The Charlotte News

Monday, February 20, 1939



No Monkeying

It may be that the Tennessee Legislature is smarter than is supposed. It's a pretty unlikely supposition, we admit, but since it is the charitable one, let us give it some brief credence.

In any case, the Legislature has voted down again a bill to repeal the State's notorious "monkey law," the prohibition against teaching the theory of evolution whose violation by the bespectacled young Mr. Scopes brought William Jennings Bryan puffing to Dayton to defend the doctrine of creation as described in the first chapter of Genesis.

Now, virtually all men of science, many of them unshaken Christians, have long since found the theory of evolution to be upheld by the weight of all evidence, and in most states generations of schoolchildren have studied the subject for what it was worth to them, without becoming either alarmed or proselyted from Christianity or, indeed, without any noticeable effect save a great fatigue with the desiccated nature of the subject and a fleeting wonder what their elders found in it worth arguing about.

So, it may be--well, at any rate, it could be--that the Tennessee Legislature, proceeding on the assumption that stolen fruits are the sweeter, prohibits the teaching of evolution in the hope that all the young scholars will look into it on the sly and come thus upon knowledge which they will treasure for being forbidden. That may be the explanation of Tennessee's behavior, only we don't think so.

Freeman's Choice

It is a cruel choice that General Franco offers the mediators for peace in Spain's civil war. He has rejected offhand any peace conditioned upon the evacuation of foreigners, and he has turned down flatly the further offer of a surrender upon the single concession of no reprisals against Loyalist officials and soldiers.

The prolongation of the war is bound to have only one result for the cornered Spanish Government forces, and that is slaughter and defeat. But even this end will be preferable to some of them over outright surrender, for the General has taken pains to make clear to them what they may expect. And that is--death, for their leaders, and enslavement for their followers.

It is a cruel war that he has waged, a war directed not only against the soldiers at the front, who expected no quarter, but a war of horror against the old men and the women and children huddled in Spanish cities. To submit to the tender mercies of such a butcher. is to bend the neck either for the axe or the yoke, a fate in comparison to which even death on the battlefield has its solace. Yet those are his terms, and he is fully capable of exacting them.


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