Thursday, January 5, 2017

History: The Year is 1925

I've uploaded year 1925 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Eugenics and the Scopes Monkey Trial -- Tennessee outlaws teaching Darwinism in schools  so John Scopes defies the law.. or does he?

If We Could Talk to the Animals -- I talk about the assumptions scientists make and Koko the Gorilla.

Notable Births -- Margaret Thatcher, William F. Buckley Jr., Barbara Bush. (Living), Pol Pot, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Sellers, and B. B. King

In Other News -- The term 'Cosmic rays' is coined. The New Madison Square Garden opens and Mount Rushmore is dedicated.

Eugenics and the Scopes Monkey Trial

Buckle in. This is going to be a bumpy ride.
Tennessee has passed a law forbidding the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution in government schools. In short, you cannot deny the biblical account of Divine Creation by teaching that men evolved from apes. Of course, the Bible is somewhat vague on how man was created, and "apes" are not "monkeys". Nevertheless, most folks believe that God created man somehow, but if you claim (within the bounds of a state school) that God used evolution to do it, you are in violation of the law. The newly formed American Civil Liberties Union puts out an ad pledging to defend any teacher who violates this law. Please. Please. Please. The businessmen of Dayton take the challenge. They figure it will put them on the map! A few students complain that their teacher, John Scopes, taught evolution. He is fined $100 which is close to $2,900 in modern dollars. But this isn't about the money. (Please don't make me say "principle" because principles have very little to do with this.) Everyone is in on it... the judge, the jury, the prosecutor, William Jennings Bryan, and the students. The defense attorney, Clarence Darrow, begs the jury to return a guilty verdict. (Hmm...) NINE MINUTES LATER, Scopes is found guilty. Two years later the state Supreme Court will find the law to be constitutional, but irrelevant because 1) the law has already been repealed, 2) John Scopes is no longer a teacher, and most importantly, 3) judges cannot impose fines in Tennessee over $50. Only juries can do that. The Creationists win! [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, although John Scopes admitted that he regularly taught from the standard biology textbook he later admitted that he had skipped the whole section on evolution. He never violated the law. (The students lied? I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!) Somehow the movie "Inherit the Wind" left this part out, but there is a reason why good, rational people might support the Tennessee law... because teaching that God created each of us in His own Image had to be better than what the textbook was actually teaching... that the "parasite" races should be killed off. Here is a quote from the textbook itself... [4]
The Remedy. – If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with some success in this country.
-- A Civic Biology by George William Hunter, 1914. [5]

If We Could Talk to the Animals

Eugenics is definitely a fad made possible by the assumptions scientists are willing to make, and we all know where assumptions lead. For example, the number of chromosomes in the human genome has been determined to be 48. (If you were awake during your high school biology class you know this number is WRONG! Yet "48" will remain "fact" for the next 30 years.) Since it is assumed that human beings are descended from the Great Apes, and they have 48 chromosomes, naturally humans must have the same number. A quick scan and they are done. The assumption that apes are simply primitive humans drives the eugenics research in chimps. Dr. Robert Yerkes (YER-kees) assumes he knows how chimps think. As you read his book "Chimpanzee Intelligence" you get the creepy feeling that he is reading their minds. Later his colleagues will raise a chimp as a child, hoping it will learn the human language as a baby does, but they will eventually conclude that chimps lack the physical ability to form human words. Unfortunately, the work of Yerkes will lead to the development of intelligence tests used in government schools and the Army. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
You may be thinking of the Koko the Gorilla who learned sign language, but it is not clear that she is doing anything more than mimicking gestures to get food. My dog knows how to make it understood that she wants something or wants me to do something, but she isn't using sign language. Whatever Koko is doing, it is certainly NOT American Sign language. Here is a quote from a deaf person on the team working with Koko...
All the hearing people turned in logs with long lists of signs. They always saw more signs than I did.... I watched really carefully. The chimp's hands were moving constantly. Maybe I missed something, but I don't think so. I just wasn't seeing any signs. The hearing people were logging every movement the chimp made as a sign. Every time the chimp put his finger in his mouth, they'd say 'Oh, he's making the sign for drink,' and they'd give him some milk. [13]

Notable Births

  • Margaret Thatcher. UK Prime Minister. She will be instrumental in destroying the Soviet Union. [14]
  • William F. Buckley Jr.. Leading spokesman for conservative philosophy. [15]
  • Barbara Bush. (Living) First Lady and mother of President Bush the Younger. [16]
  • Pol Pot. Cambodian leader and mass murderer. [17]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Sammy Davis Jr. Best known for the song, "The Candy Man". [18]
  • -- Peter Sellers. Actor, in films like The Pick Panther, and Dr. Strangelove. [19]
  • -- B. B. King. Blues singer who will get a Grammy for "The Thrill Is Gone". [20]
**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked on 2017-Jan-5.

In Other News

  • The term 'Cosmic rays' is coined. Energetic charged particles are measured in the upper atmosphere. [21] [22]
  • The New Madison Square Garden opens. This is the 3rd location for the indoor arena. They will relocate once more in 1968. [23]
  • Mount Rushmore is dedicated. Construction itself will begin in 1927. [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1925, Wikipedia.

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