There’s new scientific research that explains why humans are adept at fighting. We evolved that way:
“Why are our hands the shape that they are? Compared with those of other apes, the thumb is longer and the palms and fingers are short. . . . Researchers at the University of Utah have another suggestion: The hand is the shape that it is because it allows us to make a nice fist for fighting that protects key parts of the hand from harm.”
Did you notice that the article describes humans as “apes”? Humans are animals like apes are animals. Apes kill other apes with no legal consequences. There’s video showing chimpanzees killing, dismembering, and eating other chimpanzees. I haven’t seen a chimp prosecuted for what a human ape would be charged with — murder.
If we have evolved to be better fighters, then it stands to reason that using tools like guns to further our “selfish genes,” as atheist evolutionist Richard Dawkins describes our evolutionary development, then how can killing with these weapons be wrong? These survival tools are the technological advance of evolutionary development.
The killers are only furthering their genetic survival rate. Evolution is all about “replication” of genes. Genes don’t anything about right or wrong, good or bad, just and unjust. Their job is to replicate. Sometimes that replication might mean being “nice” (altruistic), but other times it might mean being ruthless. There is no overseeing evolutionary moderator “judging” which is the “right” moral choice.
In the end, evolution, as Dawkins explains it, is all about “self interest.” As a result, the evolutionary model can’t explain what’s moral or immoral. There is no “moral” category in evolutionary development and advancement.
This is not to say that the tragedies that we see today are the result of the teaching of evolution, but it does make one wonder how many people are desensitized by the bloody struggle that made us what we are.
There’s been a lot of talk about violent video games. It would not surprise me that a few people put two and two together, mixed with feelings of inadequacy and rage, and decide to kill with no moral brake to stop them. For example, Eric Harris, one of the Columbine killers, was wearing a T-shirt with the inscription “Natural Selection” on its front. Reporter Kevin Vaughan wrote, “It’s not clear what the shirt’s inscription referred to, but there’s a video game with the same name.” “Natural Selection” is the mechanism of evolution. “Nature, red in tooth and claw,” as Alfred, Lord Tennyson put it.
“The game’s World Wide Web site,” Vaughan wrote in the aftermath of the Colorado school shootings, “says it encompasses a ‘realm where anything can happen,’ a place for the ‘bravest of the brave and the fiercest of the fierce. It is a place where survival of the fittest takes a very literal meaning. . . . It’s the natural way, it’s Natural Selection,’ the game’s maker wrote.”1
Finland had its own mini-Columbine. “[A]t least seven people were killed when a teenaged gunman opened fire at a school in southern Finland on November 7, 2007 hours after a video was posted on YouTube predicting a massacre there.” The young shooter left these comments:
“I am prepared to fight and die for my cause. . . I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.” ((“Seven killed at Finland school after YouTube post,” Reuters (November 7, 2007).))
The shooter described himself as “a social Darwinist.”2
There’s still a healthy remnant of a God-centered worldview found in our culture. The vast majority of people are not consistent Darwinists. We are thankful that the majority of hard-core evolutionists are “theists in their ‘private lives,’”3 that is, they believe that there is no god, but live as if there is. Unfortunately, there are some young people who aren’t as philosophically and practically inconsistent.
- Kevin Vaughan, “Judge unseals autopsy report on Eric Harris,” Denver Rocky Mountain News (June 25, 1999). [↩]
- David Williams, “Eight shot dead including principal in school massacre predicted in YouTube video,” Daily Mail online (November 7, 2007). [↩]
- Quentin Smith, “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism,” Philo 4/2 (2001). Quoted in William Lane Craig, Hard Questions, Real Answers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 17. [↩]