Laelaps

I’m sure that there are cases all over the world every day like this one that are generally ignored, but case of a creationist who killed a biomedical scientist during an argument over evolution has made a few of my fellow bloggers take notice. While it might be tempting to point at creationists and say “See! They’re murderous theists!” details about the stabbing are sparse. According to a report about the incident from The Age, Alexander Christian York (the creationist) killed Rudi Boa (the scientist), Boa being on vacation with his girlfriend. All three were camping at Blowering Holiday Park and were camp neighbors, things going well until the topic of evolution/creationism came up towards the end of a night of drinking. The three entered into a heated debate (probably fueled by the alcohol), but things settled down, at least until they got back to camp. There, with all three being pissed, York stabbed Boa with a kitchen knife, Boa dying of his injuries. York maintains that it was self defense, Brown says York attacked Boa, and the judge said that York probably didn’t realize the consequences of what he was doing and should get off light because he’s of “good character.” What’s missing from the report is how many times Boa was stabbed, where he was stabbed, whether he died immediately or died of his wounds after a time, and other critical details, so all that I’ve heard so far is that three drunk people got into a spat and one stabbed another, causing the death of Boa. What about York convinced the judge that he was a good man “deep down” is also left out, and the reaction of the judge would have been too light regardless of whether Boa was a scientist or a ditch digger (and regardless of whether York was a creationist or not). I’m sure the news will make the rounds through the science blogosphere, but I don’t think it really says anything about creationists or scientists as a whole. Indeed, York didn’t jump up and kill Boa the second Boa said he was a scientist, and it seems that an argument that got out of hand, fueled by alcohol, ended in tragedy. Given the details that have come out so far, I don’t know if we can say anything more about it than that.

Comments

  1. #1 Joshua Zelinsky
    December 14, 2007

    Even if York had jumped Boa immediately it wouldn’t say anything about creationists in general. Still, it is interesting that these sort of things do seem to consistently occur only in one direction. The attack on Mirecki, Michael Korn’s threats to biologists, threats by various Islamic creationists in Turkey, threats on Judge Jones, and now this. While the plural of anecdote is not data this is still somewhat suggestive.

  2. #2 Luna_the_cat
    December 14, 2007

    See, what springs to my mind is that this was the country where 9 teens who gang-raped a 10-year-old girl were allowed to walk free from court just a few days ago with probation or suspended sentences, because the judge thought “that the victim ‘probably agreed to have sex with all of you’.”

    I had always thought that judges here in the UK were peculiarly detached from reality, but obviously there is at least one country in the world that is worse.

  3. #3 Lassi Hippeläinen
    December 15, 2007

    I agree with Luna_the_cat. The judge seems to think that in an old penal colony it is OK for a person “of good character” to get stone drunk and stab people. Just a rite of passage.

  4. #4 toby
    December 15, 2007

    This incident had more to do with alcohol than the creationist/ evolution “debate” (a dubious term for scientific reason versus sanctimonious braying).

    However, it is disappointing to see drunkeness accepted as some sort of excuse for atrocious behaviour. This has gone on for too long in courts of law, where it cops a light sentence through not taking up the court’s time.

  5. #5 Chuck C
    December 16, 2007

    This article from the Independent seems to indicate a single stab wound to the chest:

    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/australasia/article3253070.ece

    FWIW

  6. #6 Thomas Robey
    December 16, 2007

    Thank you for this level comment on the situation. I am glad it was the top entry on Seed’s ScienceBlogs front page for most of the weekend. Unfortunately, the headline (its prominence and wording) simply adds fuel to the flames that keep the conversation about science and religion filled with rancor.

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