Dr. Ben Carson reassures his conservative Christian audience that he is willing to deny scientific truth to preserve religious superstition.
Speaking to the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C. last weekend Carson told a story about how he supposedly responded to a “leading atheist” on the topic of evolution:
I remember a few years back I was engaged in a debate in Hollywood with a leading atheist. This guy thinks anybody who believes in God is a total moron. As they got to the end of the conversation, you know, he is denigrating anybody who could believe in Creation, I said:
‘You know what? You win. I believe I came from God, and you believe you came from a monkey. And you’ve convinced me you’re right.’
Revealing their own ignorance while reveling in Carson’s ignorance, the conservative Christian audience laughed in approval at the juvenile humor.
Confirming the uninformed and ignorant prejudices of many, conservatives news outlets championed the sound bite, calling it a “brilliant line” and a “mic dropping response” as the clip went viral on Vine.
For the record, and contrary to the woefully uneducated “I didn’t come from no monkey” crowd, humans did not evolve from monkeys. PBS reports:
Humans did not evolve from monkeys. Humans are more closely related to modern apes than to monkeys, but we didn’t evolve from apes, either. Humans share a common ancestor with modern African apes, like gorillas and chimpanzees. Scientists believe this common ancestor existed 5 to 8 million years ago. Shortly thereafter, the species diverged into two separate lineages. One of these lineages ultimately evolved into gorillas and chimps, and the other evolved into early human ancestors called hominids.
The fact that Carson at once both rejects evolution and is also supposedly a qualified medical doctor is a frightening proposition. Evolution is the single, unifying scientific explanation for the diversity of life on earth, and the foundation upon which the biological sciences are built.
The scientific theory of evolution is accepted by an overwhelming majority of mainstream scientists around the world as the cornerstone of biology. To deny the reality of evolution is to deny the foundation upon which modern medicine and related biological sciences are built.
If there is a controversy about evolution, it is not scientific. The controversy is not about science, but religion. The fact is that once the theory of evolution is accepted, a literal, fundamentalist reading of Biblical creation is rendered untenable. Many Christian and other religious fundamentalists are simply unable to accept evolution as a scientific truth for this reason.
Carson’s rejection of evolution is is not unique among the current crop of Republican presidential candidates. Indeed, the current GOP has cultivated a dangerous stance that is anti-science, and anti-intellectual, a stance that rejects science and intellect in favor of faith and religious superstition.