DAYTON, Tenn., July 21, 1925 (UP) - William Jennings Bryan's cross-examination at the hands of Clarence Darrow, chief defense counsel, was the climax of the Scopes evolution trial.
Bryan was called by the defense as an expert Bible witness to supplement its record for appeal of the case.
Bryan agreed to take the stand with the stipulation that Darrow and Dudley Field Malone of the defense counsel, also testify. It was agreed that they would.
Bryan took the stand and was questioned by Darrow about the Bible.
"Do you think everything in the Bible should have literal interpretation?" asked Darrow.
"I believe everything should be accepted as it is found there."
"But when you read that the whale swallowed Jonah, do you believe it?" Darrow asked.
"When I read that a big fish swallowed Jonah, I believe it and I believe that God coul make a fish big enough to swallow a man."
"Do you believe that whale was made especially to swallow Jonah?"
"I'm not prepared to say. But I am privileged to guess. Evolutionists guess."
"And you believe God made the whale big enough or Jonah small enough?"
"I believe what the Bible says and it doesn't say anything about what happened afterward," said Bryan. "One miracle is just as easy to believe as another."
"We have some facts and you have nothing," said Darrow.
"Do you believe that Joshua enabled the sun to stand still so that he could complete a battle?
"I believe that the Bible says. I accept the Bible absolutely."
"Do you believe in the Book of Joshua?"
"I believe it was inspired."
"Is it your opinion that the passage was subject to construction?"
"Anybody can construe it, but I don't know whether the construction would be true. I know I can keep a glass of water from falling to the ground by the force of my hand and I don't put any limits on the power of the hand of God to stop the sun."
"Now Mr. Bryan, have you ever pondered what would happen if the world stood still?"
"No, the God I believe in would have taken care of that."
"Don't you know it would become a mass of molten matter?"
"You believe the story of the flood to have been literally interpreted, don't you?"
"When was that flood?"
"It has been estimated at 2,500 years."
Atty. Gen. Stewart objected to cross-examination of his own witness.
"I want him to have all the latitude because I want all the latitude possible when I examine Mr. Darrow," Bryan said.
"He can have it," said Darrow.
"You can have latitude and longitude," Bryan added. "I am here to protect revealed religion," said Bryan.
The audience applauded.
"Applause from the bleachers," commented Darrow.
"The people you call yokels," answered Bryan.
"I never called them that," Darrow protested.
"You call them ignorant and bigoted," Bryan continued.
"And you say the same thing about all the scientists and everyone who doesn't believe in your fool religion."
Darrow then questioned Bryan as to the date of the flood. Bryan said he believed the figures in the Bible.
"Then you say that in your opinion there is no civilization that can be traced back 5,000 years?" asked Darrow.
"I am not satisfied by any evidence that I have seen that would justify me in accepting the word of archaeologists against the inspired word of God."
"You believe that every civilization and every living thing except fish and the people on the Ark were wiped out at that time?"
"And you believe that all these people and animals have come on the earth since the flood, 4,265 years ago? Do you know any scientific man on earth who believes any such thing?"
"I don't think I've ever asked one," answered Bryan.
"It's quite important, isn't it," asked Darrow.
"I think many things are more important than the age of the world," answered Bryan. "I never have had a great deal of interest in investigations that dispute the Bible."
"Mr. Bryan, are you the only man on earth who understands the Bible?"
A prosecution objection was sustained.
"Have you never had enough interest in these things to inquire how old these civilizations are?" Darrow continued.
"Don't you know that the civilizations of China date back 6,000 years?
"I've never studied it," answered Bryan. "I don't think you know, either," he added.
"Do you know of any record in the world except the Bible that confirms the story of the flood?"
"I think they have found records reciting the story of the flood, but I'm not an authority on the subject."
"Do you know of any record of the kind?"
"My memory is not distinct enough to be specific, but I recall general archaeological records about it."
"Do you never read about any other religion?"
"And you don't know that other religions have this same story of the flood?"
"No. I have never read much about religion outside the Bible."
Bryan wanted to give his views of other religions. Darrow objected, but Raulston overruled him.
Bryan then made a statement to the judge saying he had made a study of Confucius and that he had found contrasts between Jesus and Confucius.
"Reciprocity was the basis of the religion of Confucius. A grasping, selfish basis," said Bryan. "That was not the basis of Christianity."
"Do you know how old Confucianism is?" asked Darrow.
"Do you know hold old the religion of Zoroaster is?"
"Don't you know that they are both older than the Christian religion."
"I'm not interested in the calculations of those whose interest is against the Christian religion."
"Do you know how many people were on earth 3,500 years ago?"
"No, do you?"
"Wait till you get to me," advised Darrow.
"Do you know how many people were in Egypt 3,500 years ago, or in China 5,000 years ago?"
"No, you're the first man I ever met who was interested in it."
"Am I the first man you ever heard of who was interested in man's social origins?"
"I have not been interested."
"Where have you lived all your life?" asked Darrow.
"Not near you."
"No, nor near anyone with education."
"Don't assume you know it all," said Bryan. "I have all the information in the world I want on religion."
"And you're not interested in the ages of the races?"
"I'm not so much interested in questions of that kind as with those of religion."
Bryan then made a long statement again comparing Confucianism and Christianity.
"Now, I want to say something about Buddha," said Bryan.
"Are you going to make a speech about that, too?" asked Darrow.
Darrow questioned Bryan the Tower of Babel.
"When was that?" asked Darrow.
"Give us the Bible," said Bryan, reaching for the book.
"That was about 100 years before the flood," answered Bryan.
"That would be about 4,145 years ago," figured Darrow.
"You believe that until then there was only one language?"
"Have you ever studied philology?"
"You never took any pains to find out anything about languages?"
"Is there any scientist that you think much of?" asked Darrow.
"Yes, the bulk of them."
"Well, name one."
"George McReady Price, a geologist."
"Where does he teach?"
"At Lodi, Cal., I think."
"How big a college is that?"
"Well, that I don't know."
"You would rather find out whether he corresponded with your views of prejudices before you estimated him, wouldn't you?"
"He has quoted a man every scientist of repute considers a mountebank," said Darrow, referring to Price.
Bryan and Darrow then engaged in a colloquy over the estimates of scientists comparing the age of man on the earth. Bryan spoke of one who put man's tenancy of the earth as beginning after the last glacial age.
"When was the last glacial age?" asked Darrow.
"I wouldn't want to fix it."
"Was it before or after the Tower of Babel?"
"I think before."
"Have you any idea how old the earth is?"
"Do you think it is only 4,004 years old as the Bible says?"
"No. I think it is much older."
Stewart broke in with another objection asking what the purpose of the examination was.
"It is to show what fundamentalism is," said Darrow.
"The purpose of it is to ridicule every Christian who believes in the Bible," said Bryan. "I'm simply trying to protect the word of God against the biggest atheist - I mean agnostic - in the world."
There was great applause from the crowd.
"We have the purpose of preventing the bigots and ignoramuses from controlling education in the United States," said Darrow.
"I am perfectly willing to sit here and defend the right of the people of Tennessee to protect their children's education," said Bryan.
"Mr. Bryan, do you believe that the first woman, Eve, was literally made out of Adam's rib?" Darrow resumed.
"Do you know where Cain got his wife?"
"No sir, I've left the agnostic to look for it."
Bryan finally arose angrily to denounce Darrow as a man who did not believe in God, whose only aim was to cast slurs on the Bible.
Amid a hubbub that Darrow's objection and his epithet "fool ideas" precipitated, Judge Raulston adjourned court.
People crowded around Bryan and congratulated him on his defense of the scriptures.