Essay on Inherit the Wind: Religion vs. Science

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Inherit the Wind: Religion vs. Science



Stanley Kramer's film, Inherit the Wind, examines a trial based on the 1925 Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee. Often referred to as "The Trial of the Century" (Scopes Trial Web Page), the Scopes trial illuminated the controversy between the Christian theory of creation and the more scientific theory of evolution. John Scopes, a high school biology teacher, was arrested for illegally teaching evolutionism to his class. "The meaning of the trial emerged because it was seen as a conflict of social and intellectual values" (Scopes Trial Web Page). Kramer's film dramatizes this conflict between the Christian believers and the evolutionists in "Hillsboro, heavenly Hillsboro, the
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Drummond implies that Brady's religious beliefs are narrow and stagnant, preventing him from considering any of the scientific discoveries of the twentieth century. As the two men continue to talk on the porch, the audience can see that they are rocking in their chairs at opposite tempos, pulling against each other as religion and science often contradict one another. At this point the camera angle is at face level, allowing each man half of the screen space. This equal division suggests Kramer's belief that society is based on a balance of religion and science.



Both Brady and Drummond agree that creationism is not a proven theory, and although Brady is a religious man himself, he places the people of Hillsboro in a class lower than himself. He explains, "These are simple people, Henry, poor people. They worked hard and they need to believe in something, something beautiful. They're seeking something more perfect than what they have" (Inherit the Wind). By this, Brady concedes that religion is like a fairy tale; it is not real, yet it makes some people feel better about reality. Drummond's fear regarding religion is that people have blind faith in something that is not real. He mockingly refers to this type of faith as, "Window shopping for heaven," while Brady calls religion the "golden chalice of hope" for the residents of Hillsboro (Inherit the Wind). Here, Kramer presents his
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