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From the Perspective of Intelligent Design, Killing Cecil the Lion Was an Act of Egregious Vandalism


Wesley Smith has already explained, with his customary sage wisdom, why killing Cecil was very bad stuff, and not to be dismissed by comparisons, however on point, to the gruesome revelations issuing concurrently through candid videos of Planned Parenthood personnel. Wesley will be on the Eric Metaxas radio program tomorrow to discuss the case, and the podcast should be available after that.

UPDATE: Wesley is cited in a Washington Post op-ed too:

Wesley J. Smith of the Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism argues that, regardless of which lion was killed, such a hunt is unethical because the act produced no human benefit, caused the animal needless suffering and was "killing for ego" rather than for sustenance or conservation.

I would simply add this. What the Minnesota dentist did was a most egregious act of vandalism. Acknowledging the evidence of intelligent design means recognizing the purpose and artistry in nature. Nearly thirty years ago, I recall watching black bears as they rooted in a Maine garbage dump, the first time I had seen bears in the wild or captivity. I thought, "How beautiful they are!" The way they move! Even nosing through mounds of human-generated refuse, bears are gorgeous, consummate exemplars of the most elegant design.

So are lions. No human artist will ever outclass them. Imagine seeking to DNA-engineer an improved lion! Perhaps with enhanced nobility?

As President Obama said in a different context, "You didn't build that." Walter J. Palmer DDS of River Bluff Dental says on his practice's website that he has "a unique talent for creating dazzling smiles that complement each individual's tooth structure, skin tone, and facial attributes." Uh huh. Like the rest of us, he has no idea what in the end goes into creating such a magnificent creature. Certainly he did not build Cecil, whom he reportedly paid $55,000 to slay. Confronted with a lion, the appropriate response is the most extreme modesty. Silence.

At Evolution News & Views we are sensitive to copyright. Otherwise, like many media sources online, I would simply grab and repost some of the photos of the dentist standing with a slain rhino, leopard, a Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, and more -- his prize trophies. Someone snapped those photos, and we would not wish to casually reproduce that person's creative work -- thereby very slightly devaluing it -- without permission.

I hesitate to lean too hard on Walter Palmer, who is currently taking more than his fair share of abuse, some of it twisted and very wrong. Is he a "murder," a "terrorist"? No, he is a vandal. Factually speaking, the photos are grotesque. Ugly. Vulgar. Yet we would not choose to make use of them without obtaining the artist's approval. Now multiply that correct reluctance by -- what? This man killed a lion without reason or approval. For what? Evidently his own gratification.

My family recently had to hire an exterminator to poison a wasp nest in our attic crawl space. I did it with reluctance. The exterminator first went up there and took a photo of the nest, which he described as being the size of a "personal watermelon." He gassed the queen and her attendants, and I felt a certain sadness.

Wasps, though potentially harmful, are impressive social creatures and useful in keeping your property free of other bothersome insects. I only allowed them to be killed because the access to the attic under the roof eaves, where they went in and out over our backyard deck, was right above a slide our kids are up and down all the time.

For his enjoyment, Dr. Palmer lured and killed Cecil, a far more awesome animal than a wasp. (By that I mean no insult to wasps.) Islamist barbarians destroy and profiteer from the control of precious antiquities, remnants of ancient Near Eastern civilizations that they, too, did not and could not build. How is this different? If no one had ever heard of Planned Parenthood or its far worse deeds, he would still deserve our opprobrium.

Image: Hwange National Park, by JackyR (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons.