I am a big believer in science, but I must admit that human behavior over the past couple of weeks has made me doubt evolution.
First, we had the appalling eruptions during GOP debates–first, audience applause when Brian Williams prefaced a question to Rick Perry by noting that executions in Texas during his tenure far exceeded those in any other state; and second, shouts of “yes, let them die” when Ron Paul was asked whether uninsured people should simply be allowed to die.
Now we have the repulsive right-wing reaction to the execution of Troy Davis.
Callers to conservative radio shows last night defended that execution by insisting that the family of the murder victim “deserved closure.” Presumably, closure can come only from the death of another human being. Now, I am not a supporter of the death penalty, for many reasons I won’t go into here, but even if one does support capital punishment, I cannot conceive of the “closure” that would come from proceeding with an execution where there is such substantial doubt of guilt. How can killing the wrong person provide justice or even retribution? How would executing a possibly innocent man be any different from the murder for which they are seeking vengeance?
Perhaps human evolution doesn’t always produce a capacity for compassion or empathy, but it should at least produce beings capable of a modicum of reason. These sickening displays of irrational blood-lust suggest that some among our human family not only haven’t evolved, they’ve regressed.