Many times after people commit horrendous crimes we get a clear indication of their great disconnectedness with reality. But what happens when a mass murderer is a well-educated, well-read individual who fully understands his actions and shows no regret, not because he’s completely deranged, but because he has fully weighed the implications of what he’s been taught throughout his life? Such is the case with the infamous mass murderer, Ted Bundy, who confessed to killing over 30 people.
In an interview about his gruesome acts Bundy explains himself in a calm, collected, but chilling manner,
“Then I learned that all moral judgments are ‘value judgments,’ that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’….I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable ‘value judgment’ that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others’? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me—after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.” [1. A statement by Ted Bundy, paraphrased and rewritten by Harry V. Jaffa, Homosexuality and the National Law (Claremont Institute of the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, 1990), 3–4]
And suddenly clouds have now gathered and the world has gotten awfully cold. What human dignity? Suddenly we see the implications of where our theories have brought us. Have we been enlightened by scientific progress? Perhaps advanced, but not enlightened! It is imperative to see that what we think we’ve been enlightened with are the very same things that will give mankind the very right and the very reason to exterminate itself. We think we’ve espoused theories that now allow us to be free from the “bondage” of religion. But what have we liberated ourselves from? We have liberated ourselves from the very foundational moral infrastructure that grounded the very human dignity that once allowed us to be moral creatures.
Whatever his psychological status may have been, Bundy was absolutely on target with his understanding of the implications of the naturalistic evolutionary theory of common descent on human dignity. If we are all nothing but evolved creatures, the difference between us and the rest of the animal kingdom is merely complexity. What consideration should we really make with regards to human dignity? There’s not really a difference between us and the plant life either. We’re simply more complex in nature and that’s all. And complexity does not necessarily warrant some intrinsic value to life or human dignity because it is not rooted in the true understanding of what it means to be human. In other words, the natural mechanisms that would bring about a human being cannot in any shape or form pour some sort of meaning, purpose or value into the creature. They are nothing but impersonal meaningless natural processes, nothing but mere accidents. And, to what is an accident accountable? Nothing!
Human Dignity and Dissent from Evolution
Why is there a growing dissent from the evolutionary theory of unguided common descent by some of the top scientists in the world? Besides the fact that we don’t find the evidence for common descent as compelling as we once did in our modern day understanding of the incredible complexity of life, we also have a hard time finding the practical applications of the implication of common descent in society at large and our own lives specifically. It appears that objective moral laws do indeed require a transcendent objective framework, not something concocted by random mutations and directionless change.
To find out more about the scientific incongruities with the naturalistic theory of common descent you may purchase my book, Cold and Lonely Truth, browse the rest of this blog or visit some of the sources I’ve outlined in my list of links.
One thought on “Evolution and Human Dignity”
This is a very well written piece. You tie in the naturalistic problem very well.
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