The Springer Opera House, 103 10th St., is holding a panel discussion on a hot topic -- the teaching of evolution in public schools. The discussion begins at 7 p.m. tonight in the Mainstage.
The Springer is presenting "Inherit the Wind" right now, which is loosely based on the Scopes Monkey Trial where John Scopes, a young Tennessee teacher, was arrested and tried for teaching evolution in his classroom.
In 1924, the Georgia House of Representatives was on the verge of withdrawing public funds from any school that taught evolution in science classes. The Enquirer-Sun, Columbus' daily newspaper, editorialized about the evolution debate day after day. The paper's stand had a profound effect and when the bill came to a vote, it was defeated.
A similar law was passed in Tennessee, and the famous trial happened there, instead of Georgia.
To shed light on this continuing debate over creationism vs. evolution, the Springer has assembled a panel featuring John Studstill, an anthropologist; David Schwimmer, a geologist; Brian Schwartz, a biologist, who all teach at Columbus State University. Others on the panel are Don Moeller, a dentis and former college professor and Len McWilliams, headmaster of Calvary Christian Schools.
Besides this discussion, there will be talk-backs with the cast and director, Ron Anderson, after the performances on Thursday and on Feb. 4.
The panel discussion tonight is free.