Major Media Spike Discovery Channel Gunman’s Darwinian Motivations

If someone opposed to abortion were to take hostages at an abortion clinic, you can be sure the newsmedia would tenaciously track down and publicize every anti-abortion association and comment of the criminal in question. But when a gunman inspired by Darwinism takes hostages at the offices of the Discovery Channel, reporters seem curiously uninterested in fully disclosing the criminal’s own self-described motivations. Most of yesterday’s media reports about hostage-taker James Lee dutifully reported Lee’s eco-extremism and his pathological hatred for humanity. But they also suppressed any mention of Lee’s explicit appeals to Darwin and Malthus as the intellectual foundations for his views. At least, I could find no references to Lee’s Darwinian motivations in the accounts I read by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC. Read More ›

How Not to Defend Darwin on “Survival of the Fittest”

Evolutionary biologists make poor historians, especially when it comes to Charles Darwin. So intent on preserving the reputation of St. Charles, evolutionists typically do their best to paper-over Darwin’s less-than-savory views on issues like race or the application of natural selection to society. British biochemist and theistic evolutionist Denis Alexander runs true to form in a newly posted interview at BioLogos. In the interview, Alexander does his best to disassociate Darwin from the idea of “survival of the fittest,” noting that the phrase was coined by Herbert Spencer rather than Charles Darwin, and that it was then picked up by nasty politicians like Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler, who used it to promote their noxious views. Alexander is correct that Read More ›

When Evolutionary Psychology Collides With Morality

In 2006, the New York Times published an exceedingly long book review titled “An Evolutionary Theory of Right and Wrong,” covering Harvard evolutionary psychologist Marc D. Hauser’s theories of the evolution of human morality. “Religions are not the source of moral codes,” stated the review when describing Hauser’s ideas, further noting that this claim, “if true, would have far-reaching consequences.” The review observed that “[m]atters of right and wrong have long been the province of moral philosophers and ethicists,” but after Hauser’s work, “[m]oral philosophers may not welcome a biologist’s bid to annex their turf.” So who has authority over morality: evolutionary psychologists, or theologians? In his book, Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong, Read More ›

We Hold Some Truths To Be Self Evident

When we celebrate our country’s independence on July 4th, the day may resonate with many Americans more powerfully than in other recent years. The nation’s political mood is increasingly, well, independent. Voters are fed up with incumbent politicians and reigning political parties. This accounts for the unlikely bestselling books that keep shooting up out of what might seem like nowhere–previously obscure biographies of the Founders that pose fundamental questions about the role of our government and what direction the nation is headed. In a welcome development, Americans want to refresh their acquaintance with the sources of our rights as citizens. Yet there is one source, more basic than any other, that so far has not received the attention it deserves. Read More ›

Manliness, Human Dignity, and All That Darwin Can’t Explain

The failure of Darwinism to account for our human experience is something many people know intuitively — but few can articulate it so well as Harvard philosopher Harvey Mansfield and novelist Tom Wolfe. Peter Lawler, who blogs over at First Thing’s Postmodern Conservative, wrote a wonderful essay detailing the ways “America’s two most astute social commentators… have weighed in on the debate over the neo-Darwinian view of evolution.” In “Real Men Prove Darwin Wrong (Again),” Lawler synthesizes how these two masters illustrate that there are more things in heaven and earth than can be explained by Darwin: They agree that the real controversy in our country is not between rationalists who preach evolutionism and fundamentalists who live in Darwin-denial, but Read More ›