Intelligent Design

This is somewhat dated, had written it at the time Scopes II was in full force in PA. Just never had a chance to blog it.

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THE SCENE: White walls, billowing white curtains, white furniture, 90 inch plasma TV on the wall – streaming CNN. Charles Darwin watching legal proceedings, riveted, increasingly agitated. There are others in a club-like setting, some other eminent personalities of the 20th century, mingling, conversing, playing billiards or bridge. God strolls in, greeting people with nods and handshakes, walks up to Darwin.

GOD: (Resting his hand on Darwin’s shoulder) What’s the matter Charlie my boy? Why so glum?

DARWIN: (Shrugs off the hand) Leave me alone!

GOD: C’mon! Don’t be such a grouch, tell me.

DARWIN: (Pouting) You are God aren’t you? So figure it out! You already know what’s bothering me!

GOD: Aww….don’t let it bother you.

DARWIN: They say there are inexplicable “gaps” in my theory!! Gaps, for Chrissake! (raising arms in frustration)

GOD: Now, now, leave Jesus out of this!

DARWIN: Sorry! But how much longer did they expect me to stay in the Galapagos Islands? I wanted to come home. There are only so many gigantic turtles a man can appreciate! So there are a few gaps, so what? Why don’t they close the gaps? They’ve landed on the moon and they can’t close some miserable gaps! The missing link! I would have found it had you left me there. But no you had to bring me here, I was only 73, the world at my feet!

GOD: They will close the gaps, my child, they will.

DARWIN: What do you care? You just love that limelight don’t you? You can’t even keep that smile off your face!

GOD: Calm down child! Enjoy these wide open spaces. Eternal rest.

DARWIN: Easy for you to say! Did you watch CNN today? Oh silly me! You don’t need to watch CNN, you just know! It probably made your day!

GOD: What’s really bothering you my child?

DARWIN: It’s the word “Intelligent”

GOD: A fine word! Why does it upset you so?

DARWIN: Sheer effrontery! They are laughing at me. Discrediting my life’s work. “Intelligent” as opposed to what? Has this ever happened to you?

GOD: Has this ever happened to me he asks! (Rolling his eyes)

DARWIN: Oh, spare me that forlorn look! You sit there, beatific smile in place. Thou Mayst! That’s all you can say. The rest is for us to figure out! Well I did. I spilled the beans, showed them exactly how it all happened. But do they want to believe me? No sirree! They even tried to discredit me on my deathbed…that Hope woman – said there had been a recantation! Why would I recant my life’s work?

GOD: Well, I took care of her didn’t I? She’s over there on the other side.

DARWIN: Thanks! That was so kind of you! (Sarcastically)

[Clarence Darrow, smoothing down his Spencer Tracy coiffure, walks up to Darwin and God]

DARROW: Hey there! Charlie, God, what’s happening?

GOD: Just trying to cheer Charlie up.

DARROW: What’s eating you old boy?

DARWIN: They are after me again.

DARROW: Who?

DARWIN: Those folks you took to task in Tennessee.

DARROW: Don’t tell me! Again? I thought I settled the matter once and for all.

DARWIN: Apparently not. Scopes II they’re calling it. It’s His Own Country after all, your country, Clarence! They are one nation under God! Parents are pulling their kids out of school, saying they won’t send them back until the kids are given the option to study “Intelligent Design”!

GOD: Boys, what can I say. It’s that kid George! Science was never his cup of tea! But he is just so adorable with those big ears and those beady eyes. And he has such an endearing way of chewing the insides of his cheek when that brain of his goes blank. He is just too cute. But I do admit, I have been over-indulgent with him. I have such a soft spot for him, he needs me so much, poor chap! I feel guilty about short-changing him up here (pointing to brain), I know I am always compensating for that (looks down, shamefaced). I let him have his first term. (recollecting with a nostalgic smile) Ah those butterfly ballots and hanging chads! What fun! I really had myself a laugh!

[Darwin and Darrow look at each other in sheer disbelief]

DARWIN: (Shaking head in disbelief)You just love hearing how you made the Earth in six days, don’t you?

DARROW: (Laughing) You are stirring some fine memories there Charles! That chap William Jennings Bryan, strutting around in court, fingers hooked in his waist-pocket, quoting the Bible left and right, had him blubbering! Remember how I asked him if he really believed the Earth was made in six days? (Wiping tears from laughing) He said, he said…well not six 24 hour days…they were more like periods…Ha, ha, ha! Periods!! Poor chap, died two days after the trial.

GOD: That wasn’t very nice of you Clarence! These are my children with special needs, they are…what’s the “politically correct” term….mentally challenged….not much up there (pointing to brain). I help them when I can. They are my children too. You guys could always take care of yourselves. You’ve understood me through science. But these Williams Jennings Bryans, George Bushes, Liz Doles…they’re weak and sometimes, if I don’t watch over them they’re like putty in Lucifer’s hands. You have no idea how difficult it is for me to maintain this delicate balance. (Annoyed) All you ever do is whine, whine, whine!

DARWIN: (Not appeased) But God! They’re going to stop teaching evolution in schools! Do you really want to keep them in the dark?

GOD: Charlie, Charlie, look at yourself! Don’t let them do this to you! Have you lost faith in your own theory? Natural selection my son! What happened to the dodos? What happened to Bryans? And look at the Coelacanth – 400 million years and still going strong – it prevailed. Have faith in the power of living fossils my dear! You were right and you know it!

DARROW: (consoling Darwin) Yes Charlie, God’s right! This time the plaintiffs are those who support you! See it’s a nation divided. You’re plugged into eternal CNN, don’t you recall the map with the red states and the blue states? Only half the country believes He (pointing toward God) said “Voila!” and a “flat” (waving arms, gesturing a flat surface) Earth appeared in six…ahem (trying to suppress another bout of laughing) er…periods! Well Chuck…ever come across any lemmings in your journeys? Seems to me these folks in the red states will go the lemmings’ way pretty soon – one after another, right down that point where the Earth ends! Don’t you worry!

GOD: Yes my boy. This too shall pass just like it did 80 ..er….periods ago in Dayton, Tennessee. Now watch MTV why don’t you? Get your mind off things! You’ll be amazed at the show Jagger and his gang’s still putting on! That energy! Wow! You were down flat on your bed giving that idiot woman the impression you were recanting! (Winks at Darwin and Darrow and moves on, mingling with Einstein next)

1 Comment

  1. I barrely recall there was something that was being called Scopes II — somehow it seems to have been a bleep on the screen. This is a good reminder not only of that, but of some details of Scopes I too.Heaven isn't so easy to do! — congrats on the one-act play, synthesizing ideas effectively (though in, perforce, a contrived framework). Television as a main fixture of the mis-en-scene works for the present discussion, but perhaps leaves something to be desired in other respects! But this kind of play fits within its conventional genre and offers really a good review of many of the issues at hand.And a resolution of evolutionary theory with divine creation — though intuitively entirely natural — is not at the moment so well grasped in domr intellectual circles. It takes a bit of work to hammer out ideational particulars. Doing so, is in itself a creatie act, no doubt. Thus, a nice contribution.cheers,d.i.


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