Welp, Ben Carson just lost my vote


Not that there was a chance in Hell I'd ever vote for him for anything, but now in a rambling and dogmatic monolog, Carson explains how evolution is stupid, and exposes himself as someone who embraces ignorance.

In a Faith & Liberty interview posted last week, potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson discussed his rejection of the theory of evolution, arguing that the science of evolution is a sign of humankind’s arrogance and belief that they are so smart that if they can’t explain how God did something, then it didn’t happen, which of course means that they’re God. You don’t need a God if you consider yourself capable of explaining everything.

Did that make any sense to you? Scientists are open about what parts of the evolutionary story they don't understand; it's the creationists who are so certain that they know the entire process, and every bit of it is explained by saying GOD. So do creationists think they're a god? Does the fact that he thinks himself capable of explaining everything by invoking his deity mean he doesn't need a god? That is so incoherent and wrong.

But it's also cant. Creationists commonly accuse scientists of arrogance, of being know-it-alls. We aren't. We just know that creationists are wrong, and have the evidence to back it up.

He claimed that no one has the knowledge of the age of the earth based on the Bible, adding that carbon dating and all of these things really don’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time.

Actually, we do have good knowledge of the age of the earth -- we have multiple lines of evidence that all converge on the fact that the Earth is very old, about 4½ billion years old, and that the idea that it is only 6,000 years old is utterly ludicrous. The notion of a young earth is also unbiblical -- there is no date given in the Christian holy book, and he openly admits that. The claim that it is 600 years old comes from, in general, two sources: numerology (there are a series of nice round thousand-year-long ages that represent stages in God's plan for humanity, and of course there are 7 of them because 7 is a magic number), and the visions of the Seventh Day Adventist prophetess, Ellen White, who claimed that Jesus personally told her how old the earth was, and showed her visions of its creation. There's nothing biblical about it, except in the sense that the Bible is a stew of nonsense which allows anyone to read into it anything they want.

I expect a neurosurgeon to know the basics of physics, and understand that carbon isotope decay is not useful for dating the age of rocks, or any material over 50,000 years old. It's enough to show that the young earth creationist date is untenable, but dating the earth requires other methods. It's pathetic to argue against geology with such a complete lack of knowledge of the science.

Isn't it convenient that, when the evidence shows that something is very, very old, the Christian fanatics simply tell us that their God created it with the illusion of age?

Carson pointed to the complexity of the human brain as proof that evolution is a myth: Somebody says that came from a slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals? I don’t think so.

Nothing good ever comes from a slime pit. No one claims that nervous systems arose spontaneously from promiscuous biochemicals.

I know that in his training, Carson had to have examined the brains of other mammals (you don't get to operate on people until you've practiced on at least cats). He has to know that there is a range of complexity and size within the mammals, and that we don't claim that the human brain just poofed into existence from random pools of chemicals; it is an enlargement of a primate brain. It's grossly dishonest for him to make this argument.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if he was never exposed to the full range of animal nervous systems, which is a shame. There is all kinds of wonderful data on everything from jellyfish neurons to Aplysia ganglia which tells us that the general principles of neurobiology have deep roots. Our brains are assemblies of excitable cells, and there's a phenomenal amount of information available on how they gradually arose.

He said evolution is unable to explain the development of an eyeball: Give me a break. According to their scheme, it had to occur over night, it had to be there. I instead say, if you have an intelligent creator, what he does is give his creatures the ability to adapt to the environment so he doesn’t have to start over every fifty years creating all over again.

You have to listen to the whole interview to see the full inanity of his claim here. He argues that, under evolution, first a whole, fully formed rod cell would evolve, and then it would sit around waiting for millions of years for cones to evolve, and then these two cells would wait passively even longer for the retinal circuitry to appear. It's appalling. He can only imagine modern cells of a limited type, and rather than developing as an integrated whole, they had to have evolved piece-wise. His ignorance of the science is total.

If god magicked the ability to adapt into his creations, why can't he see that that is sufficient to spawn "endless forms most beautiful" without his kibitzer deity?

Calling someone a "brain surgeon" has long been a term of praise for high intelligence and discipline and skill. Between Michael Egnor and Ben Carson, they've managed to thoroughly undermine that reputation -- "brain surgeon" has come to mean to me a narrowly specialized person with an inflated ego who has no depth of understanding of science, and that's a shame. I'm sure there are intelligent neurosurgeons out there in the wide world, and it's just too bad that two of their most prominent representatives are flaming ass-weasels.

Also, what are medical schools teaching their students? How can you go through an undergraduate education and years of medical training and be as ignorant of basic biology as Carson is?

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It appalls me that a bloke can get through medical school with such a bizarre belief structure. To be a young earth creationist should disqualify him from any role that requires rational discourse just as surely as announcing he is a fried egg and is looking for a nice piece of buttered toast for a good lie down.

By Mark Bolton (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

Well Mark if you had gotten you then there would a lot of dead childern whose lives Dr. Carson saved or who were saved by advances that Dr. Carson pioneered.

By Johnny Davis (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

Carson has a long history of wearing his ignorance of multiple things as a badge of honor. It's the primary reason he's allowed to be favored by tea baggers.

I'm wondering if any discussion of Carson is worth any amount of time at all. He is a savant, talented in one area of endeavor and devoid of knowledge about anything else, or so his statements would have us believe. There is a post on Science Daily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150907113747.htm which states that all organisms have a common developmental structure. That is only the latest strike against the ignorance that is biblical certitude. What is frightening is that a certain and significant portion of the slackjawed population actually nods when this character speaks. Apparently the religious nuts on the right have done a pretty good job at destroying our school system if this guy gains any traction at all. Now, that's real fear.

By BobFromLI (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

If possible, spend 30-60 minutes listening to some old interviews of BC (or even some of the new stuff) .He is more nuanced than you might think. If people are informed by sound-bites and quotes alone, they will miss the subtle and refreshingly disorienting context of who he is as a person.

Modern young earth creationism may have arose to popularity for the reasons mentioned, but the belief that the earth is young is pretty old. See James Ussher's The Annals of the World, which came out a few hundred years ago and details the supposed history of the world from creation to 70 CE.

It's an amazing work for those interested in the Judeochristian myths, but it's definitely not "old earth" compatible. According to it, the earth was created in the year 4004 BCE.

Also, something I've always felt is worth pointing out, if it can be said that the earth/universe was created with the appearance of age -- that is, God created mature trees, light already filling the expanse between stars and Earth, etc. -- then it could also be argued that the universe was brought into existence mere milliseconds ago, with the appearance of age and "in progressness" being part of it.

That's something we can't know, and the same holds true of biblical creation. If all of the evidence points to a universe that is billions of years old and which operates according to certain natural laws, then that is what we must stick with when understanding the world.

In other words, even if God created the world recently with the appearance of age, that world's appearance that we have leads us to know understand, for instance, that life evolved from earlier forms. Whether all life was created 6000 years ago, as is, is irrelevant. We have to stick with the evidence because that's how the world's actually working and that is what can lead to understanding where the world is going.

Past miracles, real or imagined, are of little use as they provide no understanding for the future.

By Rick Beckman (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

simone: In other words he has successfully become a politician.

By Rick Meidell (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

(To clarify my last statement, so far as we know, there were no real miracles in the past. I included that part of my statement only to cover the "If miracles really did happen" side of things. I don't think they ever actually did or will occur.)

By Rick Beckman (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

Not surprising: he's speaking to and seeking the votes of, an audience that is most famous for its willful rejection of reality. He's giving his voters exactly what they want, and he's demonstrated he'll say whatever he has to say to please them.

This election cycle is the one in which the Republican party will either destroy itself with candidates who range from merely corrupt (Christie) to aggressively stupid (Perry) to outright dangerous (Rubio, keyword search "New Apostolic Reformation", and of course Donald the Demagogue), or it will somehow gain power next November and run our country and the biosphere into the ground.

Bottom line is: it's up to _us_, every last one of us, to make damn sure that everyone we know is registered and votes. Sitting around polishing our crystal balls is a meaningless exercise: happenstance is not a stance, and fatalism is superstitious BS. In a democracy we get the government we deserve. So let's stop trying to predict history, and go out there and MAKE history.

Let's MAKE 2016 the year in which reality triumphed over bullsh*t for once and for all.

Carson doesn't believe in a young earth, he said it in a speech on the very topic, your maligning him when your under informed.

He is more nuanced than you might think. If people are informed by sound-bites and quotes alone, they will miss the subtle and refreshingly disorienting context of who he is as a person.

Well no. He is either completely ignorant (probably by choice) about what modern science says about evolution and the age of the universe, or he is simply lying to appeal to a particular demographic. Nothing nuanced about either of those behaviors.

It was Ben Carson's well-defined views on science and evolution that gave him my vote. My vote could not be in safer hands.

By Nikato Muirhead (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

My life span is probably greater than most of you who have posted at this site or at least more than the sum of a few. I tell you this because I have experienced many things in my life. I have always been a friend to the poor, the homeless and all those who have been been abused by those who held an advantage due to wealth, education or political status.
Dr. Carson is full of integrity and valor. His desire to lead this country out of its current condition is nothing less than patriotic. He is not running to force anyone to become a creationist any more than forcing you to become an evolutionist .Your criticism and condemnation of him for his beliefs are childish and represents a generation unwilling to acknowledge that there is no missing link.
The sum of this post is to provoke you into using your knowledge and education into providing those of us opposed to the theory of evolution with some evidence of its reality. Stop using your time on useless rhetoric and be thankful you live in a country where you can voice your opinion without persecution or prosecution.

By john huggins (not verified) on 08 Sep 2015 #permalink

It was Ben Carson’s well-defined views on science and evolution that gave him my vote. My vote could not be in safer hands.

Well-defined dishonesty is something to be impressed with? News to me.

#13: He's full of integrity and valor? Not sure how you get the valor, since he's done nothing to show that. Integrity - does that come from his denial of science, his "homosexuality is a choice" comments, his comparison of the United States to nazi germany or his comparison of the affordable care act to slavery?
He may have been a good surgeon but he's a slimeball otherwise.

Yeah it's pretty ignorant for Dr. Carson to claim the earth being that young after all the evidence. Although it is interesting and marvelous how the brain works and truly unexplainable from where it originated. I mean I don't think evolution got every single evolving right the first time truly their had to be trial and error by mother nature to see which limb or how many eyes would be best suited for our survival. So when you think about it its a pretty short time for us humans to have evolved as complex as we are today. In this I do hesitate still in believing maybe their is a designer. The very complexity of our cells and how proteins are made it all looks like a work done by an engineer. I'm not saying God although itsome still a good possibility, but the possibility of another race in another dimension that are our creators is still a huge possibility in my book. So in this I remain open to all possibilities due the fact of strong arguments from both ID and the darwinist. Quite exciting to think that there is a even more powerful being or beings out of our dimension.

"So in this I remain open to all possibilities due the fact of strong arguments from both ID and the darwinist."

Aah, there are only strong arguments from ID if you're an idiot.

Ben Carson gets my vote. More now than ever! May you all experience the goodness, mercy and wisdom of God.

Auri: You must be worshipping one of the pagan gods: the Old Testament God has none of those qualities. Neither do most of his followers.

Dean: I think he's either lying or suffering from Alzheimers. He was an intelligent man once.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 09 Sep 2015 #permalink

yeah, but at least Ben Carson isn't a fu*king liberal lunatic who wants to completely fu*k up the entire country like the incompetent idiot who's president now