Bryan College And A Second Scopes

Bryan College in Dayton is named after a rather infamous alumni. William Jennings Bryan who was Creationism’s defender at the Scopes trial.

But student dissent is changing that. See the school’s’ statement of belief is that Adam and Eve were the divinely created progenitors of mankind and not created from other life forms.

The Alumni voted to uphold this.

The professors voted no-confidence as did the students. The majority that is. I am sure a handful of people seriously think Adam and Eve were not allegories but real flesh and blood humans cast out from Eden.

Dayton was the site of the Scopes “monkey” trial where John Scopes was accused of breaking the law by teaching the radical idea of evolution rather than creationism. While much has changed since then, there are still die hards holding on to superstition rather than scientific know how.

Students and Professors signed petitions and walk around with black armbands in support of the firing of nine full time professors for their unwillingness to affirm creationism.

After a school fundraiser last month, the President of the College, Dr. Stephen Livesay told the Chattanooga newspaper that students are happy and “the reality is we are solid.”

Which is rather puzzling since the majority of the students are against the stance he took. There is a distinct lack of understanding about the modern world and youth and in addition a complete unwillingness to understand student distaste for creationism even in a Christian institute.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Wm Jennings Bryan was not an alumnus (alumni is a plural form) of the college in Dayton, but agreed to allow the founders to use his name after the Scopes trial of 1925.

    I’d like to learn more about the current controversy – could you please cite some sources?

  2. Steve Paulson says

    The first sentence is representative of the accuracy of this blog post overall.

    Fact check:

    There was no such vote by Alumni. The alumni are mixed in their response.
    The students did not hold a vote of no confidence, but there was a petition asking the Board to reconsider / delay the motion.
    No professors are denying creationism; none were fired. 1 is leaving directly as a result of the clarification to the Statement of Belief (he accepted a job at another institution); two other faculty are in limbo over this issue.
    Many faculty and staff are leaving Bryan College, but very few of them are leaving due to the recent clarification to the Statement of Belief.
    There is no “broad distaste” for creationism at Bryan College. See the recent poll (not a very scientific poll, but somewhat informative) from regarding views on origins / creation.

    Most of the news articles regarding the events in recent months have been accurate. Please Google (e.g., [“Bryan College” +Dayton +clarification +statement] should do the trick) and read some of them, especially ones that quote the people who are actually involved.

  3. says

    Oh? OK.“Bryan+College”+%2B+Dayton+%2B+clarification+%2B+statement
    Uh… lol?

    And since we are here: A mistake in calling WJB “an alumnus” doesn’t change what all the papers are reporting.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    Steve Paulson @ # 2: No professors are denying creationism; none were fired.

    The Tennessean: The protest was prompted by the loss of at least nine of the college’s 44 full-time professors, two of whom were fired after rejecting the college’s clarified statement of belief…

    Paulson, tell your bosses to come up with less easily exposed lies.

  5. Steve Paulson says

    Butler, most of those 9 are leaving for other reasons. The 2 that I referred to (the same 2 mentioned by the Tennessean) as being “in limbo” have had their contracts rejected, yes, but because they ignored the clarification to the Statement of Belief while still subscribing to the original Statement of Belief. They are still hoping to return to work at Bryan next fall. We’ll see if they are successful.

    I feel the Tennessean is not accurate when it asserts that the protest was prompted by the loss of faculty, although the students are upset about the fact that it is affecting faculty. The students have spoken for several articles and through their social media event and I feel it is best that they speak for themselves. I’d encourage you to check out the Times Free Press article because it has better information and better sources. Kevin Hardy took the time to actually show up in person and speak with individuals who are involved. “Those instructors are leaving for a variety of reasons, though several of the departures are directly linked to Livesay’s leadership or the clarification issue.” (“several,” in this case, means up to 3).

    More broadly…
    Some interpret the college’s Charter as prohibiting the “clarification” as a change or amendment.
    Some are upset that the college appears to be narrowing its position.
    Others feel the college is simply documenting in more detail the historical (and, therefore, current) interpretation of the creation accounts in Genesis.
    Many of the people who are upset about the clarification are so because of the apparent conflict with the Charter and/or with this seemingly hasty, poorly phrased, and/or unnecessary action by the Board.

    In short, it’s a mess, and at a time when the school is already struggling. “Disheartening” is a word I’ve heard a lot this semester.

  6. Steve Paulson says

    The lazier web “media” are playing a game of telephone with the news, interpreting and summarizing the accuracy away in an effort to avoid plagiarism, it seems.

  7. says

    Which doesn’t change the fact that your entire argument is based on educated men being forced to declare that they believe that the world is 6000 years old, women are descended from ribs and we all are products of two separate incidents of industrial grade incest and genetic bottle necking worse than the Californian Condor.

    It’s like being forced to declare a geocentric universe.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Steve Paulson @ # 6 – Even the article you link to specifically says:

    … most recently the firing of two longtime professors.

    More alarmingly, it (with no trace of irony) describes a student as a “biology major”.

    The problems at WJB go a lot deeper than bureaucrats rewriting the “unalterable” mission statement.

    Btw: what stake do you have in the outcome of any of this poop-flinging?

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