our first indictment against evolution is that it disputes the truth of the Bible account of man's creation and shakes faith in the Bible as the word of God.

"Our first indictment against evolution is that it disputes the truth of the Bible account of man's creation and shakes faith in the Bible as the word of God. This indictment we prove by comparing the processes described as evolutionary with the text of Genesis. It not only contradicts the Mosaic record on the beginning of human life, but it disputes the Bible doctrine of reproduction according to kind--the greatest scientific principle known.

(2) Our second indictment is that the evolutionary hypothesis carried to its logical conclusion disputes every vital truth of the Bible.

"Our second indictment is that the evolutionary hypothesis carried to its logical conclusion disputes every vital truth of the Bible. Its tendency, natural if not inevitable, is to lead those who really accept it, first to agnosticism and then to atheism. Evolutionists attack the truth of the Bible, not openly at first, but by using weasel words like 'poetical,' 'symbolical,' and 'allegorical' to suck the meaning out of the inspired record of man's creation. [180]

"We call as our first witness Charles Darwin. He began life a Christian. On page 39, Volume I, of the 'Life and Letters of Charles Darwin,' by his son, Francis Darwin, he says, speaking of the period from 1828 to 1831, 'I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible.'

"On page 412 of Volume II of the same publication, he says, 'When I was collecting facts for the "Origin," my belief in what is called a personal God was as firm as that of Dr. Pusey himself.' It may be a surprise to your Honor and to you, gentlemen of the jury, as it was to me, to learn that Darwin spent three years at Cambridge studying for the ministry.

"This was Darwin as a young man, before he came under the influence of doctrine that man came from a lower order of animals. The change wrought in his religious views will be found in a letter written to a German youth in 1879, and printed on page 277 of Volume I of the 'Life and Letters' above referred to. The letter begins: 'I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and I cannot spare time to answer your questions fully--nor indeed can they be answered. Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.'

"Note that 'science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence.' Stated plainly, that simply means that 'the habit of scientific research' makes one cautious in accepting the only evidence that we have of Christ's existence, mission, teachings, crucifixion, and resurrection, namely the evidence found in the Bible.

"To make this interpretation of his words, the only possible one, he adds: 'For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation.'

"In rejecting the Bible as a revelation from God, he rejects the Bible's conception of God, and he rejects also the supernatural Christ, of whom the Bible, and the Bible alone, tells. And, it will be observed, he refuses to express any opinion on a future life.

"Now let us follow with his son's exposition of his father's [181] views as they are given in extracts from a biography written in 1876. Here is Darwin's language as quoted by his son:

"'During these two years--October, 1838, to January, 1839 --I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers--who thought themselves orthodox--for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. When thus reflecting I felt compelled to look for a First Cause, having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to man, and I deserved to be called an atheist.

"'This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the "Origin of Species"; it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions ?

" 'I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.'

"When Darwin entered upon his scientific career he was 'quite orthodox and quoted the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.' Even when he wrote 'The Origin of Species' the thought of 'a First Cause, having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to man' was strong in his mind. It was after that time that 'very gradually, with many fluctuations, his belief in God became weaker.

"He traces this decline for us and concludes by telling us that he cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems--the religious problems above referred to. Then comes the flat statement that he 'must be content to remain an agnostic'; and to make clear what he means by the word 'agnostic,' he says that 'the mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us'--not by him alone, but by everybody. Here we have the effect of evolution upon its most distinguished exponent; it led him from an orthodox Christian, believing every word of the Bible and in a personal God, down and down and down to helpless and hopeless agnosticism.

"But there is one sentence upon which I reserved comment-- [182] it throws light upon his downward pathway. 'Then arises the doubt, can the mind of man which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?'

"Here is the explanation; he drags man down to the brute level, and then, judging man by brute standards, he questions whether man's mind can be trusted to deal with 'God and immortality.'

"It is belief in evolution that has caused so many scientists and so many Christians to reject the miracles of the Bible, and then give up, one after another, every vital truth of Christianity. They finally cease to pray and sunder the tie that binds them to their Heavenly Father.

"The miracle should not be a stumbling block to any one. It raises but three questions: First: Could God perform a miracle ? Yes, the God who created the universe can do anything He wants to with it. He can temporarily suspend any law that He has made, or He may employ higher laws that we do not understand.

"Second: Would God perform a miracle? To answer that question in the negative one would have to know more about God's plans and purposes than a finite mind can know, and yet some are so wedded to evolution that they deny that God would perform a miracle merely because a miracle is inconsistent with evolution.

"If we believe that God can perform a miracle and might desire to do so, we are prepared to consider with open mind the third question, namely, Did God perform the miracles recorded in the Bible? The same evidence that establishes the authority of the Bible establishes the truth of the record of miracles performed.

"Do these evolutionists stop to think of the crime they commit when they take faith out of the hearts of men and women and lead them out into a starless night ? What pleasure can they find in robbing a human being of the hallowed glory of that creed and in substituting the lonely mystery of existence. Can the fathers and mothers of Tennessee be blamed for trying to protect their children from such a tragedy?

"If any one has been led to complain of the severity of the [183] punishment that hangs over the defendant let him compare this crime and its mild punishment with the crimes for which a greater punishment is prescribed. What is the taking of a few dollars from one in day or night in comparison with the crime of leading one away from God and away from Christ?

"Shakespeare regards the robbing of one of his good name as much more grave than the stealing of his purse. But we have a higher authority than Shakespeare's to invoke in this connection He who spake as never man spake thus describes the crimes that are committed against the young: 'It is impossible but that of fenses will come; but woe unto him through whom they come It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he be cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones.'[2]

"Christ did not overdraw the picture. Who is able to set a price upon the life of a child--a child into whom a mother has poured her life and for whom a father has labored ? What may a noble life mean to the child itself, to the parents, and to the world ?

"And it must be remembered that we can measure the effect on only that part of life which is spent on earth; we have no way of calculating the effect on that infinite circle of life of which existence here is but a small arc.

"The soul is immortal and religion deals with the soul; the logical effect of the evolutionary hypothesis is to undermine religion and thus affect the soul.

"The real attack of evolution, it will be seen, is not upon orthodox Christianity, or even upon Christianity, but upon religion--the most basic fact in man's existence and the most practical thing in life.

"But I have some more evidence of the effect of evolution upon the life of those who accept it and try to harmonize their thought with it.

"James H. Leuba, a professor of psychology at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, published a few years ago a book entitled 'Belief in God and Immortality.' In this book he relates how he obtained the opinions of scientists on the existence of a personal God and a personal immortality. [184]

"He used a volume entitled 'American Men of Science,' which, he says, included the names of 'practically every American who may properly be called a scientist.' There were 5,500 names in the book. He selected 1,000 names as representative of the 5,500 and addressed them personally. Most of them, he said, were teachers in schools of higher learning. The names were kept confidential.

"Upon the answers received, he asserts that over half of them doubt or deny the existence of a personal God and a personal immortality, and he asserts that unbelief increases in proportion to prominence, the percentage of unbelief being greatest among the most prominent. Among biologists, believers in a personal God numbered less than 31 per cent, while believers in a personal immortality numbered only 37 per cent.

"He also questioned the students in nine colleges of high rank and from 1,000 answers received, 97 per cent of which were from students between eighteen and twenty, he found that unbelief increased from 15 per cent in the freshman class up to 40 to 45 per cent among the men who were graduated.

"On page 280 of this book we read: 'The students' statistics show that young people enter college possessed of the beliefs still accepted, more or less perfunctorily, in the average home of the land and gradually abandon the cardinal Christian beliefs.' This change from belief to unbelief he attributes to the influence of the persons 'of high culture under whom they studied.'

"The people of Tennessee have been patient enough; they acted none too soon. How can they expect to protect society and even the Church, from the deadening influence of agnosticism if they permit the teachers employed by taxation to poison the minds of the youth with this destructive doctrine? And remember that the law has not heretofore required the writing of the word 'poison' on poisonous doctrines. The bodies of our people are so valuable that druggists and physicians must be careful to label properly all poisons; why not be as careful to protect the spiritual life of our people from the poisons that kill the soul?

"There is a test that is sometimes used to ascertain whether one suspected of mental infirmity is really insane. He is put into a tank of water and told to dip the tank dry while a stream of water flows into the tank. If he has not sense enough to turn [185] off the water he is adjudged insane. Can parents justify thanselves if, knowing the ettect of belief in evolution, they permit irreligious teachers to inject skepticism and infidelity in the minds of their children ? Do bad doctrines corrupt the morals of students ?

"We have a case in point. Mr. Darrow, one of the most distinguished criminal lawyers in our land, was engaged about a year ago in defending two rich men's sons who were on trial for as dastardly a murder as was ever committed. The older one, Babe Leopold, was a brilliant student, nineteen years old. He was an evolutionist and an atheist. He was also a follower of Nietzsche, whose books he had devoured and whose philosophy he had adopted.

"Mr. Darrow made a plea for him, based upon the influence that Nietzsche's philosophy had exerted upon the boy's mind. Here are extracts from his speech:

" 'Babe took to philosophy.... He grew up in this way; he became enamoured by the philosophy of Nietzsche. Your Honor, 1 have read almost everything that Nietzsche ever wrote. A man of wonderful intellect; the most original philosopher of the last century. A man who made a deeper imprint in philosophy than any other man within a hundred years, whether right or wrong....

" 'l have just made a few short extracts from Nietzsche that show the things that he [Leopold] has read and these are short and almost taken at random. It is not how this would affect you. It is not how it would affect me. 'l he question is, How it would affect the impressionable, visionary, dreamy mind of a boy--a boy who should never have seen it--too early for him?'

"Quotation from Nietzsche: 'Why so soft, O my brethren? Why so soft, so unresisting and yielding? Why is there so much disavowal and abnegation in your heart? Why is there so little fate in your looks? For all creators are hard and it must seem blessedness unto you to press your hand upon millenniums and upon war. This new table, C) my brethren, I put over you; become hard. To be obsessed by moral consideration presupposes a very low grade of intellect. We should substitute for morality the will to our own end, and consequently to the means to accomplish that. [186]

" 'A great man, a man whom nature has built up and invented in a grand style, is colder, harder, less cautious, and more free from the fear of public opinion. He does not possess the virtues which are compatible with respectability, with being respected, nor any of those things which are counted among the virtues of the herd.'

"Mr. Darrow says: 'The superman, a creation of Nietzsche, has permeated every college and university in the civilized world.

" 'There is not any university in the world where the professor is not familiar with Nietzsche, not one. Some believe it and some do not believe it. Some read it as I do and take it as a theory, a dream, a vision, mixed with good and bad, but not in any way related to human life. Some take it seriously. There is not a university in the world of any high standing where the professors do not tell you about Nietzsche and discuss him, or where the books are not there.

"'If this boy is to blame for this, where did he get it? Is there any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche's philosophy seriously and fashioned his life upon it ? And there is no question in this case but what that is true. Then who is to blame? The university would be more to blame than he is; the scholars of the world would be more to blame than he is. The publishers of the world are more to blame than he is. Your Honor, it is hardly fair to hang a nineteen-year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university. It does not meet my ideas of justice and fairness to visit upon his head the philosophy that has been taught by university men for twentyfive years.'

"In fairness to Mr. Darrow, I think I ought to quote two more paragraphs. After this bold attempt to excuse the student on the ground that he was transformed from a well- meaning youth into a murderer by the philosophy of an atheist, and on the further ground that this philosophy was in the libraries of all the colleges and discussed by the professors--some adopting the philosophy and some rejecting it--on these two grounds he denies that the boy should be held responsible for the taking of human life.

"He charges that the scholars in the universities were more responsible than the boy, and that the universities were more responsible than the boy, because they furnished such books to [187] the students, and then he proceeds to exonerate the universities and the scholars, leaving nobody responsible. Here is Mr. Darrow's language:

" 'Now, I do not want to be misunderstood about this. Even for the sake of saving the lives of my clients, I do not want to be dishonest and tell the Court something that I do not honestly think in this case. I do not think that the universities are to blame. I do not think they should be held responsible. I do think, however, that they are too large and that they should keep a closer watch, if possible, upon the individual.

" 'But you cannot destroy thought because, forsooth, some brain may be deranged by thought. It is the duty of the university, as I conceive it, to be the greatest storehouse of the wisdom of the ages and to have its students come there and learn and choose. I have no doubt but what it has meant the death of many, but that we cannot help.'

"This is a damnable philosophy, and yet it is the flower that blooms on the stalk of evolution. Mr. Darrow thinks the universities are in duty bound to feed out this poisonous stuff to their students, and when the students become stupefied by it and commit murder, neither they nor the universities are to blame.

"A criminal is not relieved from responsibility merely because he found Nietzsche's philosophy in a library which ought not to contain it. Neither is the university guiltless if it permits such corrupting nourishment to be fed to the souls that are intrusted to its care.

"But, go a step farther, would the State be blameless if it permitted the universities under its control to be turned into training schools for murderers ? When you get back to the root of this question, you will find that the Legislature not only had a right to protect the students from the evolutionary hypothesis, but was in duty bound to do so.

"While on this subject let me call your attention to another proposition embodied in Mr. Darrow's speech. He said that Dicky Loeb, the younger boy, had read trashy novels, of the blood and thunder sort. He even went so far as to commend an Illinois statute which forbids minors reading stories of crime. Here is what Mr. Darrow said: 'We have a statute in this State, passed only last year, if I recall it, which forbids minors reading [188] stories of crime. Why? There is only one reason; because the Legislature in its wisdom thought it would have a tendency to produce these thoughts and this life in the boys who read them.'

"If Illinois can protect her boys, why cannot this State protect the boys of Tennessee? Are the boys of Illinois any more precious than yours ?

"But let me complete Mr. Darrow's philosophy based on evolution. He says: 'I do not know what remote ancestor may have sent down the seed that corrupted him, and I do not know through how many ancestors it may have passed until it reached Dicky Loeb. All I know is, it is true, and there is not a biologist in the world who will not say I am right.'

"Psychologists who build upon the evolutionary hypothesis teach that man is nothing but a bundle of the characteristics inherited from brute ancestors. That is the philosophy which Mr. Darrow applied in this celebrated criminal case. 'Some remote ancestor'--he does not know how remote--'sent down the seed that corrupted him.' You cannot punish the ancestor--he is not only dead, but, according to the evolutionists, he was a brute and may have lived a million years ago. And he says that all the biologists agree with him--no wonder so small a percentage of the biologists, according to Leuba, believe in a personal God.

"This is the quintessence of evolution, distilled for us by one who follows that doctrine to its logical conclusion.

"Analyze this dogma of darkness and death. Evolutionists say that back in the twilight of life, a beast, name and nature unknown, planted a murderous seed and that the impulse that originated in that seed throbs forever in the blood of the brute's descendants, inspiring killings innumerable, for which murderers are not responsible because coerced by a fate fixed by the laws of heredity. It is an insult to reason and shocks the heart. That doctrine is as deadly as leprosy; it may aid a lawyer in a criminal case, but it would, if generally adopted, destroy all sense of responsibility and menace the morals of the world. A brute, they say, can predestine a man to crime, and yet they deny that God incarnate in the flesh can release a human being from this bondage or save him from ancestral sins.

"No more repulsive doctrine was ever proclaimed by man; if all the biologists of the world teach this doctrine--as Mr. Darrow [189] says they do then may heaven defend the youth of our land from their impious babblings.

(3) "Our third indictment against evolution is that it diverts attention from pressing problems of great importance to trifling speculations.

"Our third indictment against evolution is that it diverts attention from pressing problems of great importance to trifling speculations. While one evolutionist is trying to imagine what happened in the dim past, another is trying to pry open the door of the distant future.

"One recently grew eloquent over ancient worms, and another predicted that 75,000 years hence every one will be bald and toothless. Both those who endeavor to clothe our remote ancestors with hair and those who endeavor to remove the hair from the heads of our remote descendants ignore the present with its imperative demands. The science of 'how to live' is the most important of all the sciences, but it is necessary to know how to live.

"Christians desire that their children shall be taught all the sciences, but they do not want them to lose sight of the Rock of Ages while they study the age of rocks; neither do they desire them to become so absorbed in measuring the distance between the stars that they will forget Him who holds the stars in His hand.

"While not more than two per cent of our population are college graduates, these, because of enlarged powers, need a 'heavenly vision' even more than those less learned, both for their own restraint and to assure society that their enlarged powers will be used for the benefit of society and not against the public welfare.

"The cry in the business world, in the industrial world, in the professional world, in the political world--even in the religious world--is for consecrated talents--for ability plus a passion for service.

(4) Our fourth indictment against the evolutionary hypothesis is that, by paralyzing the hope of reform, it discourages those who labor for the improvement of man's condition.

"Our fourth indictment against the evolutionary hypothesis is that, by paralyzing the hope of reform, it discourages those who labor for the improvement of man's condition. Every upwardlooking man or woman seeks to lift the level upon which mankind stands, and they trust that they will see beneficent changes during the brief span of their own lives. [190]

"Evolution chills their enthusiasm by substituting eons for years. It obscures all beginnings in the mists of endless ages. It is represented as a cold and heartless process, beginning with time and ending in eternity, and acting so slowly that even the rocks cannot preserve a record of the imaginary changes through which it is credited with having carried an original germ of life that appeared some time from somewhere.

"Its only program for man is scientific breeding, a system under which a few supposedly superior intellects, self- appointed would direct the mating and the movements of the mass of mankind--an impossible system. Evolution, disputing the miracle, and ignoring the spiritual in life, has no place for the regeneration of the individual. It recognizes no cry of repentance and scoffs at the doctrine that one can be born again.

"It is thus the intolerant and unrelenting enemy of the only process that can redeem society through the redemption of the individual. An evolutionist would never write such a story as 'The Prodigal Son'; it contradicts the whole theory of evolution. The two sons inherited from the same parents and, through their parents, from the same ancestors, proximate and remote.

"And these sons were reared at the same fireside and were surrounded by the same environment during all --- days of their youth; and yet they were different. If Mr. Darrow is correct in the theory applied to Loeb, namely, that his crime was due either to inheritance or to environment, how will he explain the difference between the elder brother and the wayward son ?

"The evolutionist may understand from observation, if not by experience, even though he cannot explain, why one of these boys was guilty of every immorality, squandered the money that the father had laboriously earned and brought disgrace upon the family name; but his theory does not explain why a wicked young man underwent a change of heart, confessed his sin, and begged for forgiveness.

"And because the evolutionists cannot understand this fact, one of the most important in the human life, he cannot understand the infinite love of the Heavenly Father who stands ready to welcome home any repentant sinner, no matter how [191] far he has wandered, how often he has fallen, or how deep he has sunk in sin.

"Your Honor has quoted from a wonderful poem written by a great Tennessee poet, Walter Malone. I venture to quote another stanza which puts into exquisite language the new opportunity which a merciful God gives to every one who will turn from sin to righteousness:
Though deep in wnire, wring not your hands and weep;

I lend my arm to all who say 'I can.'
No shame-faced outcast ever sank so deep

But he might rise and he again a man.

"There are no lines like these in all that evolutionists have ever written. Darwin says that science has nothing to do with the Christ who taught the spirit embodied in the words of Walter Malone, and yet this spirit is the only hope of human progress. A heart can be changed in the twinkling of an eye and a change in the life follows a change in the heart.

"It is because Christians believe in individual regeneration and in the regeneration of society through the regeneration of individuals that they pray, 'Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.' Evolution makes a mockery of the Lord's Prayer.

(5) Our fifth indictment of the evolutionary hypothesis is that if taken seriously and made the basis of a philosophy of life, it would eliminate love and carry man back to a struggle of tooth and claw.

"Our fifth indictment of the evolutionary hypothesis is that if taken seriously and made the basis of a philosophy of life, it would eliminate love and carry man back to a struggle of tooth and claw.

"The Christians who have allowed themselves to be deceived into believing that evolution is a baneficent, or even a rational, process have been associating with those who either do not understand its implications or dare not avow their knowledge of these implications. Let us give you some authority on this subject. I will begin with Darwin, the high priest of evolution, to whom all evolutionists bow.

"On pages 149 and 150, in 'The Descent of Man,' already referred to, he says:

" 'With savages the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated, and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to [192] check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to smallpox. Thus the weak members of civilized society propagate their kind.

" 'The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak serving and propagatmg their kmd.

"Let us analyze the quotation just given. Darwin speaks with approval of the savage custom of eliminating the weak, so that only the strong will survive, and complains that 'we civilized men do our utmost to check the process of elimination.' How inhuman such a doctrine as this!

"He thinks it injurious to 'build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick, or to care for the poor.' All of the sympathetic activities of civilized society are condemned because they enable 'the weak members to propagate their kind.'

"Then he drags mankind down to the level of the brute and compares the freedom given to man unfavorably with the restraint that we put on barnyard beasts.

"Let no one think that this acceptance of barbarism as the basic principle of evolution died with Darwin. Within three years a book has appeared whose author is even more frankly brutal than Darwin. The book is entitled 'The New Decalogue of Science' and has attracted wide attention. One of our most reputable magazines has recently printed an article by him defining the religion of a scientist.

"In his preface he acknowledges indebtedness to twenty-one prominent scientists and educators, nearly all of them 'doctors' and 'professors.' One of them, who has recently been elevated to the head of a great state university, read the manuscript over twice 'and made many invaluable suggestions.' [193]

"The author describes Nietzsche, who, according to Mr. Darrow, made a murderer out of 'Babe' Leopold, as 'the bravest soul since Jesus.'

"He admits that Nietzsche was 'gloriously wrong,' not certainly, but 'perhaps,' 'in many details of technical knowledge,' but he affirms that 'Nietzsche was gloriously right in his fearless questioning of the universe and of his own soul.'

"In another place the author says 'most of our morals today are jungle products,' and then he affirms that 'it would be safer, biologically, if they were more so now.' After these two samples of his views you will not be surprised when I read you the following (see page 34):

"'Evolution is a bloody business, but civilization tries to make it a pink tea. Barbarism is the only process by which man has ever organically progressed, and civilization is the only process by which he has ever organically declined. Civilization is the most dangerous enterprise upon which man ever set out. For when you take man out of the bloody, brutal but beneficent hand of natural selection you place him at once in the soft, perfumed, daintily gloved, but far more dangerous hand of artificial selection. And unless you call science to your aid and make this art)ficial selection as efficient as the rude methods of nature you bungle the whole task.'

"This aspect of evolution may amaze some of the ministers who have not been admitted to the inner circle of the iconoclasts whose theories menace all the ideals of civilized society. Do these ministers know that 'evolution is a bloody business'? Do they know that 'civilization is the only process by which man has ever organically declined?' Do they know that 'the bloody, brutal hand of natural selection' is 'baneficent' and that 'the art)ficial selection' found in civilization is 'dangerous'? What shall we think of the distinguished educators and scientists who read the manuscript before publication and did not protest against this pagan doctrine?

"To show that this is a world-wide matter, I now quote from a book issued from the press in 1918, seven years ago. The title of the book is 'The Science of Power,' and its author, Benjamin Kidd, being an Englishman, could not have any national prejudice [194] against Darwin. On pages 46 and 47 we find Kidd's interpretation of evolution:

" 'Darwin's presentation of the evolution of the world as the product of natural selection in never-ceasing war--as a product, that is to say, of a struggle in which the individual efficient in the fight for his own interests was always the winning type-- touched the profoundest depths of the psychology of the West. The idea seemed to present the whole order of progress in the world as the result of a purely mechanical and materialistic process restin/g on force. In so doing it was a conception which reached the springs of that heredity born of the unmeasured ages of conquest out of which the Western mind has come. Within half a century the 'Origin of Species' had become the Bible of the doctrine of the omnipotence of force.

"Kidd goes so far as to charge that 'Nietzsche's teaching represented the interpretation of the popular Darwinism delivered with the fury and intensity of genius.' And Nietzsche, be it remembered, denounced Christianity as the 'doctrine of the degenerate,' and democracy as 'the refuge of weaklings.

"Kidd says that Nietzsche gave Germany the doctrine of Darwin's efficient animal in the voice of his superman, and that Bernhardi and the military textbooks in due time gave Germany the doctrine of the superman translated into the national policy of the superstate aiming at world power. (Page 67.)

"And what else but the spirit of evolution can account for the popularity of the eelfish doctrine, 'each one for himself, and the devil take the hindmost,' that threatens the very existence of the doctrine of brotherhood.

"In 1900 twenty-five years ago--while an international peace congress was in session in Paris, the following editorial appeared in L'Universe:

" 'The spirit of peace has fled the earth because evolution has| taken possession of it. The plea for peace in past years has been inspired by faith in the divine nature and the divine origin of man; men were then looked upon as children of apes. What matters it whether they are slaughtered or not ?'

"When there is poison in the blood, no one knows on what part of the body it will break out, but we can be sure that it will continue to break out until the blood is purlfied. One of the leading universities of the South (I love the state too well [195] to mention its name) published a monthly magazine entitled Journal of Social Forces.' In the January issue of this year, a contributor has a lengthy article on 'Sociology and Ethics,' in the course of which he says:

" 'No attempt will be made to take up the matter of the good or evil of sexual intercourse among humans aside from the matter of conscious procreation, but as an historian it might be worth while to ask the exponents of the impurity complex to explain the fact that, without exception, the great periods of cultural eftlorescence have been those characterized by a large amount of freedom in sex relations, and that those of the greatest cultural degradation and decline have been accomplished with greater sex repression and purity.'

No one charges or suspects that all or any large percentage of the advocates of evolution sympathize with this loathsome application of evolution to social life, but it is worth while to inquire why those in charge of a great institution of learning allow such filth to be poured out for the stirring of the passions of its students.

"Let us, then, hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Science is a mangificent material force, but it is not a teacher of morals. It can perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. It can also build gigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for the control of storm-tossed human vessels It not only fails to supply the spiritual element needed, but some of its unproven hypotheses rob the ship of its compass and t us endanger Its cargo.

"In war, science has proven itself an evil genius; it has made war more terrible than it ever was before. Man used to be content to slaughter his fellowmen on a single plane--the earth's surface. Science has taught him to go down into the water and shoot up from below, and to go up into the clouds and shoot down from above, thus making the battlefield three times as bloody as it was before; but science does not teach brotherly

"Science has made war so hellish that civilization was about :o commit suicide; and now we are told that newly discovered nstruments of destruction will make the cruelties of the late [196] war seem trivial in comparison with the cruelties of wars that may come in the future.

"If civilization is to be saved from the wreckage threatened by intelligence not consecrated by love, it must be saved by the moral code of the meek and lowly Nazarene. His teachings and His teachings alone can solve the problems that vex the heart and perplex the world.

"The world needs a saviour more than it ever did before, and there is only one name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. It is this name that evolution degrades, for, carried to its logical conclusion, it robs Christ of the glory of a Virgin birth, of the majesty of His deity and mission, and of the triumph of His resurrection. It also disputes the doctrine of the atonement.

"This case is no longer local; the defendant ceases to play an important part. The case has assumed the proportions of a battle royal between unbelief that attempts to speak through so-called science and the defenders of the Christian faith, speaking through the legislators of Tennessee.

"It is again a choice between God and Baal; it is also a renewal of the issue in Pilate's court.

"In that historic trial--the greatest in history--force, impersonated by Pilate, occupied the throne. Behind it was the Roman Government, mistress of the world, and behind the Roman Government were the legions of Rome. Before Pilate stood Christ, the Apostle of love. Force triumphed; they nailed him to the tree and those who stood around mocked and jeered and said, 'He is dead.' But from that day the power of Caesar waned and the power of Christ increased. In a few centuries the Roman Government was gone and its legions forgotten; while the crucified and risen Lord has become the greatest fact in history and the growing figure of all time.

"Again force and love meet face to face, and the question, 'What shall I do with Jesus?' must be answered. A bloody, brutal doctrine--evolution--demands, as the rabble did 1900 years ago, that He be crucified. That cannot be the answer of this jury, representing a Christian State and sworn to uphold the laws of Tennessee.

"Your answer will be heard throughout the world; it is eagerly awaited by a praying multitude. If the law is nullified, [197] there will be rejoicing wherever God is repudiated, the Saviour scoffed at, and the Bible ridiculed. Every unbeliever of every kind and degree will be happy.

"If, on the other hand, the law is upheld and the religion of the school children protected, millions of Christians will call you blessed and, with hearts full of gratitude to God, will sing again that grand old song of triumph:
Faith of our Fathers, living still,

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O, how our hearts beat high with joy,

Whene'er we hear that glorious word
Faith of our fathers--holy faith;
We will be true to thee till death!

[*] Leslie H. Allen (ed. and compiler, 1925). Bryan and Darrow at Dayton: The Record and Documents of the "Bible-Evolution" Trial. (NY: Russell and Russell, 1967)
[1] John 12:32.
[2] Luke 17:1, 2.