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Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of science... the thrill of discovery... and the agony of failed experiments... the human drama of scientific advancement... This is the Blue Streak Science Podcast!

Oct 7, 2015

Blue Streak Science News

  • Foam artificial heart
  • Nobel Prize week
  • A 'working' miniature brain
  • New test detects all viruses that infect people
  • Death by worm-star
  • Tales of epigenetics

The Jackass of the Week

Our Jackass of the Week is Dr. Ben Carson

Ben Carson is a retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon and Republican Party candidate for President of the United StatesHe has become popular figure in the right-wing political media for his views on social and political issues after a speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.

This year on the 4th of May at a rally in Detroit Carson announced he was running for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election.

On 30 September, last week, Carson was asked by a voter in New Hampshire to explain his disbelief in climate change.

A photo of Dr. Ben Carson at the Citizens United Conference
Dr. Ben Carson

The question was: "You don't believe in evolution or climate change, I believe. And I was just wondering, do you seriously not believe that climate change is happening?"

The New Republic’s Rebecca Leber reported on Carson’s response, and it was: “Is there climate change? Of course there’s climate change. Any point in time, temperatures are going up or temperatures are going down. Of course that’s happening. When that stops happening, that’s when we’re in big trouble.”

He then added, “Just the way the Earth rotates on its axis, how far away it is from the sun. These are all very complex things. Gravity, where did it come from?”

Dr. Carson seems confused about what is weather and what is climate. Weather is temperatures going up and down, is it raining or not, and will it rain today. Climate, especially global climate, is a long-term phenomenon that cannot be observed directly in the short term.

That fact seems to be lost on him.

Carson continued, “As far as evolution is concerned, you know, I do believe in micro-evolution, or natural selection, but I believe that God gave the creatures he made the ability to adapt to their environment. Because he’s very smart and he didn’t want to start over every 50 years.”

For a neurosurgeon, Dr. Carson hold some remarkably unscientific views. In fact, in his view science itself  is just another religion, and one that he rejects. Regarding science, he stated, “I just don't have that much faith. But they are welcome to believe whatever they want to believe. I'm welcome to believe what I want to believe.”

This rejection of the foundation of science would be unacceptable for anyone holding public office, let alone the Presidency.

Oh, and we actually do know where gravity comes from. It comes from the bending of space-time by massive objects. I don't see a Nobel Prize in your future. Just sayin'.

Ben Carson, you are the Blue Streak Science Jackass of the Week.

Shout-outs and Acknowledgments

NotSciShy blog
Twitter: @Ivyhish

This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Cambridge, England; Sydney, Australia; and Santa Rosa, California.