Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Monkey Trial

As part of his high school final theatre exam, my son needed to choose and act out a segment from a selection of several famous stage scenes. To my pleasant surprise he chose a scene from the “Scopes Monkey trial”.

In “Inherit the Wind”, a fictionalized version of the 1925 Scopes trial, Clarence Darrow defense lawyer for John Thomas Scopes makes the case for intellectual freedom and of holding on to some reason in an often far too irrational world. In times like today, these scripted words seem strangely appropriate ….

“The individual human mind. In a child’s power to master the multiplication table, there is more sanctity than in all your shouted “Amens!”, “Holy, Holies!” and “Hosannahs!” An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man’s knowledge is more of a miracle than any sticks turned to snakes, or the parting of waters.....Darwin moved us forward to a hilltop, where we could look back and see the way from which we came. But for all this view, this insight, this knowledge, we must abandon our faith in the pleasant poetry of Genesis. If not, why did God plague us with the power to think? Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one faculty which lifts man above all other creatures on the earth; the power of his brain to reason. What other merit have we?....."

No comments: