Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, And The Antievolution Movement In American Schools

Paperback | March 2, 2015

byAdam R. Shapiro

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In Trying Biology, Adam R. Shapiro convincingly dispels many conventional assumptions about the 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial. Most view it as an event driven primarily by a conflict between science and religion. Countering this, Shapiro shows the importance of timing: the Scopes trial occurred at a crucial moment in the history of biology textbook publishing, education reform in Tennessee, and progressive school reform across the country. He places the trial in this broad context—alongside American Protestant antievolution sentiment—and in doing so sheds new light on the trial and the historical relationship of science and religion in America.
           
For the first time we see how religious objections to evolution became a prevailing concern to the American textbook industry even before the Scopes trial began. Shapiro explores both the development of biology textbooks leading up to the trial and the ways in which the textbook industry created new books and presented them as “responses” to the trial. Today, the controversy continues over textbook warning labels, making Shapiro’s study—particularly as it plays out in one of America’s most famous trials—an original contribution to a timely discussion.

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In Trying Biology, Adam R. Shapiro convincingly dispels many conventional assumptions about the 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial. Most view it as an event driven primarily by a conflict between science and religion. Countering this, Shapiro shows the importance of timing: the Scopes trial occurred at a crucial moment in the history of biolog...

Adam R. Shapiro is a lecturer in intellectual and cultural history at Birkbeck, University of London.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:March 2, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022627344X

ISBN - 13:9780226273440

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

 

chapter one 1
Beyond Science and Religion: The Scopes Trial in Historical Context

chapter two
The Textbook Trust and State Adoption

chapter three
Textbooks and Their Makers: Authors, Editors, Salesmen, and Readers

chapter four
Civic Biology and the Origins of the Antievolution Movement

chapter five
How Scopes Was Framed

chapter six
The Evolution of the New Civic Biology

chapter seven
Biology Textbooks in an Era of Science and Religion

chapter eight
Losing the Word: Measuring the Impact of Scopes

Acknowledgments
Notes

Editorial Reviews

“Adam Shapiro’s Trying Biology provides a useful corrective to the stale argument that the Scopes Trial and the antievolution movement in general embodied an eternal conflict between science and religion. Shapiro’s account of the battles among textbook authors, publishers, salesmen, and school boards not only adds welcome nuance to our understanding of the trial’s causes and consequences, it provides an enlightening and even entertaining look at the crucial role that money and politics have played in the evolution of biology teaching in America. Trying Biology belongs on the short shelf of essential books on Scopes and antievolutionism.”