(Outside in the intense July heat townspeople are marching around the courthouse with signs reading: ARE YOU MAN OR MONKEY? SAVE OUR SCHOOLS FROM SIN! MY ANCESTORS AINíT APES! AMEND THE CONSTITUTION--PROHIBIT DARWIN! DOWN WITH DARWIN! DARWIN IS WRONG! DOWN WITH EVOLUTION! Inside the judge is on the bench and the courtroom is crowded with jurors, lawyers, officials, and onlookers. Howard, a student in Catesís [Scopesís] class, is on the witness stand, squirming, wretched in his high starched collar and Sunday suit. Brady [Bryan], assisting the prosecution, is questioning the boy.)

BRADY: Go on, Howard. Tell them what else Mr. Cates told you in the classroom.

HOWARD: Well, he said at first the earth was too hot for any life. Then it cooled off a mite, and cells and things begun to live.

BRADY: Cells?

HOWARD: Little bugs like, in the water. After that, the little bugs got to be bigger bugs, and sprouted legs and crawled up on the land.

BRADY: How long did this take, according to Mr. Cates?

HOWARD: Couple million years. Maybe longer. Then comes the fishes and the reptiles and the mammals. Manís a mammal.

BRADY: Along with the dogs and the cattle in the field: did he say that?

HOWARD: Yes, sir. (DRUMMOND is about to protest against prompting the witness; then he decides it isnít worth the trouble.)

BRADY: Now, Howard, hod did man come out of this slimy mess of bugs and serpents, according to your-"Professor"?

HOWARD: Man was sort of evoluted. From the "Old World Monkeys." (BRADY slaps his thigh.)

BRADY: Did you hear that, my friends? "Old World Monkeys"! According to Mr. Cates, you and I arenít even descended from good American monkeys! (There is laughter.) Howard, listen carefully. In all this talk of bugs and "Evil-ution," of slime and ooze did Mr. Cates ever make any reference to God?

HOWARD: Not as I remember.

BRADY: Or the miracle He achieved in seven days as described in the beautiful Book of Genesis?

HOWARD: No, sir. (BRADY stretched out his arms in an all-embracing gesture.)

BRADY: Ladies and gentlemen--

DRUMMOND: Objection! I ask that the court remind the learned counsel that this is not a Chautauqua tent. He is supposed to be submitting evidence to a jury. There are no ladies on the jury.

BRADY: Your Honor, I have no intention of judging a speech. There is no need. I am sure that everyone on the jury, everyone within the sound of this boyís voice, is moved by his tragic confusion. He has been taught that he wriggled up like an animal from the filth and the muck below! (Continuing fervently, the spirit is upon him) I say that these Bible-haters, these "Evil-utionists," are brewers of poison. And the legislature of this sovereign state has had the wisdom to demand that the peddlers of poison- in bottles or in books-clearly label the products they attempt to sell! (There is applause. HOWARD gulps. BRADY points at the boy) I tell you, if this law is not upheld, this boy will become one of a generation, shorn of its faith by the teachings of Godless science! But if the full penalty of the law is meted out to Bertram Cates, the faithful the whole world over, who are watching us here, and listening to our every word, will call this courtroom blessed! (Applause. Dramatically, BRADY moves to his chair. Condescendingly, he waves to DRUMMOND.)

BRADY: Your witness, sir. (BRADY sits. DRUMMOND rises, slouches toward the witness stand.)

DRUMMOND: Well, I sure am glad Colonel Brady didnít make a speech! (Nobody laughs. The courtroom seems to resent DRUMMONDíS gentle ridicule of the orator. To many, there is an effrontery in DRUMMONDíS very voice-folksy and relaxed. Itís rather like a harmonica following a symphony concert.) Howard, I heard you say that the world used to be pretty hot.

HOWARD: Thatís what Mr. Cates said.

DRUMMOND: You figure it was ant hotter then than it is right now?

HOWARD: Guess it musta been. Mr. Cates read it to us from a book.

DRUMMOND: Do you know what book?

HOWARD: I guess that Mr. Darwin thought it up.

DRUMMOND: (leaning on the arm of the boyís chair): You figure anythingís wrong about that, Howard?

HOWARD: Well, I dunno-

DAVENPORT: (leaping up, crisply): Objection, Your Honor. The defense is asking that a thirteen-year-old boy hand down an opinion on a question of morality!

DRUMMOND: (to the JUDGE): I am trying to establish, Your Honor, that Howard-or Colonel Brady-or Charles Darwin-or anyone in this courtroom-or you, sir-has the right to think!

JUDGE: Colonel Drummond, the right to think is not on trial here.

DRUMMOND: (energetically): With all respect to the bench, I hold that the right to think is very much on trial! It is fearfully in danger in the proceedings of this court!

BRADY: (rises): A man is on trial!

DRUMMOND: A thinking man! And he is threatened with fine and imprisonment because he chooses to speak what he thinks.

Drummond continues his questioning of Howard, trying to show the court and the jury that the boy has not been harmed in any way by his exposure to Darwinís ideas. But Brady counters this defense, calling to the stand another teacher, Rachel Brown, whose testimony reveals that Bertram Cates no longer attends church and has some doubts about religion. Rachelís testimony has hurt Drummondís case, but because Bradís questioning has upset her, Drummond passes up the opportunity to cross-examine. Drummond calls his next witness.

DRUMMOND: (rising): Your Honor, I wish to call Dr. Amos D. Keller, head of the Department of Zoology at the University of Chicago.

BRADY: Objection. (DRUMMOND turns, startled.)

DRUMMOND: On what grounds?

BRADY: I wish to inquire what possible relevance the testimony of a Zoo-ology professor can have in this trial.

DRUMMOND: (reasonably): It has relevance! My client is on trial for teaching Evolution. Any testimony relating to his alleged infringement of the law must be admitted!

BRADY: Irrelevant, immaterial, inadmissible.

DRUMMOND: (sharply): Why? If Bertram Cates were accused of murder, would it be irrelevant to call expert witnesses to examine the weapon? Would you rule out testimony that the so-called murder weapon was incapable of firing a bullet?

JUDGE: I fail to grasp the learned counselís meaning.

DRUMMOND: Oh. (With exaggerated gestures, as if explaining things to a small child) Your Honor, the defense wished to place Dr. Keller on the stand to explain to the gentlemen of the jury exactly what the evolutionary theory is. How can they pass judgment on it if they donít know what itís all about?

BRADY: I hold that the very law we are here to enforce excludes such testimony! The people of this state have made it very clear that they do not want this zoo-ological hogwash slobbered around the schoolrooms! And I refuse to allow these agnostic scientists to employ this courtroom as a sounding board, as a platform from which they can shout their heresies into the headlines!

JUDGE: (after some thoughtful hesitation): Colonel Drummond, the court rules that zoology is irrelevant to the case. (The JUDGE flashes his customary mechanical and humorless grin.)

DRUMMOND: Agnostic scientists! Then I call dr. Allen Page-(staring straight at BRADY) Deacon of the Congregational Church-and professor of geology and archeology at Oberlin College.

BRADY: (dryly): Objection!

JUDGE: Objection sustained. (Again, the meaningless grin.)

DRUMMOND: (astonished): In one breath, does the court deny the existence of zoology, geology and archeology?

JUDGE: We do not deny the existence of these sciences; but they do not relate to this point of law.

DRUMMOND: (fiery): I call Walter Aaronson, philosopher, anthropologist, author! One of the most brilliant minds in the world today! Objection, Colonel Brady?

BRADY: (nodding, smugly) Objection.

DRUMMOND: Your Honor! The Defense has brought to Hillsboro-at great expense and inconvenience-fifteen noted scientists! The great thinkers of our time! Their testimony is basic to the defense of my client. For it is my intent to show this court that what Bertram Cates spoke quietly one spring afternoon in the Hillsboro High School is no crime! It is incontrovertible as geometry in every enlightened community f minds!

JUDGE: In this community, Colonel Drummond-and in this sovereign state-exactly the opposite is the case. The language of the law is clear; we do not need experts to question the validity of a law that is already on the books. (DRUMMOND, for once in his life, has hit a legal roadblock.)

DRUMMOND: (scowling): In other words, the court rules out any expert testimony on Charles Darwinís Origin of Species or Descent of Man?

JUDGE: The court so rules. (DRUMMOND is flabbergasted. His case is cooked and he knows it. He looks around helplessly.)

Drummond searches his mind desperately for a defense. Suddenly, he has an idea; he asks Colonel Brady to take the stand as an expert on the Bible. Brady has just been sworn in and Drummond, taking from one of his uncalled witnesses a roc about the size of a tennis ball, begins the questioning,

DRUMMOND: How old do you think this rock is?

BRADY: (intoning): I am more interested in the Rock of Ages than I am in the Age of Rocks. (A couple of die-hard "Amens." DRUMMOND ignores this glib gag.)

DRUMMOND: Dr. Page of Oberlin College tells me that this rock is at least ten million years old.

BRADY: (sarcastically): Well, well, Colonel Drummond! You managed to sneak in some of that scientific testimony after all. (DRUMMOND opens up the rock, which splits into two halves. He shows it to BRADY.)

DRUMMOND: Look, Mr. Brady. These are the fossil remains of a prehistoric marine creature, which was found in this very country-and which lived here millions of years ago, when these very mountain ranges were submerged in water.

BRADY: I know. The Bible gives a fine account of the flood. But your professor is a little mixed up on his dates. That rock is not more than six thousand years old.

DRUMMAND: How do you know?

BRADY: A fine Biblical scholar, Bishop Ussher, has determined for us the exact date and hour of the Creation. It occurred in the year 4004 B. C.

DRUMMOND: Thatís Bishop Ussherís opinion.

BRADY: It is not an opinion. It is literal fact, which the good Bishop arrived at through careful computation of the ages of the prophets as set down in the Old Testament. In fact, he determined that the Lord began the Creation on the 23rd of October in the year 4004 B. C. at-uh, at 9 A. M.!

DRUMMOND: That Eastern Standard Time? (Laughter) Or Rocky Mountain Time? (More laughter) It wasnít daylight-saving time, was it? Because the Lord didnít make the sun until the fourth day!

BRADY: (fidgeting): That is correct.

DRUMMOND: (sharply): The first day. Was it a twenty-four-hour day?

BRADY: The Bible says it was a day.

DRUMMOND: There wasnít any sun. How do you know how long it was?

BRADY: (determined): The Bible says it was a day.

DRUMMOND: A normal day, a literal day, a twenty-four-hour day? (Pause. BRADY is unsure.)

BRADY: I do not know.

DRUMMOND: What do you think?

BRADY: (floundering): I do not think about things that . . . I do not think about!

DRUMMOND: Do you ever think about things that you do think about? (There is some laughter. But it is dampened by the knowledge and awareness throughout the courtroom that the trap is about t0 be sprung.) Isnít it possible that first day was twenty-five hours long? There was no way to measure it, no way to tell! Could it have been twenty-five hours. (Pause. The entire courtroom seems to lean forward.)

BRADY: (hesitates-then): It is . . . possible . . . (DRUMMONDSíS got him. And he knows it! This is the turning point. From here on, the tempo mounts. DRUMMOND is now fully in the driverís seat. He pounds his questions faster and faster.)

DRUMMOND: Oh. You interpret that the first day recorded in the Book of Genesis could be of indeterminate length.

BRADY: (wriggling): I mean to state that the day referred to is not necessarily a twenty-four-hour day.

DRUMMOND: It could have been thirty hours! Or a month! Or a year! Or a hundred years! (He brandishes the rock underneath BRADYíS nose.) Or ten million years!