Tuesday, November 13, 2007


A few days ago a young man walked into a high school in Finland and opened fire, killing several students. What motivated the attack? It turns out that the killer, who called himself the natural selector, was a zealous Darwinian. The following is from his website:

Today the process of natural selection is totally misguided. It has reversed. Human race has been devolving very long time for now. Retarded and stupid , weak-minded people are reproducing more and faster than the intelligent, strong-minded people. Laws protect the retarded majority which selects the leaders of society. Modern human race has not only betrayed its ancestors, but the future generations too. Homo Sapiens, HAH! It is more like a Homo Idioticus to me! When I look at people I see every day in society, school and everywhere... I can't say I belong to same race as the lousy, miserable, arrogant, selfish human race! No! I have evolved one step above!

Humans are just a species among other animals and world does not exist only for humans. Death and killing is not a tragedy, it happens in nature all the time between all species. Not all human lives are important or worth saving. Only superior (intelligent, self-aware, strong-minded) individuals should survive while inferior (stupid, retarded, weak-minded masses) should perish.

The lawyer who represented families of the Columbine High School victims says this about the Columbine killers:

As the attorney for the families of six of the students killed at Columbine, I read through every single page of Eric Harris' jounals; I listened to all of the audio tapes and watched the videotapes, including the infamous "basement tapes." There cannot be the slightest doubt that Harris was a worshiper of Darwin and saw himself as acting on Darwinian principles. For example, he wrote: "YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE??? Natural SELECTION! It's the best thing that ever happened to the Earth. Getting rid of all the stupid and weak organisms . . . but it's all natural! YES!"

Elsewhere he wrote: "NATURAL SELECTION. Kill the retards." I could multiply examples, but you get the picture.

Yes, we do. Ideas have consequences. When people believe that they're animals like any other and that morality is an illusion created by our genes to get us to cooperate, who should be surprised that acts of nihilistic mayhem follow?

Materialistic Darwinism drains the human soul of all meaning and purpose. It empties us of all moral value and human worth. And then its votaries, like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, perversely accuse Christianity, the only belief system which actually offers a basis for exalting human beings, of being a bane upon the earth. How long will these people be allowed to get away with such fatuousness?


The Bottom Billion

There are a lot of people who wish to be able to do something to help the world's poor, but have no idea how best to do it. Indeed, a lot of the poverty aid we send abroad either never gets to the intended recipients (In some African states only one cent out of every aid dollar gets to the people who need it) or actually hurts the people it is intended to help.

The problems of the world's poorest people are almost intractable and cannot be solved simply by throwing money their way. Oxford's Paul Collier explains the difficulties in a book that is both depressing and hopeful. It's titled The Bottom Billion and in it Collier notes that there are roughly five billion people in the world. Approximately one billion are living in relative comfort and affluence. About three billion of the remainder are moving in the direction of increasing prosperity (an unprecedented historical achievement), but one billion, the inhabitants of about two dozen nations concentrated mostly in Africa, but including places like Haiti, Afghanistan, and Burma, remain mired in poverty and failure. Not only is their standard of living not rising relative to the other four billion, it's not rising in absolute terms either. In fact, in many of these countries it's declining.

Collier explains why this is with analytical and dispassionate professionalism and suggests what can be done to change it. Reading him one is struck with a confidence that one is reading a man who knows what he's talking about.

The problems he describes are so ingrained that no solution can be guaranteed to work, but there are some things that have a chance.

The first thing, though, is that we have to recognize that the bottom billion live in countries afflicted by one or more of four poverty traps that are like deep wells from which it is nearly impossible to escape. These are the conflict trap (war), the landlocked with bad neighbors trap, the poor governance trap, and the natural resource trap (having an abundance of a single valuable resource like diamonds or oil). This last seems counter-intuitive but Collier explains why being blessed with a valuable resource is often more of a curse than a blessing to the development prospects of the country.

Most of the book is spent explaining how these four traps keep the bottom billion in abject poverty. In the last few chapters he offers some suggestions as to what rich countries can do to meliorate their predicament. His prescription includes elements likely to displease both liberals and conservatives, but Collier is not an ideologue. He's a pragmatist who is not shy about criticizing the "headless hearts" who seek to assuage their pity for the poor by just doing something without really understanding what the problems are.

He argues that if we're serious about helping the poor in many of these failed states we have to be prepared, among other things, to use military force, a suggestion bound to cause fainting spells in liberal salons across Europe and North America. Nor is he shy about challenging those conservatives who think that we should either leave the poor alone or teach them capitalism. He argues (not very persuasively, I'm afraid) that we just can't do the former and (much more persuasively) that the latter is much too simplistic.

I recommend this book to anyone concerned about the problems of the world's poorest people and especially to students doing international studies or who are thinking about doing mission work in places like Africa.

You can order it at our favorite bookstore Hearts and Minds.