The Evolution Controversy in North Carolina in the 1920s

[Source description: D. Scott Poole. "Why the Opposition." Carolina Magazine 57 (October 1926), pp. 19-20. About this source.]

Carolina Magazine, October 1926

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Why the Opposition

D. Scott Poole

Prevented by illness from making a scheduled address before the student body of the University, Mr. D. Scott Poole, originator of the famous "Poole Bill," replied to a request for the manuscript of his address with the brief presented on this page.

In printing this article, which should represent the candid opinions of the fundamentalists of this state as held by their acknowledged leader, there has been no attempt at editing. The brief was printed as it came to the office.

I object to a mode of creation being taught in the public schools of this state for the following reasons:

1. Because parents, not the state, have the right to teach their children religion. Parents are responsible for the religious training of their children.

2. Because Evolution as taught in the schools, teaches a mode of creation, of the Creator, the Bible, and the philosophy of life, may be classed as religion.

3. Because state schools have no right to teach religion.

4. Neither the Evolutionist, nor the Christian Fundamentalist has a right to teach his peculiar views at public expense.

5. Because debarring Evolution from the public schools will not infringe upon the right of any Evolutionist from teaching or writing at his own expense.

This is the reasons for debarring evolution, legally, and now as further reasons, it is not fair to taxpayers to defray the expense of teaching their own peculiar doctrine, and then by a state supported educational system have all their work undone, and that also at their expense.

It is plain to be seen, that this conflict of view will amount to a menace of the welface of the Commonwealth if allowed to go on.

From the writings of evolutionists we make the following deductions:

1. All gods and devils are the creations of human imaginations.

2. There never has been a divine relation of God's will to man.

3. No extant moral code possesses Divine authority.

4. The Christian's hope of heaven is based on myth.

5. The fall of man is mythical.

6. Conscience is the product of group opinion.

7. Christianity is wrong in its basic purpose of moral conduct.

8. Christian teaching as to purity and modesty is wrong, based on mysticism and superstition.

9. Christianity has degraded woman, and retarded progress.

10. The world has no true code of morals.

In reviewing these extreme views, you may call them, is it any wonder that Church has arisen to oppose such teaching? Scientists say the Bible was not given to teach science. I grant this. Neither should scientists undertake to teach the Bible. The Bible is supernatural. It must be what it is believed to be, the revelation of God's will to man. The Scriptures teach what a man is to believe concerning God, and what duties God requires of man.

By following the teaching of the Bible a man does not become a worse citizen; but rather, he who follows more closely the teaching of this wonderful Book is the highest specimen of the race. The Bible is the only source of light that shines across the cold, dark silence and shadow of the death. Surely none would extinguish this.


About this Source:

The Dialectic Society, one of the campus debating groups at the University of North Carolina, invited Representative Poole to speak on campus about the anti-evolution bill that he had introduced. Poole accepted, agreeing to address the students in a talk at Memorial Hall on May 18, 1926. On the morning of the 18th, Poole canceled, writing to the Dialectic Society that he was unable to keep the engagement due to the serious illness of his brother. The Tar Heel, the campus newspaper, reported that Poole "hopes to be here and speak on the subject of evolution at a later date." It does not appear that Poole ever spoke on the UNC campus.

The article here appears to be working notes for the speech that Poole would have given. The Carolina Magazine is careful to note that the piece appears exactly as it was given to them, an important point to make for a journal that was at the time much more likely to reflect the views of the faculty and administration of the University, which opposed the Poole Bill.

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