Prepare an essay about Inherit the Wind that accomplishes two purposes:
First, using the essay by Joel Achenbach, “Why Do Reasonable People Doubt Science,” review the reasons that people doubt science; then remind yourself that Rachel, Rev. Brown and Brady, characters from Inherit the Wind, refuse to accept Darwin’s theories on evolution and support the Tennessee law which prohibits the teaching of evolution in the public schools.
Think about the reasons Achenbach discusses for why reasonable people doubt science, and analyze which of those reasons apply to the characters in the play, specifically Rachel, Rev. Brown and Brady, who go beyond doubting evolution science to refuting evolution science completely. Discuss which of these reasons apply to each one of these three characters in the play.
Second, as you discuss which reasons apply to the characters in the play, identify the fallacies in logic uttered by any of those characters. Some of those fallacies in logic are inherent in the reasons people doubt science, which Achenbach lists in his essay, so look carefully at what the characters say; are any of their fallacies in logic consistent with reasons that people doubt science?
If you want to review fallacies in logic (called “logical fallacies” on the internet), click on this link: OWL Purdue MLA Fallacies (Links to an external site.). It will open in a separate browser window.
If you have difficulty composing the introduction, take it in this order:
• introduce the play;
• explain that evolution science offends many of the characters in the play by naming those characters and identifying which of Achenbach’s reasons apply to each character;
• explain that reasons why people doubt science may help to explain why the characters are offended by–and thus so vehemently oppose–evolution science, and mention as well that in their opposition they commit fallacies in logic.
Do NOT use any outside sources for commentary, opinion, or ideas about the literature. When I read your essay, I don’t want to know what the academics, those with PhD degrees in literature or graduate students with blogs, have to say; I want to know what you have analyzed and can discuss in an essay of your own invention, and thus, your own composition.
As you write the essay, be sure to italicize the name of the play wherever you use it (Inherit the Wind).
As you use quotations from the script, do NOT use the format in the script, which appears this way:
We must not abandon faith! Faith is the most important thing!
Instead, as you cite each character’s speech, use words that describe how the character speaks. For example,
Brady shouts, “We must not abandon faith. Faith is the most important thing!” (93).
Note the following about the quote by Brady:
• There is a comma after shouts.
• Quotation marks are placed around the actual words of the character speaking.
• The page number on which the quotation may be found is placed in parentheses after the quotation mark that ends the quotation.
• Because the page number citation is part of the sentence in which the quotation is placed, the period goes after the citation. This is the standard format; please follow it as you keyboard the essay. You don’t have to include the authors’ names within the citation parentheses because you have introduced the authors in the introduction to the play.
Continue this formatting for each character you quote. For example, Rachel states, Bert replies, Brady comments, Drummond remarks, and so on. If one character answers another, use answers, replies or responds. (Of course you won’t use italics; these are only for emphasis here.) When you use these words, each must be followed by a comma. Words you may use in addition to states, replies, comments and remarks include says, chants, tells, mentions, expresses, claims, writes, speaks, proclaims, explains, utters, shouts –well, you get the idea.
When writing about literature, whether fiction or non-fiction, we use present tense verbs when referring to the actions or speech of characters and authors. Thus, we use say, remark, comment, reply, utter and other present tense forms in place of said, remarked, commented, replied, uttered, and other past tense forms.
The reasoning is this: whenever you read the text, the author’s words are being read in the present, not in the past; you are reading the text now, and the author’s words are relevant to your experience of reading now. This practice of using present tense verbs in this way is called “the literary present.”
This idea also applies to song lyrics and poetry (which becomes relevant later in the course). When referring to the song’s lyrics or a performer’s performance of it, use the present tense verbs. You see, whenever you listen to the song, the performer is singing it now. We know objectively that the performer sang it in
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