Pharyngula

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show did a marvelous job of showing how right-wingers were desperately straining to get out from under the taint of Breivik’s clearly extremist nationalist/rightist/Christian/anti-Muslim ideology. They’re clearly in denial.

But here’s another case. The Discovery Institute, under the name of that wretched ‘scholar’ John West, has gone through Breivik’s manifesto and somehow come to the conclusion that the reason he went on a killing spree was — I bet you can guess — Darwinism. How? Because Breivik was not the familiar anti-science fundamentalist Christian that we are so familiar with here in the US, he was moderate in his piety and wedded it to an acceptance of modern science and a vicious hatred of Muslims…and contra West, it wasn’t science that compelled him to kill, it was xenophobia and nationalism and apparently, an inhuman lack of empathy.

Nick Matzke does an excellent job of showing that a warped Christianity provided a more significant rationale for his actions than did ‘Darwinism’.

I’d add one more thing. West’s hobby horse is eugenics, and Breivik did endorse a nasty interpretation of eugenics in his tirade. However, you can’t use that to tar modern science with guilt for his crimes; we aren’t going to be saying, “Oh, Breivik was right in this one thing,” because only fringe characters within science endorse killing undesirables as he did; this guy was no friend of science. West cites one fellow, Lee Silver, who does promote the idea that emerging technologies in molecular genetics will allow people to voluntarily modify the DNA of their children; this has absolutely nothing to do with culling or ejecting whole ethnic groups as inferior, and I’m sure Silver would condemn that interpretation of his work.

I was amused to see that Breivik is a fan of Joseph Farah and World Net Daily. Now there’s a connection West was afraid to draw.