Robert King is a lecturer at the School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, in Ireland. He makes the absurd claim that human biological evolution can shed light on why mass murderers like Stephen Paddock of Las Vegas infamy commit their awful crimes.

According to King, evolution can help explain why mass murderers commit murder. Notice how he describes the way evolution is supposed to work. Both younger men and older men in a certain band of age groups are seeking either to achieve status in society or to maintain status. King says that young men who seek to achieve status by committing crimes are really seeking to attract women and therefore spread their seed. In the case of young men, even those imprisoned are able to attract women and propagate. In this way, the status seeker passes on his genes including, presumably, his inbuilt desire to achieve status. In the case of the older mass murderer, he is trying to retain his status and so kills multiple victims. This is apparently still as much an evolutionary instinct as the younger murderer.

King goes so far as to claim that all men are seeking status and while some seek prestige through sport and in other ways, ‘We are all descended from men who cared about it [status]’. He also claims that ‘Status is exquisitely linked to male reproductive success’.

One wonders what this psychologist is trying to achieve here. Perhaps he is just looking for notoriety or status himself?

What King does do for us is place in sharp relief the absurdity of evolutionary theory. If the mass murderer Paddock is merely following his evolutionary instincts, how can he be criticised, since evolution is allegedly an amoral process which functions unconsciously in the human animal?

And what about this claim that all men seek status? This is just not true at all. There are ambitious people who do, but most men do not in my experience and in an unbiased study of history. Some of the greatest human beings have suffered terribly precisely because they did not seek prestige in society. This is true of many a Christian martyr.

And if we are descended from men who all seek status, is this not an admission that there will always be mass murderers, and nothing can prevent them carrying out their evolutionary impulses?

The Bible gives a far more reliable and cogent reason why Paddock and his ilk commit such atrocities.

The Bible tells us that man’s heart is inclined to do evil and that there is none who truly does good, but God alone. We are fallen creatures, and the only way that sinfulness and concupiscence can be dealt with is through the cross of Christ.

Ascribing mass murder to evolution helps excuse evil, by failing to call it what it is. King no where mentions ‘evil’. Instead he says of mass murderers: ‘Sometimes, in some individuals, and for reasons that we still do not understand, this pressure to value status can go very badly awry’.

King’s own analysis is not only ‘very badly awry’, but also evil, because he gives evolutionary sanction for evil, and repudiates what God says about human nature.

Garnet Milne