When I first saw a headline stream by in my Facebook feed indicating that Ben Carson hadn’t made one true statement since his campaign began, I assumed it was a satirical poke at the creationist/anti-knowledge candidate for President. But when I pulled up PolitiFact to check further, what I found was rather shocking. He is essentially running a campaign free of factual information.
Like his counterpart at the top of the GOP field, Donald Trump, Carson takes positions based on how they feel to him. He doesn’t allow facts to interfere with his opinions, nor does he seem interested in mankind’s gradual but steady increase in cumulative learning. He doesn’t like the Big Bang Theory, even though it is supported by overwhelming amounts of evidence and is the prevailing cosmological model for the universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution. His statements around other scientific knowledge are downright strange. He sort of accepts that life evolves, stating he “believes” in micro-evolution and natural selection, but that the Israeli Tribal God Yahweh gave the creatures He made the ability to adapt because, “He’s very smart and didn’t want to start over every 50 years.” Honestly, I can’t even begin to address his stance on this. If you have even a basic understanding of natural selection, which Carson says he “believes” in, then the remainder of that statement displays a surrender along the path. Giving up on the pursuit of knowledge and getting just a taste of it, then filling in the rest with whatever suits your fancy. To illustrate what I mean by that, check out this next quote from Mr. Carson:
“Just the way the Earth rotates on its axis, how far away it is from the sun. These are all very complex things. Gravity, where did it come from?”
These are great questions from say, a 3rd grader. The naturally curious human mind would then seek out answers, and wouldn’t you know it, there are some answers out there:
Ben Carson’s way of thinking is illogical and irrational. He doesn’t start with a question and then seek answers based on reason, logic and evidence. Instead, he starts with a question and then applies what feels right to him. It’s a very primal, basic means of relating to the world around us, which we’ve improved upon since the Enlightenment. Combine this basic inability to apply logic and the natural tendency toward self-preservation and you end up with Carson’s elusive hold on the truth. The fact that he’s a retired brain surgeon means only that he mastered a specific skill, like me flying a helicopter. It doesn’t mean I’m intellectually curious, that I can think critically or that I can understand my emotional responses to certain information and seek out evidence to know if I’m on the right side of the facts as we know them. Even in Carson’s chosen field of study, he lacks information:
“Pediatricians have cut down on the number and proximity of vaccines because they recognize there have been too many in too short a period of time.” said Dr. Carson at the GOP debate on 9/16/15. That is in actual fact, a lie.
The fact that many GOP voters like what they hear from Carson is deeply troubling. Following someone who runs on instinct and emotion, who has a loose grasp on reality and shapes his view of the world on how he feels about it can only lead to disaster. There is a lot of time between now and Super Tuesday, by which time I presume Mr. Carson will have left behind such a trail of falsehoods and baseless opinions, mixed in with a touch of crazy old man utterances, that his legion of followers will be outnumbered by those who know a kook when they see one.