At Evolution News and Views, David Klinghoffer presents a challenge:
Man needs meaning. We crave it, especially when faced with adversity. I challenge any Darwinist readers to write some comments down that would be suitable, not laughable, in the context of speaking to people who have lived through an event like Monday’s bombing. By all means, let me know what you come up with.
Leaving aside Klinghoffer’s conflation of “Darwinism” with atheism, and reading it as a challenge for those of us who do not believe in a supernatural deity or an afterlife (which would include me), and despite lacking the eloquence of the speakers Klinghoffer refers to, let me offer some thoughts, not on Monday’s bombing, specifically, but on violent death in general, which probably touches us all, at some time. Too many lives end far too soon:
We have one life, and it is precious, and the lives of those we love are more precious to us than our own. Even timely death leaves a void in the lives of those left, but the gap left by violent death is ragged, the raw end of hopes and plans and dreams and possibilities. Death is the end of options, and violent death is the smashing of those options; Death itself has no meaning. But our lives and actions have meaning. We mean things, we do things, we act with intention, and our acts ripple onwards, changing the courses of other lives, as our lives are changed in return. And more powerful than the ripples of evil acts are acts of love, kindness, generosity, and imagination. Like the butterfly in Peking that can cause a hurricane in New York, a child’s smile can outlive us all. Good acts are not undone by death, even violent death. We have one life, and it is precious, and no act of violence can destroy its worth.