Unfortunately we find that at least two members of the defense team had no sensible knowledge of evolution - and therefore presumably, according to Dr. Judd, would be unable to understand the very subject which they practised - one of the most fundamental of human institutions - the Law:
Dudley Field Malone on evolution:
"The embryo becomes a human being when it is born. Evolution never stops from the beginning of one cell until the human being returns in death to lifeless dust. We wish to set before you evidence of this character in order to stress the importance of the theory of evolution."
Arthur Garfield Hays on evolution:
"I know that in the womb of the mother the very first thing is a cell, and that cell grows, and it subdivides, and it grows into a human being and a human being is born. Does that statement, as the boy stated on the stand, that he was taught that man comes from a cell - is that a theory that man descended from a lower order of animals? I don't know, and I dare say your honour has some doubt about it. Are we entitled to find out whether it is or not in presenting this case to the jury."
Indeed, it is not entirely certain that the one expert witness for the defense who was allowed to take the stand was completely clear about the meaning of "evolution".
On being called to testify, Maynard Metcalf introduced himself thus:
"I have always been particularly interested in the evolution of the individual organism from the egg, and also the evolution of the organism as a whole from the beginning of life, that has been a peculiar interest of mine, always."
Metcalf later gave a slightly more coherent description of the term "evolution" (see below), but this introductory explanation was, in itself, contrary to the modern understanding of the term for individual organisms do not evolve - only populations. Once again, by today's standards, this statement reflected an "opinion", not a "fact".
In all of the last three quotes the speaker indicates a belief that "evolution" is a process that takes place within the individual. The current view holds that the process that makes evolution possible - genetic mutation - occurs within individuals. But evolution itself only occurs when the altered genetic material enters the gene pool. Thus individuals do not evolve - only groups of individuals:
"Biological evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve."
Futuyma, Douglas J. in Evolutionary Biology, (2nd ed., 1986)
Clearly the claim that it would be impossible to carry on any higher education without teaching the 'doctrine' of evolution is categorically an "opinion", not a "fact".
The Meaning of "Evolution"
As we saw earlier, it was Maynard Metcalf's contention that "evolution" was a "fact", even if no one could agree on how or why it happened. But what did Metcalf mean by "the fact of evolution"?
"Evolution, I think, means the change -- in the final analysis I think it means the change of an organism from one character into a different character, and by character I mean its structure, or its behavior, or its function or its method of development from the egg or anything else - the change of an organism from one characteristic which characterizes it into a different condition, characterized by a different set of characteristics, either structural or functional, could be properly called, I think, evolution - to be the evolution of that organism; but the term in general means the whole series of such changes which have taken place during hundreds of millions of years which have produced from lowly beginnings - the nature of which is not by any means fully understood - to organisms of much more complex character, whose structure and function we are still studying, because we haven't begun to learn what we need to know about them."
Metcalf, a researcher in zoology, seems to have been yet another expert who believed that individuals evolve. It says a lot about either the mendacity or the ignorance, or both, of H.L. Mencken - the journalist frequently associated with the Scopes Trial - that he described Metcalf's verbal testimony thus:
" Then began one of the clearest, most succinct and withal most eloquent presentations of the case for the evolutionists that I have ever heard .... The doctor was never at a loss for a word, and his ideas flowed freely and smoothly."
Which seems to be a trifle starry-eyed, to say the least.
For myself, even if I knew what on earth Metcalf was trying to say, it strikes me that this answer is framed very much as an "opinion" as to the popularist definition of evolution at that time rather than as the statement of a scientific "fact".
What is certain is that at least part of this statement falls into a common trap described by Douglas Futuyma:
'[Evolution's] tenets have frequently been misinterpreted (for example, "evolution" is often equated with "progress")'
Evolutionary Biology, (2nd ed., 1986)
One cannot help but marvel at Mr Nelson's desire to serve the cause, but with all due respect this is clearly not as straightforward as Mr Nelson made out.
(For more details see: Alas, Poor Darwin - I Knew Him Well.)
The Formation of the Grand Canyon
Seeking to provide proof of the vast age of the earth, Professor Curtis commented:
"For example, such a vast chasm as the Grand Canyon is explained not as produced by miraculous creation or by sudden catastrophe, but by running water acting upon the rock throughout innumerable centuries."
Wrong, and wrong again, Professor. It is now widely believed by geologists that the Grand Canyon was very much the result of 'catastrophic' geological activity - about 13 catastrophies, in fact.
Instead of the "erosion over eons" scenario, it is now thought that lava streams resulting from volcanic activity in the area produced a series of temporary dams. According to the "Breached Dam" model, each dam caused a lake to form behind it, which eventually burst through the lava barrier and, following the path created by previous breaches, gouged away the rock and earth beyond. So it's still 'no' to "miraculous creation", but a strong 'yes' to "sudden catatrophe".
Once again the expert evidence turns out to be "opinion" rather than "fact".
The 'Biogenetic Law'
Another of Professor Curtis' offerings related to the so-called Biogenetic Law:
"The kind of evidence [for evolution] everywhere discoverable may be illustrated by the gill slits in the embryos of higher vertebrates like reptiles, birds and mammals."
What Curtis is trying to demonstrate here, the "biogenetic law", proclaimed that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". In plain English that means that, allegedly, if a creature has evolved by way of fishes, reptiles and dog-like mammals then its embryo will develop through successive stages where it resembles (to some extent) a fish, a reptile and a dog-like creature.
In truth, however, the good professor was again presenting two errors wrapped up in one.
In the first place it turns out that the biogenetic law, dreamed up by a German biologist Ernst Haeckel in the late 1800s, was effectively a complete fabrication.
Secondly, the 'gill slits' aren't gill slits at all.
Ernst Haeckel was almost obsessively pro-Darwinist, so much so that he believed that he was entirely justified in faking evidence that would (appear to) prove Darwin's ideas correct and confound his opponents.
To this end Haeckel created a set of drawings which, he claimed, accurately depicted fish, salamander, tortoise, chicken, pig, calf, rabbit, dog and human embryos, all of which appeared to be passing through almost identical stages of development. This, Haeckel said, proved that all of the embryos in the study shared a common ancestry.
What he carelessly forgot to mention was that the drawings had all been carefully 'doctored'.
As embryologist Michael Richardson noted, when he tried to replicate Haeckel's illustrations in 1997 (but using photography rather than sketches), "... not only did Haeckel add or omit features ... he also fudged the scale to exaggerate similarities among species, even when there were 10-fold differences in size."
The picture below shows, on the upper line, six of Haeckel's drawings as they appeared, for example, in his 1874 textbook on embryology - Anthropogenie. The lower line shows photographs of actual embryo's (of the same creatures) at approximately the age of the embryos in Haeckel's drawings:
One of the features that had convinced Haeckel that he was merely demonstrating the obvious was his complete misinterpretation of the features referred to as "gill slits" found in the human embryo.
Indeed, so widespread did this myth become that even in 1958, Ray Ginger was still offering an explanation that seems to claim that every human embryo actually evolves during the gestation period:
"Or take the gill slits of the human embryo. These structures exist in the embryo because of the inheritance from man's early aquatic ancestry, but their lack of function in the human adult caused their disappearance in favor of more useful structures."
Even more surprisingly, Haeckel's illustrations are still being used as though they were accurate. For example, one version appeared in a book on child development - What's Going on In There? by neurologist Lise Eliot, PhD. - published as recently as 1999.
So that's no points to Dr Haeckel, no points to Professor Curtis, no points to Dr. Eliot, and no points to Professor Ginger BECAUSE -
These structures never were 'gill slits'. As the embryo matures they develop into the middle ear, the parathyroid and the thymus gland!
And that isn't the only error that comes from judging by appearances ...
"Homology is Crucial"
Since Professor Ginger has been so forth-coming on the subject of the expert testimony, let's ask him to stay a little longer and tell us about that vitally important subject: homology.
'The evidence of evolution did not consist merely in the fossil records; the theory could also be tested experimentally by many laboratory sciences. This was true because, as [Horatio Hackett] Newman put it, "the entire fabric of evolutionary evidence is woven about a single broad assumption": that structural resemblance arises from kinship.'
Clear? No? Okay, Ginger goes on to explain:
"The principle of homology is crucial: homologous structures have the same embryonic origin and the same relation to other structures, but they are superficially quite different in appearance and they play quite different functional roles. The human arm is homologous with the foreleg of a horse, the wing of a bird, the flipper of a whale."
What Ginger failed to mention, and almost certainly didn't know (we'll see in a moment how wrong he was about embryonic origins), is that there are four significant problems associated with the claim that homology is evidence of common descent.
Firstly, if homology is to be used as evidence that various creatures are linked by evolutionary descent, it would seem reasonable to suppose that the homologous features of, say, a man, a newt and a lizard, are all arrived at by the same process of development in the embryo until some point where each begins to take its final form (arm, fin, leg). Indeed, Professor Newman made more or less that exact point in his affidavit:
"There should be no sharp division between the evidences from comparative anatomy and those from embryology.
Those two branches of biology are inseparable; one must be interpreted in the light of the other."
Yet time an again, modern embryology has shown that supposedly related features are actually arrived at by differing routes - to a greater or lesser degree. In the example just given, the newt's fin develops from segments 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the trunk; the lizard's front legs develop from trunk segments 6, 7, 8 and 9; and a human arm develops from trunk segments 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
Secondly, scientists are now aware that structures which appear to be similar can develop quite independently. This is known as homoplasy . As Futuyma comments:
"... the leaflessness and growth form of New World cacti and some Old World Euphorbiaceae are extremely similar adaptations to arid conditions; ..."
In other words, apparantly homologous features may be found where, to the best of our knowledge, no ancestral relationship is involved.
Thirdly, there are supposedly homologous features which resist a homologous interpretation. Thus Professor Newman, apparently without recognizing the implications of his claim, wrote that:
"The leg of man, a specialized walking appendage, is much less versatile than is the arm; yet it is closely homologous with the latter.
And he's quite right, of course. So the only question is: Did our arms evolve from our legs, or our legs from our arms?
The fourth problem is the most insurmountable of all, again in a man which Newman hints at but fails to see:
According to Newman:
"the entire fabric of evolutionary evidence is woven about a single broad assumption": that structural resemblance arises from kinship.'
But here's the problem: If homolgy is defined as 'similarity of structure being the result of common descent', then it cannot also be evidence of common descent because that results in a circular argument which goes:
"You can prove that life forms which are homologous (i.e. which have similarities in structure) are descended from a common ancestor because being homologous means being descended from a common ancestor."
In the case of this last point it must be said that readers can still find the "homolgy is descent/homology proves descent" argument being offered in modern textbooks.
Nevertheless, insofar as we have shown that homology cammot be used to support the notion of descent from a common ancestor, this element of the expert testimony clearly was not a "fact" in 1925, any more than it is a fact now.
Yet again, the expert testimony turns out to be "opinion" and not "fact".
No Facts - Only Opinions
We could go on like this for a good deal longer, but we would only be repeating the same simple fact - that Hays was wrong about the kind of evidence the defence 'experts' would give. In reality, though it was undoubtedly presented in all good faith, and based on the best information available in 1925, a great deal of the scientific evidence offered at the Scopes Trial did not consist of facts - it was, instead, a catalogue of opinions.
And inaccurate opinions at that.
Some people will no doubt argue that this is all a bit of a red herring, since evolutionists have now corrected the errors of their predecessors. But this is beside the point.
The question we set out to answer was simply: Was the expert evidence put forward at the Scopes Trial "fact" or "opinion"? And we have shown that on a number of crucial points the evidence was all opinion and no facts.