Ben Carson’s shameful and willful scientific ignorance

Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon, Seventh-Day Adventist, and overall ignoramus about science, is now the front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination. I’m hoping he wins that nomination because he’s a born loser, and Hillary (or whoever) would defeat him handily. But I doubt he’ll be the candidate, for although my opinion of Americans’ political acumen is pretty low, I simply can’t believe that we’d elect a man so retrograde, so right-wing, and so totally ignorant of science to run the country. It’s even more shameful because his career was based on science.

And yet he’s a Biblical, straight-up Genesis-six-day creationist. He’s downplaying it now, but if you have the time and will, listen to this speech he made in 2011 at a conference called “Celebrating Creation” (original talk here, my takedown here). That was before he knew he’d be a candidate, and so he pulls out all the stops espousing his crazy views—not just on creationism, but on cosmology.

As I wrote last week, Carson’s now downplaying his creationism, sensing that it somehow turns people off, but it’s now clear what he believes. The video below is annotated by VoysovReason to show where and why Carson is wrong. The subtitles are sometimes off (“Vestigial pelvis of Wales”? Is that a royal title?), and I don’t agree completely with every word of the narrator (humans are apes), but my disagreements with the science are trivial: by and large, it’s accurate, and shows Carson to be way off the rails:

Yep, there you hear every creationist trope, all of them long ago debunked: the great worldwide flood, a literal six-day creation, the canard of “circularity”—dating rocks with fossils and then the fossils with rocks—and so on. He even floats the Gish-ian idea that A. afarensis skeleton of “Lucy” (not just a skull, according to Carson’s lie, but a largely complete skeleton) was simply a modern human who had a “deformed head”! There’s no mention that we now have dozens of skulls and bones from A. afarensis, all of them are “deformed”!

Carson goes on: there’s an absence of transitional fossils (nope; read my book); an allusion to how complex organs like the eye couldn’t evolve because all the parts would have to be present simultaneously (“irreducible complexity”: the discredited basis of intelligent design); and even the idea that we couldn’t get order in the universe after the Big Bang because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Nor can science explain altruism and empathy: those, implies Carson, must have come from God.

My favorite bit is at  18:30, when Carson mixes up Darwin’s finch collection on the Galápagos with Peter and Rosemary Grant’s work in the late 1970s on selection on beak shape in Geospiza fortis following a drought on the island of Daphne Major. Darwin didn’t see any drought-induced evolution in the Galápagos: he wasn’t there long enough!

There are many LOLs in this film, and most but not all are debunked. What a shameful display of willful ignorance!

But wait! There’s more! I wasn’t going to put this up, as it took place in 1998, but Carson has revived his 17-year-old claim that the Pyramids were built by the Biblical Joseph to store grain (Uncle Ben’s rice?), and that many scientists think that “alien beings” built the Pyramids. (What??) “Well,” I thought, “We have plenty of evidence of Carson’s ignorance now, so why go back so far to chastise him?” But he’s still maintaining that theory! The video below shows his original claim, and his defense of that claim just yesterday:

“Some people believe in the Bible like I do and don’t find that to be silly at all, and believe that God created the Earth and don’t find that to be silly at all,” Carson said. “The secular progressives try to ridicule it every time it comes up and they’re welcome to do that.”

As the Associated Press reports, the experts are taking Carson apart on his Pyramid hypothesis:

Neither Carson’s church nor any other major Jewish or Christian sect shares his belief about the pyramids’ origins. Jodi Magness, a specialist in biblical archaeology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said she knows of no scholar or archaeologist who questions that the pyramids were used as royal tombs.

“This is not an academic topic of debate,” Magness said in an email. “The use of the pyramids as tombs is verified by both written (literary) sources and archaeological evidence.”

The pyramids were built with narrow, secret passages intended to foil grave-robbers, making the structures unsuitable for grain storage, Magness said. And the design of the pyramids, with associated temples, “reflects the ancient Egyptian concept of the cosmos, according to which the king or pharaoh was at the center of a unified kingdom, serving as a god, a political ruler and a divine mediator.”

Even Carson’s own Church refuses to defend his lunacy:

Daniel Weber, a spokesman for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, said Carson’s belief about the pyramids are “his own interpretation.”

“Of course, we believe in the biblical account of Joseph and the famine,” Weber said. “But I’ve never heard the idea that pyramids were storehouses of grain.”

But does any of this matter? I doubt it. Anybody who defends Carson already knows of his creationism, and this Pyramid stuff won’t bother them a bit. For, as mushbrained as Carson is, his defenders are even more so, for they want the man to be President!

h/t: Randy Schenck, Hempenstein

140 Comments

  1. BobTerrace
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I’m laughing at the complete package of ignorance, lunacy and arrogance. He knows better than everyone because he did brain plumbing and wiring.

    • Ralph
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      There’s a great hammy Alec Baldwin scene where he’s an arrogant neurosurgeon in the movie Malice. Google “Malice I Am God”.

  2. eric
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    After the long lead by Trump, the GOP race is looking like it might repeat the pattern of the last one: (1) Newcomer candidate goes up in polls (2) people get interested in what they’ve said (3) people investigate the candidate’s views (4) get disillusioned (5) the candidate’s numbers start falling (5) go to 1 and repeat.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Right, and at almost every step 1, the new candidate is nearly the same as the old one. Never mind this particular Carson; the Republican Party is Carson-ogenic.

      But eventually they get to stage (6): a candidate somewhat less wacky, or at least better able to hide it.

      • BobTerrace
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        the Republican Party is Carson-ogenic.

        Boy, am I stealing this one!

  3. nickswearsky
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    What I find unsettling about the pyramids bit is that he seems very comfortable with just making sh*t up. There is nothing un-biblical about the pyramids of Egypt being tombs. He also seems not the least bit curious as to how incredibly impractical gigantic stone pyramids would be for grain storage when many many other storage options were readily available and require significantly less labor.

    I think it is a valid question to ask him that, if president, will he continue to make up his own reality and act accordingly?

    • HBB
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Well, the landscape out here on the Great Plains would look a whole lot cooler if the farmers stored their grain in pyramids instead of big cylindrical silos.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      I think this is because he thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. In interviews where he’s asked how he’ll handle situations that are new to him, he goes on about his ability to analyse information. Many seem to think this is a sufficient answer, perhaps because as a neurosurgeon he is intelligent.

      Clearly though, he analyses without doing the research – he just assumes that because he’s smart that his guesses are correct. Within neurosurgery that might be correct, because he has a huge knowledge base for his unconscious to draw from. Much of his other decision making is tainted by his theological “knowledge” relating to creation, the Bible, eschatology etc. and having to fit that into his answers.

      The problem is that too many either assume he’s correct because he’s intelligent, or think it doesn’t matter because a religious man is a good man in US politics.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Having been inside the great pyramids (all the big three and some smaller ones) — they would be ~worthless for storing grain. Might have kept Egypt going for a couple of days.

      There’s no damned room in there!

      Boastfully, flamboyantly, ignorant.

      Just what the Teabaggin’ doctor ordered! 🙂

  4. Sam Henderson
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I refuse to believe he believes a lot of the things he says. He has a medical degree. Most members of congress went to Ivy League schools and/or have higher degrees yet think evolution and global warming are hoaxes. I think most of them are either bought by companies with vested interests or pandering to get votes of people who do believe these things.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      It is, of course, possible that many people say thinks they don’t believe for personal advantage. I learned a long time ago that an advanced degree and a top-tier school do not ensure against foolishness.

      • Sam Henderson
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        There’s also the third route taken by George W. Bush of having connections.

    • eric
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      I would agree with you about in many instances but here, there is essentially no motive; no advantage to be gained. Even “pandering to the religious right” isn’t a motive because, as Nick points out, there is nothing unbiblical about the pyramids being tombs. Carson’s view isn’t one any constituent group had. So its almost certainly a sincere, personal belief.

      Smart people believe weird things. It happens. General intelligence (however you measure it) is no guarantee against oddball irrational beliefs. There’s even been a book or two written about it.

      On top of all that, Carson’s a surgeon. This is for sure a highly technical and detail-oriented profession, but as several others have pointed out, its as much or more focused on physical skills vice intellectual ones.

      In looking into this old claim of Carson’s, I did have to laugh at one thing. Evidently Carson has fallen asleep behind the wheel several times. So evidently even Carson finds Carson soporific.

      • Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        On top of everything Eric said, there’s the added consideration that so many of these clips being found of Carson are from long before he had any political aspirations. He wasn’t pandering to any political group 17 years ago, just stating what he really believed.

    • Blue
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Of your analysis, Sam Henderson, I have long, long believed re the faith – deranged. That their batshit – crazed take on evidence – proved sciences is, and only is, made for one purpose: for their interpretations of what might be(come) gains for them personally. For this belief of mine re the religiously drenched, I have been termed absurd.

      However, I still believe what you state — to be true: these soooo dreadful and damaging people are wanting the muck that they spew to be a useful tool unto themselves.

      Blue

      • Blue
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        As of the (he – thinks – to – be) useful tools now, too, these probable lies of Ben Carson’s: i) the ‘angry young black man’ — who, with ‘sudden goddiness intervention’, got himself straightened out and ii) the alleged ‘full scholarship ride’ right outta Detroit High and in to West Point.

        Not.
        Blue

    • Curt Nelson
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      My guess is that it’s an example of Too Much Self Confidence Syndrome. MDs are generally sufferers and surgeons are MDs on steroids.

      • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        How many surgeons does it take to change a light bulb?

        First off, they’d never stoop to such a thing.

        But, if they did, speaking hypothetically, it would only take QTY=1: She would hold up the bulb to the socket and the world would turn about her.

        (This holds for test pilots as well. I’ve worked with a few (in their professional function). Arrogance is much too weak a word. They were good, very good. But the arrogance was thermonuclear.)

    • Chewy
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      But he’s been saying crazy backward religious stuff all his life, hasn’t he? I think he is authentically backward, in large part due to his Adventism; or as Karen Armstrong or Reza Aslan might say, he chose to be Adventist because he was inherently backward. Carson has been a religious nut and myth-fabricator for decades now. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, could be seen in real time to switch views 180 degrees if it looked like the electoral wind was blowing that way.

    • rickflick
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      One counter evidence to your thesis is to see if there are any in the set of all highly intelligent and schooled people who are deeply religious. Of course there are many. It’s not just Carson believing absurdities. So, while to us it sounds like pandering, the evidence before us says he’s just very, very, confused.

  5. Trevor H
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Makes you wonder whether there ought to be a sanity test for public office?

    Whilst half of me says ‘win the GOP’, as you won’t get Prez, the other half doesn’t want him on the ballot (just in case!)

  6. Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Novella just completed a stereotactic brain biopsy on Carson:

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-ben-carson-contradiction/

    • DianeLangworthy
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      I thought this was very good too!

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Seems to me I’ve heard that claim about the pyramids before in the last couple years. What gets me about it, is that it’s unnecessary. Obviously, he needs to discredit evolution in order to defend his religious beliefs, and he’s predisposed to accept the common anti-evolution tropes. But this pyramids business just shows a general credulity. I wonder if he thinks Mt. Rushmore is a Pez dispenser?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      The idea has been around for many years. (I did a paper on the pyramids a long time ago.) I can’t remember where it originated, if I ever knew. I’m not sure I even looked into it much at the time since it was so obviously wrong.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Maybe he thinks Mt. Rushmore is a Prez dispenser … ?

    • rickflick
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard he’s sayin’ the Eiffel Tower was used to store french bread.

      • Posted November 8, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        That can be a real pain!

        /@

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          Le groan! 🙄

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          Yay multilingual pun!

        • rickflick
          Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Right, it would fall out through all the holes.
          That’s in seine

          • Diane G.
            Posted November 9, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

            Sounds like a net loss.

  8. Brujo Feo
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I have been one of those led (or perhaps misled) into reluctance in thinking that Carson actually believes any of the shit that he spews; the fact that one HAS to have at least a modicum of intelligence to be ANY kind of neurosurgeon, let alone a leading one, tends to dissuade one from thinking that he can be such an idiot about ‘most everything else. The tempting conclusion, therefore, is that he is a cold, calculating opportunist who knows exactly how to plumb the depths of his target audience’s wilful ignorance.

    But even before this, I was seriously considering the alternative that he’s just rather seriously mentally ill. After all, that would pose no contradiction with also having great intelligence. As implied by nickswearsky above, this outlandish new claim doesn’t add anything to his bona fides with the Xhristers; it just exposes him to further ridicule for little, if any, political gain. (Unless he’s pointedly inviting ridicule so that he can play the victim of “them”–the MSM, the “secular intellectuals,” whomever–I haven’t really thought this through.)

    In any case, you have all probably by now seen the various memes claiming that since the start of the campaign, Ben has not made ONE statement rated by PolitiFact as true. And that IS true: http://www.politifact.com/personalities/ben-carson/statements/

  9. Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Let me hazard a guess.

    We’ve found millennia-old grain in the pyramids, and even planted and grown some of said grain — and done the DNA analysis, and the other obvious stuff. Botanists are obviously thrilled with these sorts of discoveries.

    But the grain wasn’t part of some massive storehouse; it was just some of the many treasures the entombed were buried with, along with the gold and the oil and the sweet-smelling herbs.

    I’ll bet a cup of coffee that Carson stumbled across some mundane mention of the grains discovered in so-and-so’s tomb, and then invented this entire fantasy of, literally, Biblical proportions.

    That he would do such a thing, of course, only further demonstrates just how unfit he is for any sort of government position.

    b&

    • DrBrydon
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Of course, by that logic he could also say they were giant toy stores. 😛

    • nickswearsky
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Even among the wingnut branch of Biblical Archaeology, the ones trying to find Noah’s Ark and such, they understand the pyramids were tombs. The Pharaohs were heathens and idol worshipers, so there is no need to paint them any different. So why go with this interpretation? Why is it seemingly wrong to understand them as tombs to Carson? In what Biblical context does his interpretation make sense? Is he simply trying to provide physical evidence for the Joseph story? Any ancient grain bins would do for that.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      There isn’t room for storage of much of anything in those pyramids.

      When my friend and I saw them “in the flesh”, we didn’t think, “wow, cosmic man! No WAY people could have built those!”

      Our reaction was: “Nice stock of rocks Khufu. Give me 100,00 slaves and 20 years and I’ll build you another one.”

      Our joking comment on any grand masonry edifice was always, “nice stack of rocks!”

  10. gordon hill
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I like my wingnuts roasted… 😉

    • Lurker111
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      You like your wingnuts roasted?

      Okay …

      Ben Carson’s Song (to the tune of the “Major-General’s Song”:

      I am the very model of a modern GOPer candidate;
      I pander to the ignorant and to the ones that pander hate;
      I let no facts dissuade me nor do I allow them past my lips;
      I want to be your President and hasten the Apocalypse.

      I’m very well acquainted with the frontal and parietal;
      I’ve firm opinions national and local and societal;
      But when folks ask me questions of my ramblings verifiable,
      I fight them back by citing ancient scribblings from the Bi-able.

      (Chorus)
      He fights them back by citing ancient scribblings from the Bi-able.
      He fights them back by citing ancient scribblings from the Bi-able.
      He fights them back by citing ancient scribblings from the Bi-a, Bi-able …

      Obviously based on this:

      BTW, it’s a little-known fact that Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta
      _The Pirates of Penzance_ was based on an unpublished manuscript
      by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s mother had two sisters who ran
      a bakery. One time these ladies were beset with vermin, and Franklin
      immortalized this in “The Pie Rats of Ben’s Aunts.”

      • gordon hill
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Great… Loved the lyric and did not know the history of ‘Pirates’

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        For some reason (a bit like limericks) the Major-General’s Song seems to lend itself uniquely well to parodies of all types.

        Here’s one seen recently – Kim Davis:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BytJKFn0oXw

        And – not actually a parody, but a classic from Tom Lehrer, beautifully illustrated in this version:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGM-wSKFBpo

        And a biblical philolgist just for luck:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x2SvqhfevE

        cr

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        (Dammit, WP ate my post again. At the risk of repeating myself…)

        The Major-General’s Song (like limericks) seems to be remarkably attractive for parody / satirical uses.

        Herewith a couple of examples –
        Kim Davis
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BytJKFn0oXw

        Tom Lehrer (not a parody, but beautifully illustrated in this version):
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGM-wSKFBpo

        And for luck, a biblical philologist:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x2SvqhfevE

        cr

        • rickflick
          Posted November 6, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          You did repeat yourself. Double the fun!!!

        • Lurker111
          Posted November 7, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          What I find fascinating is that the beat-pattern of The Major-General’s Song lends itself so easily to the formation of long rhymes (at least in English).

          BTW, thanks for the other links. I did see the fantastic Tom Lehrer “Elements” animation before. 🙂

          • Lurker111
            Posted November 7, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

            Just listened to the Biblical Philologist song.

            Oh.
            My.
            God.

            I’m not worthy.
            WE’RE not worthy …

            • Lurker111
              Posted November 7, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

              BTW, in the Philologist’s Song, did anyone notice the inclusion of an illo of the untranslated Phaistos Disc? 😉

            • Lurker111
              Posted November 7, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

              And further …

              By this point, many of the parodies of The Major-General’s Song are actually _better_ than original. Bizarre.

              I wonder if Gilbert & Sullivan had any idea at all just how long the legs to their creation would be?

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:07 am | Permalink

        Ha, ha, love it! Very well done!

        • Lurker111
          Posted November 8, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          Thanks. Would you believe, this actually lasted about 5 hours before being removed over on ABCNews? 🙂

          And on a story about VW’s cheat re: the diesel exhaust emissions, I posted:

          “Ich bin geschockt! Geschockt bin ich!”

          That got deleted almost immediately. Twice.
          One morning I had 5 posts deleted in the span of a hour–a new record!

          ABCNews must be run by interns from universities where coddling snowflakes is a priority.

          • Diane G.
            Posted November 8, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            Way to go, ABC, delete the wittiest posts. I’m sure they passed right over the usual unimaginative dreck. (I’d love to hear their reasoning for the German purge, though!)

            Gawd help us if our news gets any more snowflaked.

          • rickflick
            Posted November 8, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

            “That got deleted almost immediately”

            That’s just totally ignorant. What’s wrong with good clean satire!?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

            I LOL’d at the ich bin geschockt because German is just funny for things like that. I wonder why your comment was removed – maybe simply because it looked too foreign and you could be saying really bad things?

            My dad has his comments removed for really weird reasons on news sites too….I refuse to participate because the people who frequent the comment sections drive me crazy.

  11. Geoff Toscano
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Ben Carson went from being a supposedly good neurosurgeon at one time, to the world’s greatest once his campaign began. Well he certainly wasn’t by any means perfect in that area

    http://www.theguardian.com › us-news › may

  12. larry sullivan
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    what’s frighting is he and trump are at the top of the list. and what they are facing a self admitted socialist and an extreme left-winger. there is no centrist in this race.

    • drakodoc
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I personally would not label Hillary as extremely left of center. She tends to be to pragmatic to drift too far. Certainly she must drift leftist during the primary season to win against Bernie.

      • BobTerrace
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        She is also more right of center on defense and foreign policy.

      • Brujo Feo
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        I’d call her as much of a warmongering opportunist corporate tool as any of the Republicans, and certainly more than Rand Paul, who unfortunately carries his own bizarre baggage, and isn’t going to be the candidate anyway.

        So Hillary may well end up the lesser evil, if for no other reason than the fact that she’s not aggressively anti-intellectual and anti-science.

        That’s how low we’re setting the bar these days.

        • Jeff Ryan
          Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          Ahem. Hillary Clinton not only spent eight years in the White House (where she was more actively involved in policy than any other First Lady), she was a respected U.S. Senator and the Secretary of State.

          I hardly think she is only a contender because the bar is set so “low.” One may dislike or disrespect her all one wants, and her resume certainly doesn’t prove she’d be a good president. But her qualifications are equal to or greater than those of many other contenders from previous years who were not subject to “how low the bar is” remarks.

          • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            Very well said, thank you.

        • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          Rand Paul: Named after Ayn Rand, and just as nutty.

          • Brujo Feo
            Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

            Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one could make a comment on this page, and have someone respond to what was actually said, instead of making some straw-man argument about what wasn’t said?

            I would have thought that the “bizarre baggage” remark in my original comment would have obviated any need to point out Paul’s strange views on any number of other points. My ONLY relevant statement was that Paul was not a 1) warmongering/ 2)corporate tool as is Hillary. Historian recognized the first part of this as true; can anyone here seriously deny it?

            • Brujo Feo
              Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

              Wait-let me be very precise in my use of language here. I’m not saying that Historian said that Hillary was a warmongerer. Only that Paul wasn’t.

  13. Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Wow. And people let this guy operate on their brains?

  14. Tom
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Mr Carson seems to know what he is doing, as he is now the Republican front runner.
    If he is elected President, we at the other side of the pond are willing to accept all your Engineers, Scientists, Surgeons(not him)and any other highly qualified refugees. However, unfortunately, we can’t accept the bulk of your population as we don’t have enough room to resettle tens of millions.

    • Ralph
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Thanks! We will bring all our guns to make your streets safe from violence, and form a militia to liberate you from the tyranny of universal healthcare. You’re welcome.

      • Tom
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        So, all we’ve read in the Daily Mail is true!

  15. GBJames
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    He’s made me want me to avoid brain surgeons.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, exactly. So much for “brain surgeon” as a cliché for intelligence and competence!

  16. Joseph McClain
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Ah, he’s toast now.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/ben-carson-west-point-215598

    • Mark R.
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      He’s obviously a liar, to himself and to others. I think that is a requisite of religious creationists like him. He also lied about his affiliation with Mannatech. I’m sure more lies will come out as he is closely vetted as the front runner.

      Front runner? Hey, American republicans, what the fuck is wrong with you?

      • BobTerrace
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Front runner? Hey, American republicans, what the fuck is wrong with you?

        Do you have 12 hours to listen to the answers?

      • eric
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Meh, Trump being the frontrunner for months is IMO more “what is wrong with you” than Carson being the frontrunner for a couple of weeks. It usually takes a few weeks for the public to understand and respond (in polls) to breaking news about a candidate, so the fact the Carson is the frontrunner today when people found out about the pyramid and west point stuff this week means nothing. If he’s still the frontrunner after Thanksgiving, that’ll be a head-scratcher.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Toast? I doubt it. If making stuff up is a disqualification, there’d be nobody in the race.

    • pali
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/05/politics/ben-carson-2016-childhood-violence/

      There’s reason to believe that he also lied about having been violent as a child before his religious “awakening”, as well as having misrepresented his childhood neighborhood as having been far poorer and more broken down than it actually was.

  17. Scott Draper
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “Hillary (or whoever) would defeat him handily.”

    Yes, but even a landslide typically shows numbers too close to be anything other than humiliating. To be an appropriate slap in the face, large percentages of Republicans would have to vote for Hillary.

  18. gluonspring
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Ben Carson Shattering Stereotypes About Brain Surgeons Being Smart

    He’s doing the world a service by reminding us that specialists of any stripe can be abjectly ignorant about other things.

  19. Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    The first time I saw this going around it was just the 1998 video, and in 1998, I was pretty convinced that, in fact, the pyramids were built by aliens, so who am I to judge.

    I didn’t realize that he reiterated these views just yesterday.

  20. Posted November 6, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    “Vestigial pelvis of Wales” made me laugh out loud. That would be the greatest Royal Title ever.

    • Kiwi Dave
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Usually reliable sources tell me that the vestigial pelvis of Wales is a relic of Saint Tom Jones.

      • Posted November 6, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Nah… It’s a title created to make the royal family somewhat more trendy. A little hip, you might say.

        /@

        • rickflick
          Posted November 6, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Maybe William’s ilium?

  21. Historian
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Current polls show Carson beating Clinton. Of course, this could easily change by election day and Carson needs to be nominated. Still, we cannot take it for granted that Hillary would beat him or any other Republican candidate. Remember, the American electorate elected George W. Bush twice. And he looks good to the current crop of Republican candidates, including the one who scares me the most: Ted Cruz.

    Here is the link to the latest polls as reported by Real Clear Politics.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_carson_vs_clinton-5119.html

    • GBJames
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Well, to be more accurate, the American electorate elected George W. Bush only once.

    • Jeff Ryan
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Hillary would slaughter him. Paying much attention to polls right now is supremely silly. Remember Herman Cain?

      • Posted November 6, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        That’s probably what people were saying sometime in the late 1999 about G.W.Bush and Al Gore. If Americans can elect Bush, they can certainly elect Carson.

        • rickflick
          Posted November 6, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          Oh no. I’m getting depressed.

        • Jeff Ryan
          Posted November 6, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          Apples and sledgehammers. W was the former elected executive officer of the nation’s third largest state. His father had been president. He grew up around some of the most powerful people ever in the national government. He had dealt with legislatures and courts. He had specific plans that had been concocted by “experts”. Lousy plans, for sure, and he was no match for Gore on substance, but he was hardly an outsider and had been around elective politics and government service his entire life. He was at least as credible as his brother is and, though I think little of Jeb, Jeb is a credible candidate.

          Carson has no government experience, nor has he been around those who do. He has no understanding of governmental processes, which W had. He has never faced an electorate. W had. “Outsiders” don’t get elected to the presidency, not even this time around. (And that goes for Trump, too.)

  22. Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I know this is pushing rule 17, but I’ve got an entry on my own website, A Response to Ben Carson’s Creation vs. Evolution Video, where I responded point by point to all his claims about evolution. It’s in writing, not video, for people like me who prefer reading on the web vs. watching videos. It’s amazing how mistaken he was. I mean, it’s not like he got some things right and some things wrong. Nearly everything he said about evolution was wrong.

    The thing that really gets me about it is not just that he was wrong, since lots of people don’t understand evolution well, but that he went out of his way to give a prepared lecture on the subject. How can somebody be so clueless over their own limitations, and what type of arrogance does it take to deliver a lecture on a topic that he obviously knew so very little about?

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      Impressive job, well done!

      BTW, in your transcription of him at the 7:24 mark, I’m pretty sure that what sounds like “gisofala” is actually–you’re gonna kick yourself–Drosophila. 😀

      (Yeah, he does really mumble the “Dr” part.)

  23. Randy Schenck
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid or happy to say, the demise of Dr. Carson may be sooner than we think. CNN can be like the little tiny dog that grabs around the ankle and just won’t let go. They have been investigating all the things in one of his earlier books — about how he was a really bad kid, tried to stab someone with a knife and was just a real looser. Then suddenly he found g*d and everything was fixed. This is exactly the type of story that SDA just loves to tell. Anyway, so far, CNN cannot verify any of this stuff or confirm any of it to be true. Looks like most of it is pure fiction.

    • nickswearsky
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      He will no doubt blame the liberal media for pointing out his many lies and strange beliefs. That has been playing well for him and other Republican candidates lately.

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Maybe so, But sometimes even the suckers don’t like being taken for rides that cost them money. The religious, only ones who would have thrown out the money to buy this book, get to see that most of it was made up, might just piss some of them off enough to vote with the feet.

        • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          Well, it’s worked for the GOP for 30+ years now. They’ve convinced the white working and lower-middle classes to vote against their own economic interests for quite a while now.

          Trickle Down didn’t and never will.

      • Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. I have a friend who’s a big Carson fan, and this friend doesn’t trust non-Fox news sources at all. They’re all part of the liberal media, using lies, distortion, and ‘spin’ to try to discredit Carson because they’re afraid of him.

        • Randy Schenck
          Posted November 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          Once you say he a big fan of Carson, the rest of it kind of goes without saying. The only reason to fear the guy or your friend, is to be in locked room with them with sharp instruments laying around.

          I hear comments like – the guy seems very nice and that maybe true. It’s like saying she has a nice personality. But just hitting the positive parts does not make you take her home to meet mom. He is probably a fine family man and never kicks his dog but the guy is running for president so forget the friends BS and take off the cloves.

          • Diane G.
            Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:02 am | Permalink

            …and the turmeric?

            (Sorry! Couldn’t resist…)

  24. Mattapult
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    If Carson is the front-runner for a while, I’m hoping his Faith Virus infection receives a lot of attention. I think the public is becoming more aware of complete BS, and having someone like him in the spotlight will damage faith in the long run. This is just what we need now that Kim Davis has done her part to wean people off religion.

  25. skiptic
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    In all fairness, I am beginning to wonder if he may suffer from Savant Syndrome, which Wikipedia describes as “a condition in which a person with a mental disability, such as an autism spectrum disorder, demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal”. Otherwise, he’s just a typical narcissistic, psychopathic, delusional, control freak politician who lies with impunity.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Starting with the word “Otherwise” the rest of your statement is completely correct.

  26. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Well, you know, Donald Trump has been accused just this past week of profiting from a pyramid scheme.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/08/13/trump-profited-from-pyramid-scheme.html

    And the Occupy Movement has compared Donald Trump to the Pharoahs “http://www.occupysolidarity.us/3/post/2015/10/donald-trump-the-american-pharaoh.html”
    writing “Trump’s buildings are taller than the pyramids, his wealth is greater than the Pharaohs,”

    And Karl Rove recently said Donald Trump is going against the “grain” of the Republican Party.

    Maybe this is where Ben Carson’s confusion is coming from. 🙂

    • Randy Schenck
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Could be right but I think if you look up Pyramid Scheme in the dictionary there is a picture of Donald there.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Does Carson think Trump stores grain in his buildings?

  27. Posted November 6, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    In addition to his ignorance of biology, he hasn’t done his homework in thermodynamics either. I suggest Sean Carroll’s “From eternity to here” to anyone who wants to know why our universe started out with such low entropy. It’s beyond explaining here, at least by me, but there are possible explanations. It’s not impossible.

    Great book, btw.

    • Posted November 9, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Seconded – Sean Carroll is an awesome resource for cosmology.

  28. Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    “Joseph” build the pyramids? And they were built to store grain?

    Ok, some questions:

    Haven’t more than a hundred (of various sizes and types) been found? Did he build all of them?

    How long does it take to build large pyramids?

    Is there any evidence, other than a hunch, that they were hollow storage devices?

    How did Joseph acquire the engineering knowledge necessary to do this? Aren’t some of the later pyramids exquisite works of engineering, requiring hard-won institutional knowledge and a professional class of builders and technicians?

    If Ben C.’s claims are fit to print, why not interview some experts in the field and include their take in the same article?

    If I was talking to Ben. C in street, and he started going on in that slow-cadence voice of his about the world being only 10,000 years old, and evolution is a lie, and oh, by the way, Joseph of the Bible built the Pyramids, I would probably wonder if he had some type of cognitive issue.

    I would be floored if someone later told me that he was a brain surgeon.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      “Is there any evidence, other than a hunch, that they were hollow storage devices?”

      No, they are nearly solid rock, with tiny passages and chambers in them (that smell of millennia-old urine).

      • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Right, and furthermore, it would seem that a curious person could learn this in short order.

        “The…pyramids…are…hollow…buildings…to..store..grain…”

        “Uh, Benny, they aren’t hollow. People have actually been inside and checked it out.”

        The only thing hollow is this guy’s skull.

  29. Jeff Ryan
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    As some have noted, Mr. Carson’s surge is likely coming to an end.

    Not only have his “childhood stories” turned out to be pretty much bullshit, but now he has been caught lying about turning down a supposed “full scholarship to West Point.” According to West Point, he never even applied there, let alone was offered a scholarship. Republicans clearly don’t care much about truth-telling. Or even a connection with reality. (Hell, that’s why they’re Republicans!)

    But lying in any form about military service, even if it’s just lying about whether one almost went to a military academy, is pretty much suicide for Republicans.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      “Republicans clearly don’t care much about truth-telling.”

      Masterful understatement.

      Hero of the teabaggage: Rush Limbaugh, world class liar and bloviator.

    • Historian
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      The Republican appeal since at least Reagan has been to reach out to the delusional and gullible. Their method is simple: lie and lie some more. Here are some of the more outstanding lies over the past few decades (if I left any out, please add to the list).

      1. America was founded as a Christian nation.
      2. Weapons of mass destruction were present in Iraq.
      3. The free market is the solution to all problems and any government regulation hinders job growth.
      4. Military action is the solution to all foreign policy disputes (Rand Paul is an exception to this).
      5. Climate change probably doesn’t exist and if it does exist, it’s due to natural causes. Therefore, nothing should be done to counter it.
      6. Eleven million immigrants can be removed from the country.
      7. Christians are somehow being persecuted in this country. The war on Christmas is definite proof of this.
      8. Government spending is bad except for the military.
      9. The denial of healthcare to millions is somehow ethical.
      10. Racism in this country is a liberal lie.
      11. Gay marriage marks the ruin of the country. Heroes like Kim Davis must lead the way to fight this iniquity.
      12. Labor unions or government spending are the main causes of this country’s economic problems. The destruction of unions and austerity (which means doing away with the social safety net) will solve all problems. The poor may get poorer, but who cares? Just keep them out of the nice neighborhoods.
      13. Unregulated campaign spending promotes democracy.
      14. Evolution is clearly an atheist lie. The bible proves this.
      15. Planned Parenthood is the spawn of Satan.
      16. By definition, America was and is the greatest country in the world. However, this ranking is in danger because the Democrats are virtual traitors. Only a Republican can restore or maintain this greatness.

      Unfortunately, such falsehoods have had great success over the years. These tactics have convinced many millions to vote against their best interests. An ignorant and apathetic electorate always works in the favor of the monied interests that actually run this country.

      • Posted November 6, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        5b. And besides, more CO2 is good for crops.

        17. Corporations are people, my friend.

      • Jeff Ryan
        Posted November 6, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        17. “Religious freedom” means Christians have the freedom to impose their religion on everyone else, because Christians are the majority, and the majority rules. Further, all other religions are false religions, and are not protected by the First Amendment anyway.

  30. Posted November 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Monkey Dance and commented:
    Ben Carson is by any measure a skilled technician. He is also an ardent believer in the pseudo-science of Young Earth Creationism. How does his faith inform his vocation? It cannot. Do women have fewer ribs? Are the diseases he helps to repair caused by sin? Do women cry during childbirth because of a curse from God? Of course not.

    He is now chasing after an office where he *can* bring his religion to work. Every president does if in no other way than through his world view. Mr. Carson’s worldview makes a mockery of science and reason. I’m sure he is a wonderful and kind man. He appears to have a true heart for helping others. There are places everywhere that his skill and kindness can be of immense help to others. The presidency is not one. I simply cannot trust a man who so thoroughly distorts science based wholly on his religious beliefs. It’s clear that every other action will be motivated by his beliefs. If he is this skewed regarding science – which we know of – what actions will he take regarding diplomacy, humanitarian care, war, or social justice? We cannot know for sure as he has no public experience in these arenas but the abject primacy of his religion disqualify him in my view.

    • Jeff Ryan
      Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Serious question: What is the evidence that he is “a wonderful and kind man” with “a true heart for helping others”? I have seen no evidence of that. Granted, I haven’t conducted any research on this aspect, but I should think something about his good works would have trickled into all the press coverage he’s had.

      • Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        I guess I don’t know. He just *seems* to be such a nice guy? Maybe I’m wrong?

        • Jeff Ryan
          Posted November 6, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          My own impression is that he’s not really such a nice guy at all. And being a doctor doesn’t make him one. Doctors are just like anyone else, in that they can be arrogant jerks as much as the next guy. Maybe more so – the most difficult people I’ve dealt with in criminal justice have been doctors.

          It might merit looking into. Certainly if he is a charitable humanitarian, there’ll be a record of it. Not dispositive, but worth a look.

  31. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I found this image pretty funny>.

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      He’s clearly unhenged.

      /@

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 7, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        He clearly hasn’t watched Doctor Who. We all know that’s where The Doctor got put into the Pandorica.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:07 am | Permalink

        But probably not stoned. Though that might improve matters.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      Love it!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        I have to say, the Ben Carson memes please me to no end. I’d almost wish him to be President just for the memes.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 8, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Don’t even think that!

          Look at it this way–we dodged a Palin VP, but she’s still popping up all the time to keep us entertained. Maybe Carson’ll live on like that; heck, maybe they could tour together. Dumb & Dumber.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            I guess I’ll still have the funny Putin memes.

            • Diane G.
              Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

              Oh, yeah, he’s the gift that won’t stop giving. 😀

  32. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Carson is a complete idiot.

    He says in that ‘pyramids’ quote that ‘scientists believe aliens built them’.
    WRONG.

    Scientists do not. A few loonies (though arguably not quite as loony as Carson) believe aliens built them, largely on account of their unprecedented size and geometrical accuracy, which (they think) rules out human construction. That is not a self-evidently absurd belief. Human construction is in fact feasible but not intuitively obvious.

    Then Carson says they were built for grain storage. That is far more ridiculous, prima facie, than the ‘aliens’ theory, IMO. If you were wanting to store grain you wouldn’t build enormous stone structures which are 95% rock and 5% available space, deliberately made extremely difficult to access.

    (If you believe that, I’d like to draw your attention to the mushroom farms along the French coast. These massive concrete structures have been mis-identified by many ‘scientists’ as U-boat pens. This is wrong. They were built by the French for growing mushrooms in case of a wartime shortage. The 20-foot thick concrete roofs are there to provide thermal stability and keep a constant temperature inside. This is self-evidently obvious).

    cr

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      LOL!

      And you know how you grow mushrooms–keep ’em in the dark and feed ’em shit. Sound like some of his constituency to you?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 8, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Given the level of imagination in the shit he feeds ’em, I would expect the mushrooms to be magic. 😉

  33. Mike
    Posted November 7, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    if by some disastrous Cosmic joke this ,I hesitate to call him an Imbecile ,after all he was a Neurosurgeon which indicates some intelligence in there somewhere, gets Elected we might as well pack up, because thats the end of us and we truly are Evolving into Stupidity.

  34. Marshall
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Personally don’t care if he thinks our Moon is made of green cheese. His religion should have no stake in the conversation of Presidency. Why is the hue and cry always for separation of church and state until we get to Politics? I don’t care that Mitt Rimneys religion says he will have his own planet someday, I didn’t care that JFK when taking communion thought he was actually partaking of Jesus’ body. Can he lead the country? As it happens I think not, but his rejection of someone’s “science” due to his religion most certainly does not make him an ignoramus.

    • Posted November 8, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      If a candidate’s religion shows that he’s severely delusional, or makes it seem likely that he’d use his religious views to either guide policy or actually impose them on government, then yes, it should have a stake in our conversation, for it could be an indication of breaching the wall of Church versus State. Carson’s recent statements about evolution, the Pyramids, and so on DO make him an ignoramus. He’s certainly ignorant about cosmology, biology, and archaeology, but is eminently willing to pronounce on them. To me, that means he’s an ignoramus.

    • Ralph
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      “Why is the hue and cry always for separation of church and state until we get to Politics?”

      I don’t think you understand the Establishment Clause. It the prevents government from promoting one particular religion over another.

      Why would you interpret that to imply that we should NOT consider how a presidential candidate’s bizarre religious beliefs might influence his actions?

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      “…but his rejection of someone’s “science” due to his religion …”

      What’s up with the scare quotes around science? And there’s no such thing as “someone’s science”–unlike religion, you can’t have your own flavor of science.

    • Posted November 8, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      « someone’s “science” »

      Who is this “someone” and what is their “‘science’”?

      There is only science.

      Rejecting science for any reasons other than you have either evidence that robustly falsifies the current consensus or hypotheses that better fit and explain the existing evidence (but are falsifiable by new evidence) might not make you an ignoramus but it should make you unfit for office.

      /@

  35. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    “his rejection of someone’s “science” due to his religion most certainly does not make him an ignoramus.”

    But he is even ignorant of what it is he’s rejecting. *That* is what makes him an ignoramus.

    As for the pyramids being built by Joshua ( = ignoramus) as grain stores ( = ignoramus) – that is not even mandated by his religion. It’s his own whacked-out theory.

    If he was an atheist he’d still be bananas.

    cr

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Damn that was of course a reply to Marshall at #34…

      cr


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