"LIFE AFTER DEATH" What Is The Condition Of The Wicked? INTRODUCTION 1. So far in this series, we have concentrated our attention upon... a. The "intermediate state" of man between death and the resurrection b. In particular, the temporary state of the departed righteous 2. Stated briefly, I have tried to show that upon death the souls of the righteous: a. Are in "Paradise", which since the ascension of Christ is in Heaven with Jesus and the Father b. That they are conscious in this state of "bliss", and recognize one another 3. A passage which I understand to beautifully describe this "intermediate state" of the righteous after death is Re 7:9-17 4. In this lesson, I wish to address the following question: "What is the condition of the departed wicked?" 5. Once again, we are considering at this time only the "intermediate state" between death and the resurrection [The Bible reveals several thing about the condition of the departed spirits of the wicked. For example, they are...] I. ALIVE AND CONSCIOUS A. AS SUGGESTED BY THE STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS... 1. Recorded in Lk 16:19-31 2. Even if this story is a "parable" (which I doubt), like all parables it is "true to life", not based upon fantasy 3. The reference to "Moses and the prophets" (31) makes it clear the time frame of the story is set while the Law of Moses was still in effect, so this is a description of the "intermediate state" B. FROM THIS ACCOUNT, WE LEARN THAT THE WICKED... 1. Do not cease to exist ("he lifted up his eyes and saw") - 23 2. Are aware of where they are, and what is going on around them ("I am tormented in this flame") - 24b 3. Recognize others ("Father Abraham...send Lazarus...") - 24a 4. Remember those who have yet to follow them in death ("for I have five brothers") - 28a [Not only alive and conscious, but as already hinted at, they are...] II. IN TORMENT A. AS EMPHASIZED FOUR TIMES IN THE STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS - Lk 16:23-25,28 1. "being in torments" - 23a 2. "I am tormented in this flame" - 24c 3. "and you are tormented" - 25c 4. "lest they also come to this place of torment" - 28b B. AS REVEALED BY PETER - 2Pe 2:9 1. The Lord knows how to "reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment" 2. According to Robertson's Word Pictures, the Greek word for "under punishment" (kolazomenous) is a present passive participle; the present tense emphasizes continuity of the punishment 3. Note that the wicked are reserved under punishment "for" the day of judgment, so the punishment is something going on PRIOR to the Judgment itself [Where is this "torment" or punishment taking place? As revealed in the Scriptures, the wicked dead are...] III. IN HADES A. THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD "HADES" IS UNCERTAIN... 1. Either from IDEIN (seen) with a negative prefix A-, meaning "the unseen, invisible" 2. Or from AIANES, meaning "gloomy, gruesome" B. IN THE SEPTUAGINT VERSION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT... 1. It is used to translate the Hebrew word, SHEOL 2. Depending upon the context, "sheol" (hades) may mean... a. Simply an unseen place 1) As in Jonah 2:2 2) Where it refers to the belly of the great fish b. The grave - Gen 42:38; 44:29,31; Job 17:13; Ps 16:10 c. The realm of the dead (but not the tomb), where both good and bad go upon death 1) Gen 37:35 - How could Jacob hope to go down "into the grave" to his son (even though that is how the NKJV translates "sheol") when he thought his son had been eaten by animals? This makes me think Jacob had in mind the "realm of the dead", not the tomb 2) Ps 55:15; Pr 9:18; Isa 14:9-11 - These passages speak of the wicked C. IN CLASSICAL GREEK... 1. Homer used the word as a proper name for the "god of the underworld" 2. In other literature, it stood for "the underworld" as the abode of all the dead a. Which was divided into two parts (similar to Luke 16) b. These two parts were: 1) The "Elysian fields", the abode of the good 2) "Tartarus", the place of punishment for the wicked D. IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, "HADES" IS FOUND ONLY ELEVEN TIMES... 1. Ten times it is translated "hell" or "hades" (Mt 11:23; 16:18; Lk 10:15; 16:23; Ac 2:27, 31; Rev 1:18; 6:8; 20:13,14), and once it is the "grave" (1Co 15:55) 2. Some believe that "hades" is the realm of ALL the dead (similar to the concept of the Greeks), and made up of two separate parts... a. With Paradise (at least prior to the Ascension of Christ) for the righteous b. And Tartarus for the wicked - cf. 2Pe 2:4,9 3. Others believe the term "hades" refers only to the place of the WICKED a. That it is not clear in Lk 16:22-23 whether Hades was just the abode of the rich man, or also that of Lazarus and Abraham b. And in Ac 2:26-27, 31 we may have a case of synonymous parallelism, with only the resurrected body of Christ in view ("soul" being used to refer to the body, and "Hades" is referring to the grave, as "Sheol" in the Hebrew sometimes does) c. But remember the statement of Jacob in Gen 37:35 4. In any case, "hades" is used at least on several occasions in the New Testament... a. As the place of the wicked - Lk 16:23 b. As a place where the wicked are in torment - Lk 16:23 c. As a temporary place, to be thrown into "the lake of fire" after the Judgment - Re 20:13-14 CONCLUSION 1. Though the Scriptures may not tell us everything we might like to know about the "intermediate state", enough is revealed to make the following comparison: a. Concerning the RIGHTEOUS... 1) With God and Christ 2) In Paradise, which since the ascension of Christ is in Heaven 3) Alive and conscious 4) At rest in a state of blessedness b. Concerning the WICKED... 1) Separated from God and Christ 2) In Hades 3) Alive and conscious 4) In torment, reserved under punishment for the day of Judgment 2. In future lessons we shall consider the "eternal state" of man, both of the righteous and the wicked... a. But does this not suffice to move us to so live as to experience the blessings of the righteous and to avoid the torment of the wicked? b. If so, what are we doing about it?
The Strongest Argument Against Mark 16:9-20
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
The authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 has been the focus of much analysis and discussion over the years among textual critics and Bible scholars. While the academic interest of settling a fine point of textual criticism has been much belabored, it is important to recognize that the verses contain no teaching of significance that is not taught elsewhere. Christ’s post-resurrection appearance to Mary is verified elsewhere (Luke 8:2; John 20:1-18), as is His appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:35), and His appearance to the eleven apostles (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23). The “Great Commission” is presented by two of the other three Gospel writers (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-48), with both belief and baptism elsewhere pinpointed as prerequisites to salvation (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; 22:16; et al.). Luke verifies the ascension twice (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). The promise of the signs that were to accompany the apostles’ activities is hinted at by Matthew (28:20), noted by the Hebrews writer (2:3-4), explained in greater detail by John (chapters 14-16; cf. 14:12), and demonstrated by the events of the book of Acts (see McGarvey, 1875, pp. 377-378). So, in one sense, the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 as it relates to knowing, with certainty, God’s will for our lives is superfluous. [NOTE: For a fuller discussion of the genuinness of Mark 16:9-20, see Miller, 2005.]
In ascertaining the genuineness of a textual variant, several factors are taken into consideration. The external evidence of age and geographical diversity of Greek manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic citations are examined. Internal evidence is also weighed, taking into account transcriptional and intrinsic probabilities. The latter criterion centers on the style and vocabulary of the author in the book, as well as the usage of the author elsewhere and in the gospel accounts (cf. Metzger, 1978, pp. 209ff.).
The most persuasive piece of evidence that prompts some textual scholars to discount Mark 16:9-20 as genuine is the internal evidence. Though the Alands conceded that the “longer Marcan ending” actually “reads an absolutely convincing text” (1987, p. 287), in fact, the internal evidence weighs more heavily than the external evidence in the minds of many of those who support omission of the verses. Observe carefully the following definitive pronouncement of this viewpoint—a pronouncement that simultaneously concedes the strength of the external evidence in favor of the verses:
On the other hand, the section is no casual or unauthorised [sic] addition to the Gospel.From the second century onwards, in nearly all manuscripts, versions, and other authorities, it forms an integral part of the Gospel, and it can be shown to have existed, if not in the apostolic, at least in the sub-apostolic age. A certain amount of evidence against it there is (though very little can be shown to be independent of Eusebius the Church historian, 265-340 A.D.), but certainly not enough to justify its rejection, were it not that internal evidence clearly demonstrates that it cannot have proceeded from the hand of St. Mark (Dummelow, 1927, p. 73, emp. added).
Listen also to an otherwise conservative scholar express the same sentiment: “If these deductions are correct the mass of MSS [manuscripts—DM] containing the longer ending must have been due to the acceptance of this ending as the most preferable. But internal evidence combines with textual evidence to raise suspicions regarding this ending” (Guthrie, 1970, p. 77, emp. added). Alford took the same position: “The internal evidence...will be found to preponderate vastly against the authorship of Mark” (1844, 1:434, emp. added). Even Bruce Metzger admitted: “The long ending,though present in a variety of witnesses, some of them ancient, must also be judged by internal evidence to be secondary” (p. 227, emp. added).
So, in the minds of not a few scholars, if it were not for the internal evidence, the external evidence would be sufficient to establish the genuineness of the verses. What precisely, pray tell, is this internal evidence that is so powerful and weighs so heavily on the issue as to prod scholars to “jump through hoops” in an effort to discredit the verses? What formidable data exists that could possibly prompt so many to discount all evidence to the contrary?
Scholars direct attention to “the presence of 17 non-Marcan words or words used in a non-Marcan sense” (Metzger, p. 227). Alford made the same allegation over a century earlier: “No less than seventeen words and phrases occur in it (and some of them several times) which are never elsewhere used by Mark—whose adherence to his own peculiar phrases is remarkable” (p. 438). The reader is urged to observe carefully the implicit assumption of those who reject verses 9-20 on such a basis: If the last 12 verses of a document employ words and expressions (whether one or 17?) that are not employed by the writer previously in the same document, then the last 12 verses of the document are not the product of the original writer. Is this line of thinking valid?
Over a century ago, in 1869, John A. Broadus provided a masterful evaluation (and decisive defeat) of this very contention (pp. 355-362). Using the Greek text that was available at the time produced by Tregelles, Broadus examined the 12 verses that precede Mark 16:9-20 (i.e., 15:44-16:8)—verses whose genuineness are above reproach—and applied precisely the same test to them. Incredibly, he found in the 12 verses preceding 16:9-20 exactly the same number of words and phrases (17) that are not used previously by Mark! The words and their citations are as follows: tethneiken (15:44),gnous apo, edoreisato, ptoma (15:45), eneileisen, lelatomeimenon, petpas, prosekulisen (15:46),diagenomenou, aromata (16:1), tei mia ton sabbaton (16:2), apokulisei (16:3), anakekulistai, sphodra(16:4), en tois dexiois (16:5), eichen (in a peculiar sense), and tromos (16:8). The reader is surely stunned and appalled that textual critics would wave aside verses of Scripture as counterfeit and fraudulent on such fragile, flimsy grounds.
Writing a few years later, J.W. McGarvey applied a similar test to the last 12 verses of Luke, again, verses whose genuineness, like those preceding Mark 16:9-20, are above suspicion (1875, pp. 377-382). He found nine words that are not used by Luke elsewhere in his book—four of which are not found anywhere else in the New Testament! Yet, once again, no textual critic or New Testament Greek manuscript scholar has questioned the genuineness of the last 12 verses of Luke. Indeed, the methodology that seeks to determine the genuineness of a text on the basis of new or unusual word use is a concocted, artificial, unscholarly, nonsensical, pretentious—and clearly discredited—criterion.
For the unbiased observer, this matter is settled: the strongest piece of internal evidence mustered against the genuineness of Mark 16:9-20 is no evidence at all. Consequently, the reader of the New Testament may possess far more confidence that these verses are original than is typically given by current textual critics.
Aland, Kurt and Barbara Aland (1987), The Text of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Alford, Henry (1844), Alford’s Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1980 reprint.
Broadus, John A. (1869), “Exegetical Studies,” The Baptist Quarterly, :355-362, July.
Dummelow, J.R., ed. (1927), A Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York, NY: MacMillan).
Guthrie, Donald (1970), New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, third edition).
McGarvey, J.W. (1875), The New Testament Commentary: Matthew and Mark (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Metzger, Bruce M. (1978 reprint), The Text of the New Testament (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, second edition).
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is Mark 16:9-20 Inspired?” Reason & Revelation, 25:89-95,http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=572&article=433.
The Bitter Fruits of Atheism [Part II]
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this two-part series appeared in the July issue. Part II follows below, and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended.]
SEXUAL DEVIANCE AND PERVERSION
Not only does atheistic evolution devalue human life, it also taints many of the most important areas of human interaction. Sexuality is one area of human behavior that has been completely disrupted by the erroneous concepts of evolution and atheism. In a work he titled Ends and Means, atheist Aldous Huxley wrote:
I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently, assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find reasons for this assumption.... For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom(1937, pp. 270, 273, emp. added).
Following Huxley’s argument, if we assume that the world was not created by God, and that there is ultimately no real meaning to human existence, then we can have sex with whomever, whenever, and in whatever way we choose. Evolutionary atheism offers sexual deviance a blank check to be filled out in whatever way each “naked ape” chooses. Numerous examples can be shown in which atheistic evolution is used to explain and defend sordid sexual perversions.
RAPE AND EVOLUTION
Working under the assumption of naturalistic evolution, and knowing the ethical implications of such, Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer co-authored a book titled A Natural History of Rape, published by the MIT Press in 2000. In their preface they stated that they “would like to see rape eradicated from human life” (p. xi). A noble thought—to eradicate such a detestable practice. Their self-professed purpose is to educate their readers as to the causes of rape. They feel this education will help their readers understand rape better, and be more fully equipped to initiate programs that will prevent rape more efficiently than the current programs.
Yet, as noble as their suggested aim may be, Thornhill and Palmer embarked on an impossible task. Since they apply naturalistic, evolutionary thinking to rape, they are forced to say, in essence, that there is really nothing ultimately wrong with the practice (although they do not like it and want to see it eradicated). In the third chapter, titled “Why Do Men Rape?,” the authors note: “The males of most species—including humans—are usually more eager to mate than the females, and this enables females to choose among males who are competing with one another for access to them. But getting chosen is not the only way to gain sexual access to females. In rape, the male circumvents the female’s choice” (2000, p. 53).
Comparing humans with animal species, the authors view rape as a natural way for males to circumvent the selection process. In fact, they claim: “Human rape arises from men’s evolvedmachinery for obtaining a high number of mates in an environment where females choose mates” (p. 190, emp. added). They further state that “[e]volutionary theory applies to rape, as it does to other areas of human affairs, on both logical and evidentiary grounds. There is no legitimate scientific reason not to apply evolutionary or ultimate hypotheses to rape” (p. 55).
In their proposed “scientific” reasons why men rape women, Thornhill and Palmer suggested that in some cases heavy metals such as lead “disrupt psychological adaptations of impulse control,” which may lead to a “higher rate of criminality” (p. 58). They stated: “Lead may account for certain cases of rape, just as mutations may” (p. 58, emp. added). Thus, rape may simply be caused when a male of a species is exposed to an excess of some type of heavy metal like lead or by mutations. Sam Harris added: “There is, after all, nothing more natural than rape. But no one would argue that rape is good, or compatible with a civil society, because it may have had evolutionary advantages for our ancestors” (2006, pp. 90-91). Joann Rodgers quipped: “Rape or at least rape-like acts clearly exist in many species, giving additional weight to both rape’s ‘natural’ roots and its ‘value’ in our biological and psychological legacy” (2001, p. 412). She further commented: “Even rape, fetishes, bondage, and other so-called aberrant sexual behaviors are almost certainly biologically predisposed, if not adaptive, and may therefore be what biologists call ‘conserved’ traits, attributes or properties useful or essential to life across all cultures and genomes” (p. 11, emp. added).
The fallacy with this line of thinking is that it flies in the face of everything humans know about moral decisions. Furthermore, it transforms a vicious, morally reprehensible activity into something that may occasionally be caused by mutations or other phenomena that exempt the rapist from taking responsibility for his actions. Such “scientific” explanations for an immoral action like rape are absolutely appalling. When boiled down to its essence, as Thornhill, Palmer, Harris, and Rodgers, have so well illustrated, proponents of naturalistic evolution can never claim that any activity is wrong in an ultimate sense. This being the case, any action that a person chooses to do would be considered just as morally right as any other action, since all human behavior would be the by-product of evolution. As Darwin himself said, “A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones” (1958, p. 94, emp. added). If a man follows his impulse to rape a woman, atheists cannot say, and more and more will not say, it is wrong.
In the section dealing with abortion (in part one of this series), we noted how evolutionists often appeal to nature to justify immoral behavior. They claim that if animals can be found to exhibit a certain behavior, it is then moral for humans to engage in that behavior as well. Evolutionists have followed this line of reasoning in their defense of homosexuality. For example, the Oslo Natural History Museum opened the world’s first exhibit documenting cases of “homosexual” behavior in nature. One of the statements in the exhibit reads: “We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear—homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against nature” (Doyle, 2006).
In a Live Science article titled, “Animal Sex: No Stinking Rules,” the author wrote:
Animals flout established rules when it comes to the game of love and sex. In fact, the animal kingdom is full of swingers. Bonobos are highly promiscuous, engaging in sexual interactions more frequently than any other primate, and in just about every combination from heterosexual to homosexual unions. Mothers even mate with their mature sons.... Bonobo societies ‘make love, not war,’ and their frequent sex is thought to strengthen social bonds and resolve conflict. This idea could explain why bonobo societies are relatively peaceful and their relatives, chimpanzees, which practice sex strictly for reproduction, are prone to violence (n.d.).
Of course, the fallacy of such thinking has already been exposed. Immoral behavior cannot be justified by referring to animal behavior. Furthermore, homosexuality is certainly “against nature,” that is, the natural way that God designed humans to function. The inspired apostle Paul condemned homosexuality:
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged thenatural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (Romans 1:26-27, emp. added).
Homosexuality controverts human nature in at least two fundamental ways. First, on a basic physical, anatomical level, homosexuality disregards the natural use of the sexual organs of men and women. Males and females were designed to be sexually compatible in order to reproduce and bear offspring (see Genesis 1:28). If homosexuality was a natural, genetic occurrence (which it is not—see Harrub and Miller, 2004), the genes responsible for it would quickly disappear due to the inability of same sex couples to reproduce. Second, God designed men and women to be capable of a relationship, in marriage, unlike any other human relationship. When a man and a woman are joined together, they become “one-flesh,” a biblical phrase that describes the epitome of intimacy and compatibility (Genesis 2:23). God specifically designed Eve, and all future women, to be perfect helpers suitable for Adam and subsequent men. And, while it is true that sinful humans often fail to achieve the intimacy and oneness designed by God, it is not because of faulty design, but of people’s sinful decisions. God designed men and women to be naturally compatible both physically and emotionally. Homosexuality circumvents that inherent compatibility.
SEX BEHIND THE BIKE SHEDS
In the United States of America, one would be hard pressed to find a person who does not understand that teenage pregnancy among unwed mothers is a colossal problem in this country (as well as many others). Contributors to the official Web site of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, explain: “Despite hitting the lowest level in 30 years, 31% of teenage girls get pregnant at least once before they reach age 20” (“The National Day...,” 2008). The site further informs its readers that 750,000 teens per year get pregnant. In order to curb this destructive trend, the government sanctioned a day designated as “The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy,” the seventh annual of which occurred on May 7, 2008. Organizations that partnered in this effort included The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the March of Dimes, the National 4-H Council, and a host of other well-known groups.
In the official Teen Discussion Guide of “The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy,” the authors noted: “Sex has consequences—both physical and emotional.” They further stated: “Not having sex is the best and safest choice to prevent pregnancy...” (“Teen Discussion Guide,” 2008). In a section of the guide titled “Fact or Fiction,” the authors wrote: “Fact: Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy” (2008). It is abundantly clear that the general population of approximately 300 million people in the U.S. recognize teen pregnancy as a problem and would like to see it stopped.
The only sure solution to teen pregnancy is equally clear—total sexual abstinence among unmarried teenagers. When thinking about ideas or philosophical frameworks that would encourage such abstinence, where would one turn? The obvious answer is to the New Testament. The Bible repeatedly stresses the need for sexual purity, and condemns sexual activity outside of the marriage bond. Hebrews 13:4 makes that point abundantly clear: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” The apostle Paul admonished his readers to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5, emp. added; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:18). The New Testament clearly and consistently presents sexual guidelines that, if followed, would prevent 100% of out-of-wedlock teen pregnancy.
When attention is turned to the philosophy of atheistic evolution, the situation is much different. Not only do the logical implications of evolution not prohibit teen pregnancy, they actually encourage and justify it. In June 2006, Dr. Lawrence Shaw, deputy medical director at the Bridge Centre in London, spoke at the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (“Teenage and 60-Year-Old...,” 2006). In his speech, he explored the alleged evolutionary history of humans, and how that heritage affects present human behavior. Speaking directly to the issue of teen pregnancy, Shaw stated:
Therefore, before we condemn our teenagers for having sex behind the bike sheds and becoming pregnant, we should remember that this is a natural response by these girls to their rising fertility levels. Society may “tut, tut” about them, but their actions are part of an evolutionary process that goes back nearly two million years; whilst their behaviour may not fit with Western society’s expectations, it is perhaps useful to consider it in the wider context (as quoted in “Teenage and 60-Year-Old...,” 2006, emp. added).
Shaw’s rationale is in complete harmony with the implications of evolution, while at the same time completely at odds with what is morally justified. In Sex: A Natural History, Joann Rodgers wrote about a high school sophomore who was longing to entice the local football star into a “few stolen kisses” or a sexual “backseat tumble.” Concerning this teen, Rodgers wrote:
Her physiological need, her reproductive status, and her strategies are not altogether removed from that of the Florida black beetle, Lara the bonobo, or the castle-bound Guinevere longing for Lancelot. Athleticism and body building, one-night stands, romantic love, and jealousy, along with infidelity, monogamy, and homosexuality, are so universally demonstrable across species and cultures that they have long been presumed in large measure to have been drawn through the filter of sexual evolution and biology” (2001, p. 11).
According to evolution, promiscuous teenagers are not morally responsible for negative sexual behavior. They simply are programmed to pass on their genes to the next generation. Teenagers who are getting pregnant might not fit into “Western society’s expectations,” but they are not doing anything immoral or wrong—according to the theory. They are simply acting on their evolutionary impulses that span back some two million years, just like black beetles and bonobos.
EVOLUTION AND ADULTERY
Why would a person make a solemn vow to be sexually faithful to his spouse in a committed marriage relationship, but then break that vow and commit adultery with another person? Is there anything morally wrong with adultery? As with other deviant sexual practices, evolutionary theory explains adultery in purely naturalistic terms, absolving adulterous perpetrators of any moral delinquency. In her article titled “Are Humans Meant to be Monogamous,” Jeanna Bryner said: “Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that men are more likely to have extramarital sex, partially due to the male urge to ‘spread genes’ by broadcasting sperm. Both males and females, these scientists say, try to up their evolutionary progress by seeking out high-quality mates, albeit in different ways” (n.d.). Bryner quoted Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, who said: “We’re special in this regard [the tendency to be monogamous—KB], but at the same time like most mammals, we are a polygynous species.” Bryner then explained: “Kruger said humans are considered ‘mildly polygynous,’ in which a male mates with more than one female” (n.d.). According to atheistic evolution, adultery is not a morally debased breach of a marriage contract, but rather simply the outworking of the “evolutionary urge” to pass on one’s genes to the next generation in the most effective way possible.
Joann Rodgers noted: “Indeed, lifelong monogamy appears to be as rare in us as in the animal world, at least among the so-called alpha or most powerful males and females” (2001, p. 341). Rodgers further stated: “Other evidence for a natural tendency to infidelity emerges from how easily and simply our behavior and our biochemistry can be subverted to the game” (p. 341, italics in orig.). She paralleled human sexual behavior with studies done on birds, such as the reed warbler, bluebirds, and the pied flycatcher, as well as other animals, such as primates and prairie voles. Concerning these studies, she said that “evidence for the prevalence and reward of promiscuity in females is considerable” (p. 342). Rodgers concluded:
And in humans and most animals, adultery and infidelity—what Fisher calls “nature’s Peyton Place”—are widespread, common, tolerated, and in fact reinforced by our biology. Only if promiscuity really maximizes a woman’s reproductive edge is it worth both the risk and her having evolved those subtle deceits such as hidden ovulation and the capacity to hide or fake orgasm (p. 343).
Notice that Rodgers takes it to be a matter of fact that humans naturally commit adultery. She reasons that such is the case because adulterous females maximize their reproductive “edge.” In fact, she is so bold as to state that if adultery were not evolutionarily productive, it would not exist, and the fact that it occurs so often, both in humans and in animals, is evidence that it is beneficial as far as evolution is concerned.
What does Rodgers have to say about the feelings of guilt and shame that often accompany adulterous relationships? She admitted that “[g]uilt and shame always seem to be part and parcel of sexual cheating” (p. 341). But she suggested that “shame, guilt, and concepts of sexual moralityevolved just as surely as our tendency to stray” (p. 379, italics in orig.). Analyzing adultery, then, from an evolutionary standpoint, it is simply a natural, inherited behavior, that is often accompanied by the evolved emotions of shame and guilt, but it has several practical, reproductive advantages and that is why it persists. According to such evolutionary thinking, humans should hardly even attempt to regulate sexual activity or apply moral constraints to it. Rodgers quipped: “What seems to be the case is that human societies do best when they live and let live, up to a point, in order to keep our social responsibilities and our biological drives in some balance” (p. 353, emp. added).
Such thinking is debased and illogical. Sexual misconduct is not a product of evolution, it is the product of selfish decisions made by the parties involved. Society cannot clear its bespattered conscience with a single swipe of the evolutionary eraser. We must face the fact that we as a society are acting immorally, and we must resolve to teach the one philosophy that can remedy the situation: there is a God in heaven and we must live according to His Word.
Since sexual behavior such as promiscuity before marriage, adultery, and homosexuality are generally viewed by atheistic evolutionists as “mainstream” and harmless when involving consenting adults, most evolutionists have no problem openly declaring them to be products of evolution. Yet it is difficult, though not impossible, to find an “honest” evolutionist that will extend the logical implications of atheistic evolution to fringe, grotesque sexual behaviors such as pedophilia. In truth, if adultery and promiscuity are nothing more than the outworking of evolutionary urges, are not all sexual behaviors? Who is to say which behaviors are “moral” and should be maintained, or which ones are “immoral” and wrong? Such is the quagmire into which evolutionists have plunged themselves.
In a chapter titled “Bad Sex,” Joann Rodgers wrote: “In addition, even the criminal justice system is coming to recognize that while pedophilia and other forms of exploitive sex must be punished in order to protect victims, the perpetrators may also be victims—not necessarily of any abuse but of their biological predispositions” (2001, p. 429, emp. added). She then quoted psychiatrist Fred Berlin, who said: “Nothing in the research suggests that perversions are ‘volitional’ or that their expression is a failure of self-control” (p. 429, emp. added).
Notice the implications involved in these statements. Pedophiles allegedly are victims of their biological predispositions. Furthermore, their actions are not “volitional” (based on their own choices or freewill), nor are their actions a failure to control their urges. One has to wonder why, then, such behavior should be punished. If it is not volitional, or controlled by a person’s will, we cannot expect punishment to alter the behavior. Furthermore, if pedophilia is not a lack of self-control, why would we expect punishment to hinder those contemplating committing such acts in the future? If pedophiles are biologically predisposed to sexual perversion, cannot will themselves in any other direction, and are not suffering from a lack of self-control, punishment can neither change their behavior nor discourage them (or others) from future involvement in it. If evolution is true, then all sexual behaviors, including pedophilia, homosexuality, necrophilia, bestiality, polygamy, and promiscuity are equally “moral” options. As Rodgers wrote:
In the origin and development of species, no surviving component of sex, can be considered unnatural or unnecessary. All aspects of sex observable in animals today, no less than sexual reproduction itself, are what biologists and psychologists call “highly conserved.” All aspects of sex are the evolutionary winners across the eons of natural selection, of trial and error. They persist in us and every other creature precisely because of their importance in survival (2001, pp. 4-5, italics in orig.).
ATHEISTS’ SEXUAL AGENDA
Not only is sexual perversion and promiscuity a direct and logical implication of atheistic evolution, but such sexual laxity is one of the primary aims of the atheistic community. In 2007, atheistic writer Christopher Hitchens wrote a book titled god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Hitchens has been critically acclaimed as “one of the most prolific, as well as brilliant, journalists of our time,” according to the London Observer. The Los Angeles Times stated that he is a “political and literary journalist extraordinaire.” In god is not Great, Hitchens repeatedly argues that biblical sexual purity and monogamous sexual fidelity are not only undesirable, but actually destructive. In his list of four irreducible objections to religious faith, he included that faith “is both the result and cause of dangerous sexual repression” (2007, p. 4). Just six pages later, he wrote that it is absurd to think that someone could know that there is a God and “to know what ‘he’ demands of us—from our diet to our observances to our sexual morality” (p. 10). Later in the book, Hitchens wrote:
The relationship between physical health and mental health is now well understood to have a strong connection to the sexual function, or dysfunction. Can it be a coincidence, then, that all religions claim the right to legislate in matters of sex? The principle way in which believers inflict on themselves, on each other, and on nonbelievers, has always been their claim to monopoly in this sphere (p. 53).
In opposition to the “sexual repression” that Hitchens assigns to all religions, he stated: “Clearly, the human species is designed to experiment with sex” (p. 54). He also stated: “Sexual innocence, which can be charming in the young if it is not needlessly protracted, is positively corrosive and repulsive in the mature adult” (p. 227).
In his final chapter titled “The Need for a New Enlightenment,” Hitchens concluded his book with a plea to banish all religions. He wrote:
Above all, we are in need of a renewed Enlightenment, which will base itself on the proposition that the proper study of mankind is man, and woman.... Very importantly, the divorce between sexual life and fear, and the sexual life and disease, and the sexual lifeand tyranny, can now at last be attempted, on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse (p. 283, emp. added).
From Hitchens’ writings, it is abundantly clear that one of his primary purposes for getting rid of God is so he, and those who adopt his atheistic propositions, can “experiment” sexually as evolved animals without any fetters of conscience. [NOTE: Many of the religions that Hitchens discusses are guilty of approving unbiblical injunctions regarding sex that deserve denunciation, such as forbidding to marry. Hitchens’ point, however, is clear: all religions, including New Testament Christianity, should be abolished so that no sexual restrictions hinder unregulated sexual experimentation.]
Hitchens is certainly not alone in his desire to see atheism propel human sexuality into an unregulated realm of experimental promiscuity. Militant atheist Sam Harris, in his Letter to a Christian Nation, attempted to explain to Christians that sexuality has nothing to do with morality. He wrote:
You [Christians—KB] believe that your religious concerns about sex, in all their tiresome immensity, have something to do with morality.... Your principle concern appears to be that the creator of the universe will take offence at something people do while naked. This prudery of yours contributes daily to the surplus of human misery (2006, p. 26).
Harris further commented that “any God who could concern Himself with something as trivial as gay marriage...is not as inscrutable as all that” (p. 55).
Other atheists have advanced the banner of sexual anarchy into realms such as pornography. David Mills, in Atheist Universe, titled chapter nine “Christian Fundamentalists and the ‘Danger’ of Internet Porn” (2006, p. 190). In that chapter, Mills extrapolates from his atheistic philosophy that pornography is harmless and morally neutral. He stated: “When viewed in historical perspective, it is difficult to believe that teenage males are genuinely harmed by sexual images.... No credible sociological or psychological study of this question has discerned any harmful effects whatever of a teenage male’s viewing photos of nude women or of adult copulation” (p. 197). Mills further proposed that senseless religious moralizing is to blame for the fact that pornography has ever been stigmatized as immoral. He brazenly asserted: “When all the religious and moralistic blathering is dismissed, opponents of internet porn have failed utterly to document any empirical ‘harm’ to teenage males...” (p. 198).
Mills is demonstrably wrong in his assertion that no documented empirical evidence verifies that teenage males are harmed by pornography. Numerous studies document that, among other deleterious effects, viewing pornography “can lead to anti-social behavior,” “desensitizes people to rape as a criminal offence,” and “leads men and women to experience conflict, suffering, and sexual dissatisfaction” (Rogers, 1990). According to one study of rapists, half of those surveyed “used pornography to arouse themselves immediately prior to seeking out a victim” (1990). In addition, heavy exposure to pornography “encourages a desire for increasingly deviant materials which involve violence, like sadomasochism and rape” (1990).
Mills, Hitchens, Harris, and many of their fellow atheists are attempting to strip away all moral “regulations” from human sexuality. Make no mistake: atheism justifies sexual conduct of any kind, and those atheists who understand this point are demanding that all societal regulations on sex be abolished. As Joann Rodgers aptly summarized:
Animals, insects, and bacteria, with their multiple desires, mutinous genders, alternative sex lives, and sometimes violent mating habits, behave in ways that we humans, in our arrogance, consider graceless if not immoral. And yet what we may consider profane in nature is indeed profound.... With evolutionary biology as our guide, however, we are better able to see what has long been concealed in our nature and nurture, and that the profound is not at all profane (2001, pp. 40-41, emp. added).
THE ATHEISTIC OBJECTION
Of course, atheists do not sit idly by while their philosophy is accused of grotesquely immoral implications. They fire back with the idea that millions have been abused, tortured, and murdered at the hands of “Christians.” Atheistic apologists then proceed to detail horrible crimes that took place during the Salem Witch Trials, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition. David Mills wrote: “The Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch burnings, the torture of ‘infidels’ were all carried out in the name of the Christian God. While it is unfair to hold Christianity responsible for perversions of its teachings, it is nonetheless indisputable that, historically more people have been slaughtered in the name of the Christian religion than for any reason connected to atheism” (2006, p. 48). Hitchens’ book god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything contains copious examples of crimes against humanity perpetrated in the name of religion. The second chapter of his book is titled “Religion Kills.” In it, he discussed several countries he visited. He stated: “Here then, is a very brief summary of the religiously inspired cruelty I witnessed in these six places” (2007, p. 18). The paragraphs that follow that statement document multiple tortures and murders done in the name of specific religions.
Hitchens and others can easily document atrocities performed in the name of religion. But does this prove that all religion is false, and that if a person can spot a flaw or comprehend a fallacy in one religion, then he has effectively disproved the validity of all religions? Absolutely not. Can you imagine what would happen if this type of argument were used in other areas of life? Apply such thinking to food: since many foods are poisonous and have killed people, all foods should be avoided. Apply the thinking to electricity: since many people have died while using electricity, all electrical use is detrimental to society. Or apply it to activities like swimming: many have drowned while swimming, thus all swimming leads to drowning and should be avoided. What if the logic were applied to surgery? Since it is true that thousands of people have died during or as a result of surgery, then all surgery should be avoided, because it leads to death or is in some way physically detrimental to society. Obviously, the ridiculous idea that all religion is detrimental to society, simply because it can be proven that some religions are, should be quickly discarded by any honest, thoughtful observer.
New Testament Christianity does not stand or fall based on the validity of competing religions. In fact, Hitchens and others are right in asserting that many religions are detrimental to society. But they are wrong to lump true Christianity in with the rest of the useless lot. New Testament Christianity is unique, logically valid, historically documented, and philosophically flawless. It does not crumble with those religions that are filled with “vain babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20). Instead, New Testament Christianity, as personified in the life of Jesus Christ, shines forth as the truth that makes men free (John 8:32).
Furthermore, it should be noted that atheism is not discredited based on the behavior of its adherents. Some atheists are kind to others, hard-working, and considerate. Does this prove that atheism is true? No. On the other hand, some atheists shoot their classmates because they consider them less fit. Does the brutal, immoral behavior of these individuals discredit atheism as a philosophy? Not necessarily. No philosophy can be correctly assessed based solely on the behavior of those who claim to follow it. Hitchens correctly stated: “The first thing to be said is that virtuous behavior by a believer is no proof at all of—indeed is not even an argument for—the truth of his belief” (2007, pp. 184-185).
Having said that, we must hasten to state that a philosophy can be correctly assessed by considering only the behaviors which are based on the correctly derived, logical implications of the philosophy. In regard to the crimes done in “the name of Christianity,” even atheists admit that such crimes were justified by twisting the teachings of the New Testament. Notice that Mills conceded: “While it is unfair to hold Christianity responsible for perversions of its teachings, it is nonetheless indisputable that, historically more people have been slaughtered in the name of the Christian religion than for any reason connected to atheism” (2006, p. 48, emp. added). Harris made a similar statement: “You probably think the Inquisition was a perversion of the ‘true’ spirit of Christianity. Perhaps it was” (2006, p. 11, emp. added). An honest reading of the New Testament lays bare the lucid fact that activities such as the witch hunts and inquisitions were not behaviors based on the logical implications of the teachings of Christ in the New Testament. Jesus taught people to treat others with love, kindness, and respect—the way they, themselves, wish to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
Notice, however, that the behaviors and views decried in this series about the fruits of atheism are directly derived from a proper understanding of atheism, and are propounded by the atheists themselves. Who said that atheistic evolution destroys all moral absolutes? Who stated that parents should have the option to kill a child a month after it is born? Who proposed that humans are no better than bacteria, and that 90% of the human population needs to be eliminated? Who suggested that sexual promiscuity, teen pregnancy, rape, and homosexuality are natural products of the evolutionary process? Evolutionary atheists are the ones promoting these ideas. Radical Christian fundamentalists are not building rhetorical straw men by concocting outlandish, grotesquely immoral behaviors out of thin air. On the contrary, the immoral actions and attitudes arising from atheistic evolution are clearly spelled out and advocated by the atheists themselves. If a person who claims to be a Christian kills a one-month-old child because the child is a hemophiliac, that person violates every principle derived from an accurate understanding of New Testament teaching. If an atheist does the same, he does so with the full force of a proper understanding of atheistic evolution justifying his behavior.
The concept of God is the only rational basis for an ultimate moral standard. When the concept of God is eradicated from a philosophy or society, that philosophy or society cuts off its ability to make moral decisions. In turn, it forfeits the ability to “eradicate” such actions as rape, theft, murder, or any other immoral vice. As John Paul Sartre appropriately commented, “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself” (1961, p. 485). When the Bible succinctly stated, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’ they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1), it offered accurate, divine commentary on every person, society, or philosophy that would abandon the notion that God exists—“They are corrupt.”
In truth, the false philosophy of naturalistic evolution fails on many accounts, not the least of which is its inability to provide a foundation for ethics. The denial of a divine, ultimate standard of morality throws one into hopeless confusion about how actions such as rape should be viewed. Naturalistic evolutionists who are honest with their theory’s implications can say they do not “like” things like rape, or they think it is best that rape be stopped, or that they think it might be more beneficial to the majority for the action to be limited or eradicated, but they have no grounds on which to say it is absolutely, morally wrong.
In stark contrast to the foundationless ethics of naturalistic philosophy, the concept of God provides the perfect rationale on which to base moral determinations. There is a God who sees both “the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). He will call every person into account for his or her actions (Revelation 20:12-15). Therefore each individual is responsible to that God for any actions he or she commits in violation of His moral standard found in the Bible (Ephesians 3:3-4). Rape, murderous abortion, school slayings, genocide, and other such heinous crimes against humanity are not biological, evolutionary by-products passed down to humans from some mammalian precursor, nor are such crimes biological “malfunctions” caused by mutations. Such actions are sinful, morally reprehensible crimes against humanity and God by individuals who have chosen to ignore the ultimate moral standard God manifested in His Son Jesus Christ and recorded in His Word, the Bible.
“Animal Sex: No Stinking Rules” (no date), Live Science, [On-line], URL:http://www.livescience.com/bestimg/index.php?url=&cat=polygamous.
Bryner, Jeanna (no date), “Are Humans Meant to be Monogamous?” Live Science, [On-line], URL:http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/080319-llm-monogamy.html.
Darwin, Charles (1958), The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, ed. Nora Barlow (New York: W.W. Norton).
Doyle, Alister (2006), “Birds and Bees May Be Gay: Museum Exhibition,” [On-line], URL:http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061012/sc_nm/environment_homosexuality_ dc;_ylt=AhEiR4DtDaCUi1h7KCssWvms0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3ODdxdHBhBHNlY wM5NjQ-.
Harris, Sam (2006), Letter to a Christian Nation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf).
Harrub, Brad and Dave Miller (2004), “This is the Way God Made Me: A Scientific Examination of Homosexuality and the ‘Gay Gene,’” Reason & Revelation, 24:73-79, August, [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2553.
Hitchens, Christopher (2007), god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: Twelve).
Huxley, Aldous (1937), Ends and Means (London: Chatto & Windus).
Mills, David (2006), Atheist Universe (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).
“The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy” (2008), [On-line], URL:http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/national/default.aspx.
Rodgers, Joann (2001), Sex: A Natural History (New York: Henry Holt).
Rogers, Jay (1990), “The Documented Effects of Pornography,” The Forerunner, [On-line], URL:http://forerunner.com/forerunner/X0388_Effects_of_Pornograp.html.
Sartre, Jean Paul, (1961), “Existentialism and Humanism,” French Philosophers from Descartes to Sartre, ed. Leonard M. Marsak (New York: Meridian).
“Teen Discussion Guide” (2008), [On-line], URL:http://www.stayteen.org/quiz/assets/2008_ND_teen_guide.pdf.
“Teenage and 60-Year-Old Mums are Consequences of Evolution” (2006), European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology, [On-line], URL: http://www.eshre.com/emc.asp?pageId=795.
Thornhill, Randy and Craig T. Palmer (2000), A Natural History of Rape (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).
The Bitter Fruits of Atheism [Part I]
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
[EDITOR’S NOTE: For several decades now, evolution has received preeminent exposure throughout American culture via public schools, natural history and science museums, television programming, national parks guide booklets, popular magazines, children’s toys and clothing, movies and cinema, and the list goes on. What have been the results of such widespread, unilateral propaganda? Has the teaching of evolution exerted a positive influence on society? Have people been enriched, elevated, and enobled by the teaching of evolution? Atheistic evolutionists do not relish taking responsibility for the logical implications and consequences of their belief system. Nevertheless, read for yourself the first installment in a series on the bitter fruits of atheism and its progeny, evolution.]
On February 12, 1998, William Provine, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, took to the podium on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the second annual Darwin Day, a day dedicated to commemorating the life and teachings of Charles Darwin. In an abstract of that speech, on the Darwin Day Web site, Dr. Provine’s introductory comments are recorded in the following words: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent” (Provine, 1998). Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding human free will. Prior to delving into the “meat” of his message, however, he noted: “The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them” (1998).
It is clear then, from Provine’s comments, that he believes naturalistic evolution has no way to produce an “ultimate foundation for ethics.” And it is equally clear that this sentiment was so apparent to “modern naturalistic evolutionists” that Dr. Provine did not feel it even needed to be defended. Oxford professor Richard Dawkins concurred with Provine by saying: “Absolutist moral discrimination is devastatingly undermined by the fact of evolution” (2006, p. 301).
Comments from such high-profile evolutionists provide an excellent springboard from which to examine the logical consequences of belief in naturalistic evolution. If it is true that humans evolved from non-living, primordial slime, then any sense of moral obligation must simply be a subjective outworking of the physical neurons firing in the brain. Theoretically, atheistic scientists and philosophers admit this truth. Charles Darwin understood it perfectly. He wrote: “A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones” (1958, p. 94, emp. added). On a pragmatic level, however, when a person or group of people actually allow the theoretical idea to influence their actions, the brutality of evolution’s immorality is brought to light, and its absurdity is manifested.
DEVALUING OF HUMAN LIFE
It is an easily ascertainable fact that belief in atheistic evolution devalues human life, demoting it to the base level of animal status. Such thinking logically leads to the adoption of measures that destroy innocent human life, but are still viewed by atheistic thinkers as “moral.” For instance, in 1983, Peter Singer published an article in the prestigious magazine Pediatrics titled “Sanctity of Life or Quality of Life?” In the article, he contended that there is no moral burden to keep alive human infants who are born with mental retardation or other developmental problems such as Down’s syndrome. The entire article presents a case against the sanctity of human life, and suggests that the lives of some animals would be much more valuable than the lives of mentally retarded children. In fact, he alluded to the fact that modern, evolutionary teaching has destroyed the idea of the sanctity of human life:
We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation.... Our better understanding of our own nature has bridged the gulf that was once thought to lie between ourselves and other species, so why should we believe that the mere fact that a being is a member of the species Homo sapiens endows its life with some unique, almost infinite, value?... If we compare a severely defective human infant with a nonhuman animal, a dog or a pig, for example, we will often find the nonhuman to have superior capacities, both actual and potential, for rationality, self-consciousness, communication, and anything else that can plausibly be considered morally significant. Only the fact that the defective infant is a member of the speciesHomo sapiens leads it to be treated differently from the dog or pig. Species membership alone, however, is not morally relevant.... If we can put aside the obsolete and erroneous notion of the sanctity of all human life, we may start to look at human life as it really is: at the quality of life that each human being has or can achieve” (Singer, 72:128-129 emp. added).
In his book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins expressed the same idea when he wrote: “Notice now that ‘pro-life’ doesn’t exactly mean pro-life at all. It means pro-human-life. The granting of uniquely special rights to cells of the species Homo sapiens is hard to reconcile with the fact of evolution.... The humanness of an embryo’s cells cannot confer upon it any absolutely discontinuous moral status” (2006, p. 300, italics in orig., emp. added).
In his book Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism, self-proclaimed Darwinian James Rachels stated that when the true moral implications of evolution are understood,
human life will no longer be regarded with the kind of superstitious awe which it is accorded in traditional thought, and the lives of non-humans will no longer be a matter of indifference. This means that human life will, in a sense, be devalued, while the value granted to non-human life will be increased. A revised view of such matters as suicide and euthanasia, as well as a revised view of how we should treat animals, will result (1990, p. 5, emp. added).
He further noted: “The big issue in all this is the value of human life.... The difficulty is that Darwinismleaves us with fewer resources from which to construct an account of the value of life” (p. 197, emp. added).
According to atheistic evolution, whether a human child lives or dies should depend on the level of potential suffering, intelligence or lack thereof, mental retardation, or physical handicap. If resources are so limited that an intelligent chimpanzee and a human child cannot both be kept alive, then the child’s intelligence or threshold of suffering should be compared to the chimpanzee’s. If the chimp happens to be more “intelligent” or more capable of suffering, then the “simple” fact that the child is a human should not confer any special moral status. Thus, according to this line of thinking, it would be morally right to eliminate the human child in favor of the chimpanzee. Rachels presented this idea quite clearly:
An infant with severe brain damage, even if it survives for many years, may never learn to speak, and its mental powers may never rise above a primitive level. In fact, its psychological capacities may be markedly inferior to those of a typical rhesus monkey. In that case, moral individualism [of which Rachels is a proponent—KB] would see no reason to prefer its life over the monkey’s (1990, pp. 189-190).
The absurdity of such thinking flies in the face of everything that humans have understood to be moral. The framers of the Declaration of Independence understood the special place that humans hold. They penned the famous words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (1776). Notice that the Declaration framers believed that humans had certain rights that were “self-evident.” In fact, the framers simply recorded this idea that had been understood by humanity for millennia.
What happens when individuals, who believe that humans should not be given any special moral status, put their belief into action? James Rachels shed a sickening light on that question when he concluded:
Some unfortunate humans—perhaps because they have suffered brain damage—are not rational agents. What are we to say about them? The natural conclusion, according to the doctrine we are considering, would be that their status is that of mere animals. And perhaps we should go on to conclude that they may be used as non-human animals are used—perhaps as laboratory subjects, or as food (1990, p. 186).
Forrest Mims III is the Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science. He edits a publication titled The Citizen Scientists. On March 3-5, 2006, Mims attended the 109th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science, which was held at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Mims related the events that occurred during that meeting in an article titled Meeting Doctor Doom (2006). [Unless otherwise noted, the following quotes and facts are derived from that article.]
At the meeting, Dr. Eric R. Pianka, “the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist,” delivered a speech to about 400 attendees. Just before Pianka spoke, Mims noted that an official of the Academy was involved in a conversation with the cameraman who was recording the meeting. The conversation resulted in the cameraman pointing “the lens of his big camera to the ceiling and slowly walking away.” Mims started taking notes on the speech when Pianka began by warning the audience that most people are not ready to hear what he had to say to the assembly.
Mims noted that one of Pianka’s main points was that humans should not be given special status among other animals. “Pianka hammered his point home by exclaiming, ‘We’re no better than bacteria!’” In his speech, Pianka suggested that the Earth cannot survive the current human population increase, and that something needs to be done “to reduce the population to 10 percent of the present number.” Pianka then mentioned several ways this might occur. “His favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world’s population is airborne Ebola (Ebola Reston), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days instead of years.” The speech ended with a question-and-answer period. Mims noted: “Immediately almost every scientist, professor and college student present stood to their feet and vigorously applauded the man who had enthusiastically endorsed the elimination of 90 percent of the human population. Some even cheered.”
Of course, many within the evolutionary community did not want to connect themselves closely with the idea that an evolutionary ecologist seems to think that his evolutionary ideas need to lead to the mass destruction of five billion humans. They quickly accused Mims of misrepresentation. On April 6, 2006, Nick Matzke wrote:
The wingnut echo chamber has recently gone insane over the idea that Eric Pianka, a distinguished and much-loved ecologist at UT, advocates mass genocide by ebola in order to bring down world population. The allegation was leveled by disgruntled creationist Forrest Mims, and rapidly spread to the blogosphere via places like Dembski’s blog (three posts!) and Telic Thoughts, and then went to the Drudge Report and caused a national media firestorm appearing in my local paper by Monday morning. I smelled a rat from the beginning, and now I have been proved right. KXAN News36 in Austin, TX, has just debunked the whole thing (2006, emp. added).
Matzke’s statement that the information from News36 debunked “the whole thing” was far from the truth. In fact, in a letter dated April 10, 2006, Assistant Professor Dr. Kenneth R. Summy, the Vice-Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science, wrote:
My overall impression of Dr. Pianka’s presentation was a ‘doomsday’ message that life on earth is about to end, and the sooner the human population crashes the better. I hope he was joking or being sarcastic when he stated that a pandemic of ebola virus would be great for the earth? [sic] no sane person would really believe that (2006).
Dr. Summy further noted:
Forrest Mims did not misrepresent anything regarding the presentation. I heard these statements myself, and would be willing to bet that most of the audience attending the presentation got the same impression that I did. In my opinion, the message contained in the keynote address detracted from what was otherwise an excellent meeting (2006).
The following statements by a student “defending” Dr. Pianka add further credence to Mims’ record: “Dr. Pianka’s talk at the TAS meeting was mostly of the problems humans are causing as we rapidly proliferate around the globe.... He’s a radical thinker, that one! I mean, he’s basically advocating for the death of all but 10% of the current population! And at the risk of sounding just as radical, I think he’s right” (“Dr. Eric R. Pianka...,” 2006; see also “Revisiting...,” 2006).
Additionally, Dr. Pianka personally posted several student evaluations of his teaching. One student commented: “I don’t root for ebola [sic], but maybe a ban on having more than one child. I agree...too many people [are] ruining this planet” (“Excerpts from Student Evaluations,” 1999). Another wrote: “Though I agree that convervation [sic] biology is of utmost importance to the world, I do not think that preaching that 90% of the human population should die of ebola [sic] is the most effective means of encouraging conservation awareness” (“Excerpts from Student Evaluations”).
The fact is, Dr. Pianka’s evolutionary concepts of ecology push him to conclude that humans are no better than bacteria and that the human population needs to be dramatically reduced. As much as many of his fellow evolutionists would like to distance themselves from such radical thinking, they cannot logically do so. Atheistic evolution implies that humans are no better than bacteria. They may have more capacity to suffer, they may have more complex brains and body structures, but in the end, one living organism is only as valuable as another. If you have the moral right to destroy millions of bacteria because they are hindering the “progress” of humanity, you have the same moral right to destroy billions of humans because they are causing ecological problems for other, equally valuable, organisms on the planet.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines abortion as: “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus” (“Abortion,” n.d., emp. added). In the United States, this murderous practice has been legal since January 22, 1973, and has resulted in the deaths of more than 48 million innocent human lives in this country alone. If the abortions performed in Europe and Asia during the same time period were added to this figure, the death toll would easily reach into the hundreds of millions. Is it immoral to terminate the lives of unborn human children?
According to the atheistic evolutionary community, abortion is not an immoral practice. In fact, it is often viewed as something moral and right. One line of reasoning used to justify the practice is the idea that humans should not be treated differently than animals, since humans are nothing more than animals themselves. The fact that an embryo is “human” is no reason to give it special status. Dawkins wrote: “An early embryo has the sentience, as well as the semblance, of a tadpole.... One school of thought cares about whether embryos can suffer. The other cares about whether they are human.... Secular moralists are more likely to ask, ‘Never mind whether it is human (what does that even mean for a little cluster of cells?); at what ages does a developing embryo, of any specie become capable of suffering?’” (2006, pp. 297-298, italics and parenthetical items in orig.). Dawkins identifies himself as a “secular moralist” who would not factor into the moral equation the idea of “humanness.” How would he and other “secular moralists” decide if a human embryo should live? He noted:
A consequentialist or utilitarian is likely to approach the abortion question in a very different way, by trying to weigh up suffering. Does the embryo suffer? (Presumably not if it is aborted before it has a nervous system; and even if it is old enough to have a nervous system it surely suffers less than, say, an adult cow in a slaughterhouse.) (2006, p. 293, parenthetical item in orig., emp. added).
The modern atheistic moralist simply “weighs up suffering.” If the human embryo has not yet reached the stage at which a nervous system develops, then it is less valuable than an animal that does have a nervous system. And even if it does have a nervous system, it probably does not suffer as much as a cow in a slaughterhouse. Thus, it would be more moral to stop killing cows in a slaughterhouse than to stop allowing humans to abort their children. As atheistic writer Sam Harris noted: “If you are concerned about suffering in this universe, killing a fly should present you with greater moral difficulties than killing a human blastocyst [three-day-old human embryo—KB]” (2006, p. 30). He further stated: “If you are worried about human suffering, abortion should rank very low on your list of concerns” (p. 37).
The moral bankruptcy of such thinking is brutally obvious. Since when is the amount of suffering the criterion by which moral decisions of human life and death are made? Yet that is exactly what Dawkins and his fellow atheistic moralists contend. He wrote: “Of course, it could be argued that humans are more capable of, for example, suffering than other species. This could well be true, and we might legitimately give humans special status by virtue of it” (2006, p. 301). According to Dawkins, it would be logically permissible to kill any person as long as they do not suffer, or others (like parents or siblings) do not suffer because of their deaths. Suppose, then, a society decides that five-year-old orphans with no siblings are less than ideal and need to be eliminated. In keeping with Dawkins’ morality, if policemen sneak up behind the children and deliver an immediately lethal bullet to their brains so that they never feel any pain, then such actions could be as morally viable as killing adult cows in a slaughterhouse. Dawkins and his fellow atheistic thinkers have absolutely no grounds on which to assert that killing five-year-olds in this fashion is “wrong.”
Peter Singer admits the reality of this logical implication of atheistic evolution. In his chapter titled: “Justifying Infanticide,” Singer concluded that human infants are “replaceable.” What does Singer mean by “replaceable”? He points out that if a mother has decided that she will have two children, and the second child is born with hemophilia, then that infant can be disposed of and replaced by another child without violating any moral code of ethics. He explained: “Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would, according to the total view, be right to kill him. The total view treats infants as replaceable” (2000, p. 190).
He went on to argue that many in society would be aghast at killing an infant with a disability like hemophilia, but without good reason. He argued that such is done regularly before birth, when a mother aborts a child inutero after prenatal diagnosis reveals a disorder. He stated:
When death occurs before birth, replaceability does not conflict with generally accepted moral convictions. That a fetus is known to be disabled is widely accepted as a ground for abortion. Yet in discussing abortion, we say that birth does not mark a morally significant dividing line. I cannot see how one could defend the view that fetuses may be “replaced” before birth, but newborn infants may not (2000, p. 191).
Singer further proposed that parents should be given a certain amount of time after a child is born to decide whether or not they would like to kill the child. He wrote: “If disabled newborn infants were not regarded as having a right to life until, say, a week or a month after birth it would allow parents, in consultation with their doctors, to choose on the basis of far greater knowledge of the infant’s condition than is possible before birth” (2000, p. 193). One has to wonder why Singer would stop at one week or one month. Why not simply say that it is morally right for parents to kill their infants at one year or five years? Singer concluded his chapter on infanticide with these words: “Nevertheless the main point is clear: killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all” (p. 193, emp. added). When the logical consequences of atheistic evolution are so clearly spelled out by its adherents, the prospects are grisly indeed.
Animals Kill Their Offspring
Another line of reasoning used to justify abortion (and various other immoral practices) is the idea that since humans are animals, it is right for them to behave like animals. Charles Darwin himself proposed in a chapter of The Descent of Man: “My object in this chapter is to shew that there is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties” (1871, p. 446). Thus, it is suggested that if we can find an example of animals engaging in an activity, that would provide enough moral justification needed for humans to practice the same. Applying this idea to abortion, Barbara Burke wrote: “Among some animal species, infant killing appears to be a natural practice. Could it be natural for humans too, a trait inherited from our primate ancestors? Charles Darwin noted in The Descent of Man that infanticide has been ‘probably the most important of all checks on population growth throughout most of human history’” (1974, 185:653).
Notice that Burke recognizes the fact that humans kill their offspring, and justifies the practice by referring to “analogous” activities in the animal kingdom. Maybe, she reasons, humans kill their infants or unborn children because they inherited the murderous practice from their animal ancestors. By reasoning in this fashion, she attempts, not only to suggest that killing human infants is not morally neutral, but that it could be morally right if the practice is used to check population growth. In this regard, James Rachels wrote:
Finally, if one is nevertheless tempted to believe that humans are psychologically unique, it is useful to remember that the whole enterprise of experimental psychology, as it is practiced today, assumes otherwise. Animal behaviour is routinely studied with an eye to acquiring information that can then be applied to humans. Psychologists who want to investigate maternal behaviour, for example...might study the behaviour of rhesus monkey mothers and infants, assuming that whatever is true of them will be true of humans—because, after all, they are so much like us (1990, p. 166, emp. added).
In response to such thinking, several points need to be considered. Humans are not animals. There is no documented evidence verifying the false idea that humans evolved from lower organisms (see Harrub and Thompson, 2002). In fact, all observable evidence verifies that humans maintain a completely unique status in regard to their mental, emotional, and cognitive components (see “In the Image...,” 2001; Lyons and Thompson, 2002). To justify human behavior based on behavior observed in the animal world exhibits a grotesque ignorance of everything humans understand about morality. Ten percent of the diet of an adult Komodo dragon often consists of its cannibalizing young Komodo dragons. Would anyone be so irrationally disturbed as to suggest that, because we see infant cannibalism in Komodo dragons, it would be natural for humans to eat their young as well? Apparently so. James Rachels wrote: “The whole idea of using animals as psychological models for humans is aconsequence of Darwinism. Before Darwin, no one could have taken seriously the thought that we might learn something about the human mind by studying mere animals” (1990, p. 221, emp. added).
If all conceivable human behavior can be justified based on the idea that it mimics animal behavior, then why not abolish all laws, allow stronger humans to kill the weaker ones, allow mothers to eat their babies, allow men to murder sexual rivals, allow women to murder and cannibalize their lovers after intercourse, and simply chalk up such a deplorable situation to “nature”? The logical consequences of such philosophical justification are as obvious as they are ridiculous. The ploy to justify abortion (and other equally reprehensible immoralities) by suggesting that it is “natural” is little more than an attempt to cast aside all moral constraints and debase society to the point of mindless bestiality. Yet such is the logical result of atheism.
Death in the Name of Atheism
Not all atheists are grotesquely immoral people. In fact, many of them would be viewed as moral individuals who do not steal, murder, abuse their children, or violate laws. The point to be made is not that all atheistic thinkers are living out the logical implications of their beliefs. The point is that the philosophy of atheism logically implies that immorality is acceptable or non-existent. It is true that most atheists do not put the implications of their belief into practice, but it is also true that some do, and that their actions cannot be construed to be anything other than what they are—the logical consequences of atheistic, evolutionary thinking.
Of course, “respectable” atheists deny that people commit heinously immoral crimes at the instigation of atheism. As Dawkins has stated: “Individual atheists may do evil things but they don’t do evil thingsin the name of atheism” (Dawkins, 2006, p. 278, emp. added). His assertion is patently false. People often do evil things in the name of atheism. These people understand their evolutionary atheism to be a primary contributing factor to their evil actions, and the full weight of atheism’s logical conclusions justifies their behavior.
April 20, 1999 will go down in U.S. history as the date of one of the most nefarious, murderous criminal acts in modern times. Two teenage boys, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, after months of elaborate planning, opened fire on their schoolmates, killing 12 of their peers and one teacher, injuring 23 others, and then committing suicide. Evidence posted on the Web and in written documents showed that the two teens had concocted detailed plans to kill hundreds of students with homemade explosives, but most of their macabre plans went awry.
Hundreds of police investigators, educators, political leaders, and other professionals delved into the reasons why Harris and Klebold snapped as they did. One eye-opening aspect of the research has been the very clear connection between the evolutionary idea of natural selection and Harris’ desire to kill his fellow humans. On the day of the shooting, Harris wore a white T-shirt with the words “Natural Selection” emblazoned on it (“Columbine,” 2008). This was not coincidental, but was designed to make a statement. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Report, in a document found in his room, Harris wrote: “I would love to see all you f-------ds die. NBK. I love it! sometime [sic] in April me and V will get revenge and will kick natural selection up a few notches” (as quoted in “Columbine,” 2008, emp. added). His diary also stated: “I will sooner die than betray my own thoughts. but [sic] before I leave this worthless place, I will kill whoever I deem unfit for, anything at all, especially life” (as quoted in “Columbine,” 2008, emp. added).
In his article titled “Kill Mankind. No One Should Survive,” Dave Cullen reported extensively on the investigation surrounding the Columbine massacre. He wrote:
“They do consider the human race beneath them,” one investigator said. Harris “talks a lot about natural selection and that kind of leads into his admiration of Hitler and Nazism and their ‘final solution’—that we, the human race have interrupted or disrupted natural selection by inventing vaccines and stuff like that. In one of his writings, he talks about that: ‘It would be great if there were no vaccines, because people who should have died would have died, and we wouldn’t be perpetuating this kind of stuff’” (1999, emp. added).
The Columbine killers’ evolutionary beliefs cannot be disconnected from their brutal slayings.
Another example of this type of relationship between atheism and immoral behavior comes from Finland. An 18-year-old man named Pekka Eric Auvinen marched into his school and shot and killed seven of his schoolmates as well as the headmistress. He then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. When such gruesome carnage occurs, we naturally ask, “Why?” What would drive a young man like Auvinen to commit such horrific atrocities? In Auvinen’s case, the answer is clear.
Auvinen explained the philosophy that led him to commit this dastardly mass murder. On a Web site message board post from before the slaying, he explained that he was a self-avowed “cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and god-like atheist” (“Teen Dead...,” 2007, emp. added). He went on to state: “I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection” (2007, emp. added). There you have it. The reason he murdered eight innocent people is because he was an atheistic evolutionist who devalued human life and believed that he had the right to destroy any living being who he considered to be less fit than himself.
As much as evolutionists insist on separating themselves from such disgusting displays of immorality, the logical implications of their godlessness tie them indubitably to Auvinen’s actions. The only thing that separates Auvinen from other atheists is that he acted out the logical implications of his atheistic belief. It is high time atheism’s immorality is recognized, repudiated, and exposed for the reprehensible fruit it bears.
Jeffrey Dahmer was one of the most notorious serial killers in modern history. He murdered 17 men and boys, dismembered them, stored human body parts in his apartment, practiced homosexual necrophilia and cannibalized his victims (Dahmer, 1994, p. 10). He was convicted of 15 counts of murder and sentenced to serve over 900 years in prison. During his incarceration, he was murdered by another inmate.
When a person perpetrates such brutal and deranged crimes against his fellow man, natural questions that arise in the minds of those who hear the details include: Why would a person commit such heinous crimes? What would cause a person to become such a murderer? In Jeffrey Dahmer’s case, he supplied the world with the answer.
In 1994, Stone Phillips interviewed Jeffrey Dahmer and his father Lionel Dahmer for NBC’s Dateline. In that interview, Stone Phillips asked Jeffrey Dahmer several questions regarding the possible causes of Dahmer’s behavior. In one portion of the interview, Jeffrey explained that he took complete and personal responsibility for his actions, and his crimes could not be blamed on his parents, school, or other external circumstances. Following those remarks, Jeffrey said: “There comes a point where a person has to be accountable for what he’s done.” His father, Lionel, then asked him: “Let me ask. When did you first feel that everyone is accountable for their actions?” Jeffrey responded:
Well, thanks to you for sending that creation science material. Because I always believed the lie that evolution is truth, the theory of evolution is truth. That we all just came from the slime, and when we died, you know, that was it. There was nothing. So the whole theory cheapens life.... And I’ve since come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true Creator of the Earth. It didn’t just happen (Phillips, 1994, emp. added).
Lionel Dahmer then began to discuss the period of time during Jeffrey’s upbringing that he thought most influenced Jeffrey’s murderous behavior. Lionel said: “At that period of time I had drifted away from a belief in a Supreme Being. And I never, as a result, passed along the feeling that we are all accountable. In the end, He owns us. And that basic concept is very fundamental to all of us.”
Stone Phillips then asked Lionel: “You feel that the absence, at least for a while, of a strong religious faith and belief may have prevented you from instilling some of that in Jeff?” Lionel responded: “That’s right.” Phillips then turned to Jeffrey and asked: “Is that how you feel?” Jeffrey responded to Phillips’ question: “Yes, I think that had a big part to do with it. If a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought, anyway” (Phillips, 1994).
To what, then, did Dahmer attribute his gruesome, horrifying crimes? He simply said he believed that evolution is true, that humans arose from primordial slime, and that there is no personal accountability inherent in the theory. Dahmer understood the logical implications of atheistic evolution perfectly. Dahmer’s behavior appalls society because he had the brains and drive to put the theoretical implications into practice in real life. When he did, society was justifiably outraged at his behavior. But such outrage is justifiable only in the context of a God to Whom all people are accountable. Without such accountability, Dahmer was right to conclude: “What’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?” Dahmer is yet another example of a person who committed heinously evil crimes in the name of atheism.
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