Mass shootings again blamed on evolution

In 1999, two students in Columbine, Colorado went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 students and one teacher, and injuring another 24 before committing suicide. That started a needed national debate about gun control and other issues, but there were also the religious nuts who blamed the whole thing on, well, evolution.

One of those nuts was U.S. representative Tom DeLay. As Lawrence Krauss noted:

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay—who has, amazingly, a degree in biology—once argued that the Columbine school shootings happened “because our school systems teach our children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial mud.” That’s in the Congressional Record.

Of course there was no evidence at all that Darwinism or evolution had motivated the shooters. They were disaffected and troubled boys who, thanks to America’s lax gun laws, were able to acquire an arsenal of firearms.

You’ll know that on Friday there was another massacre at a movie theater (also in Colorado): a lone gunman, James Eagen Holmes, killed 12 people and injured 58 at the premier of the new Batman movie.  What motivated this horrible act? We don’t know yet, but the faithful are already in the wings ready to blame Darwin.

Here’s a tweet from the famous preacher Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life (via to The Friendly Atheist):

Of course, this thesis must also explain why immorality, murder, and other depraved acts are so uncommon in countries like Denmark and Sweden, where there’s far less adherence to religion and far more acceptance of evolution.

I doubt that religion had anything to do with these murders, but religion is so quick to point the finger at science and evolution when such acts occur.  So much for Rick Warren, the man Barack Obama chose to give the invocation at his inauguration in 2009.

Oh, and I’ve just learned this from Yahoo News, which of course will give further ammunition (excuse the simile) to the right-wingnuts:

James Eagen Holmes came from a well-tended San Diego enclave of two-story homes with red-tiled roofs, where neighbors recall him as a clean-cut, studious young man of sparing words.

Tall and dark-haired, he stared clear-eyed at the camera in a 2004 high school yearbook snapshot, wearing a white junior varsity soccer uniform — No. 16. The son of a nurse, Arlene, and a software company manager, Robert, James Holmes was a brilliant science scholar in college.

h/t: Chris

294 Comments

  1. Filippo
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    His being 24, surely this can’t be blamed on his “youth.” Surely he’s not a “troubled youth.”

    Could the reason be (in part) as simple as his not having gotten his way, perhaps having been so used to always getting his way?

    Hope he’s not totally insane and can shed some light on his motivation.

  2. Jean
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    I am getting a bit confused here. Rick Warren says these things happen when students are taught they are no more than animals (I am not even trying to untangle the ‘animals’ part). Yet he sees no problem with continually telling people that they are sinners form the moment of birth? I can’t see a whole lot of difference.

    • Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      All the funnier when those like Rick Warren refer to their followers as “sheep.” At least, apes have opposable thumbs.

    • RFW
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Actually, animals one-up humanity in that they are not sinful. They kill, yes, but for sustenance, or to protect their young or their hive mates.

      From a xtian point of view, it’s dogma that animals are free of original sin, not having eaten of the tree of knowledge.

      • Filippo
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        As I youngster, I once expressed my concern to a Reverend about animals killing other animals, and asked to the effect why couldn’t all animals be herbivores.

        His reply was words to the effect asking me to consider whether all animals might have always been herbivores but for Man falling into sin.

        (Of course, I was thinking of land animals; ocean life did not occur to me. I guess they all could graze on seaweed. Hmm, but not the deep sea denizens.)

        In any event, why not have sufficient manna fall from the sky for all creatures? (As I recall, the Israelites complained that they were getting tired of eating manna. Whaah!)

        • jon0001
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          Fed up with manna? Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.

          • Filippo
            Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            “Fed up with manna? Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”

            S’il vous-plait, comme di-t-on “brioche” en Anglais?

            • Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:42 am | Permalink

              I contemporary English, we just say “brioche”, simply using the French word for “a light, sweet yeast bread typically in the form of a small, round roll.” [NOAD]

              In this quotation, however, it’s most often translated as “cake”: “Let them eat cake!” According to Wikipedia, “this was supposedly spoken by ‘a great princess’ upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Since brioche was enriched with butter and eggs, as opposed to ordinary bread, the quote supposedly would reflect the princess’s obliviousness to the condition of the people.” This is popularly misattributed to Marie-Antoinette.

              /@

  3. papalinton
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Rick Warren says,”When children are taught they are no different to animals, they act like it.”

    When was the last time you saw a gorilla with a high-powered rifle rifle and a ton of ammunition?

    He is an embarrassment to civil society.

  4. Pray Hard
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    In my unimportant opinion, I think that most people are too stupid to own guns, drive motorized vehicles on public roads, have children, own pets, play with fire, operate machinery or drink any amount of alcohol. Seriously, how many people are sacrificed to the alcohol/motorized vehicle god every year just in the US, 30,000-50,000? Something like that anyway. The gun god, thousands? On the other hand, I own three guns. Haven’t shot any of them in probably ten or fifteen years. Should the government take my guns away? In my opinion, no, but if they do, they do. None of my guns have ever, of their own volition and to the best of my knowledge, left my storage unit and killed anyone or robbed any convenience stores. “Gun violence” simply doesn’t seem to be a part of their mindset. I guess they’re happy just being in the drawer of that file cabinet. And, hey, I realize that owning guns implies touches of paranoia, that Freudian penis thing, the chimp-with-a-big(ger)-stick thing and just basic pubescent immaturity. I can laugh at myself. I don’t hunt because I think hunting is stupid and psychotic and I love nature. I did hunt when I was a clueless country kid, but that’s all gone now. I don’t even know if I really believe in the second amendment. However, I really don’t think that outlawing guns would change much because there would still be millions of guns and probably billions of rounds of ammunition out there. And, would the knowledge of gun making go away?Hardly. Then only the cops, the military and the criminals would have the guns. For those of you who really trust the government to do the right thing in that respect, good luck to you. Furthermore, the ability of whack-jobs to acquire weapons and other destructive devices in this day and age is almost beyond comprehension. I mean, seriously, man to man here (or whatever works for you), do any of you really think that this guy in Colorado would have been deterred in his plans and application of carnage by an inability to purchase guns and ammo? I, for one, doubt it.

  5. Pray Hard
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    And, oh, Rick Warren is an idiot. Oops, am I going to be chastised for that?

    • gbjames
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Not by me.

  6. Vaal
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    It is just so damned bizarre watching the USA from outside, much like watching a religion from outside and wondering “When are they going to give this crazy shit up?”

    What would have been better at Columbia? Allowing everyone to be armed to the teeth all day long just in case some nut shows up? Gee…what could go wrong?

    At the Dark Knight shooting…again…better if everyone was armed? What do you get when people are shooting at each other in a panic in public spaces? Collateral damage! All sorts of innocent people dying as well.

    This idea that “well, since criminals use guns the population would be safer if armed with guns as well…then the criminals would back down” is ludicrous.

    How do you think the criminal mind works in the first place? First they are pulling a gun out to threaten you and say “Give me your money.” But then, arm all everyone else. Do the criminals go “Well, that’s it for my criminal plans I guess. Time to get an honest job. Don’t wanna mess with anyone now?”

    Of course not. It escalates. Instead of simply pulling a gun to threaten, they will be compelled to shoot first, lest they get shot. Walk up behind someone, BANG, take money. That’s what you get with more people armed…escalation. Look at the death toll of gangs. Does the fact all of them are armed to the teeth stop them from shooting one another? Hell no! They then spend their time drive-bying and ambushing each other.

    I can have normal conversations with my American friends but when they suddenly start talking about their guns…and it’s amazing how many of them own guns!…it’s like I’ve walked into the twilight zone.

    Vaal

    • Vaal
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Sorry, should have read “What would have been better at Columbine High School?”

      Vaal

  7. Old Rasputin
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Arriving late… but was this particular “website post” linked to from some sort of Christ-y website? Glancing over the commentary, I seem to see more comments that consist of a confused, barely coherent criticism of evilution than is typical for this site. The overall level of literacy here is usually very high, but it seems roughly 63 percent lower than usual today.

    • bernardhurley
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      63% appears to be a magic value.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Could this have something to do with 63% of the facts being left out? The odds against this being coincidence are 100 to 1. It inspires my atheistic moral compassion to see so many innocents infected by the brain parasite. So sad and tragic that this evil meme called faith still resonates and ripples across the sea of human culture. ;)

    • Mark
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      How amusing, Christians are less intelligent then you? Bigotry is such an intelligent way to argue your level of intellect, good move! Don’t be a troll, look over your own text if you wish to see poor literacy, and keep the argument to one of valor, not one of nit picking and blather.

      Mark

      • Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        In what way was Old Rasputin’s text illiterate?

        Many studies have shown that religiosity is negatively correlated with IQ or education. This isn’t bigotry, it’s empirical. In any case, most (not all!) of the ostensibly Christian commentators here are quite coherent.

        /@

      • bernardhurley
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Don’t stop taking the tablets, Mark.

      • Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Can’t have good little religious sheep eating from the tree of knowledge, now can we? They must use their free will to choose the ignorance God imposed on Adam and Eve, to undo what that evil little snake changed, in the Garden of Eden.
        No, Christians and other religionists are not necessarily less intelligent (i.e., lacking in ability to learn). Instead — and this, IMO, is far worse — they choose not to learn, thereby imposing ignorance on themselves.

      • Old Rasputin
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        While Ant is correct regarding the negative correlation between religiosity and things like average IQ and level of education, I hasten to point out that that was not the point I was making. I merely noticed a proliferation of (charitably speaking) “strange” posts in this thread (not to mention the uncharacteristically high number of comments generally). This website (in my experience) doesn’t tend to attract too many “cranks” – evolution deniers, anti-vaxers, etc. You know the sort of comment: long, rambling, and difficult to decipher, save for a simple (usually) religious or political agenda, often with a bit of paranoia for good measure, and nearly always poorly written.

        I assume you think I’m equating such commentary with Christianity because I hypothesized that some of the commenters had landed here by way of a link from some, as I put it, “Christ-y” website (the only reference to religion in my comment). While the website-o-sphere (though not usually this corner of it) is replete with incoherent rambling comments of all stripes, the ones I was talking about, the ones denying evolution, are almost invariably scrawled by Christians. Hence my presumption of a connection.

  8. Mark
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Allright, on the other part of this topic… gun control.

    Yall really have issues, this country was founded on the freedom to own guns, if we did not own guns this would NOT BE A COUNTRY.

    Why do so many of you want to live in a country that has complete gun control, but stay here? Why do you want to limit our freedom to own and responsibly use a gun.

    I do not hunt, but thank the good Lord many people do. Our over infestation of deer and varments is devastating to all wildlife, flora, and fauna. In Texas, we have deer here like New York has Rats. If people did not hunt, we would have even more, they are already starving. Would you like to watch them starve, you nuts?

    As for people shooting others, NO, we should not all be carrying around guns. Hence the law that requires you to have a license to do so. Few have this license, so guns are not prevelant. Yet, the nuts sometimes do own guns. Do you believe a law saying they cant own a gun would stop them, THEY ARE CRIMINALS. The mafia, gangs and other criminals would just pedal more black market weapons to those that wish to use them.

    Stop with the ridiculous idea to remove our freedoms, why live in America if you have no freedom? I wish to defend my home, my nation and my way of life. If I wish to own a gun in case my family or way of life is threatened then I may do so, if I abuse this priveledge I will go to jail, enough said.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      We stay here because we are Americans. I own a few pistols now, but I lived 48 years without owning a gun and I felt perfectly free. Thomas Jefferson did not waste any words talking about individual gun rights in the Declaration of Independence. Neither did the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added as an afterthought.

      To claim this nation was founded upon guns is both a wildly inaccurate exaggeration and an insult to the true principles of freedom of thought and action and respect for all humans that it was founded upon. Many percieve gun freedom as an adjunct to the core founding principles as a means of preserving these freedoms. But guns are merely a means and not an end when it comes to American freedom.

      Dude, King George III has been dead a long time and we live in a different world now. Our first amendment rights of free and open communication, and the tools that enable this communication are much more important to our freedom and to preserving American founding principles than are guns or gun ownership. If the day ever comes when you need to make the US military stand down, you’ll have much more success banding together with a democratic movement that relies upon rule of law than you will joining a band of insurrectionists relying on their personal arsenals.

    • Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      this country was founded on the freedom to own guns, if we did not own guns this would NOT BE A COUNTRY.

      You certainly do not mean that do you? A country founded on “freedom to own guns”? Really? That sounds as if it came straight out of a comedy skit. What next? A country founded on the “freedom to drive”?

      I am not an American, but I am more inclined to go with Jeff Johnson’s view (which also seems to be actually supported by the history) that “freedom to own guns” had nothing whatsoever to do with the founding values of the American Independence movement.

  9. JInbo
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Although I’m still not sure of their relationship, I myself tended to act as if the human beings are like a sophisticated machine, being indifferent and selfish and ptetty often even had ideas to harm others when I was an atheist. Now I know those are wrong because there is a lot what modern science cannot do and prove—-Darwinism might not be wrong, but I doubt it would be fitting the truth in the future, because science itself is continously overthrowing the older theories and finding new ones. I’m not a christian, but a buddhist. However, I do think the spiritual world are totally different from the material world, as could be inferred from recent studies on near death experience and Ian Stevenson’s work on past life recall of children. As a person working in science and has been interested in the mechanism of the universe and spirit, I would suggest any one who is interested in this topic and want to seek truth to be open-minded.

    • bernardhurley
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      That’s odd, most Buddhists I know are atheists.

      • Posted July 23, 2012 at 2:54 am | Permalink

        Indeed. Many writers (such as Anthony Grayling and Alan Watts) are at pains to point out that Buddhism is more a philosophy than a religion, and certainly not, at heart, a theistic one. (Although Tibetan Buddhism, for example, screwed that up by glomming on a lot of supernatural elements from traditional religion.)

        /@

  10. Mark
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    One last thing, the problem with pain…

    This was addressed in the Bible, but so many people wish to use pain against Christians or God as if this is some sort of arguement to prove he does not exist, ridiculous.

    Again, the problem of pain was addressed recently by a very well educated and intelligent writer and appologist, by the name of C.S. Lewis. Why dont you listen to it, hes does a much better job of helping us understand why there is pain in a world created by, and influenced by God.

    • Mark
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Sorry,
      Website got locked up, but to finish, here is a excellent excerpt and input on the “problem of pain”, again I did not write this but find the book enlightening.

      Why would an all-loving, all-knowing God allow people to experience pain and suffering?” Master Christian apologist C.S. Lewis asserts that pain is a problem because our finite, human minds selfishly believe that pain-free lives would prove that God loves us. In truth, by asking for this, we want God to love us less, not more than he does. “Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; that the mere ‘kindness’ which tolerates anything except suffering in its object is, in that respect at the opposite pole from Love.” In addressing “Divine Omnipotence,” “Human Wickedness,” “Human Pain,” and “Heaven,” Lewis succeeds in lifting the reader from his frame of reference by artfully capitulating these topics into a conversational tone, which makes his assertions easy to swallow and even easier to digest. Lewis is straightforward in aim as well as honest about his impediments, saying, “I am not arguing that pain is not painful. Pain hurts. I am only trying to show that the old Christian doctrine that being made perfect through suffering is not incredible. To prove it palatable is beyond my design.” The mind is expanded, God is magnified, and the reader is reminded that he is not the center of the universe as Lewis carefully rolls through the dissertation that suffering is God’s will in preparing the believer for heaven and for the full weight of glory that awaits him there. While many of us naively wish that God had designed a “less glorious and less arduous destiny” for his children, the fortune lies in Lewis’s inclination to set us straight with his charming wit and pious mind.

      • bernardhurley
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        The problem of evil as an argument against a good God predates Christianity by at least 300 years. So it has nothing to do specifically with rejecting Christianity. This form of it is usually attributed to Epicurus:

        “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
        Then he is not omnipotent.
        Is he able, but not willing?
        Then he is malevolent.
        Is he both able and willing?
        Then whence cometh evil?
        Is he neither able nor willing?
        Then why call him God?”

        Lewis is pretty second rate as apologists go. He is however right to assert that pain-free lives would not prove God loves us. It might, however, be evidence that God, if He exists, does not actually hate us.

      • Jeff Johnson
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        It’s very telling that Lewis is given the title of “apologist”. If Christianity were not such a poor theory about reality there would be no need to apologize for its unnecessary assumptions and elaborate contortions in an attempt to explain something as simple and obvious as the need for pain.

        Clearly pain helps us to avoid sources of illness and injury, and to help us gauge the progress of healing. This is strongly consistent with the naturalist evolutionary explanation of existence, and not at all consistent with the idea of an all powerful loving deity.

        • Mark
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Haha, how ignorant Trolls can be…

          Evolutionary apologists: Richard Dawkins, P. Z. Myers, Larry Moran, and Eugenie Scott no name a few.

          btw genious, Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, “speaking in defense”) is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information.

          • bernardhurley
            Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

            Evolution was rock-solid science long before Dawkins et al. were born. The modern meaning of apologist seems to be “one who argues for the truth of absolute nonsense.” In this sense the people you mention are not apologists at all. On the other hand no theist has ever come up with a satisfactory reply to the argument from evil.

            • Mark
              Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

              HAHAHA, WHAT? oh dear sir, you may want to stop, your the reason so many laugh at the arguments for evolution.

              There are many a good poster on this board, you dear sir are not one of them and need to stop. Your bringing down the rest of your ilk.

              Mark

              • bernardhurley
                Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

                I see you have problems with the f-word. What was it again? Oh yes, “facts.”

              • Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

                The rest of his “ilk”, as you called us, find you to be intentionally separated from reality by way of hiding your brain inside the unfounded belief in your imaginary god. I would choose his “ilk” over your brainwashed, twisted excuse for intellect any day.

          • Jeff Johnson
            Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

            I’m not too surprised you were deaf to my sarcasm. I’m well aware of the term apologetics, but one can’t help but notice the awkwardness of Lewis’ explanation and how strongly resembles an embarrassed apology by one who is clearly intelligent enough to think his way out of the theistic delusion but can’t quite find his way to freedom. It’s sad really, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to satirize.

            Of course you entirely ignored the actual substance of my point, but rather lowered yourself to the ad hominem.

            Pain is an evolved mechanism with obvious adaptive benefits. The only way an intelligent adult can wonder at this and seek elaborate contrived explanations such as Lewis’ schoolboy attempt is if their mind has been corrupted in advance with belief in a loving deity. If you don’t begin with that questionable premise as an initial hypothesis there is no mystery whatsoever to pain. Ask any doctor about pain’s origins, causes, and purpose and you can stop tilting at windmills. No matter how noble and romantic you think your quest is, it’s pretty obviously a lost cause.

            If your master of apologetics found it necessary to undergo thoracic surgery, what do you think he would say about the use of aesthetics? Would he opt to experience more of God’s love than usual, or would he take the drugs?

            • bernardhurley
              Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

              If he were in the loving care of Mother Theresa, he would get more of God’s love.

  11. Mark
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    As for your swat team, waiting outside, do you wish for them to kill the shooter before he makes the choice to shoot? They are not ominpotent therefore cannot choose to do so before hand. Your example has no merit.

    God, on the other hand, is omnipotent and was aware this would happen. If He chose to stop this, and every other atrocity that man commits, what then would be the point of mankind. We would be puppets, no man on earth would wish that, existance would be pointless, much like it is for those with no belief of an afterlife.

    He is a father, who in great sorrow, watches us kill and maim, but also love and learn. All a father can do when his children grow up is counsil, watch and hope. He would not pull, nor stop, the pulling of a trigger even if he is sure its bound to happen, without killing the child he loves, wishing he will choose to not be evil.

    Our Father tells us how, gives us a roadmap, and holds us by the hand, its our choice to pull away and commit the atrocities we commit. Its NO ONES fault, but our own. If you choose to live life ignoring Him, choose to die and go no where after death, choose to live life alone, that is your choice, again not His. I am sorry for you, but do not dislike nor hate you as your choice is not mine, and you do not affect mine.

    Sorry for the walls of text, I just wanted to try to get my point across.

    Mark

    P.S. Rick Warren and the other pastors out there trying to make a buck by preaching as if they know, would yall please zip it, you just push more people away then you draw to our Lord. Learn your lesson from the Bible, yours is not to judge, but to love.

    • Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      “God, on the other hand, is omnipotent and was aware this would happen.”

      God, on the other hand, does not exist.

      If you think otherwise, it’s one of our host’s roolz that you provide evidence to justify your beliefs. Thanks.

      /@

      • Mark
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        You would not be in your seat, acting the troll, if He did not exist, proof given. Again, at no point am I trying to argue to you that God exists or not, that is not my point, at ALL. I am and have not argued against your religions/belief’s and do not need to back that up with facts when my argument is not there.

        My argument is against the illogical thinking some have that pain is proof against God. This ideology has been thrown in the face, and debunked by educated scholars of the faith, and those that have no faith, for decades. Some just seem to still struggle with what has been clearly understood and answered as an illogical, and nearly pointless discussion.

        Mark

        • Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Whatever your point, you make an unevidenced assertion about the existence of God. Your or my existence is not proof of this. You’ll have to do better than that!

          /@

          PS. You do act the troll far, far better that I! :-D

        • Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          Ph, please, do NOT tell me you just called Ant a troll!!!! What rock did you crawl out from under?

    • bernardhurley
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Oh now I see where I went wrong as a dad. I should have given my children AK-47s and watched as they killed and maimed each other!

      • Mark
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Seriously man, thats the best you can do? This is my point, you get all huffy and defensive then when a valid argument is made, resorting to attacks and ridiculously childish posts.

        • bernardhurley
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          Who the hell do you think you are, mate. How dare you call my posts childish after the inane drivel you have been posting! What’s the matter with you? Are you pissed off because I’m morally superior to your God?

          • Mark
            Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            And again, the childish bantor continues. At no point am I angry, but quite frankly am amused by your lack of confidence and less then usefull responses.

            Shame on you, I do not judge your morality, who are you to judge God’s?

            Mark

            • bernardhurley
              Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

              Who am I to judge God? A more pertinent question would be who is your God to judge any of us?

              You describe a God who is content to sit idly by through wars, famine, pestilence, who cares nothing about children born with terrible birth deformities, who allows earthquakes and tsunamis, who allows whole cites to die agonizing deaths under volcanic lava flows? Do you deny this of your God? If not then you have described a being of almost unfathomable evil. If your God exists then I claim the right to judge Him just as I would judge any tyrant.

              On top of this you have the affrontary to compare Him to a human father. Can’t you see how insulting that is? Do you want to make enemies of your fellow humans?

              Remember, you described your God as a criminally negligent father. He is condemned out of your own mouth. Of course I am morally superior to your God. I would not sink to his depths of depravity; not in my wildest dreams. And, I wager that you too are morally superior to your God. It’s just that you are too brainwashed to see it.

        • suwise3
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          Your BELIEF (in anything)does not equal PROOF. It just doesn’t.

          I believe many things, too, some of them even spiritual, but I would never tell someone else “YOU should believe them to, because I do and I’m right.”

          Your PROOF that God is in charge requires PROOF to be considered PROOF.
          It just does.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      If someone chooses to walk into a crowded theater in body armor and brandishing an automatic weapon, that should be considered a sign of intent. He should be gunned down before firing a shot.

      If a person carries a concealed or holstered weapon into a theater, they should not be shot. But if they draw and point there is a good argument for professional law enforcement to take him out based merely on that threat of violence, even before a shot is fired. Ideally non-lethal force would suffice.

      This raises questions about the practical implications when people advocate citizen vigilantism by relying on the proliferation of armed citizens. Suppose you encounter someone pointing a gun at someone in a parking lot. Suppose you draw your gun and order your target to drop theirs. What if another observer sees you draw your gun but can’t see or doesn’t notice the gun held by your target? Suppose they draw and fire and you become a victim for trying to be a hero? Suppose you fire and miss and hit a bystander 50 yards in the background because you haven’t been taught to get low and fire at an upward angle?

      The potential complications are many, and citizens with license to carry must have at least some of the training professional law enforcement has. But there is still the problem that citizens don’t wear clearly identifiable uniforms, so a vigilante can become a victim pretty quickly if there are many armed citizens in the vicinity.

      I don’t think you can do anything about the fact that any intelligent and educated person should be driven from “the Lord” as soon as anyone talks about it at any time under any circumstances. To any educated rational minded person the entire message is an obvious fantasy. Of course many people find happiness in fantasy, the religious included. But mistaking fantasy for reality
      is full of dangers as well. Your attempts to spread the word are benefitting the cause of atheism, science, and reason in service of the truth, as long as we can stop you from perverting the education system with mythical religious narratives.

      • Mark
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Your statement:
        Any intelligent and educated person “should” be driven from the “Lord”, is so minimalistic and abashadly ignorant its hard to take seriously.

        At no point does intelligence deem a need to strive from God, as is opposite the case in many highly intelligent people who “find” God later in life.

        Again, you try to argue for your belif, then “preach” absolution, ridiculous. No one can be sure of anything that is not hard and fast, God is up for debate till we either meet Him, or not. The sign of losing the argument is throwing the last statement out, “well anyone intelligent would agree with me” holds no water. Its the same argument a politician will use when losing. Try to keep to the facts without blanket statements of garbage.

        Mark

        • suwise3
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          Mark- “No one can be sure of anything that is not hard and fast…”

          EVERYONE CAN BE SURE OF *all sorts of things,* because they have been PROVEN. Like gravity. It works because it is TRUE not because people have chosen to believe in it.

        • RFW
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          “No one can be sure of anything that is not hard and fast”

          Quite correct, and that’s exactly what science is all about. It goes to great lengths to be sure (“hard and fast”) that what it observes is what is really happening, and that its explanations mesh with other parts of science.

          Religion, on the other hand, seems to think that mushy brained, soft centred non-logic in some way trumps hard thinking. It doesn’t.

    • Vaal
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Mark,

      bernardhurley’s reply about the AK-47s wasn’t childish – it was right on point.
      You don’t have a reply because you are special pleading for God.

      You try to use words and concepts like “father” for God as an excuse, yet allow God to act unlike any good father we know.
      This part is astounding:

      ” All a father can do when his children grow up is counsil, watch and hope. He would not pull, nor stop, the pulling of a trigger even if he is sure its bound to happen, without killing the child he loves, wishing he will choose to not be evil.”

      Bullsh#t. That’s all a father can do? What horrendous parenting. All day long parents stop their children from doing things that harm others, and which they know will end in great suffering for their children. Or do you like the idea of letting small children wander on to busy streets or handing kids machine guns because, gee, they just need that freedom to kill themselves or others. What can we poor parents do?

      If shooter James Holmes’ father KNEW what he was about to do and could have stopped him, or even just picked up the phone to alert the authorities, you don’t think he SHOULD have done it? News for you: every other moral, civilized person would say that is the moral thing to do.

      No one for a second would say James Holmes’s father should abstain from intervening because “Hey, James has to grow, be free on his own, and express his free will.” This appeal to free will is pure smoke and mirrors.

      You have God acting like no “father” anyone would ever countenance, watching Blithely as untold misery and horror goes on among his “children” with folded arms.

      You can flaunt this C.S. Lewis stuff among your fellow Christians who are happy to accept bad arguments all day in order to protect their beliefs…but once you are out of that pond, it won’t fly with a non-Christian audience who ask you to do better.

      Vaal

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        I’m just wondering if this thread ain’t reaching its natural ending. I’m not going to close it, but is anybody changing their mind?

        • Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

          Certainly not Mark! ;-)

          /@

          • bernardhurley
            Posted July 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Dan Dennett one asked “How can they believe this stuff?” and answered it with “They don’t!” Mark is clearly not stupid and doesn’t seem to be in it for the money but has been forced in a corner where he has to defend the indefensible. If he carries on like that he’s likely to either go completely bonkers like William Lane Craig or to realise how absurd his opinions are. I wouldn’t be surprised if he changed his mind some time in the next year or so.

        • suwise3
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          Yes. Until believers understand that “proof” is not just a word in the dictionary, to be used, oh,just any way you feel and that it comes with “attachments:” a definition, scientific history, etc, I now believe that dialog between “believers” and “evolutionists” can never go anywhere.

    • RFW
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      “P.S. Rick Warren and the other pastors out there trying to make a buck by preaching as if they know, would yall please zip it, you just push more people away then you draw to our Lord. Learn your lesson from the Bible, yours is not to judge, but to love.”

      Good. If hearing the simple truth about the many grifters who infest religion drives people away from religion, I’m all for it.

      Ever notice how many “pastors” live in mansions, drive expensive cars, wear luxury clothes, and so on, while their sheep, many of them, live in near destitution? Something does not compute….

  12. Mark
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Obviously I am not going to change your mind, your closed mindness is impossible to crack.

    I want you to try a different argument, just for fun sakes, as your pain argument just holds no value and has been debunked by many more then Mr. Lewis. You seem to again think your the center of the world, God should stop all pain from happening to you, this is not the case.

    The world has improved since the dark ages, since Christ, since the World Wars. It has done this out of neccesity and learning lessons from pain, without pain there is no improvement for man kind. This fits right in with your evolutionary beliefs, as well with God’s plan, we shan’t be arguing about pain when in reality it proves, or fails to prove, both our points.

    Mark

    • Vaal
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Mark,

      No, those other guys like Lewis don’t do any better with the arguments than you do; that’s what happens when you are trying to push a bad argument.

      You tried to use the logic of a Father to his children in excusing God’s inaction. It doesn’t work.

      What would any decent person say of a Father who stood by and watched his daughter be seduced by someone he knew was a serial psychopathic sadist? What would we say if this Father watched, doing nothing at all, as the sadist bound his daughter, kept her as an object of his sadism, and routinely raped and tortured the girl? You know damned well any Father allowing that to happen to his daughter, his child, would be seen as horrendously immoral, and deserve our harshest condemnation. And saying “Well, the rapist was expressing his free will and people have to learn” wouldn’t do for an exuse for a second.

      And yet…

      This God of yours would be watching countless instances of just such inflicted suffering on his daughters…and when this “Father” does not intervene we are supposed to accept this portrait describes a Good Father.

      You’ve…got…to…be…kidding. This is logic turned on it’s head.

      Except, the sad thing is, you aren’t.
      Please look into problems like “special pleading” before you go crowing about the anyone else’s minds being closed to your great arguments.

      Vaal

    • RFW
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      “since Christ…the world has improved”

      Maybe in the long run, but the advent of xtianity had as an immediate effect the collapse in barbarism of the western Roman Empire. The standard of living in western Europe in about 300 CE wasn’t reached again for approximately a thousand years.

      Some improvement!

      Moreover, the people who have improved the world in the last millenium or so often did so in defiance of “the church”. Think Galileo.

  13. Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised that a student of natural selection would find gun control a useful argument. Proof’s in the pudding. When guns are outlawed, only criminals have guns. Incentives.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Pudding has nothing to do with this.

      Gun control and outlawing guns are not the same thing. Intelligent gun control can make it possible for lawful compliant gun owners to obtain guns while making it much harder for criminals to obtain them, and easier for police to track criminal gun related activity.

      Absurdly simplistic platitudes add nothing useful to this discussion. They do help the NRA and the gun industry to recruit mindless minions to do their bidding, of course.

    • RFW
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      But fewer criminals would have guns than today; and they’d be less ferocious guns, too.

      Moreover, whereas today someone with a gun may very well be a law-abiding citizen, under proper gun control, someone with an unlicensed gun is de facto a criminal. So criminals (at least some of them) would be easier to detect.

      Gun control doesn’t mean no one has a gun; but it does mean that you need a damned good reason for having one, particularly hand guns. Rifles and shotguns would remain in the hands of farmers and hunting enthusiasts.

      Lemme tell you a little story: when I was house hunting (24 years ago), in one house the agent says “we can’t go in that locked room”. In insisted; if I was going to buy the place, I needed to see all of it. “Oh, well, if you insist.” It was the owner’s gun room, with a very large number of rifles and shotguns for hunting. You see, in Canada, if you own a gun legally, you are required to keep it under lock and key except when in use. Result: many fewer gun accidents.

    • Marta
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      This is absurd.

      You can certainly regulate gun use/ownership. Let’s start with limiting the size of magazines to something reasonable, like 10 or 13 (still too many). Who needs an assault rifle which can fire 50 rounds in a minute? Who? You can also, I don’t know, limit assault weapons to the military. That would be a start.

      • microraptor
        Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Very true. It’s ridiculous for gun lobbies to suggest that people need the ability to fire 20 or 50 or 100 bullets from a gun without having to reload in order to defend themselves. I have yet to see any situation in real life (as opposed to an action movie) where it was necessary for someone to be able to project that volume of fire in order to protect themselves as opposed to using a simple 6 shot revolver or another similarly low-capacity firearm.

  14. James
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone can argue against evolution; Just look around; You can see the results of evolution every day; It is a continuos process; I have no idea how life on this earth started, but it certainly has evolved into what we have today; And it will continue to evolve, until some day, humans may even become extinct; Just try & imagine how many species have become extinct throughout the history of this earth !!!!!

  15. gmaduck
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    The tweet was in answer to a woman who was complaining about a teenager’s sexuality. But the tweet is wrong. We don’t act like animals. They only mate for reproduction. We mate for fun so we are not imitating animals, but ten to one, the animals would love to imitate us.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      Hate to be contrary but I have to ask: How do you know? and, if it’s true, what’s stopping them? ;)

    • gbjames
      Posted July 27, 2012 at 4:15 am | Permalink

      “They only mate for reproduction.”

      This part isn’t true. Check out, for example, our cousins the Bonobos. And then check on the penguin sex that so horrified George Murray Levick.

      • microraptor
        Posted July 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I was going to ask if dolphins and bonobos weren’t animals now.

      • suwise3
        Posted July 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        To say nothing of the scandalous inter-species behavior of kakapos!

        • gbjames
          Posted July 28, 2012 at 5:21 am | Permalink

          I shutter to even think of it.

          • Jeff Johnson
            Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            Do you mean you photograph animal porn as a hobby? Or did you mean “shudder”?

            • gbjames
              Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

              ;)

              Perhaps use my shuddering shutter to send you some animal porn?

              • Jeff Johnson
                Posted July 28, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

                I guess if they are slightly out of focus you can call it erotic art rather than porn.


4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] I will comment on this “this is the fault of evolution” BS: You’ll know that on Friday there was another massacre at a movie theater (also in Colorado): a lone gunman, James Eagen Holmes, killed 12 people and injured 58 at the premier of the new Batman movie. What motivated this horrible act? We don’t know yet, but the faithful are already in the wings ready to blame Darwin. [...]

  2. [...] to indicate a finger during scholarship and expansion when they happen,” Coyne wrote on his “Why Evolution Is True” blog. “So many for Rick Warren, a male Barack Obama chose to give a bid during his coronation [...]

  3. [...] when disaster strikes. Former House Majority Leader and current inmate Tom DeLay, R-Texas, blamed the 1999 school shooting in Littleton, Colo., on “school systems [that] teach our children that they are nothing but [...]

  4. [...] Coyne beweerde in eenreactie dat hij niet dacht dat religie een rol speelde in deze moorden, maar dat de religie de vinger legt [...]

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