Evolution, Antibiotics, and Mass Murder

What do we REALLY mean when we call an action “Mass Murder”? First of all, how many does it take to be MASS? Because, I don’t mean to be insensitive here, but does the slaughter of a few dozen people being run over by a truck driven by a Muslim REALLY count as MASS Murder? I mean, murder, certainly, but, MASS?

Because when I think of MASS, I am thinking of weapons of mass destruction. Like NUKES. And those babies can kill more than a few dozen people at a crack. I just think we need to designate a standardized minimum casualties if we are going to call an event “MASS murder.”

Let’s also look at the term “Murder.” It’s a rather emotionally charged word. Certainly not the kind of word dedicated CNN journalists should be using in the supposedly neutral and unbiased coverage of an event. I mean, to their credit, when they spent several days discussing the slaughter of children in a school shooting a few years back, none of the CNN talking heads EVER condemned the killing of those children as “evil” or “wrong.” After all, it is not their place to editorialize. On the other hand, they did call these killings, “Murder,” and even “tragedy.” So, they did cross the line a few times. But again, to their credit, they did spend a great deal of time being critical of what KIND of guns were used in those killings. I think we can all agree with the unbiased journalists at CNN that the REAL injustice of that event was the use of automatic weapons. I mean, it’s just kind of unfair. Unsportsmanlike, if I can editorialize a little myself.

But back to my point- the termination of a life without its expressly stated consent is obviously KILLING, but I think it reeks of religious overtones to label it as MURDER. I mean, once the folks at CNN call a killing a MURDER, are they not just inches away from implying “THOU SHALT NOT”? If America has really moved away from ancient religions and learned to embrace Evolution, then should we not also learn to see events in our own lives unfettered from Religious definitions?

Let’s look at this concept of Mass Murder through the lenses of Darwinian Evolution.

In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded and somehow formed Hydrogen. Over 14 Billion years or so, hydrogen evolved into dinosaurs, which evolved into the chickens of today. Around the same time (Between 4.5 Billion years ago and today) bacteria evolved, and then some of them evolved into worms, some of which evolved into fish, some of which evolved into primates, some of which evolved into us. So from hydrogen to us is an unbroken chain, with branches every now and then giving us things like cabbages and wolves.

Now, where does “Mass Murder” fit into this story?

If the bacteria doesn’t evolve past bacteria then we feel free to slaughter them by the billions. If you take an antibiotic, you are dropping chemical napalm on BILLIONS of bacteria, both native and foreign, both friendly and hostile, and killing them all. This is the equivalent of taking out a school shooter by vaporizing every school in the county, yet no one calls an antibiotic MASS MURDER, do they? 

If the organisms evolved to the stage of worm we’re still happy to impale him on a hook to use them to catch fish so that the worm and the fish can both die and we can eat the fish. But as often as you do this, only the fringiest of weirdos would call it murder. After all, vegans can only eat by causing the death of something once living, even if it’s just the collection of cells in a lettuce leaf. Every living thing is a collection of cells. When you eat an onion, millions of living cells DIE. But no one calls THAT mass murder, do they? 

If the organisms evolve to the state of monkey, we’re happy to either put them in a zoo or in some cultures eat their brains. It would be culturally insensitive to condemn this culinary choice as ‘murder’, wouldn’t it? Even if there was enough monkeys eaten to call it MASS. And can we REALLY say that its EVIL to kill monkeys? I mean, for a lot of places and cultures, they’re basically squirrels with thumbs. If there is anything I think the Democrats and Republicans united behind in the last election cycle, it was the firm belief that the squirrels have it coming. 

However, if those monkeys have evolved just a little further into humans, we decide that they’ve been magically imbued with some kind of value and shouldn’t be “murdered” for no reason. But I fail to see why evolution would allow us to draw that line at ourselves or anywhere else for that matter. According to evolution, we are all just highly evolved bacteria, so

what’s the difference between an antibiotic and the nuclear bomb to Darwin? 

A large collection of a particular branch on the evolutionary tree suddenly goes from functional metabolic processes to merely increasing entropy and disorder at about 100,000,000° Celsius.  How does that go from MEDICINE to MURDER just because the species being killed has changed MORE during its evolutionary history? Bacteria have remained largely unchanged for more than 4 BILLION years, and we’ve only just evolved like 100,000 years ago. If anything, it seems the bacteria should have seniority and be considered MORE valuable than the Johnny-come-lately new species on the block, even if we do have duck-tape, fidget spinners and fast-food chicken kebabs.

On the other hand, maybe we can reject the psudoscience of Darwin and embrace not only real science and the inerrant revelation of God, but also the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration states, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident,

that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

Endowed by our Creator with the right to live. That makes ONE murder an unacceptable evil, never mind what MASS means. It also means I can take an antibiotic, even though the bacteria I’m killing outnumber me a billion to one. I can live with that. And sometimes I can’t live without that.

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