Wednesday, 8 September 2010

James Lee: A gunman who based his worldview on Darwin and Malthus

Joel Kontinen

Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have bad consequences. Recently, the media told us about a gunman named James Lee who marched with his demands to the headquarters of Discovery Channel and took hostages.

Lee thought that humans are the root of all evil, parasites who are destroying the world: ” Children represent FUTURE catastrophic pollution whereas their parents are current pollution.” He demanded Discovery Channel to broadcast more programmes on evolution: ”Talk about Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people's brains until they get it!!!”

The police shot Lee before he could harm his hostages.

The media have been rather reticent on Lee’s evolution connection and emphasised his other extreme views. However, it would not be fair to protect Darwin at the expense of the truth.

In a recent blog post, David Klinghoffer says:

My purpose here, of course, isn't to suggest that Darwinism drives people mad or anything like that, but merely to point out, as I've done in the past, the strange attraction Darwinian theory exerts on some people who are crazy, or wicked, or both. This is a truth that's suppressed again and again, yet it remains true.”

Klinghoffer then lists a number of recent cases in which individuals who espoused the writings of Charles Darwin resorted to very desperate deeds. ”Witness the recent examples of Holocaust Memorial Museum shooter James von Brunn, Columbine High School shooter Eric Harris, Jokela High School shooter Pekka Eric Auvinen.” He also mentions some historical figures, such as Josef Mengele.

Might the reason for the recent incident lie in the hopeless ideology that Darwin wrote about?


Klinghoffer, David. 2010. James J. Lee, Hostage-taker and Darwinist. Evolution News & Views. (1 September).