Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ben Carson does not believe in evolution. Does he think the earth is flat?

I do not know the answer to the question. If he does, I suppose his defense might be that he's not travelled far enough to fall off the edge.

But EJ Montini at azcentral.com has the scoop on Carson's disbelief in evolution and his misconstrual of theory and scientific fact. Here are snippets.

What Carson said

Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson expressed doubts about evolution science in a place where it might earn him some votes.

He said, "They (progressives) say, 'Carson, ya know, how can you be a surgeon, a neurosurgeon, and believe that God created the Earth, and not believe in evolution, which is the basis of all knowledge and all science?'… Well, you know, it's kind of funny. But I do believe God created us, and I did just fine. So I don't know where they get that stuff from, ya know? It's not true. And in fact, the more you know about God, and the deeper your relationship with God, I think the more intricate becomes your knowledge of the way things work, including the human body."

Why he said it

Politicians pander.

That’s a fact.

Carson was in Tennessee, looking for votes when he said this. Is that why he said it?

Suggesting such a thing is only a theory.

See how that works? Facts. Theory.

The fact and theory of evolution

In an essay for "Discover" magazine [Stephen Jay] Gould wrote in part, "Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact… Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered."

Denying the fact of evolution of evolution places Carson and other right-wingers squarely in the anti-knowledge camp. Such beliefs are contrary to Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous caveat: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

Now that's a fact. But if you don't believe (scientifically, economically, politically, religiously) inconvenient truths, then you don't believe the truth of Moynihan's assertion. Arizona has been in the forefront of such disbelief before. More from Montini:

In politics, denying scientific fact is also a fact. Just as it is a fact that certain types of politicians don’t evolve. They choose to remain in the Stone Age, particularly if they believe it will get them elected or keep them in office.

We know this all too well in Arizona.

I recall when a man named Jim Cooper, the education advisor to then Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham in the 1980s (or was it the 1880s? Or the 1780s? Or 80 B.C.?) told a legislative committee "If a student wants to say the world is flat, the teacher doesn't have the right to prove otherwise."

Anti-knowledge. That's a fact.

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