Dr. Ben Carson, an innovative and very well-known pediatric neurosurgeon and author from Johns Hopkins University, is scheduled to give the commencement address for, and receive an honorary degree from, Emory University this coming Monday (Update: see a video Dr. Carson’s talk below) .
Dr. Carson is a favorite commencement speaker (this will be his 74th commencement address). Of course, this is no big surprise given his world-renown fame as a surgeon, writer, speaker, and gifted ability to motivate both young and old alike – not to mention his stellar Curriculum Vitae or the fact that he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000 – the highest civilian award in the United States.
What is surprising, however, is that close to 500 faculty members, students and staff at Emory University actually signed a public protest against Dr. Carson’s invitation – also drawing up a “Letter to the Editor” for the student paper, The Emory Wheel, entitled, “Ben Carson’s Outright Rejection of Evolution Is Against Emory’s Ideals.”
What is most deeply concerning about Dr. Carson’s dismissal of evolution is that he equates the acceptance of evolution with a lack of ethics and morality. In an interview published on the Adventist Review website he states, “Ultimately, if you accept the evolutionary theory, you dismiss ethics, you don’t have to abide by a set of moral codes, you determine your own conscience based on your own desires.”
Dr. Carson insists on not seeing a difference between science, which is predictive and falsifiable, and religious belief systems, which by their very nature cannot be falsified. This is especially troubling since his great achievements in medicine allow him to be viewed as someone who “understands science.”
As it turns out, the protestors – lead by Professors Arri Eisen, Jaap De Roode, Nicole Gerardo, and Ilya Nemenman — distorted Dr. Carson’s position on the moral implications of Darwinian materialism, originally claiming that Carson said that, “those who accept the underlying principle of biology and medicine are unethical.” What Carson actually said was:
By believing we are the product of random acts, we eliminate morality and the basis of ethical behavior. For if there is no such thing as moral authority, you can do anything you want. You make everything relative, and there’s no reason for any of our higher values.
Dr. Carson also told Inside Higher Ed that he thinks that many evolutionists are very ethical people. Here’s what he told Inside Higher Ed in a recent interview:
It would have been extremely courteous if they had asked me whether it was true that I said people who are evolutionist are unethical, which I never did. Those of us who believe in God and derive our sense of right and wrong and ethics from God’s word really have no difficulty whatsoever defining where our ethics come from. People who believe in survival of the fittest might have more difficulty deriving where their ethics come from. A lot of evolutionists are very ethical people.Read More…
In the interview for the Adventist Review article, Dr. Carson also went on to explain that he’s not impressed by the evidence for Darwinian theory and re-emphasized that a materialist philosophy seems to him to be at odds with free will and how that makes it tough to offer a coherent account of moral principles.
Also, as noted in another news article covering this topic this attack on Dr. Carson for his stand on special creation is not an isolated incident:
The academic bullying that Emory’s faculty has visited on Dr. Carson is not an isolated episode. Scientists who ask tough questions about evolutionary theory are routinely intimidated and silenced by advocates of Darwinian orthodoxy.
Journalists and courts of law have documented a variety of other, far more disturbing, cases of bullying for Darwin at academic institutions including Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech, the University of Kentucky, Iowa State University, the Smithsonian Institution, and elsewhere…
Dr. Carson’s unwelcoming welcome sends a message to less renowned and therefore less bullet-proof scholars. If they open their mouth to question Darwin, fellow academics will not only disagree but will hurt them by misrepresenting their opinions.
Imagine the results if he were someone else: a young scientist seeking a strong start to his career, a not so young but still untenured scientist with his livelihood to protect, even a tenured academic worried about his reputation and the future careers of his own grad students.
This is how Darwinists maintain the fiction that the scientific community has reached a freely determined “consensus” in favor of Darwinian evolution and against intelligent design. The consensus is maintained by intimidation, by bullying.
In short, such attacks have far more to do with personal philosophies, even religious philosophies, than they have to do with empirically-based science or rational faith. I dare say that neo-Darwinians are protesting too much. By so doing, they come across as desperate – giving the impression that if anyone is actually exposed to ideas countering the neo-Darwinian perspective and/or favoring the position of special creation, that such ideas might actually be favorably received, even by academics – if they were actually allowed to openly consider opposing points of view.
Dr. Carson’s Commencement Address at Emory University (updated 5/16/12):
Dr. Carson briefly mentions the controversy over his views on creation at about the 3:05 minute mark and political correctness around the 10:20 mark where he said:
There was a time in the history of the world when there was great intolerance for anybody who thought differently than the mainstream. It was called the Dark Ages…