“Does evil exist?”
It’s a debate that is often thrown around. Some, relying solely on scientific reasoning say evil does not exist. For example:
A phenomenon attested to by a recent torrent of pop-sci brain books with titles like Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. Not secret in most of these works is the disdain for metaphysical evil, which is regarded as an antiquated concept that’s done more harm than good. They argue that the time has come to replace such metaphysical terms with physical explanations—malfunctions or malformations in the brain.
Of course, people still commit innumerable bad actions, but the idea that people make conscious decisions to hurt or harm is no longer sustainable, say the new brain scientists. For one thing, there is no such thing as “free will” with which to decide to commit evil. (Like evil, free will is an antiquated concept for most.) Autonomous, conscious decision-making itself may well be an illusion. And thus intentional evil is impossible.
It’s an interesting piece and one worth reading (which is saying something, for Slate).
Still, I can’t see the scientific argument for the lack of no evil after having read about Jesse Ryan Loskarn, the (now former) Chief of Staff to Senator Lamar Alexander. He was arrested this week on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography:
Jesse Ryan Loskarn, the former chief of staff to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, appeared in a Washington, D.C. federal court Thursday on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.
Alexander fired Loskarn on Thursday after learning he was under investigation.
Loskarn — who goes by his middle name — was caught during a joint investigation between the Toronto Police Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service into a website that was selling DVDs and streaming movies, most of which “feature young nude boys.” Investigators found that Loskarn “made several purchases between November 2010 and March 2011,” according to the official complaint document.
In early October this year, USPIS “identified Loskarn’s residential IP address on the Gnutella peer to peer network offering files with names that are consistent with child pornography broadcasting as a download candidate,” according to the complaint. Investigators obtained partial downloads of the files and discovered that they were indeed videos of pornography featuring young children in sexual situations.
In addition to the story, the federal complaint against Loskarn is there to read as well.
You’ve probably heard people say, “I feel like I am going to be sick.”
Most times it’s just a figure of speech, but when I read the complaint (which is only a little over 2 pages) I very nearly vomited. I was in my home office and had to open a window and take deep breaths to keep from having to throw up all over the floor.
I’m just giving you fair warning about the content as it is described in detail. I am linking to it here.
One cannot read this complaint and believe evil does not exist.
People are choosing to commit these acts — against children no less. And don’t be fooled thinking this is limited to 12-14 year old boys and girls. One of the items they found on Loskarn’s computer was a video with a girl investigators estimated was 6 to 9 years old.
As for Loskarn, I hope he spends a long, long time in prison and never has the chance to be around a child again. My hope is that they can find the people who actually made the videos. Those people should be locked up, never to be seen again for the rest of their lives.
Remember this story any time you have doubts about evil.