Saturday, 30 July 2011

Norwegian Mass Murderer Had a Darwinian Connection

Charles Darwin had a profound influence on the thinking of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

The media have not done a good job at source criticism in characterising Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik as a Christian fundamentalist. A closer examination of the beliefs of Breivik, who recently killed 77 people in Oslo and on the island of Utoeya, shows that his views of Christianity are anything but orthodox.

Dr. John G. West of Discovery Institute has analysed Breivik’s 1518-page manifesto, "European Declaration of Independence," which suggests that he had a worldview that differs considerably from what the media have presented to us.

For Breivik, Christianity is primarily a cultural concept. He thinks that the ancient Norse pagan god Odin could well be a part of Christianity. He is not sure whether God exists but thinks that God is useful for his agenda because people could be expected to be more responsive to Christianity than to nationalism, white supremacy or neo-paganism.

Breivik’s ideology resembles that of Per-Eric Auvinen, the 2007 Jokela school shooter in neighbouring Finland, and the extreme environmentalist views of Pentti Linkola. He believes that there are far too many people in the world so that the west should not aid the starving people in Africa but let nature take care of the surplus population.

Breivik laments that the Nazis spoilt the reputation of eugenics although the idea as such was good. He believes that "the Nordic race” has ”rare characteristics that have been acquired through an evolutionary process which has taken more than 1 million years". These, he thinks, should be preserved.

This is something that the media have not told us. Labelling a murderer a Christian fundamentalist seems to be more acceptable to the liberal media than calling him an extreme Darwinist or even a Social Darwinist although these would characterise Breivik’s ideology more accurately than the media have done.

However, Breivik’s ideology does not nullify the obvious conclusion that he is a psychopath and that there really is evil in the world.

While Breivik admits that The Origin of Species is one of the most important books he has read, one cannot directly blame Charles Darwin for inspiring the Norwegian mass murders, but as Dr. West states at the end of his longish analysis, ideas have consequences.


West, John G. 2011. The Professor and the Madman. Evolution News and Views. (27 July).