COMMENT TO "LEARNING GUIDE TO INHERIT THE WIND"
A visitor to the site on July 19, 1999 sent us this comment:
First of all, you have a wonderfully informative and useful website. I did
want to add one thing, though, about your analysis of the film Inherit the
Wind (If this in there and I missed it forgive me.) What the film (as well
as many depictions of the events) leaves out is that WJ Bryan feared
evolution not just because it was at odds with creationism. He dearly
feared that biological Darwinism would lead to social Darwinism or a
"survival of the fittest" mentality. Evolution was also an attack, as he
saw it, on the Social Gospel-portion of his theology. In this, Bryan was
most prescient. The 1930s saw these fears realized in Nazi Germany where
so-called lesser humans -- Jews, the disabled -- were deemed not fit to
live. Given this, I hardly think the Scopes Trial should detract from the
many great lifetime accomplishment of Bryan. Just a point of view you might
want to consider adding to your analysis of the film.
There is a lot of merit to this comment. However, Byran's fears were misplaced. To demonstrate this, one need only look at the strong democratice traditions of the U.S. and Western Europe in which civil liberties have co-existed with the theory of evolution for most of the 20th century. The spread of democracy to countries like India (1948), Japan (after the Second World War), and more recently to Turkey and to Indonesia (the most populous Muslim nation in the world) also demonstrate the strength of democratic ideals.
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