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Theodore Dalrymple on the Aurora massacre

A bit of background: Several recent posts here have dealt with the Aurora massacre. First, some of Darwin’s followers decided that their hero/theory/faith was being blamed. But this apparently wasn’t one of those cases where their cause played a role.

Then Barry Arrington recounted how the theatre shootings had touched (grazed?) people close to him.

And, unaccountably, Darwin’s man Jerry Coyne decided to claim that the Columbine massacre was unrelated to Darwinism. But in that case, the teenage shooters had made absolutely clear that they were steeped in Darwin’s theory. A fact that Barry knew very well, as he was one of the lawyers in the case and had read and listened to everything available on their motivations. So he replied here, describing Coyne’s remarks as “uninformed blithering.” Darwinists have a much harder time addressing the actual outcomes of their beliefs than most people do with theirs, but we will leave it to others to judge why that might be so.

In “Aurora Beyond Us” (City Journal, July 25, 2012), retired prison psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple reflects on the difficulty of understanding such enormities:

By a strange irony, alleged Aurora mass murderer James Holmes was a doctoral student of neuroscience—the discipline that will, according to its most ardent and enthusiastic advocates, finally explain Man to himself after millennia of mystery and self-questioning.

But what could count as an explanation of what James Holmes did? At what point would we be able to say, “Aha, now I understand why he dyed his hair like the Joker and went down to the local cinema and shot all those people?” When we have sifted through his biography, examined his relationships, listened to what he has to say, and put him through all the neuropsychological and neurological tests, will we really be much wiser?

The facts of the person’s stated motivations are the facts; the enormity remains.

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5 Responses to Theodore Dalrymple on the Aurora massacre

  1. Aha, now I understand why he dyed his hair like the Joker and went down to the local cinema and shot all those people?

    I wonder how many people assume the Joker has bright orange hair now.

  2. Probably those of us who felt we had quite enough of Batman when we were small children?

  3. Probably those of us who felt we had quite enough of Batman when we were small children?

    Or those who don’t do much research on what they write, anyway.

    Perhaps there is overlap. ;)

    Really, I like Dalrymple’s articles, but I really do wonder how many people are going to be thinking that now. The guy did have rather distinctive hair.

  4. 4

    Perhaps Holmes heard he had no free will and humanity was just a bag of chemicals, according to atheist Anthony Cashmore in PNAS:


    The reality is, not only do we have no more free will than a fly or a bacterium, in actuality we have no more free will than a bowl of sugar.

    ….as living systems we are nothing more than a bag of chemicals

    http://www.pnas.org/content/10.....l.pdf+html

    Gee, that “logic” makes it difficult to convict Holmes.

  5. I wonder if PNAS are confusing Cashman with Mengele?

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