I suppose, in a roundabout way, pretty much any human behavior could be due to evolution for one reason or another. Can’t fire guns without hands and fingers for example. But when Tom DeLay tried to blame the Columbine shooting on teaching evolution he was roundly ridiculed. It’s not clear what was going through Pastor Rick Warren’s mind when he posted a similar sounding tweet, but the coverup that followed suggests he might have something to hide:
Staks Rosch/Examiner — On Friday, July 20th 2012 at exactly 2:09 P.M. Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church tweeted:
“When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it.”
This was obviously in reference to the recent mass-shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. This Examiner reported on the story with a screen capture of Pastor Warren’s Tweet. Just two days after the Tweet was made it was deleted presumably by Warren. In Warren’s haste, he failed to delete the Tweet from his Facebook page.
The reason Warren’s statement looks awful? In the aftermath of Columbine, Tom DeLay reportedly said “our school systems teach our children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud, by teaching evolution as fact,” (And just in case anyone had any doubt what DeLay meant, he clarified by adding, “guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills”). The similarity and timing compared to Warren’s reported Friday tweet are striking.
On the statement itself, the term animals is a slippery one. Clearly Warren didn’t mean Metazoa, vertebrate, mammalia …, he meant uncivilized, primal, savage. That usage always seemed fatally flawed to me. We’re obviously a species of animal and we’re clearly capable of creating more misery and bloodshed than any other creature larger than a microbe. Add to this, odds are Warren does not run his own twitter feed by hand. He probably has a service doing that for him, or at least an assistant pitching in from time to time. Maybe they’d make a good scapegoat, or if it really was their call, at least a brief reminder of the importance of critical terms and usage in social media might be in order — trust me, on the latter, as a blogger, I fucking sympathize.
It’s certainly possible that Warren — or his hired twitman — was referring to something else entirely, it’s a common reference and context is key (Not everyone is buying Warren’s claim though). Timing aside, if he did not have a history of making controversial statements parroting fundamentalist-conservative dogma, and in some cases trying to cover them up afterward, we might even dismiss this incident without a second thought. As is Warren could put this to rest by simply apologizing to scientists and science teachers for any remarks that were poorly delivered. Hell, I’d be satisfied if he just affirmed the evidence for biological evolution and left it at that.
Update: I was giving Warren the benefit of the doubt above. , then someone — you can guess who — posted this as his, umm, explanation yesterday:
“TWITTER’S limit on words allows no context for statements. A lack of contxt causes misinterpretation. So when you tweet what’s on your mind, people preassume (incorrectly) that you are talking about what’s on THEIR mind. This is a clear example. My tweet was a brief response to a question to me about SEXUAL PROMISCUITY. It had NOTHING to do with the tragedy in Colorado.! I had received this email from a dad… ”
Dude. You’re seriously trying to tell us that you answered a private email from a worried dad asking about his young daughter’s private sexual promiscuity with a random public tweet sent out with no title or handle or context to your tens of thousands of followers? DUDE. Are You Fucking Kidding Me? That’s your story? Do you really think anyone is going to buy that bullshit outside of the usual fawning braindead losers terrified of being left behind?
I mean …. D-U-D-E!? Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.
Ed Brayton has his special Bryan Fischer award for liars and idiots named after an especially egregious lying moron, others have their own version. I hereby proclaim the Pastor Rick Warren “Sacker” Award for most transparently hilarious lying sack of shit to be given out as warranted on future posts here the Zingularity. And Rick Warren earns the very first Sacker.