Textbook, A Civic Biology (Modified)

Some of the language and phrasing in this document has been modified from the original.

Head Note: The excerpt below is from the biology textbook used by the State of Tennessee in 1925. The Butler Act made it illegal to teach from textbooks like this one. John Scopes could not remember if he actually taught the section on evolution from this textbook, but volunteered to say that he did in order to challenge the legality of Butler Act. Pay attention to how the textbook explains the theory of evolution.

The Doctrine of Evolution.

We have now learned that animals may begin with very simple one-celled forms and end with a group which contains man himself. The great English scientist Charles Darwin explained the theory of evolution. This is the belief that simple forms of life on the earth slowly gave rise to more complex forms.

Manís Place in Nature.

We see that man must be placed with the vertebrate animals because of his vertebral column. We place man with the apelike mammals because of structural likeness. The group of mammals which includes the monkeys, apes, and man we call the primates.

Evolution of Man.

There once lived races of men who were much lower in their mental organization than present people. If we follow the early history of man, we find that at first he must have been little better than one of the lower animals. Gradually he must have learned to use weapons and kill his prey, first using rough stones for this purpose. Man then began to farm the fields, and to have permanent houses. Civilization began long ago, but even today the earth is not entirely civilized.

Source: Excerpt from widely-used biology textbook, A Civic Biology, written in 1914 by George W. Hunter, a biology teacher from New York City.