Friday, August 17, 2007

Jeffrey Dahmer and Answers in Genesis

(I've had this in draft since June 21, but forgot about it--I was making an effort to verify that Dahmer was actually raised as a creationist or Christian, but didn't find anything to indicate when Lionel Dahmer became either one. I raised the question in comments at Ed Brayton's blog, and one commenter, Kristine, replied that Lionel Dahmer says he only became a creationist after his son was arrested. That undermines the specifics of the case below. There have certainly been serial killers raised as Christians (such as Ted Bundy), but I've not heard of any that have been specifically raised as creationists. I don't think police departments look at Christianity or creationism as a relevant factor in a serial killer profile, the way they look at, say, possession of a copy of the Satanic Bible, except in extreme cases, which is probably as it should be.)

Ken Ham likes to argue that evolution is the cause of a variety of social ills--teen pregnancy, pornography, drugs, abortion, racism, the Holocaust, etc. His book The Lie: Evolution argues that evolution is responsible for all of these things.

I just learned (thanks to Ed Brayton's blog) that Jeffrey Dahmer, the cannibal serial killer, was raised as a creationist, and his father, Dr. Lionel Dahmer, is listed on the Answers in Genesis website as an analytical chemist who accepts the biblical account of creation.

If evolutionists used Ken Ham's technique, they would argue that being raised as a creationist causes cannibalism. Answers in Genesis specifically suggests that it was belief in evolution, rather than issues from his upbringing, that caused Jeffrey Dahmer to kill, quoting a 1994 statement from him that "If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing…"

The Wikipedia entry on Dahmer observes that he "dissected already dead animals as a child" (he collected and sexually interacted with roadkill), began abusing alcohol at 14, had extremely low self-esteem, and his parents divorced after "constant fighting" when he was 18. His father "forced him to enlist" in the Army for six years, but he was discharged after two due to excessive drinking. He built an altar of candles and human skulls in the closet of his apartment that was found when he was arrested. In prison, he declared himself a born-again Christian (which he was when he made the above statement), and was beaten to death in prison in 1994.

Psychiatrist George Palermo testified at Dahmer's trial that he killed his victims because he hated his own homosexuality.

UPDATE (September 6, 2013): It has been pointed out to me that if Lionel Dahmer claimed to have become a creationist after his son's arrest, this is false--Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested in 1991, but Lionel Dahmer co-authored a paper in the Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Creationism, a conference which was held in 1990.


Sheldon said...

I have seen the Dateline NBC interview with Dahmner and his father. As I recall they claim that they were not religious when Jeffrey was a child.

Joel said...

Well, if that's the case, perhaps cannibalism and necrophilia cause Christianity and creationism. Have you really listened to the eucharist?