In the wake of retired neurosurgeon and current GOP front runner Dr. Ben Carson’s latest nontroversy about whether he did or didn’t apply to West Point, Yahoo News compiled a list of some of the doctor’s biggest gaffes. For your edification, I have listed my uneducated, unsubstantiated and entirely worthless opinions (in other words, don’t attack me) of some of these carefully selected gaffes.
My take: As an Anthropology student (more on that in a future post), I have seen any number of bizarre conspiracy theories about who and\or why the pyramids were built. This is probably the least crazy one I’ve encountered which is why it’s one of the oldest (dating back to 6th century scholars who probably never saw the famous structures firsthand).
However, what bothers me about this isn’t that he was spouting conspiracy theories 15 years ago, but that he was intentionally using a commencement address to dismiss the known historical facts in order to make himself sound more “enlightened” then the many archaeologists and Egyptologists who spent their entire careers studying the pyramids. It may have been delivered in his trademark soft-spoken and some would say “humble” manner, but it’s still textbook “hubris.”
2004-2011: God and evolution are mutually exclusive
My take: The fact that Dr. Carson was opposed to evolution ten years ago doesn’t particularly bother me as much as the fact that he still held them seven years later when he was forced to somewhat reluctantly admit that maybe his fellow scientists weren’t all puppets of “The Adversary” when he was ultimately condemned by 500 professors\alumni of Emory University where he was scheduled to give another commencement address.
Apparently, the doctor is/was unaware that not only are there religious scientists but there is an entire field of multi-disciplinary study dedicated to reconciling these two diametrically opposed theories (Theist Evolutionary Studies) which have produced several worthy academic articles and books on the matter.
February 2015 – There are no rules of war
My take: I admire the doctor for wanting to “protect the troops” from lawsuits and kangaroo courts, but there already ARE rules. Rules we haven’t been too good at following lately (not attacking countries that didn’t attack us, not torturing detainees, killing thousands of innocent civilians with drone strikes, etc.), but expect OTHER countries to follow to the letter…or else we’ll draw another “red line” in the sand.
“If you’re going to have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war” – I’ll get behind that… but I know the first thing he does in the WH is arrest his predecessor for “war crimes” committed largely by HIS predecessor.
March 2015: Homosexuality is a choice
My take: This theory (prison sex proves homosexuality is a choice) is probably one of the most asinine arguments I have ever heard – almost as bad as his wishy-washy flip–flop on vaccines following the second GOP debate. While I get he’s just pandering to his party’s homophobic base, it was THE moment he stopped being a viable candidate for president in my book.
To his credit, he did offer a mild conditional apology for those remarks, but when asked if a (transgendered) GIRL should be allowed to use a girl’s bathroom he retreated into another rhetorical pet peeve of mine by saying: “I’m not sure if anyone should have ‘extra rights.’”
Note to Dr. Carson: The ONLY people asking for “extra rights” are the ones asking to keep members of the gay community from sharing rights they should already have. If only straight people can get married/adopt children/use a public bathroom etc. than by definition they have an “extra right.”
November 2015: I was offered a full scholarship to West Point
My take: If someone said “hey why don’t you come work for me” (which they don’t :(). I would consider it a “job offer” even if nothing ever came of it. I think this is probably what happened with Dr. Carson: someone said “hey, Ben, I might be able to get you into West Point.” Contrary to the current media narrative, it’s not that big of a leap from “no tuition” to “full scholarship.”
In other words, this is a non-issue…