Suicide Blamed on Biology Class and Dawkins’ Book

WE HAVE long regarded WorldNetDaily to be one of the worst practitioners of journalism that ever existed, or that ever could exist. See, for example: WorldNetDaily — Worthless Creationist Rag!

Therefore, you should read this article from WorldNetDaily in the context of what we consider their tradition of incompetence, lack of integrity, and all-round ineptitude: Dad links son’s suicide to ‘The God Delusion’. Excerpts, with bold added by us:

A New York man is linking the suicide of his 22-year-old son, a military veteran who had bright prospects in college, to the anti-Christian book “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins after a college professor challenged the son to read it.

We’ve made it no secret that we doubt everything that appears in WorldNetDaily, including the date. Nevertheless, if there be any truth underlying this tale of suicide, we extend our sympathies to the family. That said, our purpose here is not to belittle the family’s loss, but to discuss the handling of this story by WorldNetDaily, a publication we regard as fit only for “news” about UFOs, Bigfoot sightings, and creation science. So let’s go on with the story:

“Three people told us he had taken a biology class and was doing well in it, but other students and the professor were really challenging my son, his faith. They didn’t like him as a Republican, as a Christian, and as a conservative who believed in intelligent design,” the grief-stricken father, Keith Kilgore, told WND about his son, Jesse. “This professor either assigned him to read or challenged him to read a book, ‘The God Delusion,’ by Richard Dawkins,” he said.

Observe the spin, dear reader. As reported by WorldNetDaily, this tragedy began when the lad took a biology class. There is no hint of anything else in his life that may have been a contributing factor. The not-so-subtle lesson is clear — beware of biology! Here’s more:

Jesse Kilgore committed suicide in October by walking into the woods near his New York home and shooting himself. Keith Kilgore said he was shocked because he believed his son was grounded in Christianity, had blogged against abortion and for family values, and boasted he’d been debating for years.

The lad was a creationist blogger. Let’s read on:

After Jesse’s death, Keith Kilmore learned of the book assignment from two of his son’s friends and a relative. He searched Jesse’s room and found the book under the mattress with his son’s bookmark on the last page.

A WND message seeking a comment from Dawkins or his publisher was not returned today.

Why would Dawkins be expected to respond to WorldNetDaily? What kind of “journalism” is this? Oh, we get it — the creationist journalists are gently suggesting that Dawkins has something to hide. Yeah, he’s ducking their hard-hitting questions! Continuing:

The first inkling of a reason for the suicide came, Keith Kilgore told WND, when one of Jesse’s friends came to visit after word of his son’s death circulated. “She was in tears [and said] he was very upset by this book,” Keith Kilgore said. “‘It just destroyed him,’ were her words.

Aha, clever move! Exploit the father’s grief to promote the notion that a book put the boy over the edge. Nice going, guys. When do you plan to announce your theocratic censorship campaign?

Let’s see what else these “journalists” have to say:

Keith Kilgore believes it was a biology class that raised questions for his son, and a biology professor at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, N.Y., where his son was attending, who suggested the book.

Ooooooo! It was a biology class, and a biology professor. It’s all starting to fit. But not quite …

A school spokeswoman told WND that the “God Delusion” was not a part of the biology curriculum, and several of the professors she contacted said they had not even read the book.

Things don’t look good for the “Dawkins did it” theory. But the intrepid WND reporters persevere:

However, the spokeswoman was unable to contact all of the professors in the department and could not state that none of them had suggested the book to Jesse.

Ah, so there just might have been someone, somewhere, who recommended the book. That clinches it! And there’s still more proof — the smoking gun, as it were:

Local police also did not respond to WND inquiries about the investigation into the death.

First, Dawkins won’t talk. Now it’s the police. This is how Watergate started. Obviously, there’s some kind of cover-up going on. It can’t be that the police have a policy that says “No talking to tabloid rags.”

Here’s one more excerpt, and then we’ll let you click over to WorldNetDaily to read it all.

Keith Kilgore, a retired military chaplain who has dealt with the various stages of grief and readily admits he’s still in the “anger” stage over his son’s death, said his son apparently had checked the “Delusion” out of the college library. “I’m all for academic freedom,” Keith Kilgore said. “What I do have a problem with is if there’s going to be academic freedom, there has to be academic balance.”

Yes, let’s have mandatory creationism for balance. Otherwise, we’re going to have an epidemic of these cases. WorldNetDaily is on to a big story here. Really big!

[Addendum: Thanks to our operatives in the underground control room at Curmudgeon Central, we bring you a link to the Discovery Institute’s reaction to Jesse Kilgore’s demise: The Story of Jesse Kilgore and the Consequences of Teaching One Side of Evolution.]

Copyright © 2008. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Suicide Blamed on Biology Class and Dawkins’ Book

  1. You insensitive brute! If you had any conception of the number of Geo-centrists who have committed suicide after reading Galileo’s Dialogue …., you’d go kill yourself….

  2. Longie, the only thing that keeps me going is anticipating all the happiness I’ll experience when you read it and take yourself out of the picture.

  3. mightyfrijoles

    More likely it had to do with his military experience, or even more likely, a bit of feminine vanity.

  4. “More likely it had to do with …”

    It was Darwin. And Dawkins. That’s the deal.

  5. “You insensitive brute” I dont think the Curmudgeon is trying to be insensitive. In the entire write up he isnt attacking the family at all, he is simply analyzing the story that the WorldNetDaily has thrown out to the general public. Though i do not agree with the Curmudgeon using so many sarcastic remarks in the write up he does have a valid point. It seems that WorldNetDaily is using this story to attack the ideas of evolution which really puts a bad look on creationism.

  6. If the young man lost his faith because he read one book, it doesn’t say much for the strength of his faith. Why WorldNetDaily would use this story to promote their religion is beyond me.

    Unfortunately, there is a high incidence of suicide in the military and among recent veterans. To blame a book is quite a stretch.

  7. So, according to WND, Richard Dawkins is the new Ozzy Osbourne?

    If that’s so, the one bright spot I can envision out of the always tragic news of a suicide is that reading books will now become as popular with the kids as heavy metal.

  8. I read this on another site and I was flabbergasted… the part that made me the most upset was that he said his son was the Adam Walsh of the culture war… ummm no. Adam Walsh was killed, his son killed himself… HUGE difference there. Not only that, does anyone believe this drivel? There are chapters in history books dedicated to the crusades, which were brought upon by people following which book? /sigh…

  9. I am extremely suspicious about that “Kilgore” name, expecially a military reference to it. During WWII, as GIs moved thru Europe “Kilgore was here” appeared everywhere. .. the whole thing sounds like a made up story to me; … and brought to you by the proponents of other major fictional works.

  10. Gabriel Hanna

    “Kilgore was here”

    It’s Kilroy.

    Cut back on the Mad Dog.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilroy_was_here

  11. Gabriel Hanna says: “Cut back on the Mad Dog.”

    Hee hee.

  12. Oops! Confused my Vonnegut and Malden references … happens a lot. Thank you for catching that.