Jeffrey Dahmer: “Darwin made me do it.”

I must lead a sheltered life, at least when it comes to the creationism-evolution wars.

Sure, I’m more than aware about how much creationists and their more common (these days, at least) bastard offspring “intelligent design” creationists like to cherry pick, twist, and mangle data to make it seem to support their case, or, when all else fails, just lie outright about it. That’s no surprise to me. Neither is the mendacious manner in which creationists try to blame Darwin and evolutionary theory for Hitler and the Nazis, as well as the horrors of Stalin and Mao, and just about every other evil in the world.

I never knew, however, that Darwin was responsible for deranged serial killers. Thanks to Amy, I do now. I apologize in advance if this is really old news, but a search of my fellow ScienceBloggers and Panda’s Thumb didn’t turn up much about this revelation. What revelation am I talking about?

That Darwin made serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer do it:

Between 1978 and 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer murdered at least 17 men and boys. His murders included gruesome acts and he was sentenced to a lifetime in prison.

But during his sentence something changed, and before his death, Dahmer went on MSNBC with his father. When asked what contributed to his new accountability, he told his father, “Thanks to you for sending that creation science material.”

In the interview Dahmer acknowledges that he once believed in the evolution theory which “cheapens life”. He went on to testify to the Lord Jesus Christ being the true Creator and accepting Him as his Savior.

Like Dahmer, many today are being influenced by the cheapening of life promoted by the evolution theory. Racism, communism, nazism and anarchy are all affects of this dangerous theory. Even the killers in the Columbine school massacre wore shirts that blared, “Natural Selection”. Evolution is a perilous religion with fatal societal consequences. For more on the affects of evolution view our Dangers of Evolution DVD.

They helpfully include a video of what Dahmer says about evolution:

Yes, my friends, that has to be the absolute dumbest, most idiotic attack on evolution that I’ve ever seen. Somehow, I managed never to see it, which is odd, given that there do seem to be a fair number of places where this ignorance-based lie seems to crop up, such as here, here, here, and here (the last of which is truly a tour de force of extreme stupidity so bad that Ed Brayton rightly wondered if it was the dumbest anti-evolution screed ever).

I’m guessing that it never occurred to the creationists pointing to Jeffrey Dahmer as an example of the “effects” of “Darwinism,” that his post-conviction conversion to Christianity and his parroting of the common claim that there is no morality without his religion are almost certainly nothing more than convenient post hoc rationalizations for his crimes. One can’t help but note that Dahmer didn’t find Jesus until after he had been caught. His story might have been somewhat more convincing if he had found religion and stopped killing young men before he had been caught and thrown in jail. It’s also very ironic how Dahmer steadfastly says that it’s wrong to blame anything but oneself for such crimes and then goes on to blame Darwinism and his falling away from his religion for his crimes.

The Cincinnati Skeptics have a good response to this nonsense:

What if he [Dahmer] had used the ideas of “no salvation without shedding of blood” (Hebrews 9:22) and “eating of flesh and blood” (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, 1 Corinthians 10:16) very literally? David Koresh and Charles Manson found in the Bible justification for what they did. Would all this prove the justification for what they did? Would all this prove that the Bible causes crimes? Or would it prove, as I said about evolution and atheism, that people choose what to do and then find whatever justification they can think of as excuses. If you are charitable toward the Bible and give it the benefit of doubt over its misuse, why not be charitable toward evolution and atheism and give them benefit of the doubt over misuse. If you don’t – and excuse the Bible all the time, and always blame evolution and atheism – then that is a double standard that renders your opinions irrelevant.

Creationists of the ilk who blame Darwin for Nazi-ism, Communism, and crime such as serial killing always give the Bible a pass when religious nuts like Charles Manson or David Koresh use it as a justification for their crimes. Obviously, they will say, such crimes were based on a misreading or abuse of the holy scriptures. Yet, somehow they find it impossible to understand the same principle when a killer like Jeffrey Dahmer blames the theory of evolution for his crimes because it suits their purpose to link criminality with the object of their hatred, Charles Darwin.


  1. #1 Rob
    October 20, 2007

    You may get a kick out of the latest Knudsen’s News. Darwin is showing up in the Darndest places.

  2. #2 Moopheus
    October 20, 2007

    By that logic, since Albert Fish heard voices in his head and claimed to be Christ, therefore he must have been getting directions from God.

    And the lesson to be drawn from the BTK murders: beware of Lutherans.

  3. #3 Bunjo
    October 20, 2007

    Arguably the Dahmer case shows that if you are nutso enough to be a serial killer, you are also nutso enough to believe in creation science and religion.

    Same facts, different conclusion.

  4. #4 David B
    October 20, 2007

    It so funny, because as I gain life experience the truth of Darwin’s discoveries and theories is all the more, clearly true.

    The number of people running around proudly proclaiming their “belief” in creationism and intelligent design make my head hurt. When you ask them any questions about this “idea” all they can talk about is their “belief” of this or that and it becomes very clear that they were the D and F idiots in my science classes in school.

    I knew there would be a price to pay for TV exalting morons with the reality TV craze, I just had no idea it had spread so far and so deep!

    David B.

  5. #5 Crazyharp81602
    October 20, 2007

    Don’t forget the real reason why Dahmer did it. It’s not because of Darwin. It’s because of his resentment towards homosexuality.

    Here’s his article from

  6. #6 Crazyharp81602
    October 20, 2007

    Oops! Sorry I misspelled “answers”…

  7. #7 Bing McGhandi
    October 20, 2007

    Didn’t stalin kill evolutionists because of…their darwinism? Not that he needed a reason. He was loonier than an especially loony loon.

    If you have a filthy mouth, you might enjoy my Answers in Genesis News Roundup at my url. Just saying.


  8. #8 Amy Alkon
    October 20, 2007

    Great post.

  9. #9 Eamon Knight
    October 20, 2007

    Not metioned so far here is the fact that Jeffrey was the son of a creationist named Lionel Dahmer. A trivial amount of Googling turns up the facts that Jeffreys’s childhood was not happy (the father blames himself for neglecting his troubled son), and that he showed signs of psychological disturbance from an early age. So blaming it all on “evolution” is about as simplistically stupid as it gets. But what do you expect from a conviceted tax cheat and con-man like Hovind?

  10. #10 Orac
    October 20, 2007

    Actually, there’s an interesting take by a cartoonist on Jeffrey’s high school days. Derf, it turns out, actually went to high school with Jeffrey Dahmer, and he wrote a comic book about it.

  11. #11 Graham
    October 20, 2007

    Evolution is a perilous religion with fatal societal consequences…

    Evolution. Perilous. Fatal. Societal. Consequences.

    I’m thinking real hard about that (ignore the smell of burning rubber).

    Well fuck! What was I thinking?

    Where do I sign up!

  12. #12 Michael Sutt,kus, II
    October 20, 2007

    Creationists are far more common than IDers, but ID is noisier and more likely to advertise. That is, assuming you can make any real distinction between them.

  13. #13 mayhempix
    October 20, 2007

    I have just finished working on a documentary about Charlie Otero who came home from school in 1974 to find that 4 members of his family were tortured and killed by the BTK killer Dennis Rader. Rader is a conservative Christian who was the president of his Wichita Kansas church when he was arrested.

    It was late in the post production process when my mother informed me that my late father’s cousin had sat next to and sang in the choir with Rader for almost 30 years. He told us that Rader appeared to be a devout Christian and no one would have guessed he was the killer.

    In one scene a woman representing Operation Rescue demonstrates outside the courthouse during Rader’s trial proclaiming that an abortion doctor in Wichita is a mass serial killer just like Rader.

    Intelligent design indeed.

  14. #14 AL
    October 20, 2007

    Speaking of ideas that cheapen human life, let’s not forget Antonin Scalia’s infamous screed about death not being a big deal to true Christians. (This was in the context of defending the anti-death penalty charge that it is unacceptable to mistakenly execute an innocent convict).


    ” … For the believing Christian, death is no big deal. Intentionally killing an innocent person is a big deal, a grave sin which causes one to lose his soul, but losing this physical life in exchange for the next – the Christian attitude is reflected in the words Robert Bolt’s play has Thomas More saying to the headsman: “Friend, be not afraid of your office. You send me to God.” And when Cramner asks whether he is sure of that, More replies, “He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to him.”

    For the non-believer, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence – what a horrible act. And besides being less likely to regard death as an utterly cataclysmic punishment, the Christian is also more likely to regard punishment in general as deserved. The doctrine of free will, the ability of man to resist temptations to evil is central to the Christian doctrine of salvation and damnation, heaven and hell. The post-Freudian secularist, on the other hand, is more inclined to think that people are what their history and circumstances have made them, and there is little sense in assigning blame …”

  15. #15 James
    October 20, 2007

    When it comes to serial killers or similar, I feel that the best wisdom comes from a little computer game called Arcanum:

    Why do madmen do anything? Because they’re bloody madmen, thats why!

    After that, what else is there to say?

  16. #16 tristero
    October 20, 2007


    I’ve known about the Dahmer interview since it was broadcast a while back on tv – some cheesy cable network thought it would boost ratings, I suppose. If I had known it wasn’t common knowledge amongst you folks, I would have let you know.

    I honestly think Dahmer had no insight into the contradictions you describe. He was compartmentalizing so incredibly thoroughly, it literally was like a different person was talking whenever he opened his mouth, all delivered in the same flat but oddly hostile tone.

    Quite the poster child for creationism.

  17. #17 David Harmon
    October 20, 2007

    Dahmer didn’t find Jesus until after he had been caught.

    Of course, Dahmer didn’t find Jesus, until after Darwin found Dahmer! (Inappropriate violence within a social species….)

  18. #18 Stanton
    October 20, 2007

    I thought the stupidest attack on evolution was when Ray Comfort said that “athiests” couldn’t explain why bananas were similar to cans of coke.

  19. #19 has
    October 21, 2007

    Because, obviously, a man who could so comprehensively crap on the sixth commandment should be totally trusted on the ninth. The creo logic, it burns.

  20. #20 Freddy the Pig
    October 21, 2007

    A olong time ago, I read an article in a magazine “Pets in Canada” or something like that from the Vet’s offcice about how cruelty to animals often predicts later cruelty to humans and they gave Dahmer as an example. Cruelty to animals is common among young psychopaths and Dahmer was clearly on that path long before he embraced evilution. I suspect his return to Christianity may have been nothing more than a manipulative stragtegy for his own benifit as well. Sort of like the way Creationists will lie to benifit their cause. Birds of a feather.

  21. #21 One Eyed Jack
    October 21, 2007

    Things like this make we want to retch. “If Sky-Daddy isn’t watching me, what is to stop me from killing, raping, etc.?” I am grateful that my moral compass (which is not shaped by religion) isn’t so lacking as to think I need a watchdog to keep me honest.

    Religious moral development generally stops at the punishment avoidance and reward seeking level. My dog has that level of moral maturity.


  22. #22 Seamus G
    October 21, 2007

    Really, now. Even if I somehow lost all ability to comprehend science in a freak billiards accident, this would not be a persuasive argument. “Well, if the batshit insane, cannibalistic necrophiliac says evolution is a lie, that’s good enough for me” is not a commonly uttered phrase.

  23. #23 David Tyler
    October 21, 2007

    I wonder how long after this interview the “Good Lord” decided that it was time for one of his other true servents to bash Jeff’s skull in. After all nothing happens without the direction of the God-father in the sky.

    If the designer was so intelligent, how come so many defects are making it through quality control?

  24. #24 tim gueguen
    October 21, 2007

    Has anyone actually heard of someone “coming to the Lord” while they were a serial killer or other form of horrid criminal, voluntarily going to the authorities, and confessing their crimes? I’m guessing the answer is no.

  25. #25 MPW
    October 21, 2007

    “the cheapening of life promoted by the evolution theory”

    But, of course, life isn’t cheapened by the concept that this mortal world is a sinful, irredeemably corrupted plane and one’s real goal is a paradise in the afterlife.

  26. #26 wrpd
    October 21, 2007

    I live in Waukegan, IL, at the time of Dahmer’ arrest and trial. Waukegan is midway between Chicago and Milwaukee. I was at a bar a few months before the arrest and Dahmer walked in. There was something about him that scared the shit out of me. The bartender started warning customers to stay away from him. She sensed the same feeling about him.
    Dahmer was a psychopath. His father seems almost as crazy. Dahmer was very methodical in his crimes but I seriously doubt that the thought of evolution crossed his mind.
    The families of his victims were outraged when he wasn’t given the death penalty. I would not be surprised if a relative or friend of one of the victims arranged Dahmer’s murder.

  27. #27 Christophe Thill
    October 22, 2007

    “In the interview Dahmer acknowledges that he once believed in the evolution theory which “cheapens life”.”

    I thinks this is a pretty good argument for a better science education, and especially for a better explanation by science teachers of what the evolution theory actually says.

  28. #28 Laser Potato
    October 22, 2007

    What if he claimed broccoli made him do it?

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