Carson, Camp-assion and Evolution

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Carson, Camp-assion and Evolution

"Dr. Carson’s description of evolution makes it fairly obvious that working on other people’s brains has had little effect on his," writes Brauchli. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

The progress of Evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.
—Henry Brooks Adams, The Education of Henry Adams

If you are a Republican and evolution happens to be your thing, you may have difficulty finding a candidate to support. When asked about evolution over the years, responses from the candidates now running have ranged from Chris Christie’s response to a questioner that his views on the subject were none of the questioner’s business, to Rick Santorum who said in 2008 that: “I think there are a lot of problems with the theory of evolution, and do believe that it is used to promote to a worldview that is anti-theist, that is atheist.” During a visit to London in 2015 Scott Walker responded to a question about where he stood on evolution saying: “I’m going to punt on that one. . .. That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or the other.” There is one candidate capable of responding in more than short sentences-Ben Carson. He does not dismiss evolution with a sound bite or say, as Marco Rubio did: “At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all.” Dr. Carson can discuss evolution in a way other candidates cannot. That is not surprising. His background and profession, after all, suggest a man of extraordinary intelligence. His words suggest otherwise.

In an interview with David Boze for the Discovery Institute which took place in February 2013 (before Dr. Carson concluded he had what it takes to be president) he was given the opportunity to explain in scientific terms his views on evolution. He doesn’t believe in it. Mr. Boze asked Dr. Carson: “What things come to mind when people ask you, why do you question the theory of materialist evolution?” Dr. Carson responded: “Well, the first thing is, how does something come out of nothing. And the second thing is, how does life evolve from non-life? Which, if you want to talk about fairy tales, those are incredible fairy tales.” Dr. Carson doesn’t stop there. He continues saying: “And to say that that [evolution] just came about sort of randomly by various mutations over the course of time, when as I just said mutations tend to lead to degeneration rather than improvement, just doesn’t make any sense. So, the very things that they claim are evidence for evolution are the very things that damn the theory.” Dr. Carson also does not believe that finding similarities in various forms of life prove that one evolved from the other and to make his point he uses the automobile, something that those who support the theory of evolution have often used to demonstrate that evolution does in fact occur. He explained that: “General Motors, same basic chassis as Chevrolet, a Buick, a Pontiac, or a Cadillac. And yet, they’re different. And one did not evolve from the other. And why would you have to go and completely change the motor, the chassis, and all the other infrastructure because you’re creating a different model. That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

As useful as it is in understanding Dr. Carson’s views on evolution to consider various automobiles (and he could have thrown in a Jaguar or Mercedes Benz in his example to make it more relevant to wealthy Republicans) even more startling than his view on evolution was his view on the hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to find safe haven. On NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday on September 12 he was asked what he thought the United States response to the refugee crisis should be. He first said that none of them should be admitted to this country without complete background checks. He said we would need a “very excellent screening mechanism. Until we had such a mechanism in place, we should not be bringing anybody in.” The hundreds of thousands of mothers with infants and small children facing the prospect of a winter in refugee camps will understand the doctor’s fear that among their number might be terrorists. Furthermore, they do not have to view the lack of a screening system as the main barrier to their entry. Most of them would not be admitted even if a screening system were in place. That is because in saying how many people he would admit Dr. Carson said: “I would admit people that we need, people that can boost our economy based on their skills and what they bring in, and I don’t know what that number is.” Simply stated, “ask not what we can do for the homeless and poor seeking refuge from years of conflict but ask what they can do for us.”

Dr. Carson’s description of evolution makes it fairly obvious that working on other people’s brains has had little effect on his. His attitude towards the struggling immigrant makes it obvious he spent no time working on hearts. It is hard to imagine what a wonderful country this would be if from the outset we had only admitted immigrants who met his criteria.

Christopher Brauchli

Christopher Brauchli is a columnist and lawyer known nationally for his work. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Colorado School of Law where he served on the Board of Editors of the Rocky Mountain Law Review. He can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu. For political commentary see his web page at http://humanraceandothersports.com

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