The Evolution of Suicide Bombing
Natural selection played a part in producing suicide terrorism, says anthropologist Scott Atran, a professor at the University of Michigan in the US and at the National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris. Suicide bombing involves the manipulation of human sentiments that are part of biological evolution, he claims.
"Natural selection gives us all sorts of dispositions and desires that were adaptive in ancestral environments", he explains. "Now, our cultural milieu picks certain of these adaptations or their by-products and is able to trigger them to produce behaviours that have nothing to do with what they originally evolved for." ("Discover," October 2003, p. 22).
[TBC: Evolution is invoked to explain nearly everything, although one might very well ask what evidence exists. The following explanation from a theistic evolutionist seeks to answer this question, but it is instructive to consider the final remark.]
"How do we understand suicide bombers? Science offers some insight by pointing to strong analogs in the animal kingdom. There are poisonous ants that actually explode themselves in certain combat situations. But ants operate on instinct, which does not really apply to suicide bombers. Religion also offers some insight. Some suicide bombers believe that their actions will result in an immediate trip to heaven where they will be welcomed by a grand contingent of virgins. But this is also of little help; most religious people believe they will go to heaven when they die and yet virtually none of them put themselves in situations designed to hasten that event. Sometimes things just don't make sense" ("Sometimes, things just don't make sense," "Science and Theology News," May 2003).