Alphabetical Movie – Inherit the Wind

Inherit the Wind is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly and, in fact, all of the main actors are amazing.  I could write an essay about nothing but how much I love the film.

But I’m me.  So I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I’m going to talk about how this movie impacted my thoughts on science and religion.

Evolution has never been a debate for me.  When I looked at the world around me, it always made logical sense.  Why are there so many different kinds of pine trees?  Because at some point a long time ago, there was only one.  Then the seeds from that one kind of pine tree were spread out over the earth and because they were subjected to different climactic stresses, they changed just a little bit so they were better adapted to survive in that environment.

I know I’m simplifying.

If a god created all the pine trees, why would he make them different? There would be no need.

Whether or not there was a god, strict creationism made no sense.  Could god have set all the pieces in motion?  That was an idea I was willing to explore.  Did god just set us all down fully formed?  No.  That made no sense at all.

It still doesn’t.

So to me, Inherit the Wind is a battle between the forces of reason and the forces of blind devotion to antiquated notions.

A few weeks ago, someone accused me of being intolerant of creationists.  I embrace that distinction.  I am intolerant of creationists.  They believe something that is not supported by any scientific evidence and they actively deceive their children because they view a belief in evolution as evil.

The christian rejection of science and scientists is, I think, a large part of the reason that the anti vaccination movement has so much support.  The same with Climate Change denialism.  A huge portion of the American public – most of whom are right-wing Christians – don’t trust scientists because almost every biologist you find is going to tell them that evolution is true and creationism is bunk.

So threatened are they by this fact (because evolution is fact), that they must reject the findings of all scientists everywhere.  Unless that scientist believes what they believe.

You can find “biologists” who believe that the Earth was created 6000 years ago.  They do so by rejecting all the evidence that calls their belief into question.   That makes them bad scientists.

So what does it say when so many people are willing to place their faith in bad scientists simply because those scientists tell them what they want to hear?

Inherit the Wind is fiction but I look at the way the Christians in the film view evolution as a threat.  If god is real, evolution poses no threat to them at all.  God is still real.

Yet there is a backlash against the idea that evolution is true that is so strong, they pass a law meant to keep people quiet about it.

Evolution is the source of so much fear to the Christian right and I guess I didn’t see it clearly until I watched the film.

Yes, I know it is fiction.

But look around our country right now.  The Texas Republican Platform says the evolution is a controversial theory (it isn’t) that should not be taught.  A Tennessee law passed this year allows creationism to be taught in schools as a viable alternative theory (it isn’t).

Watching Inherit the Wind, one might be inclined to think “well at least we aren’t that backwards now.”

I think the evidence shows that we very much are that backwards now.

Maybe we aren’t going to put a teacher in jail for teaching evolution any more.  Instead, we are just going to force teachers to pass on bad science about creationism in the interest of “fairness.”

There is no “fairness” in lying to our children about science.  There is no “fairness” in passing laws to protect your way of thinking because in the absence of research that supports it, you can just force people to teach it as the truth.  There is no “fairness” in a religious majority pushing their agenda into the schools where their agenda has an impact on my child learning the truth about where our species came from.

So yeah, I’m intolerant of creationists and I will continue to be so.

And every time I watch Inherit the Wind, I come away just a little bit more intolerant than I was before.

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About Petsnakereggie

Geek, movie buff, dad, musician, comedian, atheist, liberal and writer. I also really like Taco flavored Doritos.

2 responses to “Alphabetical Movie – Inherit the Wind”

  1. Laura Balsamo says :

    I’m so sorry you are so intolerant of creationism and feel that such a huge portion of Americans are so ignorant to believe that we didn’t just “come to be”. I beg to differ. There are so many holes in the evolution theory (which is exactly that, it is not a fact) and many “biologists” and intelligent people do hold to a Holy God creating the universe. My biggest problem with evolution is that NOTHING in real life just “happens”. One sees a building, a painting, a sculpture, and one always asks “Who made that?” Nothing just comes to be, it takes a mind, talent, time and work. There is always a”Who” behind it. So, to me, it doesn’t make any logical sense for this incredibly detailed world to just “happen” over time. The human body is amazingly complex, it is foolish to think this could randomly happen and that there is not an Intelligent Designer behind it. I also look at how different we are from the animals, we have conscience, a moral compass, and the ability to choose. Where did that come from? The Bible explains we are created in the image of God.

    I think one needs to have the same kind of faith to believe in evolution as one needs to believe in creation. To me it is an easier stretch to believe that I “am fearfully and wonderfully made” as the Bible says, by an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and loving God than just cosmic accident.

    It is mine and your prerogative to believe how we want to believe, but that is what it comes down to…Belief. If what I believe is true, and I face my Creator, I’m good… Real good! If I am wrong, then I just die and go into the ground and it’s over, no loss. But if you are wrong, you are missing out on quite a bit, and I hope you would reconsider which side of belief you are on. You have nothing to lose.

    By the way, the reason I have come to your website is because I was looking to see what Inherit the wind was about. It is a school play in my district. I want to prepare my kids to know that it is okay for them to believe in creation and it is not “a lie”.Nobody knows for sure how we came to be, because there is no definitive proof, it’s all theory and speculation and faith. I don’t feel my children are growing up ignorant because we teach them that they are gifts on loan from God to us, and they are loved and cared for by parents and a God who loves them dearly and has an awesome plan and purpose for their lives. :)

    “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
    I Corinthians 2:9

    • Petsnakereggie says :

      I have a great deal to lose if I choose to do as you have done and ignore scientific research in favor of a story in a book open to so many different interpretations. Every “hole” creationists assume are part of evolution have been explained away again and again and yet you ignore the explanation because you think that a magician’s trick is more convincing.

      And yes, I’ve read the bible and several refutations of evolutionary theory. The refutations are some of the worst junk science I’ve ever read.

      You, like almost every other creationist, fail to understand the difference between the scientific definition of “theory” and other definitions of “theory.” Gravity is a Theory. Relativity is a Theory. When scientists call something a theory, they mean “something that has been shown to be correct by every conceivable test.”

      I’m sure this has been explained to you before. I’m sure it will make no difference and you will continue to tell your children that evolution is “just a theory.” Willful ignorance is nothing to be proud of.

      Nothing made by man just comes in to being. It is a fallacy to assume that natural objects like the Earth, the sun, and people are the same way.

      So tell me – does god have a plan and purpose for my life? Or just for you and your children? If god does have a plan for me, is it that I will not believe in him and go to hell?

      Why don’t I just belive in god and hedge my bets? Because I’d be lying to myself. If god exists, don’t you think he/she/it would be well aware that I was just pretending to believe? If god exists, I would hope he’d rather I was honest with myself.

      So yes, I’m intolerant of creationism because to believe the earth was created 6000-10000 years ago is to ignore all scientific evidence to the contrary. I simply can’t stand that level of denial.

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