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.
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.