Mass shootings again blamed on evolution

July 21, 2012 • 10:12 am

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

298 thoughts on “Mass shootings again blamed on evolution

  1. Yes, but the stories say he came from a churchgoing family, and his high school had a history of goddiness. This may keep the wingnuts in check.

      1. The idea of religion or evolution playing a part will come out some in the investigation. As far as evolution being a part, maybe or maybe not. I have never lost a debate against evolution as it did not happen as our wasted Mars expeditions have shown. I am not a rodent, either, yet DNA suggests I have over 91% of a rodents. Sad when we look at facts about the theory. It is cute and cuddly, but has to take away 63% of the facts in order to be viable!

        1. So we have something in common! I’ve never lost a debate about evolution either although I suspect that in your case it may be, as mathematicians say, vacuously true.

        2. You may not be a rodent, but I’m going to want to see proof that you aren’t an ass.

          Apologies to our host.

        3. “Mars proves we did not evolve.”

          You have never lost a debate to yourself, but you’ve never won one in the traditional sense I’ll imagine.

          It’s incredible the dogma and blindness that promising you will never die can bring. It’s still incredible that people believe they can be promised that they will never die.

    1. Thus, there is a beautiful illustration of an unfair asymmetry. If he had come from atheistic parents, MOST Americans would have immediately made a causal connection. How many Americans are going to conclude that he committed his crime BECAUSE he came from a churchgoing family? This is what results from a system of public, private, and religious education that continues to move minds as far AWAY from logic and reason as possible.

      1. Hi Frank. My Step Dad had the same first name.. He was an agnostic until 2 weeks before he passed away. I believe in real factual science and not religion. Evolution is a religion that denies 63% of the facts to be viable. Are you an evolved rodent? There is one that has over 91% of your DNA! I am not against evolution for any religious reasons. I want all the facts on the table.. that is real science. Note we went to Mars with probes to detect any microbial life forms. A waste of our tax bucks.. I was a basement bomber like in the movie October Sky. Still have all my fingers for making the rockets but never went to college, except online. I had to serve my country and was proud to do so. We should admit that the Communists had already implimented what they needed in our colleges and thus.. the protests. If we want Communism, let us go and check out the system in other countries!

        1. “Evolution is a religion”

          — No. No, it’s an observed process and a rock-solid scientific that explains that observed process.

          “that denies 63% of the facts to be viable.”

          — Again, no. (Unless you can provide citations for all of these nonviable facts… ? No? Thought not.)

          “Are you an evolved rodent?”

          Still, no.

          “There is one that has over 91% of your DNA!”

          Not unlikely when we share a common ancestor about 75 million years ago.

          “I had to serve my country and was proud to do so.”

          Good for you. It doesn’t make you any less of a scientific ignoramus*, though.

          /@

          * CC pleas note, this is a fair comment, not an insult.

          1. I shouldn’t worry, he won’t think you’re insulting him; he probably thinks an ignoramus is some sort of bunny rabbit.

          2. I can’t stop laughing about that 63% figure. Taking the difference between precision and accuracy into account, I have to wonder why 63.7% wasn’t taken to be a more impressive figure by the inventor of this claim. Of course they probably carefully considered using either 54% or 72%, both of which are also divisible by nine and thus satisfy some obscure yet titillating numerology. It seems in the end they didn’t want to claim too much or too little, and after all the even numbers seem too suspiciously contrived to be credible so they went with their gut and selected 63.

            Hopefully this expresses both my grasp of and contempt for religious style thinking. I do feel it’s important to point out that traumatic head injuries are all too commonly suffered by those active in combat, so it may be the case that special restraint or deference is due here.

        2. Curiosity is *not* a life finding mission, it is looking for habitability. Only of it is very lucky can it find life with experiments suited for researching habitability.

      2. Atheists don’t do things like mass murder so it would be highly unlikely that anyone brought up in a rational, ethical and evidence-based atheist family would go out on the rampage.

        When you know the truth that you only have one life, the one you are in now, you tend to want to go out and and enjoy it and let others be free to enjoy theirs.

        When a kid is indoctrinated to believe in the myths and legends of one, and only one, religion, and then finds out that there are far more, conflicting, myths and legends from other religions, and the truth of atheism, out there, it’s hardly surprising that, occasionally, the brain starts to disconnect from reality.

        1. Actually atheist can and have committed mass murder. We have to be honest here and say that violence is in fact a product of evolution (the process, not the theory), as is religion. Many religious people are not violent in spite of the temptation of sending others and/or themselves into the imaginary afterlife.

          The religious are clearly not exempt from evolution. Fortunately evolution has provided the cerebral cortex to counteract the still active legacy of the primitive lizard brain. I do agree that when it comes to the moderating influence of reason on human behavior, it seems atheists are on the front end of the population bell curve and fundamentalist tribalism lags behind on the trailing edge of the curve.

          1. Hi Jeff,

            Fair comment, it’s a generalisation. What I should have said was that atheists do not commit mass murder in the name of atheism. There are, of course, “screw loose” individuals of all faiths and none. Dependent on the availability of ordnance in a given country (the USA appearing to be the country where any and all types of weaponry and explosives are most freely available) the “screw loose” individuals will manifest their desires to inflict their ideologies in the “best” way that they can.

            I am 59 years old and I simply cannot recall any occasion when it was reported that a “screw loose” individual went on the rampage “in the name of atheism”. I stand to be corrected and I would be very interested to hear of any such incident.

            I live in Ireland and we [atheists] have to put up with severe abuse from the Roman Catholic church. Not alone are we told, by Ratzinger – who covered up for at least on paedophile priest when he was in Germany – that we, in effect, are carrying on the philosophy of Nazi and Communist mass murderers; “[a]s we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny”, but we are also told that we are “not fully human” – a statement originally made by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, London, of a BBC Radio 4 broadcast in May 2009 and, sadly, being repeated at almost opportunity that presents itself.

            I guess atheist activists concentrate their attention on the local menace. Here in Ireland, its the Roman Catholic church. An individual by the name of John Charles McQuaid was largely responsible for the Irish Constitution in 1937 and the then president, Eamon De Valera, sent the final draft to the Vatican for approval. I should mention that McQuaid was a Roman Catholic priest who was elevated to the position of Archbishop of Dublin in 1940.

            As a result, Ireland has no State schools and 93% of Irish schools are owned and run by the Roman Catholic church but paid for by we taxpayers.

            To give you flavour of how advanced a nation Ireland is and how tolerant of difference the Roman Catholic church is, take a look at the following thread started by a 15 year-old atheist schoolgirl being sure not to miss her comment about the 78 year-old nun who is her form teacher; “Yes I just find she takes it a step to far sometimes there was one occasion where she basically told my class that it was dangerous to hang around with people outside of religon whilst I was in the class”. http://www.facebook.com/groups/43565376225/permalink/10150941866001226/

            Best wishes,

            Jon

    2. what i cannot understand is why do you do not do what we in Australia did when we had shooting like this. Our Govenment said Ok we will buy back all your Guns that you do not want and make it very hard to get new ones.The people lined up to get rid of the Guns.

      1. You’ve clearly never been to America. Local governments do gun buy back programs all the time, usually what they get are old, rusty, unusable stuff. If the federal government offered to do that then every half-backed Chrisitanist in the country would see it as an attempt by the government to take away what they see as one of the sources that keeps the government in check from taking them over. Honestly, the paranoia here is astounding and the irony is that most of these yahoos have no idea that through their support of (for the most part) Republican led legislative efforts they’ve already given up most of their security and privacy to the government already, allowing them to hold on to their Glock is just an trick of the card that allows them to keep their illusion of freedom. The government plays them for the fools they are, since they see gun ownership as a symbol of their freedom and a panacea for all that ills this country the government happily lets them hold on to them, and on occasion crap like Aurora happens.

      2. Because even a voluntary gun buy-back program would unleash the fury of the 2nd Amendment rightists, who would vehemently complain that “There Amurkans and nead there guns. If Idda ben in that theeter, Idda shot the shotter ded.” This is, in all seriousness, what I’ve been seeing in comments sections on news reports–the unthinking pro-gun attitude and bad spelling. (FWIW, I’m not necessarily anti-gun ownership, but in the US, the 2nd Amendment has been elevated to the same status as God, with the same unthinking reverence.)

        1. No, in this country GUN OWNERSHIP status is *higher* than God. God is just a concept that can be used justify anything they want. But guns are a very real extension of American culture.

          “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!” is our national motto, but what we really mean by that is, “Just try it, and I’ll blow your head off.”

        1. Lol. I heard some conservative, I think it may have been Tim Carney on UP yesterday, assert that American obsession with gun freedom can be traced to the fact that migration to the new world involved primarily those with a tendency to resist authority. I shouted something like “what about Australia asshole” at my tv set.

        2. I knew there must be *some* reason the Aussies call themselves ‘the lucky country’. 🙂

        3. This, RWO, is the best remark of all. The Puritans were cruel, supposedly God-fearing and greedy. When their “church” decided the Quakers were evil, they condemned them (just like they did the witches), confiscated their homes and belongings, and drove them out of town. I know because one of my ancestors had to make it to an island at the tip of Long Island nearly naked and on foot, and then wait to die.

      1. Actually the Spanish Inquisition gave 30 days notice. If you were not in when they arrived that was taken as proof of your guilt!

  2. What other animal stockpiles 6000 rounds of ammunition? Oh, gee, it must be the animal that clearly demonstrates “evo-theo” inevitability by being created in God’s benevolent image.

  3. It’s the primordial mud that’s the problem. My Irish grandfather evolutionized out of a peat bog and my Scandinavian grandmother evolutionized out of a fjord. As a result I behave like a cross between a bottle of whiskey and a lemming.

  4. This, of course, is why immorality, murder, and other depraved acts are so common in countries like Denmark and Sweden, where there’s far less adherence to religion and far more acceptance of evolution.

    Oh no, Prof. Coyne, perhaps you shouldn’t have written that. It’s likely to prove a glorious prospect for quote-miners.

      1. There are plenty out there who will find any excuse to blame anybody and everybody except good, God-fearing Christians. Bryan Fischer of the reprehensible American Family Association has been blaming the ACLU. Atheists (and guilty-by-association evolution) being blamed is not a surprise. And it’s only a matter of time before someone blames gay people. It’s easier to have some sort of scapegoat, than to think a supposedly loving God could let this happen, or worse, the universe in general is a cold and unthinking, unfeeling place and things like this happen without any real reason.

    1. I think we are forgetting one thing. There are many that claim Christ, as in the times of Christ. There are few that actually follow the word of God which depicts a Christian. This is what it says and if we remove that part, we can except about anything. We could except that all killing is murder, but we know that is not true. We know all of past societies have accepted the difference.. today it seems like we do not.

      We may note that in Romans it suggests the wrong of the alternate lifestyles and we should note that they have bowed to the wrong. Christ said there would be a great falling away from His Word. We see this in that church and many others and much of our media suggests we do not have choices and should be Politically Correct. I am an American Vet and will not be., I want to be right! That is for all of us.

      1. Hey, Virgil… there’s a rule that Professor Coyne has that before you can toss off any Jebus-loving bible quotes, you need to provide the evidence that your deity actually exists.

        Can you do that for us, please?

      2. Your thinking is so disordered, I couldn’t figure out what you meant with a Cray 2 and a flashlight.

        You know that this is a science site, right? That the commenters are atheists?

        What the hell are you doing here?

      3. Never having heard god utter a single word (not even an emphatic grunt) I must confess I can’t follow what isn’t there.

        It doesn’t matter much what many people do or don’t do. I am aware that many are under the illusion that there is something special or disproportionately important about the bible. I can’t help that. Many people are convinced they are going to win the lottery, and many people love spongy sweet white bread, processed cheese, and Budweiser. Many people find celebrities and reality TV exciting and interesting. There is in general no correlation between popularity and truth, or popularity and quality.

        We all want to be right. We all strive to do our best with what we have available, what we are given or what we can discover. We should all be very slow to conclude we have found what is right and true, very suspicious of the impulse to simplify out of impatience, and we should resist the temptation to stop searching when we find something interesting, exciting, or satisfying.

      4. It’s too bad that the voice from Heaven, which called on Abraham not to gut his son with a knife, did not similarly prevail upon Holmes to unlock and unload.

        How old is the Earth? What is the basis of your answer?

        Do you believe that wives should “submit” to their husbands, and that women should be “silent” in church?

    1. “Rick Warren, the man Barack Obama chose to give the invocation at his inauguration in 2009”

      OK the president is still off course here.

      But let’s not take this opportunity to equate Romney w/Obama… unless ‘offshore’ and ‘outsourcing’ and ‘Cayman Island banking’ and ‘alligator-logos’ are your mantra.

  5. Well of course humans act like animals… because we are. We get hungry, we eat. We get thirsty, we drink. I encourage Warren to quit eating and drinking for a period of time, because after all when he eats he’s acting like an animal.

    1. Moreover, as anyone who has watched our non-human relative knows, many of our wonderful and good things like caring for each other, problem solving, working together, etc. are also behaviours of many animals.

      In fact, long before acceptance of evolutionary biology were people all over looking at the other animals (correctly or otherwise) for *positive* human role models. What are Aesop’s fables? The story of the ant and the grasshopper?

    2. Any time I hear someone claim that they’re not an animal, I ask them if they’re a vegetable or a mineral.

  6. Agreed with the other commenters. I THINK, thought not sure, that the same Yahoo article you pulled your example from also said that he comes from a regularly-attending, church-going family. You should have perhaps thrown that tidbit in there, or go find the actual Yahoo article it came form and edit your initial post to reflect that fact.

  7. When children are taught that they are sinners and can go to Hell for thought crimes, they will act like sinners.

    When children are taught that they are cousins to chimpanzees, the worst they would do is fling poop at each other and perhaps chew off someone’s face. Chimpanzees don’t raid enemy troops unless they are backed up by the rest of their own troop.

    sheesh

      1. With all the unaccountable $$$$ that’s going to be flung in this year’s election, you’ve put a name to the theme: FlingPoop 2012.

    1. We all know that knowledge keeps ignorance out. It seems to many, reading your comments, that there is no real right or wrong. I know there is and I know what is happening all over the world. We note that in Italy a man made his first stop to tell parents you are raising you children wrong and this is why, after generations, you economy is crap!

      When I was in Asia I had parents come to me to spank their children? True. I had 22 children in my neighborhood but parents did not want to be responsible.. you do it? The kids were wonderful, from the little pig tailed 2 year old to the 17 year old girl.. 22 of them and I loved them all. I did not need any Liberal BS as I knew what they needed,,, guidance! The kids loved me and I loved them,,, see what the difference is., stop supporting not being responsible! I asked the kids to be,., they loved it. It is a human thing to do.. kids will if you are honorable and love them.

      Do we think the killings in Colorado had any idea of honor in them? We can use the excuse he is mentally ill and we know that will be the defense! How can we filter anyone’s thinking? We know the legal here will take much time. It is religion for sure and one of them is evolution.. anyone want to debate it is not?

  8. Whenever there’s a mass shooting like this, it seems like the targets are people perceived as liberals (Tucson, the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting, Dr. George Tiller) or innocent bystanders (Virginia Tech, Columbine and dozens of others). I’m willing to bet that if someone went in and shot up a CPAC or NRA convention or a teabagger rally, the gun nuts wouldn’t change their tune. Indtead, they’d blame it on a lib’rul conspiracy incited by the President and the “Democrat Party”, not an “isolated incident”.

    1. Access to guns may have aided this nut’s killing spree–but many more people than the ones killed by him have died because they were ganged up on by gangs of thugs, or had their houses invaded, and had no firearms to defend themselves. Also, assuming that you could get gun control to work–and it wouldn’t–you can still build bombs out of household materials. Hell, there are even online recipes for napalm.

      1. Let’s see you come up with some reputable and verifiable statistice to back up your claim. “Home defense” is just a talking point of the NRA, and there’s no reason so far to assume you’re not one of their stooges.

        1. http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

          And by the way; this is a matter of common sense. I have the right to defend myself, which is pretty hard to do if the other person has a gun and you have bare hands. Secondly, jerk, I’m not affiliated with the NRA is any way. ‘“Home defense” is just a talking point of the NRA…’

          Oh, so nobody has ever been taken hostage, raped, or murdered in their homes? Well, isn’t that a relief?

          1. Please do NOT call other readers names like “jerk”. You could have written this entire post, exercised as it is, without insulting another commenter. Please don’t do that in the future.

            Thanks,
            C.C>

              1. Seriously, even though this is childish, why is it OK for one person to imply that one person is a stooge and not OK for the other to call that one a jerk?

          2. “I’m not affiliated with the NRA is any way.”

            Prove it.

            “Oh, so nobody has ever been taken hostage, raped, or murdered in their homes?”

            Prove that gun ownership could have prevented it.

            It’s sad that right-wingers can’t enter into any kind of debate without name-calling.

            1. “Prove it.”

              How?

              “Prove gun ownership could have prevented it.”

              I posted a link down below that seemed well-researched.

              As for your last sentence; I’m not a right-winger. I just don’t support banning guns. Also, you called me a stooge. I don’t know what world you live in, but when you start a conversation by casually insulting me merely for not agreeing with you, it’s a bit strange to get on a high horse and talk about “name-calling”.

              1. There is a difference between banning guns and making it harder to buy a semi-automatic war machine…

                From a canadian perspective, the US gun culture
                seems a bit awkward… The context has changed since 1776…

                I have an old 303 savage rifle for hunting and that is just fine with me. I really don’t feel I’m oppressed because I can’t get easily a war machine.

          3. I checked out justfacts.com. Another wingnut web site. And unless you keep a gun perpetually within reach, how can you possibly guarantee that you will react with the proper defense if your home is invaded? That level of paranoia usually indicates mental disorder (though I am not claiming that is your problem). If you’re watching TV or if you’re in bed, will you be able to get to your precious gun in time to defend yourself when the big bad men come crashing into your house.

            And maybe you can tell me just whom James Holmes (or Jared Loughner or James Adkisson or Charles Whitman or Seung-Hui Cho) were defending themselves against.

            There’s lots of name-calling I could throw your way, but I’m not going to stoop to your level. Besides, even the suggestion of doing so will bring to your mind much worse things than I could ever post here.

            1. “Another wingnut site.”

              So were the stats there false? Or is any site that disagrees with you a wingnut site?

              “…how can you possibly guarantee that you will react with the proper defense if your home is invaded?”

              My house isn’t that big. One pistol is good enough.

              “That level of paranoia usually indicates mental disorder (though I am not claiming that is your problem).”

              My town has a high crime rate. Just last year, an elderly couple were killed in their sleep. So how is owning a gun any more “paranoid” than life insurance or having your dog vaccinated against rabies?

              “If you’re watching TV or if you’re in bed, will you be able to get to your precious gun in time to defend yourself when the big bad men come crashing into your house.”

              That depends upon where they enter. Of course, if they ever do, which may or may not happen in my lifetime, I’ll have a fighting chance. Without one? Well, there’s always life insurance, I guess…

              “And maybe you can tell me just whom James Holmes (or Jared Loughner or James Adkisson or Charles Whitman or Seung-Hui Cho) were defending themselves against.”

              They weren’t defending themselves; they were killing innocent, defenseless people out of mental illness. Since I’m not a psychologist, I can’t tell you why they did it; just that it was wrong, and that even without guns, they could have used bombs like Timothy McVeigh and killed many more people.

              “There’s lots of name-calling I could throw your way, but I’m not going to stoop to your level.”

              Excuse me? Reality check; who called whom a “stooge”?

              “Besides, even the suggestion of doing so will bring to your mind much worse things than I could ever post here.”

              Oh, so since I disagree, I must be a potential murderer. Well hey, don’t forget the blood libel; I also use baby’s blood to bake my bread. Oh, and I smut be a Nazi too, and a Satanist. Or even, oh horror of horrors, a Harry Potter fan!

            2. And unless you keep a gun perpetually within reach, how can you possibly guarantee that you will react with the proper defense if your home is invaded?

              How would having a gun within reach “guarantee” a “proper defence” against $ILLEGAL ACT$? Having a gun in the hands of someone who’s not very well trained is likely to have one or all of the following happen, when the machine gun opens fire unexpectedly in the darkened movie auditorium : The “defender” pisses in his trousers and runs for cover as best as possible. Later they remember there is a gun … in their coat, draped over the seat-back in front of where they were sitting.
              The “defender” pulls their gun, while trying to release the safety catch ; the gun discharges, killing another victim.The “defender” takes aim at who he thinks is the “perpetrator”, but shoots another victim who just happens to be in the line of fire. Or he shoots past the perpetrator, killing another victim. “Collateral damage” is, I believe the term. That must make the extra bereaved people feel so much better, knowing that their loved-one died by accident instead of as the result of a plan.And finally, after the perpetrator’s gun jams (or whatever), the perpetrator puts his weapon up and tries to surrender (how can he attain notoriety if he’s dead?) ; the “defender” puts a cap in the perpetrator’s sorry ass, becoming as morally responsible for murder (even if unlikely to be convicted for it) as the original perpetrator.Then a LEO, arriving in the chaos, kills the defender. “Whooopie dee!”
              “What,” in the traditional saying, “could possibly go wrong?” with adding more guns to a situation with a lunatic (or a bad, but sane person, like Breivik) with guns?
              Just as an aside – I don’t keep statistics on these things (in most of Europe, we try to keep our lunatics away from gun ownership), but are the perpetrators these events universally or generally male not female? Does that tell us anything useful? Like, only allow women to buy guns? OR let men have the guns but only let women have the ammunition? “What,” in the traditional saying, “could possibly go wrong?”
              [To be honest, from what I hear of the events in Colorado, my reaction would probably have been “Fire? Acrid smoke?? Detonations? Electrical fire? Poison fumes?! Hit the floor and make for the exits on hands and knees!” Which is much, much more likely to be a response that would get me (and whoever I was leading) out of the situation alive. But then, I’ve had both fire training (with and without BA, you can’t assume that you’ll have BA in a real event), as well as practical experience (send people to forcibly evacuate the rest of the building while I do the fire fighting ; it worked ; no deaths or significant injuries). But then again, I always verify my escape routes on entering a strange room. It goes with the training.]

              1. I was giving a certain amount of benefit of the doubt that having a gun within reach would result in a rational response. I agree – the gut reaction for most people is to flee, not to fight, unless one is well trained (perhaps overtrained), and panic is more likely the untrained response. I definitely agree with you and totally disagree with Texass Representative Louis Gohmert Pyle that if other people in the theater had been armed, the crossfire would have killed even more people. Hell, even trained Secret Service agents couldn’t stop John Hinckley when he tried to shoot Reagan. Only a deluded person could thing that Joe Sixpack with a gun could make a difference in such a situation. Remember that at the Tucson shooting, someone who was carrying said that he almost shot the wrong man.

                I remember once sharing a hotel room at an academic conference with an Israeli ex-whatever-passes-for-special-forces there. He wanted to catch a particular seminar, and was in danger of oversleeping. I said, in a loud voice, “Hey you’re going to miss your program.” but it didn’t rouse him. I then prodded him, and, faster than I could react, he was up on on his feet on the bed, ready to tear me apart. Maybe he could defend himself against an invader, but I could not have defended myself against him. In any case, if someone bent on mayhem had come into our room, they could have stabbed, shot or used some other form of violence against him in his sleep.

              2. I need to clarify something I said in my previous comment – Rep. Gohmert said that if people in the audience had been packing, the tragedy could have been averted. I contend that the panic reaction would have hindered that. Add to that the fact that Holmes was dressed in body armor.

      2. Civilized governments around the world have figured this out. We are prevented from addressing it by the NRA and craven politicians who won’t stand up to them.

    2. Obviously you are a Liberal. I am sorry for you. You want to believe what you want and facts do not play in your life! If you are below the age of 40 I can understand how that is. If you are below 40 you may not have the truth about our struggles as a nation.

      I remember a female professor from California that tried to change the biology books in Texas,, She wanted Evolution to be supported with facts removed! 63% of them! If people in Germany would of insisted on facts, Hitler would not of gained power. He was a devout Marxist, so why is it Liberals lie and say he was a Christian? Hitler got the idea of divide and counquer from Stalin! He asked the Marxists to join him! They said they thought him insane, which was probably true, so he had them killed.

      We know many, including Christ, have said people perish for lack of knowledge and if we work people all the time just to make ends meet, how can they have time to know the facts? That is what is going on with Obama and the 81 Communists in Senate and Congress.. it is fact and the way it is., vote them out or loose your freedoms.

      1. Guess what? Using a number doesn’t improve the factuality of something, except in the mind of a fool. At age 40 everyone magically receives truth? How do think one could determine what counts as 63% of the facts in a book? And 81 communists? You think having a number makes it true? Or because Alan West said it?

        Here are some facts you can verify with some study, which you need badly Virgil: Hitler and the Nazis were very anti-communist and anti-Marxist, which they considered to be Jewish philosophy.

        Another fact: if you want to use English correctly, the following is wrong: “Hitler would not of gained power.” This clause requires the auxiliary verb to have as in “would not have gained power”.

        Of course 93.241997% of all statements made about our elected President on FOX News or Drudge or Limbaugh are false. Evidently you have faith and simply take things as fact without verifying, if they confirm your prejudices.

      2. I passed the other side of 40 a long time ago. And I probably know more about “our” struggles as a nation than you think you do. It’s mostly a story of one group of people running roughshod over another.

        Have you ever read the entire Declaration of Independence? How about the Constitution and its twenty-seven amendments? For that matter, the Articles of Confederation or even the Constitution of the Confederate States of America? THere’s a real great document for you. Dedicated to god and slavery and states’ rights.

        I would pity you, but you are beyond pity.

      3. Thanks Virgil, you’ve made my day! And to think I was under the impression that only us Brits were capable of Pythonesque humour

  9. This is a bullshit article, Religion causes wars and always ends up getting people killed! And then some dickhead probably religious himself puts the blame on Evolution!? Absolute bullshit! Assholes like this should be slapped in the face with a fish! Wake up!

    1. Personally, I think a heavy edition of “On The Origins of the Species” with iron studs on it’s cover would work better, but yeah, I agree.

    2. I agree, but not what you think religion is! There is religion such as evolution.. note the Mars failure to find microbial life, and then there is what is called faults religion that does not really exist. Why? A religion is what it is., a religion!

      So what do I mean? The leaders of religion put Christ on the cross! They had much control of the people. You know, like those who lost the Nam War for us! We won the battles.. served our country, but lost the political war in our own country!

      What I am saying that Christ said is simple. Christianity is not a religion if it is real. It is a relationship with God.. not believe? Christ said, challenge what He said.

      1. We’re waiting, Virgil, for your evidence that demonstrates the existence of this god you speak of.

  10. I don’t know how anyone can possibly have grounds to blame these tragedies on evolution. Unless the gunman specifically stated that a belief that he and others are glorified apes is what caused him to open fire.

    Even an ape wouldn’t go around shooting people although he could probably be taught to operate a gun

    1. I really have not seen much about using evolution as a motive in this shooting. I am online checking things out and see little. I do not agree with evolution because it has to take away 63% of the facts to support it. That is sad for science. I will not get into that as the evidence would take a book. We have not the room here, although we can say we are not evolved from a rodent that has over 91% of our DNA. Things are more complicated that just the DNA!

      Where did you see this evolution blame? I can totally blame our schools for it, and it is not an evolution thing or a creation thing! I was overseas for over 6 years and the parents did not want to be responsible. We had 22 children in our neighborhood. 17 girls and 5 boys. These parents came to me to spank there children! True! When I told them I would not do their job and if they act up, would tell them.. they looked sad! They wanted a scape goat to do their job!

      We need to note, by the recent Italian invasion of a man that wants to tell the truth, we are wrong! This man, forgot his name in the news, parents are not sure! Yet they want help. Europe is in trouble, financially because of how they raised their children! Financially I cannot even support with gifts, my own grandchildren! Now gas is at 4 bucks a gallon. Obama crap hs it’s price!

      1. Not quite as funny as the “Hitler was a devout Communist” sketch. I would complain to you script writer if I were you.

  11. I think we need to blame these things on theists and their interpretation that THIS life is meaningless and irrelevant. Religion implies that one can get away with anything in this life as long as one repents before death and then their god forgives one for eternity.

    Blame it on that awful illogical dogma.

    1. Even if some people were inclined to behave differently based on their perception of evolution as opposed to a vicious retribution seeking god, that doesn’t make evolution any less true.

  12. Just as a side note; people are saying you expect to be safe in a cinema. As a matter of fact I have sat in a cinema and thought to myself; this would be a great place for a terrorist to go crazy…we’re all sitting ducks in here.

    1. Not really, if you get paranoid like that then nowhere is safe. Even if metal detectors, profiling and security fondling are implemented in every cinema/school et cetera then you’re still a sitting duck simply walking in a park.

      1. A further sidenote, I guess – I have yet to hear how he got in. Apparently thru the emergency exit door, but had he jammed the lock open beforehand?

        1. A recent news report stated that he bought a ticket and left through that side door, propping it open. He went to his car that he had parked close by and got his armour and guns and returned to the theatre.

      2. Not really, if you get paranoid like that then nowhere is safe.

        But nowhere is “safe.” Everywhere has some degree of risk associated with it. What you choose to do about that risk is what marks you as being paranoid or not.
        Starting at the lowest levels of risk, you’ve got the likelihood of literally astronomical events. A dinosaur-killer scale of asteroidal or cometary impactor, or more disputably something like a GRB going off in our vicinity. That’s probability of around one in a million per human lifetime. And there’s not a lot that we can do about it, apart from getting some naked apes off this mud ball, in sufficient numbers to have a credible chance of species-level survival.
        Higher likelihood (one in a half-million to one in a hundred thousand) events are things like a supervolcano (Yellowstone) or a regionally-devastating impactor. Again, there’s not a lot you can do about the impactor, but Yellowstone you can cease to worry about by simply not being anywhere nearby, and paying attention to the seismographs. I get text messages from the USGS “BigQuake” server, and I reckon that’ll give me several days head start on the masses, which is all I need.
        Moving on up ; I’m house hunting at the moment. I have reviewed the acceptable sites for our new house (not worried the wife about this ; just rejected some areas out-of-hand without discussion) and flooding is not a risk (30m of freeboard from the river ; site slope of 3-5degrees) ; reviewing recent tsunami activity (around 3/10k years, running up 5 to 10m from the coast) leaves me confident that it’s not something we have to worry about immediately. If the Storegga Slide lets go again, we should be OK from the initial tsunami, though the economic backwash if we lose the Netherlands isn’t going to be pretty. I put that range of events at 1/4 to 1/2% over the lifetime of the mortgage ; I’m looking at prices for tsunami insurance and the UK insurance market hasn’t cottoned onto it. Yet.
        Bigger threats … I have vehicle insurance, of course. Between 1 and 2% of my colleagues have died in helicopter crashes and fires at work, so I take my flight safety and fire safety very seriously (5 in-flight emergencies over a 25 year career keeps me on my toes ; fire drills are routine at work).
        I’m not paranoid. But the universe really is trying to kill me, and I’m damned if I’m going to let it succeed!
        America has some extremely dangerous attitudes to guns. Since I’ve no need to go there, I don’t. No problem.
        Lou@1 above is exactly the first thing that passed through my mind too.

        1. Technically speaking you are correct.

          Though precautions can’t guarantee
          safety. A paranoid person living in
          a fallout shelter who commutes to
          work in a tank, wears a helmet and
          a bulletproof vest when making love,
          a mouthpiece so one’s tongue isn’t accidentally bitten off when
          sneezing, a gasmask for fear of
          breathing in impure oxygen, follows
          acrobat lessons to dodge dangerous
          vehicles… is equally unsafe as me.

          You can significantly reduce the risk of
          a situation panning out in a certain way
          in one particular setting, yet all the varying preventions you thought of & installed may be trumped by improvisation
          or rendered useless by a change of setting.

          I get that everywhere has varying types & degrees of risk associated with it, but never visiting the United States because of
          the weapon laws is rather xenophobic since
          you probably have the same odds of getting
          shot in Europe or Asia. It is just an illusion of safety, vehicle insurance is
          too unless it prevents drivers from dying
          in car crashes like alcohol-detection devices do.

          1. but never visiting the United States because of the weapon laws is rather xenophobic since you probably have the same odds of getting shot in Europe or Asia

            More colleagues of mine have got shot in America for getting out of their taxi on the wrong street (“Something Street”, when the staff house was on “Something Boulevard” it seems) and doing the obvious thing when they realised their mistake of asking at a house to use a telephone to call another taxi. But the brain damage that the survivor had meant that no reports were terribly coherent.
            Apparently, in Texas the appropriate response to someone knocking at your door at night is to shoot repeatedly through the door at the callers. Great ; really encouraging. Xenophobia like that, I can live with. Meanwhile, in other news, I was also getting worried by the prospect of spending several years in a Somali pirate’s den on a job last year, when a 30m supply boat got captured 40 miles from our location. But I’d got far better reason to be in East Africa than I have in America, which makes the risk justifiable (to me).

  13. A couple of points:

    1) You always hear “but he was such a nice man…” in the initial interview. I’m not equipped to explain the underlying psychology. I would if I could. I’ve heard normalcy bias and self esteem lies for explanation. When a professional continues the interview, that’s when all the missed warning signs come out.

    2) I realize that the ghouls and their totally inappropriate public statements have become part of the ritual but I have an increasingly hard time keeping my cool when I hear them. Has anyone else noticed that Gohmert (R-TX) not only dragged out the “blame Aurora on secularism” trope, he also signed the Bachmann Huma Abedin screed?

    1. “but he was such a nice man…”

      Years ago the Onion did a story about police raiding the home of a nice, quiet guy only to find out that he hadn’t done anything wrong… people were baffled.

      What really bothers me about this, and it’s regardless of political leaning, is the number of mildly eccentric people about to get their lives disrupted after ‘well meaning’ , frightened (or both) outsiders report them.

          1. Sorry Jay. I wasn’t at all clear.

            I was referring to your very last point about frightened citizens reporting on each other.

            So that’s where I want the sanity and balance: in our interactions with each other.

  14. Every time something like this happens, I want to punch Americans in the face. Why? Because the argument gets pulled away from the real issue – gun laws! Fingers immediately get pointed at science being at fault, at violent games and movies being the cause, or even religion in some cases, but noone in the USA seems willing to ever say, “Hey, maybe we need tighter gun laws?” Why? Because Americans LOVE their weapons!

    We had one major massacre in Australia, the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, were 35 people were killed. What happened after this? Sure, the usual finger pointing, but immediately the government introduced much tighter gun laws. We still have the occassional shootings, random drive by acts in bikie gangs and such, but you never hear about Australian kids walking into cinemas, schools, universities, malls, and shooting the crap out of the place!

    People need to stop pointing the finger where it doesn’t belong for a change, and start having a real discussion about whether or not you really need to own that arsenal of weapons for “home protection”. Oh, but I forget, it’s an American right to bear arms.

    How many times does this need to happen before the US will wake up?

    So sad.

    1. Yeah, let’s ban guns so that rapists, serial killers, and burglars no longer have to worry about their prey fighting back. And never mind the fact that nobody wants to ban alcohol, even though drunk drivers kill way more people than guns, nah, let’s just ban the evil guns and watch the body counts rise until we suddenly remember a very basic fact; Prohibition didn’t work, the war on drugs doesn’t work, and gun control won’t work. Seriously; can we just stick to the topic at hand?

      1. So, your hypothesis is that in countries with tighter gun control than the US, the incidence of rape, serial killing, burglary, &c., is higher than in the US?

        Do you have any evidence that shows this is true?

        /@

        1. I can’t find any. Both sides claim that it’s higher/lower, but none of the sites offer conclusive data. However, if gun control is effective, can you give me a stat where implementing it drastically reduced violent crime in any country? And how about a reason why alcohol shouldn’t be banned since drunk drivers kill thousands of people every year. In addition, how would you put into action? Law-abiding citizens may turn in their firearms, but I doubt criminals will. What do you do about that and the black market?

          1. And how about a reason why alcohol shouldn’t be banned since drunk drivers kill thousands of people every year

            Wut? So you’re saying it is perfectly legal in the US to drive while intoxicated with alcohol?

          2. The debate about gun control is not necessarily about a gun ban. This is the problem with every conservative argument: they are always slippery slope arguments fearfully pronouncing that even the slightest compromise will automatically and inevitably lead to extreme consequences.

            Is your freedom to drive a car denied? The ownership and operation of motor vehicles is controlled by a set of policies designed to allow citizens transportation utility while also protecting public safety against excess. You car is registered and you need a license to operate it. You are required to carry insurance, and you must comply with traffic regulations that include speed limits. You can’t drive large busses, trucks without special training and licenses. And you can’t operate special high performance vehicles like formula one or indy racers on highways. Yet you can buy a wide variety of very nice cars and freely go where you need to go. Do you experience extreme anxiety and suffer from the unbearable government tyranny because you must comply with some limitations on automobile ownership and operation?

            Gun control does not mean banning all guns; it means arriving at some common sense compromises between safety and freedom. Automatic weapons, high powered assault rifles, high capacity magazines are weapons whose sport or self-defense uses are questionable. They are designed to kill lots of people in a context of military combat. I own some hand guns, semi-automatic pistols with magazines ranging from 8 to 15 round capacity. They are for self-defense in my home, because at one point a few years ago I believed my life was under threat from someone of questionable sanity. I was amazed (and quite frankly frightened) at how easy in my state of New Mexico it was to buy a gun. The computerized background check took 5 minutes at most. I bought my first pistol during my lunch hour. I practiced frequently (over 5,000 rounds fired) and also got a concealed carry permit, though I have rarely carried my weapon. I felt like rather than living in fear I had taken control of the situation in a reasonable way, and I felt safer because of it. And I found I enjoyed going to the range and improving my marksmanship, though I’ve since become a bit bored with that over time. I rarely go to the range any more, but I still keep a weapon loaded with defensive rounds in my home and in my car.

            In spite of that, I would readily support restrictions or bans on high capacity magazines, assault rifles, tear gas canisters, body armor, and other military grade equipment that is not necessary for self-defense. I would also readily support technology (existing but opposed by the NRA) that stamps a serial number identifying the gun on cartridges when they are fired. This would greatly assist police in investigating gun related crimes. Any other improvement or compromise that would reduce gun crime should be considered on its merits.

            We live with a variety of common sense restrictions of time, place, and manner on our first amendment free speech rights. We can do the same with our second amendment rights, without being paranoid that Hitler will rise again in America. The 2nd amendment was drafted at a time when weapons were single shot barrel loaded muskets. It was also clearly written with the intention of being able to quickly and efficiently to raise a militia to defend the state. It’s intended purpose is now obsolete.

            In America there are different attitudes and needs in the urban and rural context. The NRA, by serving the interests of the gun manufacturers and advocating a no-compromise no-restriction policy in every context is doing the country a grave disservice. Anyone who listens to and is persuaded by Wayne La Pierre’s paranoid raving is an idiot. In my area there is a stupid bumper sticker I see often: “In 1935 Hitler banned guns”. This is the kind of stupid nonsense that gun nuts take as a profound and unbeatable argument. Of course, in 1935 Hitler had a mustache, Hitler pulled his pants down to shit, Hitler ate potatoes and had sex. Therefore doing anything that Hitler did will obviously lead to disaster and holocaust. QED morons.

            Sorry this is so lengthy, but having grown up in California and later moved to New Mexico gives me some perspective on both sides of this argument. Even as a gun owner who appreciates the right of defending my home and my life, I still get really pissed off at outspoken gun advocates and the NRA. There needs to be policy flexibility between urban and rural environments, but uniform federal laws are in important part of the equation, provided they don’t go too far. If a state implements some limitations, and unregulated weapons flow in from neighboring states it defeats the purpose. I believe this fact accounts for most or all “failures” in gun control that gun advocates like to point to. The policies can’t be effective if they are a patchwork. There needs to be some uniformity and cooperation between states and between manufacturers, gun dealers and gun shows, and law enforcement. This debate does not need to be between one extreme or the other. There are practical improvements that are possible if the right-wing would stop acting as if any compromise on guns is absolute tyranny.

            1. Well stated. The biggest problem when it comes to gun control in the US is there tends to be no coherent argument among the 2nd Amendment absolutists. Gun control does not mean the abolition of the 2nd Amendment, but to hear the likes of the political arm of the NRA, if you have to wait a couple days before you can complete the purchase of a gun, or if you cannot legally possess an assault rifle for personal reasons, or you are expected to have some sort of training to carry a gun in public (yes, I’ve actually heard people complain about needing a concealed-carry permit)–in short, if you do anything that is not 100% “All guns, all the time”, well you are practically pissing on the graves of the Founding Fathers. It’s a frustrating attitude, all the more so because it is so pervasive in American culture.

        1. So replying to someone going off-topic means that I’m the one going off-topic, and not them? Uh huh.

      2. I don’t believe I said ban guns, I don’t believe I related gun control to the incidence of rape, burgulars, to people fighting back and in fact pointed out that we still have shootings in Australia. I grew up on a farm shooting guns my self, I am familiar with them.

        Prohibition doesn’t work but why is talking about gun control such a no-no topic? The kid had tear gas to throw in there, where the hell did he get that from? With stricter gun laws, if someone really wants a gun, they will find it, but at least with some control it COULD become harder to access and POSSIBLY even make some people aware that something hanky is going on with this kid who is asking for a hand grenade, or hollow point bullets. Just saying maybe.

        I’m not saying it’s a solution, I am just saying that it doesn’t ever seem to be a topic of conversation along with blaming Chuck Darwin or God.

        I am fully aware that guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but guns do make it a heck of a lot easier.

        1. Tear gas, he may have got from some military surplus site. I don’t know of any place that sells it, but then again, perhaps he made it himself. It’s the body-armor I found strange; where do you get SWAT armor? That’s almost like having a machine gun.

          “With stricter gun laws, if someone really wants a gun, they will find it, but at least with some control it COULD become harder to access and POSSIBLY even make some people aware that something hanky is going on with this kid who is asking for a hand grenade, or hollow point bullets. Just saying maybe.”

          Sorry, I seem to have misinterpreted your original post. I apologize for that. But I’ve been saying for some time that they should force people who wish to buy guns to undergo a psyche evaluation of some sort, to make sure you’re not arming a paranoid psychopath. Of course, I doubt neo-cons will take kindly to that; they’ll say… well, whatever Glenn Beck tells them to, I guess.

          1. I just read about the body armour, I guess if you really want anything there is a way to get it somewhere – like you mentioned about the black market, there are things out there!

            I don’t think I was clear enough in what my original post mentioned, but I agree with you, people buying guns should be evaluated of course, but again, that’s only going to cover the people obtaining weapons legally – it’s the illegally obtained ones that cause the problem. I’m glad we could have a discussion about this – I don’t profess to have any answers at all though, it seems too difficult to handle for me!

            It’s not an easy situation to fix, but then again no situation seems to be.

            1. “It’s not an easy situation to fix, but then again no situation seems to be.”

              Isn’t that the truth? From education to the economy, everything is messy and convoluted. But, we’ve solved many problems in the past, and will continue to do so for as long as we can.

            2. “that’s only going to cover the people obtaining weapons legally – it’s the illegally obtained ones that cause the problem.”

              No. Holmes acquired his guns quite legally and caused a very big problem. And, legally acquired guns contribute to the supply of illegal ones when they’re stolen, etc.

    2. Don’t fall for the lie that the Australian gun laws are effective at foiling murderers like the one in Tasmania. The only reason there hasn’t been another such event is that these are extremely rare events to begin with. A lot of people have the entirely wrong idea about what Australia’s gun laws are about.

    1. I doubt if such statistics will make headway in the US. “Shoot first and ask questions later, if at all” seems to be ingrained in the American psyche.

    1. I took a look and left crossed-eyed and scratching my head over the American anti-health-care and anti-business-leg-up rhetoric

      1. My bad..I see what you’re doing there James (helps if I read your articles rather than skim). You are right, people who claim to be christians and yet are against caring for the poor are the antithesis of Jesus message in the gospels. But I digress.

      1. *gasp* Only an evil secular evil-lutionist country would have a town called Hell! Run away! Run away!

  15. Believe it or don’t, but I know someone who is convinced that the shooter in this case was paid to do it by the evil libruls in order to get Obama re-elected.

    (Yeah, I’m missing a logic step or two in there myself…)

    He’s got the same theory about the Colorado wildfires of a few weeks back.

    1. Here’s my question then: since the president is elected NATIONWIDE, why the hell are the “libruls” focusing so much on Colorado? Shouldn’t they be plotting these kinds of disasters and tragedies across the country, or at the very least, the swing states?

      1. Because Colorado Springs, CO, is known as the “Protestant Mecca.” Numerous groups like Focus on the Family are centered there, joining forces to evangelize and proselytize and turn the entire world into Christians. Google “seven mountains.” Incidently, they apparently chose that site to be close to the United States Air Force Academy, where they’ve developed quite the history of arm-twisting proselytization through military ranks and around the chaplaincy, in breach of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

        1. I better clarify: Liberals aren’t targeting Colorado — at least, not to my knowledge — but claiming they are gives propagandistic encouragement to those inside the Protestant Mecca and all their extensions throughout the US.

  16. Wherever tragedy strikes there is always a preacher at hand who smells a PR opportunity. I prefer the company of most animals to that of such parasitic scumbags.

    1. Just read your Bible. Whenever the nation of Israel fell into a bad way there was always a ‘prophet of god’ to declare was because something they (or more likely, just a few people) were doing that pissed God off.

      1. That is a good point that needs to be repeated. This kind of “explanation/blaming” has been going on in Christianity for hundreds and hundreds of years. It is an evil and flagrant use of fear mongering used to rally the “faithful” to these religioius leaders and their own insidious beliefs. This is the face of the self-righteous community that is evangelical Christianity. Another person’s horrific experience/demise is for them an opportunity to claim how right they are. It’s just sick.

  17. Rick Warren makes an excellent point, especially in light of the fact that religious people never kill anyone.

  18. Holmes began buying guns more than four months ago, carefully booby-trapped his apartment, got tear gas or pepper canisters, a gas mask, a bullet-proof vest; dyed his hair red and dressed in black SWAT-like garb. He bought a ticket, left the theater by an emergency exit which he carefully left partially open to allow his return. He went to his car, got his guns and ammo, dressed and came back into the theater. Reports of survivors tell of how methodical his shooting rampage was. Perhaps Rick Warren should hold him up as a clear example of a “purpose driven life”.

    1. Andreas,you’ll have to acknowledge the admirable restraint of present legislation, which allows the acquisition by civilians of the AR-15 semi-automatic version only, not the fully automatic M16.

      As the article you linked to makes clear, the AR-15 will not deliver more than one discharge per trigger action, except in the not infrequent case of malfunction, a situation described by the Wikipedia authors as “poignant” for AR-15 owners.

      Should such a malfunction be verified in the present case, I fully expect the NRA to support the defendant in legal action against the manufacturers of the AR-15.

      But ultimately, the only way of avoiding malfunction is to provide public access to the reliable, fully automatic M16.

  19. From the AP via Raleigh News and Observer:

    A longtime neighbor in San Diego, where Holmes grew up, remembers only a “shy guy … a loner” from a churchgoing family. In addition to playing soccer at Westview High School, he ran cross country.

    Guess Rick Warren read the “a churchgoing family” part?

  20. Believing you’re just another animal and acting like it is preferable to being like Rick Warren who believes he’s better than the other animals when he’s really much worse. I still haven’t discovered what other animals engage in random shootings.

    1. There is also the small matter of logic:
      Accepting Warren’s premise that students act the way they are taught, the implication is that they have no free will.

      Down the drain goes the theology of sin.

      1. One reads of “disgruntled” employees and “disgruntled” students.

        Do “disgruntled” CEO’s and “disgruntled” investors exist?

        I occasionally hear of “disappointed” investors, and “disappointed” retailers during the Christmas shopping season.

  21. How about a pool on what Pat Robertson is going to say?

    God allowed this to happen because America has allowed:

    a) Gay marriage<– My pick
    b) no faculty-led prayer in public schools
    c) evolution to be taught

    I have a feeling Pat's going to bring the industrial strength crazy on this one.

    1. I pick A. Although it will probably be teh gheyz in general that lead to this. Remember, two service members were killed. So, it’s obvious this is a sign from God that’s he’s not happy DADT was repealed.

    2. Knowing Robertson’s penchant for saying the wrong thing, he’ll probably do something inane like peddle “memory rings” encrusted with blood diamonds.

  22. Does anyone but me find it odd that Republicans are in an absolute frenzy to combat voter fraud but not gun violence, when the latter occurs 60,000 times more often than the former?

    1. Republicans are not in an absolute frenzy to combat voter fraud. They are in an absolute frenzy to disenfranchise anyone they think might not vote Rethuglican because they know in their hearts that they are very close to losing their grip on the body politic of the USA.

      In the end, of course, it’s about putting ever more money in the pockets of the hyper-rich.

  23. Warren’s Twitter comment is extremely obnoxious. What “animal” shoots people in multiplexes—is it some new species of jellyfish? And if a proper education in evolutionary science made people more likely to commit acts of mass violence in public, then biologists would be shooting up their labs all the time.

  24. Is this a preacher from the same religion that refers to its followers as “sheep” and “flocks”?

  25. Based on age, gender, intelligence, background, and unexpected change in behavior, I’m waiting to hear whether he is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
    Meanwhile, how religious extremists must be running scared, to try pinning even this on atheism!

    1. It’s because they’re desperate. Dinesh D’Souza’s idiotic drivel about so-called “atheist regimes” has fallen flat on it’s face, so now whenever something bad happens, it’s dem evil lib’ruls and sek-u-larists. Or Darwin’s ghost possessing people; take your pick.

  26. I can’t help but think the US of A has its priorities in a mess. The Border Agency or whatever it is called is holding and threatening to fine some citizens returning from Canada with… are you ready… chocolate eggs.
    Apparently Kinder Eggs, safely enjoyed throughout Europe and Canada are verboten in the US, yet we have…. Aurora Colorado.

    I cannot comprehend this…

    http://news.sympatico.ca/oped/coffee-talk/men_held_at_us_border_over_contraband_chocolate_eggs/

    1. For the same reason cops in Fort Worth will stop an old poor black man for not making a turn signal while a drunk oil man in a Mercedes speeds by the stop and the cop doesn’t even notice. It’s all about what’s easy and what looks good on paper. And, of course, what’s infinitely inane and utterly insipid.

    1. We of course are the soul species (sarcasm). If you have a soul, you ain’t an animal. Now this is the tricky part–unless this knowledge of an unique possession of a soul is drummed into us, we are just not aware of having one and act like animals without souls. Of course this required drumming necessitates preachers, like Warren. All preachers really do of course is to keep their jobs safe. They are a despicable lot and Warren is one of the worst.

      If we really have souls and are above animals, how can being taught evolution somehow removes all traces of our being in touch with our souls?

  27. If teaching of evolution leads to mass murder, the rarity of mass murders suggests that our teaching is ineffective.

    I didn’t read all the previous posts closely. Has anyone pointed out that mass murders usually occur in gun free zones?

    1. If that theater was really a gun free wouldn’t that prevent this type of event, since no guns would have been there? He’d have had to use some other means.

      BTW — is Ft. Hood a gun free zone? For that matter, is Colorado? Does sparsely armed Japan have a big problem with gun deaths and mass murder?

      There are several factors that contribute to the high frequency of such atrocities in the USA, but surely the ready availability of deadly firearms is a big one. The carnage will not end any time soon.

    2. “Has anyone pointed out that mass murders usually occur in gun free zones?” Or that homicide rates are higher in states with capital punishment?

  28. Many years ago I read a Times magazine article about serial killers, the article stated that all serial killers came from religious homes where sex was taught to be a bad thing.

    I have never forgotten that article, I wish I had taken from the emergency room where I found it but back then it never occurred to me to take it since it wasn’t mine.

    Every time there is a mass killing I always know that the killer will turn out to be from a religious home, it never fails to be true.

    I think that something happens to these people when their brains are twisted into believing the fantastical at the expense of logic and common sense.

    To my knowledge there aren’t any atheist serial killers/mass murderers, we are very underrepresented in the prison populations as well.

  29. We are animals. And all life is the creation of a higher power. But we are the only animals who have that special spark of the divine that allows us to do the things that differentiate us from all the other animals. We can reason and think on a much higher plane than all of the other living things on this planet. We are spiritual beings struggling to live as humans. That is why thinking and living a spiritual life is so important. Our minds can be dangerous playgrounds if we do not discipline our thinking. And undisciplined thinking leads to radically insane actions.

    1. “And undisciplined thinking leads to radically insane actions.”

      To start a “radically insane actions” list, I submit the mass suicide in Guyana of that “spiritual” group headed by the “Reverend” Jim Jones.

    2. “We are animals.”

      — True!

      “And all life is the creation of a higher power.”

      — No. There’s not a shred of evidence that this is true.

      “But we are the only animals who have that special spark of the divine that allows us to do the things that differentiate us from all the other animals.”

      — Um, no. Evolved capabilities enable us to do the things that differentiate us from all the other animals. Just as evolved capabilities enable other animals to do the things that differentiate them from us? (Can you fly? Photosynthesise? Spin silk?)

      “We can reason and think on a much higher plane than all of the other living things on this planet.”

      — What exactly does “a higher plane” mean here? Our reasoning and thinking differs only in degree not in kind from other animals. Inter alia, other primates, corvids, and octopodes demonstrate remarkable problem-solving abilities; other primates (at least), exhibit moral behaviours.

      “We are spiritual beings struggling to live as humans.”

      — What do you mean by “spiritual”? We are humans, so I think it is very easy for us to live as humans. (That life is clearly a struggle for some, nonetheless. Especially those with a tenuous grasp of reality…)

      “That is why thinking and living a spiritual life is so important.”

      — Corollary to the previous question: What do you mean by “a spiritual life”?

      “Our minds can be dangerous playgrounds if we do not discipline our thinking.”

      – Playgrounds for whom? Dangerous for whom?

      “And undisciplined thinking leads to radically insane actions.”

      — Insanity tends to lead to insane actions. Undisciplined thinking may be a good thing — source of artistic creativity, for example. 

      /@

  30. Excuse the wall of text…

    I have to same, some of yall are pretty funny. I have never understood the religion of Evolution, nor that of Atheisim.

    I understand the belief, just not the unbelievable sensitivity and over the top anger vs. those that disagree.

    Some of the statements here were very amusing,”our jail population is mostly christian”, “Christians always do ****”. At no point can you put an always to mankind, we are all different. Unless your a bigot you have no business organizing anyone by any belief.

    I am sorry, but we are all different, if some moron wants to blame religion or atheism, evolution and whatnot on these shootings, oh well. Let him, hes a moron.

    I am a Christian, I dont care if you dont agree with me, you dont have to for me to be one. At no point do I think God puts a mad gunman, or a crazy killer on the loose. That is our choice, the man or womans choice, no matter what he believes or not. Period.

    So get off your booster seat, quit the preaching AT people, and accept whatever it is you accept and stop trying to force me to do the like. I will believe what I choose to believe, call me names if it makes you feel better, either way, your wasting your time.

    Mark

    Oh, one other thing mr Chris, you dont help anything. Your blog is a bunch of hateful oppinions that only cause a stir, much like Mr Warren. You both are the same ilk, getting your name out as best you can to make a buck, so stop pretending to not be a hypocrite, you both make me sick.

    1. I have never understood the religion of Evolution, nor that of Atheisim (sic).

      That’s because evolution and atheism aren’t religions. Although atheisim may be for all I know.

    2. “So get off your booster seat, quit the preaching AT people, and accept whatever it is you accept and stop trying to force me to do the like.”

    3. Mark wrote: “At no point do I think God puts a mad gunman, or a crazy killer on the loose. That is our choice, the man or womans choice, no matter what he believes or not. Period.”

      But God sits there and WATCHES gunmen mow down people in movie theaters and does nothing, when he could stop the gunman.

      Imagine there was a swat team fully outfitted in the theater at the time of the shootings. They watch Holmes shooting everyone in sight, yet they do not take any action at all, just watching.

      How do you think you, and every Christian, and every decent person would react to the inaction of the swat team? Absolute moral condemnation. But then when asked why they didn’t do anything when they could have easily stopped the gunman, the Swat team leader says: Why would we stop him? That would be interfering with his free will. It’s his choice, no one else s to mass murder people!”

      Think that would make things go down better?
      Getting the point?

      We have expectations of what decent, moral beings would do when they have the power to reduce suffering. They act. This God of yours does not act when he could and should, and deflecting this problem to our “free willed choices” nor more absolves your God than it would if someone allowed a rape because because “hey, why interfere with the rapist’s choice to rape?”

      Vaal

      1. Exactly. This free will argument is total nonsense. 22,000 children die every day on this earth—that’s one very four seconds. Many of these children have not known a single day without suffering. What the hell does their constant suffering and death have to do with free will? What could they have done to change their fate? What choices do they have?

        1. Yeah,

          “Benevolence” is a virtue insofar as it’s a disposition to do good. Pretty much every moral virtue has to do with acting.

          We all think it’s a good thing if someone is rescued from peril, but for whom do we reserve our highest moral acclaim? The people who ACT. The brave people who actually get off their asses and, often at their own peril, save someone else. That’s why they end up being cast as heroes.

          Whereas when it comes to God Christianity must turn this moral reasoning upside down.
          In that case, the Mighty Being who clearly does not act to save people when he could is supposed to deserve our highest moral praise…nay…be the very standard of morality itself!

          As usual, religions like Christianity must enter a moral funhouse, turning virtues upside down and inside out, to justify their continued worship of that ancient myth.

          Vaal

      2. Hey Vaal, great post. It really captures the emptiness of religion: the bogus appeal to free will to explain god’s evident absence. Here religion backs itself into a corner between the pretense of moral omnipotence and the narcissism of the religious person imagining themselves to be a special object of god’s love. You crushed that annoying bug. Totally nailed it with the SWAT team analogy.

        1. Thanks Jeff.

          I remember Sam Harris debating, I believe, some well known European Christian (Catholic?) writer, Irish accent I think.

          After Harris explained why it’s ridiculous to believe God exists and is Good, given the description of the Bible and given the suffering in the world, this guy said again that Harris was attacking a cartoon version of God – the “interventionist God” of the biblical literalists and fundamentalists.

          “But..” he said in the most “dear boy” condescending manner possible…”you are criticizing the cartoonish interventionist God of the American fundamentalists. But that is not the God I believe in. I do not believe in an INTERVENTIONIST God…”

          Yeah buddy…THAT’S THE PROBLEM! Your God doesn’t intervene. It’s not a sophisticated answer to the problem; it’s just a re-statement of the problem.

          Vaal

  31. Believers in evolution don’t cause evil. Evil exists in the world as a reflection of Satan and his machinations. I blame that.

    1. Sorry, coach, people who understand evolution don’t “believe” in it. It’s not a religion. Belief is the hope that something is true, knowing all the while it isn’t.

  32. Technically Eric Harris did wear a t-shirt that read “Natural Selection” during the Columbine shooting spree. But he had his own interpretation of what this meant.

    People like this have a lot of anger, and they take it out on other people. That is why they did what they did. It has very little to do with religion or the lack thereof, or political philosophy.

  33. Quick question. Has anybody cared to count in what proportion of films made in America, violence, or more specifically gun violence feature?

    Just looking at the title images on iTunes, on nearly every cover somebody is holding a gun.

    This strikes me as refecting a bit of an unhealthy obsession. Do other people notice this as weel?

    1. Yes, other people notice. In the “news” media there is a saying, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Note that Warner Brothers pulled a “trailer” for “The Gangster Squad,” which had been running before showings of “The Dark Knight Rises.” “The Gangster Squad” film trailer features scenes of men armed with machine guns attacking a movie theater. A Warner representative told CNN that Warner Brothers did not plan to cancel any actual screenings. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area television news showed police “making their presence known” at local showings of the new Batman film – a photo op for what?

    2. In a truly civilized society, the depiction of illegal acts in films would be verboten.

      I know of no such country, sad to say.

      1. That would be censorship. Majority rule would make anything arbitrarily illegal and then censored. In an educated, truly civilized situation, the public simply wouldn’t support gratuitous violence by paying to see the movies.
        Make love, not war.

  34. The cousin of one of the victims said: “I hope this evil act … doesn’t shake people’s faith in God.”

    So that’s your main concern when your cousin was just murdered. This is what rational people are up against.

    1. On the other hand it does show that this person is aware that there is a problem reconciling an act like this with a good God.

  35. I take it we are allowed , Rick Warren’s world, to shoot any animal we like.

    Because they are only animals.

    So we can shoot Rick Warren’s dog or cat or horse at any time we like, with no worries that we are shooting something made in the image of God.

    It is just an animal.

  36. OF COURSE it’s the fault of evolution. If we hadn’t evolved to have big brains and handy, err, hands, we wouldn’t be able to make guns, would we? And nowhere in the Bible is there any detailed instruction on how to make guns. So obviously it’s all the fault of science.

    Or possibly it’s the fault of Batman movies. Hard to tell.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!)

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

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

            1. 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.

              /@

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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

  42. 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.

    1. 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. 😉

    2. 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

      1. 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.

        /@

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

  43. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  44. 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.

      1. 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.)

        /@

  45. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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

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

              2. 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.

          2. 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?

  46. 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.

    1. “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.

      /@

      1. 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

        1. 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! 😀

    2. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

          1. 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

            1. 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.

        2. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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

        1. 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.

        2. “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.

    4. 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

      1. 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?

          1. 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.

        1. 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.

    5. “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….

  47. 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

    1. 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

    2. “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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

  48. 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 !!!!!

  49. 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.

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

    2. “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.

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

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