Why Ben Carson refuses to evolve his thinking

It’s a pretty sad time in modern politics when a candidate for the President of the United States such as Dr. Ben Carson can go on record stating that the theory of evolution is the product of the devil and people take him seriously.

From that launching point, how do we take anything the man says seriously? His constructs are obviously warped by a religious viewpoint with no room for actual scientific inquiry. We must simultaneously arrive at the fact that the man viewed the human brains on which he operated as only so much gobbledygook on which he operated. It was just patterns and bulges and arteries and veins to that man.

Carson clearly ignored all the science that points to the evolutionary development of the human brain, and all brains that came before it. To Dr. Ben Carson, the history of life on earth does not really matter, and he’s proud of that fact! In this video, he talks about how God knew that people would come along and try to explain the evolutionary origin of species and its dependence on millions of years of time.

But Ben Carson writes all that science stuff off with a wave of his hand.

This brand of talk is the explanation a third-grader might give when reading the Bible and the Book of Genesis. It leaves no room for growth in understanding, and Jesus would likely have been disgusted by Carson’s inability to understand the symbolic significance of the Seven Days of Creation and the archetypal characters of Adam and Eve.

After all, Jesus lectured his own disciples over their failure to grasp the meaning of his parables, which were metaphorical tales drawn from nature to explain spiritual principles. He castigated his closest followers for missing the point by taking his parables along with his call for the Kingdom of God on earth quite literally.

“Are you so dull?” Jesus challenged them?

Then he went on to warn them that they had better wise up or be left behind in the process. And yet here we are in 2015, dealing with exactly the same kind of dimwit disciples who turn everything they read in the bible into some sort of literal dogma we’re all supposed to follow, or go to hell. Because that’s what Dr. Ben Carson said: “Evolution is the product of the devil.”

That’s not just bad science. That’s an insult to God. Because it ignores everything Jesus teaches us about the fact that nature is a direct source of wisdom about God. Jesus said nothing at all about the process by which nature developed its diversity. At the very most, even the book of Genesis makes simple statements about “kinds” of animals, but does not go on to exhaustively list the thousands and thousands of species of living things on earth. There’s a reason for that. The Bible is not a science book. It was never intended to be. Yet Ben Carson thinks it is.

There are a million reasons why the Bible is not a science book. But for starters, the Bible did not even understand germ theory. Many of its recommendations about medicine and culture and lifestyle in the Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy are long since discredited by basic science we have learned about infections, viruses and the cause of all types of diseases.

And not coincidentally, all these branches of medicine depend on the theory of evolution to explain how germs and viruses develop. That’s how we fight disease these days. Evolution explains how germs mutate and produce even more dangerous forms of diseases by reacting and adapting to the treatments we apply.

Brainless

To throw all that out like a grade schooler discarding his or her Lego toys is the most irresponsible form of cultural ignorance. It is astounding a man like Dr. Ben Carson does not recognize that.

But apparently his simplified, simpleton reactions to compelling issues are quite satisfying to the 44% of the Christian world that claims to believe in creationism and all the denial of science that goes with it. They seem to be quite happy that we now have a numbskull brain surgeon bragging that he knows what God thinks about evolution, and why God doesn’t like it.

Organ of Species

Dr. Ben Carson has now announced that he is literally writing a book titled, “On the Organ of Species” which will supposedly counteract and destroy the brilliance of Charles Darwin’s original “On the Origin of Species.”

But what men like Ben Carson often fail to anticipate in their inelegant ripoffs of science is that Darwin did not arrive at his theory alone. Many great minds arrived at the same conclusion more than 100 years ago. In fact, as Darwin was preparing to publish his book, another biologist named Alfred Russell Wallace had arrived at much the same conclusions as Darwin.

Only Wallace still thought of evolution more in terms of intelligent design, contending that perhaps God made things work through an unseen hand. Actual materialistic science could not wait around for proof of such contentions, however. The material evidence for development of species through naturalistic causes was sufficient to explain everything that has ever occurred on earth. So evolution rolled on with its many discoveries, confirmed by the fossil record, by study of genetics, by advances in medicine, and by modifications in the theory based on every branch of science from physics to astronomy to climatology. It all fits together in a giant matrix of understanding. That’s why science works, and creationism doesn’t. Creationism is only a science of denial.

More than 150 years of science has accrued to confirm these naturalistic explanations for all living things, including humans. And while the theory of evolution is still challenged on many fronts by scientists, it still holds water in both practice and published works.

Science of denial

ben-carsonSo we must consider how and why a medical doctor such as Ben Carson concludes that the theory of evolution is, to his manner of thinking, “the work of the devil.”

It all goes back to the bad theology Carson uses to define his worldview. As Jesus strongly pointed out to his own disciples, there is far more to faith than blabbing simple stories and telling people to look at only the surface of things. Instead, we are challenged through all of scripture to seek God in all things. Certainly there is wisdom to be learned in the tale of the mustard seed, which grows from a tiny seed into a giant tree. We learn from that parable that great faith can come from even the tiniest kernel of belief.

But it’s a parable. It does not describe the workings of all seeds, nor the fact that some seeds start out large or that others depend on the elemental forces of fire or water to help them germinate.

So we should not discredit God by harboring cynicism toward deep mysteries simply because they exist. Yet that is exactly what Ben Carson is advocating, and that approach to thinking leads to a mental fascism toward all intellectualism.

Zealous tradition

As noted from the earliest forms of recorded history, it is a quite common phenomenon among religious zealots to target threats to their authority as being in league with the devil. Jesus tangled with the high priests of religion in his day because he challenged their authority on grounds that they had turned religion into law. It was their legalism (much like the politics and religion used by Dr. Ben Carson to speak about issues today) that ultimately forced Jesus to brand them all hypocrites and a “brood of vipers.”

Jesus gave them every chance to understand and accept his mission. Instead. they chose the political course of action and handed him over to Roman authorities to have him crucified because he disagreed with their theology.

Well, he also claimed to be the Son of God. So there was that. But he was right in the end. So the religious authorities were wrong, twice over.

Three strikes

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Matthew 23:5-7 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

That why men such as Dr. Ben Carson are not to be trusted. He’s wrong about theology and he’s wrong about science. So what’s the third strike against him? We’ll get to that in a minute.

Carson may have once been a pediatric neurosurgeon, but that does not prove that he knows anything about the connection between religion and science. What it does prove is that he is adept at following the instructions he was given in medical school on how to operate on the human brain.

As such, Dr. Ben Carson exhibits characteristics of both sides of the authoritarian mind. He craves authority to dictate to others how to behave, while also following the dictates of his authoritarian brand of religion to control others in society. In these respects, he directly parallels the original religious zealots with whom Jesus conflicted.

This authoritarianism is the third strike against Ben Carson. It disqualifies all such people from holding public office because it indicates a patent intolerance that stands in direct conflict with the American enterprise, which is freedom of thought, religion and politics. Dr. Ben Carson is, to put it plainly, a closet fascist.

Not so bright after all

The problem with Dr. Ben Carson is one of deception. Americans love to credit people like brain surgeons with such brilliance. But if you hang out with any type of surgeons, over time you come to understand that their job is really no different than any other.

Their profession is one of highly regimented rehearsal and practice. Yes, they are cutting flesh, moving parts around and sewing things back up. But they do so in accordance with strictly developed medical practices that are not, for the most part, of their own invention. Innovation does emanate from some surgeons, but most are not free to mess around or experiment on their human or animal patients. In many respects, surgeons are simply high-functioning dogmatists and authoritarians. They get paid well if they do what they do well. If they do not do well, they get sued. Most of them eventually do get sued, because no one is perfect. In other words, they’re people just like the rest of us.

Breaking it down

In the long run, being a surgeon is mostly a product of learning body parts and following patterns while making decisions about how things are supposed to look, and have it all fit together. It helps if you have a steady hand and a good bit of spatial awareness, but even a good carpenter has that.

That’s perhaps why Dr. Ben Carson was so good at his job. His authoritarian nature made him good at following orders, while his desire to control others was expressed in the professional and personal desire to cut open the skulls of children for a living. When you break it down, how neatly it all fits together! It’s the most literal example of authoritarian thought control one could possibly imagine.

Now Dr. Ben Carson is depending on recruiting (and manipulating) childlike minds to follow his authoritarian example. It appears to be working rather well. It does help in the early phases of a campaign to have a bunch of childlike zealots on your side. But the more Dr. Ben Carson says in public, the more his internal conflicts are coming to the fore.

On the passive/aggressive attack

As a result of their dualistic authoritarian tendencies, men like Dr. Ben Carson adopt a passive/aggressive approach to life…that is designed to deflect all questions about their true selves. In keeping with that passive/aggressive nature, his external calm belies an inner rage that he confessed once controlled his every action. He even threatened his own mother with a hammer.

Now he claims to be a changed man from his days of early rage and violence, and perhaps credits most of this to his Christian faith. Yet he makes statements that aggressively expose his conflicted personality. Recently Carson stated that witnessing a body full of bullet wounds is not as devastating as losing your gun rights. Those are the words of a sociopath, and are proof that deep down inside, Ben Carson remains conflicted with his bold acceptance of violence and an authoritarian desire to control society.

Against the brains

IMG_3854Carson and his fans love to cry and whine that he is misunderstood by liberals, who are supposedly out to get him for his visionary take on American politics and problems. But the actual problem is the liberals understand all too well what Dr. Ben Carson represents. His is a brand of authoritarian anti-intellectualism. It is also a dogmatic worldview.

His religion, his politics and his conservatism all combine to make Dr. Ben Carson a dangerously activist zealot cloaked in a false cape of patriotism. He is a candidate who has forcefully stated that he would limit or eliminate rights guaranteed Americans by Constitution. He points his ire at all those who oppose him, contending that if elected president he would assemble censorship squads to limit liberal speech on college campuses. Surely he must categorize all such speech as a product of the devil as well.

So we must always be careful how much bad theology we tolerate when considering our political candidates. Dr. Ben Carson may be a brain surgeon by medical profession, but he is a simpleton by religious affiliation. As a result, he refuses to change or evolve his thinking on important issues that require far more nuance and consideration than he likes to apply in practice. For a former brain surgeon, the guy seems to have a few rocks in his head, and they are messing with his mind.

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