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Tampitump

Ben Carson

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I wasn't for sure whether to put this in the politics forum or the religion forum. I suppose it has nothing to do with politics. This is a thing that has bothered me for quite some time now. How is it that someone like Ben Carson, one of the most distinguished and successful neurosurgeons in the world is a full blown religious person who does not believe in evolution? It boggles my mind. Normally, I would look at a scientist or distinguished doctor who is this overtly religious and science-denying and think "well, its okay, they're not very successful, and they're not very distinguished anyway," but this is not so for Ben Carson. Ben Carson is likely much more intelligent and much more accomplished than I'll ever be, and yet, so many things he thinks and believes are some of the most asinine and nonsensical bullshit I've ever heard anyone say. How is it that he can do what he has done whilst not believing in the biology that his profession is predicated on? I really need someone to give me a good, satisfying answer to this question or I think I will eventually go crazy.

 

 

Edited by Tampitump

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Those are very good questions that you have raised, and it is unclear if even his closest Associates could answer them. The following article from The New York Times does provide some useful information about his career and his controversial views.

 

With Ben Carson, the Doctor and the Politician Can Vary Sharply

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/23/us/politics/with-ben-carson-the-doctor-and-the-politician-can-vary-sharply.html

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He debated Dawkins and Dennett alongside Francis Collins, to which Collins was on the side of Dawkins and Dennett on the evolution question obviously. To me, his convictions seem clear. He is truly a religious individual. One who cares about reason and reality simply does not become a politician and grotesquely espouse beliefs and views they don't hold. Carson's beliefs are beyond what most scientists and doctors who are religious. He commits the most obvious fallacies in his arguments against evolution and the big bang, showing a profound disconnect between a doctor who has been the only one in the field to successfully complete certain procedures, and a completely unlettered ignoramus. I don't get it. Am I the stupid one? Does he know things I don't know? Is it cognitive dissonance? what?

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compartmentalization

Do you think he may have started off with his religiousity and it just influenced everything else from then on? It seems like that would have to be the reason why someone would hold those beliefs even after being exposed to, and excelling at, the best medical education available. Carson is way out there too. He says some things and believes some things that are beyond just tacit Christianity. His beliefs about the Giza pyramids, etc. he claims to have zoned out during his most important surgeries and "let god take over". Its just wow. This man is lucky he hasn't completely killed every patient he's ever operated on, much less be one of the most accomplished surgeons in the field.

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Ben Carson isn't the only neurosurgeon espousing strong religious/spiritual beliefs. Another is Eban Alexander https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eben_Alexander_(author)

Eben Alexander III (born December 11, 1953) is an American neurosurgeon and the author of the book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, in which he describes his 2008 near-death experience and asserts that science can and will determine that the brain does not create consciousness and that consciousness survives bodily death.

Edited by Bill Angel

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compartmentalization

 

I would like to see support for this. Compartmentalizing is essentially dissociative amnesia, and I suppose dissociative fugue and dissociative identity disorder too. Blocking out one episode, such as a fugue episode, would be the milder form when compared to dissociative identity disorder (DID) patients, who alternate between "alters" who each possess their own sets of memories. (Yes, there is evidence that they are not faking.) Ben Carson would have to be accessing both his biological memories and his Christian memories simultaneously to preach this.

However, one could conceive of "identity disturbance" as being a dissociative symptom that seems more like a mild form of compartmentalizing than like depersonalization/derealizatinon, that is if it doesn't involve (significant) amnesia.

Edited by MonDie

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You're taking the mental block involved in compartmentalizing information far too literally. It has nothing to do associative identity disorder or literal amnesia and everything to do with an aversion towards analyzing conflicting information that has been separately compartmentalized.

 

You can have a conversation where you draw upon both areas of knowledge and simply refuse to acknowledge that there is a conflict between them.

 

It's an aversion toward resolving internally conflicting positions and information by ignoring the existence of the conflict. It's not a form of memory loss where you are unable to remember information that conflicts with whatever you are thinking about at the time.

Edited by Delta1212

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I think Francis Collins is a case of compartmentalization. I don't think this is so with Ben Carson. Carson doesn't hold beliefs in science simultaneously with his religious faith, he flat out rejects most of the sciences that underpin his profession, such as evolution. He pretty anti-science.

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MonDie - Honestly didn't put much thought into the suggestion of compartmentalization. Seems to fit, IMO, but cognitive dissonance might work there, too. Perhaps even both. Tough to say

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Don't confuse ability and talent with rationality. Rationality is, well, several qualities, but one of these qualities is realizing causal links between events and asking for evidence that these events (or a version thereof) occurred.

 

To be a great neurosurgeon, you do not need to be rational. The brain is (more or less) a closed system. You can know everything about its structure, as well as how to perform surgery upon it, without caring about how it evolved, or its similarity to other species' brains. I daresay we'll have electronic neurosurgeons in the future, and they'll be superior to human neurosurgeons, and they won't be particularly caring about the evolution of the brain either.

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I am an Electrical Engineer. I work primarily in the Maritime industry. I have worked with many terrific engineers who struggle to understand marine electrical wiring and standards. I often struggle with the going the other way. Within the community I with with different people have many different specialties: low voltage, High voltage, high frequency, multi phase distribution, programmable logic, power generation, circuit protection, feedback circuits, lighting, storage, motors and controllers, and etc. All of the various electricians understand electricity is the movement of electrons from atom to atom. Beyond that what do all of us know? We are not physicist.

 

In the video Ben Carson mocks the big bang and the "highfalutin" scienctists who study big bang theory. Ben Carson is not a theoretical physicist. Nor is he an evolutionary biologist. In my opinion people often make the mistake of assuming that intelligence is additive while also assuming ability is directly proportional to knowledge. Neither is true. A brilliant linguist can be a terrible speller and a terrific athlete can make a terrible coach. As a Doctor Ben Carson learned some (probably even a lot) biology just as electricians learn some physics. That doesn't mean Ben Carson would then naturally understand evolutionary biology anymore than one could assume an electrician would natural understand atomic physics. Obviously Ben Carson has his own beliefs and has not sought out additional knowledge on the subject.

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It reminds me of a quote from Robert Heinlein:

 

"Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so."

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I find it rather interesting that a lot of medical practitioners tend to "compartmentalize" their medical knowledge and expertise separately from their (strong) religious beliefs. I have seen this quite often. A personality trait common among M.D.'s...in the gene's, so to say..?

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MonDie - Honestly didn't put much thought into the suggestion of compartmentalization. Seems to fit, IMO, but cognitive dissonance might work there, too. Perhaps even both. Tough to say

My personal opinion is that you are still giving the guy WAAAAAAAAYYY too much credit with cognitive dissonance. I don't like to call people stupid, but I think Carson is just plain stupid on this topic. His logic is at a sub-human level and he seems entirely rudderless in his intellect and knowledge when speaking on this issue. He may do surgeries well and know the procedures like the back of his hand, but switch him from surgery to philosophy, theology, and the scientific method and he immediately starts dragging his knuckles and drooling.

I find it rather interesting that a lot of medical practitioners tend to "compartmentalize" their medical knowledge and expertise separately from their (strong) religious beliefs. I have seen this quite often. A personality trait common among M.D.'s...in the gene's, so to say..?

I know, its very interesting, and very common.

 

Here's another one... Last week, I got an email out of the blue from one of my college professors (a Phd in particle physics from Vanderbilt University) personally inviting me to a private discussion with him and a group of other people on campus over intelligent design. I believe he sympathizes with the idea. I'm not sure what I'm in for with this guy. I mean, he outclasses me in every conceivable way in terms of education, intellect, and general knowledge, and by vast margins. It has left me mind-boggled. I know he's inviting me because of the discussion we had at his house back in September when he had a social event at his house. He's a very smart man with a profound scientific knowledge, so I'm not sure what there is science or philosophy-wise that I can say to refute his positions.

Edited by Tampitump

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It's difficult using evidence and reason to argue someone out of a belief at which they arrived using neither.

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It's difficult using evidence and reason to argue someone out of a belief at which they arrived using neither.

Religion provides tangible comfort. For those who have tragically lost loved ones, being irreversibly wronged, and etc the belief in something that ultimately corrects all things is very comforting. You'll see that dead person again. That rapist will pay, That child with cancer will be without pain and play in the endless fields of heaven. It feel like I get it. I can't get there, where they (religious people) are, but I get it to an extent.

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It's difficult using evidence and reason to argue someone out of a belief at which they arrived using neither.

Yeah, but this guy knows the evidence. He obviously knows how science works if he made it past a Vanderbilt phd program.

 

My theory so far is that the religion gets to people first. It gets there before the skepticism training does. It is conditioned into them at a very young age by parents and culture.

 

I also think that we have this sort of prideful religion in the US that acts as sort of a peer pressure type thing that doesn't allow people to step outside of it. Most people probably think, "well, my friends believe it, my family believes it, and I haven't heard them say they don't believe it, so I guess I have to believe it." If more people like myself would come out, it would be easier. But the South is a different animal. I know there is ignorance everywhere in this world, but the South is the only region wherein the ignorance is very prideful in nature. The people here are proud of their insular, ignorant, and hidebound ways. I think southern culture evolved this way out of spite of the elitists of the North, because the North has always dominated the South. The South's resistance to progress and intellectualism is their way of sticking it to them. That's why the "n" word and Jesus will always be their favorite words, and why science and reason haven't a snowball's chance in hell with these people.

Edited by Tampitump

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Yeah, but this guy knows the evidence. He obviously knows how science works if he made it past a Vanderbilt phd program.

 

My theory so far is that the religion gets to people first. It gets there before the skepticism training does. It is conditioned into them at a very young age by parents and culture.

 

I also think that we have this sort of prideful religion in the US that acts as sort of a peer pressure type thing that doesn't allow people to step outside of it. Most people probably think, "well, my friends believe it, my family believes it, and I haven't heard them say they don't believe it, so I guess I have to believe it." If more people like myself would come out, it would be easier. But the South is a different animal. I know there is ignorance everywhere in this world, but the South is the only region wherein the ignorance is very prideful in nature. The people here are proud of their insular, ignorant, and hidebound ways. I think southern culture evolved this way out of spite of the elitists of the North, because the North has always dominated the South. The South's resistance to progress and intellectualism is their way of sticking it to them. That's why the "n" word and Jesus will always be their favorite words, and why science and reason haven't a snowball's chance in hell with these people.

Some people have great study habits and a terrific ability to recall information. Obtaining a degree doesn't mean someone has a inherent understanding of the material. Ben Carson can learn science without believing it just as easily as one could get a theology degree without believing in god. I have read the Holy Bible, had passages from the Bible read to me, and sat through sermons yet I still don't believe it. I know the info but reject. I could pass a Bible test if required no problem.

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Some people have great study habits and a terrific ability to recall information. Obtaining a degree doesn't mean someone has a inherent understanding of the material. Ben Carson can learn science without believing it just as easily as one could get a theology degree without believing in god. I have read the Holy Bible, had passages from the Bible read to me, and sat through sermons yet I still don't believe it. I know the info but reject. I could pass a Bible test if required no problem.

I would say this is closest.

 

For example, I believe in God and I don't believe in some things about science. Yet if given a test I'll answer to what they want to hear and just move on. No matter trying to preach truth to someone who doesn't want it, so I don't bother with it. It allows one to separate religion and science, so that I can use science to do what I need in the world. No matter how stupid this may sound to others, both faithful and non faithful, it works for me and it doesn't under cut anything I believe in. Although, for some reason they have decided to separate evolution from the church, and say its something that isn't real. Yet, the only reason this they believe this is because the guy who came up with the theory wasn't christian. If it had been the pope, then evolution wouldn't be a problem if you see what I mean. Between religious beliefs, as in God is the one and only, Jesus died etc, and between "religious" science, such as evolution isn't real, or the big bang didn't happen is often not associated with the religious beliefs but rather the large amount of teaching and "brain washing" that goes on. Yet, for me, and everyone else it doesn't really affect us in school, or life really. Sure there's some who waste their lives fighting the truth, but for the most part its the religious beliefs that the younger "religious" generation believes.

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For example, I believe in God and I don't believe in some things about science.

 

The big difference here is that there is really nothing rational I could say about the former, and nothing rational you would listen to about the latter. IOW, you could say what you want about your belief in God and nobody can deny it, but I'm very willing to bet that if there's anything you don't "believe" about science it's because you haven't studied it or have misunderstood it.

 

If that's due to circumstance, welcome to the club. If that's due to a willing desire to leave your religious beliefs undisturbed, then that's on you. And I think that's why people like Carson happen, supposedly highly educated people who've filtered what they've learned through their religion and come out with a weird mix of irrationally applied science. If Ben Carson were a climatologist, he might have formed the opinion that climate change due to human causes is all part of God's plan, nothing to be alarmed at, because our Creator would never destroy us like that. To him, the data would justify no need for alarm.

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The big difference here is that there is really nothing rational I could say about the former, and nothing rational you would listen to about the latter. IOW, you could say what you want about your belief in God and nobody can deny it, but I'm very willing to bet that if there's anything you don't "believe" about science it's because you haven't studied it or have misunderstood it.

 

If that's due to circumstance, welcome to the club. If that's due to a willing desire to leave your religious beliefs undisturbed, then that's on you. And I think that's why people like Carson happen, supposedly highly educated people who've filtered what they've learned through their religion and come out with a weird mix of irrationally applied science. If Ben Carson were a climatologist, he might have formed the opinion that climate change due to human causes is all part of God's plan, nothing to be alarmed at, because our Creator would never destroy us like that. To him, the data would justify no need for alarm.

One of the only things I don't believe in is The Big Bang, at least the cause of it anyways. God could have simply made the universe that way, I don't know. Evolution, Climate change(How the heck, is that even related to religion??), among other things everybody thinks Christians don't believe.

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One of the only things I don't believe in is The Big Bang, at least the cause of it anyways.

What do you think the BBT says is "the cause of it"? AFAIK, the theory doesn't cover the cause, or even the exact origin. It's more to do with the development of the universe as it expanded from an early hot, dense state, beginning just a tiny bit after it started.

 

God could have simply made the universe that way, I don't know.

If God exists, this is true.

 

Evolution, Climate change(How the heck, is that even related to religion??), among other things everybody thinks Christians don't believe.

Not Christians, we're talking about Ben Carson here. He's said he doesn't believe in a LOT of science. The relation of science and religion, in this instance, is that politicians in a position to create vast change in a population shouldn't be using religious beliefs to do so. I gave the example of Carson thinking that God might need a global catastrophe like climate change in order to fulfill prophecy from the Bible. I remember thinking how close Sarah Palin got to "doing God's will" with her finger on the button, confident it would all work out to His plan.

 

I don't think our leaders should be using faith to steer the country. To me, faith should be the backup plan of last resort, after you've used up your second-to-last resort, hope.

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One of the only things I don't believe in is The Big Bang, at least the cause of it anyways. God could have simply made the universe that way, I don't know. Evolution, Climate change(How the heck, is that even related to religion??), among other things everybody thinks Christians don't believe.

Big Bang Theory, what I have studied, is about how and not why. An explanation of how the forces that created and shape the universe came to be. God, in my opinion, doesn't provided anything useful towards how the universe was created. More over if God is real it (God) is just as or more so complex than the universe itself and unlike the universe has absolutely no woking theory for its origin. To idea of God creates many quetions and answers none.

 

Ben Carson is possibly suffering from an undiagnosed mental disorder like aspergers. Beyond religion Ben Carson also seems to have a weak understand of many normal things. In response to the claim he always seems sleepy and tired Ben Carson told a story about getting mad and trying to kill a someone with a knife. He claims that when you thrust the knife it hit the persons belt buckle and snapped. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/carson-volatile-past-trying-to-stab-friend/

 

Thank about that. Forget about whether the story is true or not. Ben Carson felt that telling that story, a story about attempting to kill someone, was a workable response to comments about his slow cadence of speech and movement. Ben Carson has also argued that Congress has the constitional right to remove judges who make decisions they determine to be unconstitutional. Which means Ben Carson doesn't know or ignores that we have 3 equal branches of gov't. https://thinkprogress.org/ben-carson-says-congress-should-remove-pro-equality-judges-which-is-unconstitutional-a257bc76a095#.ze7b7p34k

 

Ben Carson is a weird dude and religion isn't even the half of it.

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One of the only things I don't believe in is The Big Bang, at least the cause of it anyways. God could have simply made the universe that way, I don't know. Evolution, Climate change(How the heck, is that even related to religion??), among other things everybody thinks Christians don't believe.

As has been stated, The Big Bang is about how the universe got to be the way it is now, and what it was like going back to the earliest time that we have evidence for. There's currently no consensus on what exactly created those initial conditions.

 

There are some ideas, but they are largely highly speculative rather than being part of any serious cosmological theory.

 

 

Adding: Also, incidentally, the official position of the Pope and Catholic Church is that there is no conflict between Christianity and evolution. That's more of an Evangelical thing than a general Christian thing.

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