Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Finnish Murderer: Darwin or Design?

The case of Pekka Eric Auvinen, the Finnish student who killed eight in a shooting spree at his school, and spoke highly of Darwin, has caused a flurry of activity from that wacky corner of the blogosphere determined to lay all that ills the world at poor Charles’ feet. Here is BarryA on Uncommon Descent, with a very typical comment:

”Apparently Auvinen was an ardent Darwinist who considered himself to be an instrument of natural selection. He wrote: ‘I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.’”

Here we see the logical inconsistencies of the anti-Darwinists laid bare. When scientists run computer simulations demonstrating the efficacy of evolutionary mechanisms like natural selection, or solving problems like Steiner Trees with evolutionary algorithms, the ID crew screams “design!”, and “intelligence!” at the top of their lungs. “All experiments are design”, says Mike Gene. They speak as if any involvement of humans in the process infects it with intelligence and design, as if they were diseases spread by a mere touch. Yet let a person do something harmful, be it Hitler, Stalin, or Auvinen, and suddenly they want to paint it as representative of evolution. It reveals the religious mindset at the core of their view: good design inspired by God, bad by Satan, or Darwin.

The reason is obvious: they wish to discredit evolution by association, making two errors at once. First, evolution’s truth or falsehood does not depend on our moral evaluation of the results. This is the fallacy of appeal to consequences. Evolution is true, or not, whether people murder in its name or not, just as deities either exist, or not, regardless of moral implications of that fact.

Second, the facts simply do not support the contention, even were the argument sound. Letting the herd roam free and breed or die as it will is evolution. Selectively culling the herd, be it humans or cattle, is more akin to eugenics, and would be far more properly called “unnatural selection”, or even “design”. Auvinen was playing God, not Darwin. But logic plays no part in ID meanderings, as BarryA’s argument via anecdote reveals:

”One of O’Leary’s interlocutors more or less accused her of cherry picking her data to push her personal religious agenda. Apparently this person believes this case is an aberration, and it is unfair to suggest a connection between Darwin’s theory and a school shooter’s self understanding as an instrument of natural selection. Not so.

As the attorney for the families of six of the students killed at Columbine, I read through every single page of Eric Harris’ journals; I listened to all of the audio tapes and watched the videotapes, including the infamous “basement tapes.” There cannot be the slightest doubt that Harris was a worshiper of Darwin and saw himself as acting on Darwinian principles.”

So? Apparently BarryA does not understand what “cherry picking” means. One cannot disprove the notion that one’s theory is based on cherry picked data (Auvinen) by referring to another piece of cherry picked data (Harris and Kleibold). The vast majority of people who accept modern evolutionary theory do not run around murdering people, which makes these murderous lunatics aberrations at best, and confused IDers at worst.

”I am not suggesting that Auvinen’s and Harris’ actions are the inevitable consequences of believing in Darwinism. It is, however, clear that at least some of Darwin’s followers understand ‘survival of the fittest’ and the attendant amorality at the bottom of Darwinism as a license to kill those whom they consider ‘inferior.’ Nothing could be more obvious.”

What is obvious is that people like BarryA draw a link where there is none. The opinions of murderous lunatics as to whose principles they follow do not carry much weight, whether they cite Jesus or Darwin. Neither advocated such behavior, so it is clear those murderers who cite them as influences simply look for justification for what they are already inclined to do, and make up the rest as a veneer to cover up their real agenda. I am surprised this passed BarryA’s notice, since it is the modus operandi of the IDers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

School shooters often have a common problem, Subliminal Distraction exposure. The Virginia Tech shooter did as well as the Redlake school shooter.

SD was discovered when it caused mental breaks for office workers using the first prototypes of close-spaced workstations. The cubicle solved that problem by 1968.

There is no information that Auvinen had this exposure. Did he have a home computer? Was he a video game player?

You can read about the problem at VisionAndPsychosis.Net.