Presidential hopeful Ben Carson claims he uses religion to distinguish science from propaganda.
The Sunday morning political talk shows have once again produced a gem from a potential presidential candidate. Republican Ben Carson appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, where he was questioned by Chuck Todd as to how Carson could trust science and reconcile that with his values as a conservative Christian. Carson held forth that science should rely on religion because, as Carson (a neurosurgeon) believes, it was possible that scientific proof was “just propaganda.”
Ben Carson said that the religious beliefs of an individual “give them a direction in their life,” but that he did not think public policy and political stances should be dictated by those religious beliefs. Carson spoke of people who would ask questions about how he reconciled his faith with the science required to be an effective physician. His response to their queries, he said, was that perhaps the scientific principles he disagreed with were not scientific at all. Ben Carson maintains that while he trusts the science that was necessary to being a neurosurgeon, maybe the rest is just some propaganda cooked up by scientists or others with an agenda. Since this interview, he has only continued his trend trend of foot-in-mouth commentary with the media calling him out on his statements regarding prison rape proving that homosexuality is a choice.
Despite the thoughts offered by Ben Carson about public policy and political stances not being determined by religious belief, that is not exactly the reality of his party. An observant individual might maintain that most policy positions offered by the Republican Party are heavily influenced by their faith, even when many of their actions speak much more loudly than their proclamations of faith and piety. Despite Carson’s beliefs, religion often affects the policies and political conversations in the US, especially with a majority of his party wanting America to be Christian nation. This inclusion of religion has resulted in a severe dearth of scientific understanding, as evidenced by the misguided comments of Dr. Carson.