Over on Richard Carrier’s obscure blog, he took aim at fellow atheist, Sargon of Akkad:
When Sargon argued feminism is responsible for Elliot Rodger’s murder spree (and he did), because feminism “disenfranchised” Rodger by somehow programming women to not like him or have sex with him (yep, that’s what he said), Sargon has literally become a murder apologist. … He’s defending murder, by blaming it on women not giving it up to a guy whom (we can now confidently say in hindsight) they obviously correctly read as a sociopath.
Now, if you are not familiar with Elliot Rodger’s murder spree, here is the Wiki summary.
I would have to say that I agree with Carrier’s assessment. But then again, I am not a free will denialist. Atheists such as Coyne, Harris, and Sapolsky deny the existence of free will, so I am not sure how they would be able to dismiss Sargon’s point.
Look, if determinism means anything, it would mean simply this – Something made Elliot Rodger go on a murder spree. Something made him do it. He himself did not choose to do it and, in fact, he had no moral responsibility for his murders. If he had survived, our job would be to compassionately treat him and help him regain entry into society. But to do that, we need to know what made him do it.
Sargon has a hypothesis – it is feminism, and how it has shaped our culture, that drove Rodger to go on his killing spree. In other words, feminism is the cause of these murders. It seems overly simplistic to me, but if determinism is true, and we must look outside the moral agent to find the causes of behavior, for the simple reason that there is no such thing as a moral agent, then feminism’s role in these murders ought to be explored. Perhaps it might not be the sole causal factor, but maybe it is a partial causal factor. If so, we could not say feminism caused the murder spree, only that it contributed to the murders. And the job of any science-loving determinist is to figure it out.
Another possible cause is the women who refused to have sex with Rodger. That was his own explanation:
Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you. For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection, and sex and love to other men but never to me.
So, in the world of determinism, there are women out there who rejected Elliot Rodger and thus caused the death of six people and injuries of another fourteen.