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Mar 30 2013

Run, Ben, run!

The far right has lately been gushing over the idea of getting Dr Ben Carson to run for president — he’s their One Black Friend who believes in exactly the same things they do. Among his latest typical conservative faux pas, he recently compared gays to pedophiles and fans of bestiality, and has had to backtrack a little bit. Look at this beautiful not-pology:

If anyone was offended, I apologize to you. What I was basically saying is there is no group. I wasn’t equating those things, I don’t think they’re equal. If you ask me for an apple and i give you an orange you would say, that’s not an orange. And I say, that’s a banana. And that’s not an apple either. Or a peach, that’s not an apple, either. It doesn’t mean that i’m equating the banana and the orange and the peach.

The intelligence of Ronald Reagan, the eloquence of George W. Bush…please make him your candidate!

Oh, wait. Those two guys got elected. Uh-oh.

46 comments

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  1. 1
    chigau (違う)

    Who?

  2. 2
    chigau (違う)

    I read the Pffft article.
    What is it about being a skilled surgeon that makes people think they know everything?

  3. 3
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    @chigau (not my real name), #2:

    I guess some people can only spend so long rooting around inside a living person’s skull before they start to develop contempt for brains.

  4. 4
    ChristineRose

    Oh my FSM, fruit metaphors. Do we have to point out that the Bible and God treat women as property and assume that a man is entitled to as many of us as he can afford?

  5. 5
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Yeah I was commenting on this on the tweety thing yesterday. Ben’s rise didn’t last long, though the GOP faithful will easily sweep this small gaff (in their eyes) under the rug.

    It also looks like he probably going to withdraw from being the commencement speaker at John’s Hopkins graduation.

  6. 6
    Sastra

    Oh, I see. He was only making an analogy about the process. He wasn’t making a direct analogy. He wasn’t meaning to imply anything through what he used as a comparison. Right.

    So can we do the same thing? When the religious compare having faith in God to choosing to have faith that your mother loves you, can we simply switch the example and get them to agree that having faith in God is like choosing to kill your mother? I mean, it’s just an example meant to illustrate the act of choosing … and only accidentally just happens to flatter the faithful. Any example could have done. Any example would do.

    How disingenuous can you get? And, coming from someone whose race was once considered definitionaly sub-human through the use of vile analogies, how ironic.

  7. 7
    LykeX

    OK, having read the quote over a few times, listened to the clip, and thought about it a bit, I think I see what he’s saying and it’s not quite as crazy as it first looks. It’s still bullshit, but it’s not the incoherent, am-I-having-a stroke? mess that the quote first leads you to believe.

    His point clearly is this:
    1) Marriage is between a man and a woman.
    2) There are various groups that might disagree with that definition, including those in favor of gay marriage, marriage to minors and marriage to animals
    3) This is analogous to the fact that “apple” means a certain thing and neither oranges, bananas or peaches fit the definition of “apple”.

    In other words, it’s simply a (very poor) rephrasing of the good old idea that if we change anything about marriage, then where will it end? Once you’ve broken the definition of “one man, one woman”, then who’s to say what’s right and wrong? This is hardly a new or controversial argument. This is exactly the same stuff that the right-wing nutjobs have been saying for years (decades?).

    I think his attempt to say that he’s not equating the groups is bullshit. Even if he’s technically correct in that he doesn’t explicitly make any connection between gays and pedophiles beyond the “not part of conventional definition of marriage” bit, you simply can’t mention several groups together like that without implying something. This is doubly true when discussing the rights of one historically vilified group and then you bring in other, highly marginal and controversial groups.

    He may actually be honest insofar that he didn’t intend to equate them in this manner. I don’t know enough about the guy to know for sure, but it’s quite possible that he’s simply been stewing in right-wing rhetoric for so long that he has unconsciously assimilated some of the talking points.
    I find that it’s not at all unusual for people to assimilate ideas from their group without really thinking about them. They don’t realize how offensive those ideas are until they pop out of their mouth in public and everybody who isn’t part of their group goes “What the hell are you talking about?”

    I think the main point he should take away from this is that he really needs to hire some PR staff that can keep him from saying stupid shit.
    And for god’s sake, doc: next time you have to explain yourself, decide beforehand what metaphors you’ll use. Don’t try to improvise in front of the camera. You’re no good at it.

  8. 8
    sundiver

    And if we allow mixed-race marriage… Oh, wait.

  9. 9
    johnrockoford

    How do you become an accomplished professional in a challenging field like surgery and be stupid about everything else? Surgery must be like carpentry, a skill that does not imply superior intellectual prowess (with all due respect to carpenters, for whom I have the utmost respect). Don’t forget Eben Alexander, the Proof of Heaven guy, also a good surgeon by all accounts.

    Perhaps the British are right not to assign “Dr” to surgeons as they do MDs.

  10. 10
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Some of the old timers here who remembers Barb (The heart beats for a lifetime without an external energy source.) should also remember that she loved using Ben Carson as an example of a “scientist” who rejected Darwin.

    The evangelical love of Carson is not new.

  11. 11
    mikeyb

    Audience 1 (Sean Hannity; the base): Homosexuality = bestiality, pedophilia, i.e. it is immoral, wrong, evil, Godsaidit
    Audience 2 (media; liberals; everyone else) = you didn’t hear what you thought you heard and we shouldn’t be engaging in name calling

    He needs to work more on his doublespeak to make it a little less obvious.

  12. 12
    aaronpound

    Surgery must be like carpentry, a skill that does not imply superior intellectual prowess (with all due respect to carpenters, for whom I have the utmost respect). Don’t forget Eben Alexander, the Proof of Heaven guy, also a good surgeon by all accounts.

    Also, don’t forget Egnor, for whom the term “Egnorance”, meaning a combination of arrogance and ignorance, was coined. He’s a neurosurgeon and dumb as a bag of hammers.

  13. 13
    Inaji

    If you ask me for an apple and i give you an orange you would say, that’s not an orange. And I say, that’s a banana. And that’s not an apple either. Or a peach, that’s not an apple, either. It doesn’t mean that i’m equating the banana and the orange and the peach.

    What? There’s not enough tea on the planet to make that come across as coherent.

  14. 14
    Amphiox

    To be a competent neurosurgeon one needs an excellent memory, good hand-eye coordination, and a certain degree of physical stamina.

    Those relevant aspects of intelligence do not necessarily translate into any sort of competence with regards to social understanding or science.

    (Some neurosurgeons also actively engage in scientific work, but that is not by any means required.)

  15. 15
    Gregory Greenwood

    If you ask me for an apple and i give you an orange you would say, that’s not an orange. And I say, that’s a banana. And that’s not an apple either. Or a peach, that’s not an apple, either. It doesn’t mean that i’m equating the banana and the orange and the peach.

    “Curses! I have been caught being bigoted in public – quick; distract them with nonsensical fruit anologies. By the time they work out what I am wittering on about, the goldfish-like attention span of the general public will have long since moved on to other issues. *Cue sinister laughter*”

    As evil plans go, not as idiotic as it at first seems. Wagering on the stupidity and apathy of the public at large is pretty much always a safe bet, while the hardcore Republican faithful will remember his hateful bigotry as ‘courageously’ standing up to speak ‘truth’ to what they doubtless consider the ‘politically correct liberal thought police’. As mikeyb perspicaciously says @ 11;

    Audience 1 (Sean Hannity; the base): Homosexuality = bestiality, pedophilia, i.e. it is immoral, wrong, evil, Godsaidit
    Audience 2 (media; liberals; everyone else) = you didn’t hear what you thought you heard and we shouldn’t be engaging in name calling

  16. 16
    starguts

    “But a fruit is a fruit, you godless heathens!!”

  17. 17
    aarrgghh

    saith the bible-thumper with 2016 sparkling before his eyes …

    “yknow over the course of history many religions have sprung up that really don’t have a whole lot to do with my own personal concept of a loving creator. they have a lot to do with how you control people and how do you aquire power unto yourself.”

    also too, in the same conversation, responding to richard dawkins:

    “in fact, I don’t believe in evolution … evolution says that because there are these similarities, even though we can’t specifically connect them, it proves that this is what happened.”

    … which sets up ben’s argument from incredulity.

  18. 18
    Inaji

    Gregory:

    “Curses! I have been caught being bigoted in public – quick; distract them with nonsensical fruit anologies.

    He certainly got that nonsensical part down. I just cannot get past “i give you an orange you would say, that’s not an orange.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but if someone gave me an orange, I would most likely note that it is, indeed, an orange. These folks give me a headache.

  19. 19
    some bastard on the net

    I think my brain almost blew an artery when he said we need to “tone down the rhetoric” right after he waded chest-deep in it.

  20. 20
    mikeyb

    Like Michelle Shocked and the new pope, interesting how love your neighbor/love Jesus so often translates into a vicious unconscious knee jerk anti-gay rant. How does that happen? Perhaps would make a different kind of Easter homily given that supposedly Jesus never uttered a word about homosexuality one way or the other.

  21. 21
    dean

    There has been a glut of these losers saying and posting things. From Michigan I give you the story of Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema and his Facebook posting.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20130328/NEWS15/130328033/Michigan-Commiteeman-posts-anti-gay-tirade-on-Facebook

    Among other things

    The post depicts gays as sexually promiscuous, rife with sexually transmitted diseases and responsible for “half the murders in large cities.”

  22. 22
    loopyj

    Sure, religious marriage may be a sacred institution, but the legal institution of marriage is civil, not sacred. It’s not the role of the government to uphold or preserve the sacredness or sanctity of anything. Dr. Carson makes his point very clear: He fears that marriage as an institution will be degraded if we allow those filthy perverted gays to have it too. I suspect he’s not too happy that atheist couples are allowed to get married; I’m sure in his fevered Christian imagination there would be a hierarchy of marriage wherein Christians get full rights of marriage, non-Christian religious groups get somewhat less, and atheists get to set up contracts for living in sin and without the blessings of God.

  23. 23
    LykeX

    Sure, religious marriage may be a sacred institution…

    A holy union of man and wife… and wife and wife and wife.

  24. 24
    moarscienceplz

    Dear Dr. Carson,
    If you are offended by my calling you an attention-seeking sphincter with a coprolite where your brain should be and a lump of anthracite where your heart should be, I apologize to you.

  25. 25
    A. R

    Has he any chance against the Hillary? Not really, unless the Rethugs plan on cheating again.

  26. 26
    cyberCMDR

    Hmm. A perfect running mate for Michelle Bachmann. They can make up their facts together.

  27. 27
    DonDueed

    A.R, I think it’s a foregone conclusion that the Republicans are going to cheat again.

  28. 28
    David Marjanović

    Elected… Reagan, yes; Fearless Flightsuit… in the immortal words of Mr. Burns…: “…The second time. …If nobody finds the ballot boxes of Ohio.” Or, rather, the Windows computer on Kenneth “Katherine” Blackwell’s desk where the votes were counted.

    John’s Hopkins

    Johns was Mr. Hopkins’ first name. He was named after a Mr. Johns.

    It’s stupid, I know.

    How do you become an accomplished professional in a challenging field like surgery and be stupid about everything else? Surgery must be like carpentry, a skill that does not imply superior intellectual prowess (with all due respect to carpenters, for whom I have the utmost respect). Don’t forget Eben Alexander, the Proof of Heaven guy, also a good surgeon by all accounts.

    Perhaps the British are right not to assign “Dr” to surgeons as they do MDs.

    The deep rift between “surgeons” and “physicians” is a peculiarity of the English-speaking countries, and a stupid one. (It’s a leftover from the time when surgeons were barbers or the like, and physicians didn’t want to get their hands dirty.) Elsewhere, surgery is just another branch of medicine, surgeons are MDs (…as they are nowadays in the UK, too; just the tradition of calling them “Mr” remains), and there isn’t even a word for “physician” as distinct from “surgeon”, there’s just a cover term (French médecin, German Arzt, Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian lekar, etc.) like English “doctor”.

    (…But there’s a deep rift between medicine and dentistry. Go figure.)

  29. 29
    Rey Fox

    It’s weird, this obsession they have with “definition”. “The definition will change!” “They want to redefine!” “EVERYTHING MUST FIT INTO ALL OF THE SAME BOXES THEY WERE PUT IN WHEN I WAS FIVE!!!”

  30. 30
    Ichthyic

    What is it about being a skilled surgeon that makes people think they know everything?

    Perhaps we should ask Michael Egnor?

  31. 31
    anchor

    I would not allow that guy to perform a haircut let alone surgery on me.

    He’s a liar and a trickster.

  32. 32
    Margaret

    @Rey Fox:

    It’s weird, this obsession they have with “definition”.

    It’s the Platonic Ideal thing going on. To them, words like ‘marriage’ and ‘species’ are not human inventions but Platonic Ideals which are not subject to change. They can’t handle either abstraction or change. Every word has to be for a concrete unchanging thing. If it’s not that way in the real world, then the real world (which has a liberal bias!) is wrong.

  33. 33
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    My first reaction was that what gay marriage has in common with “traditional” marriage, but not with bestiality or pedophilia, is that it involves two consenting adults*. But then I realized that in many religiously conservative societies, the two principals, and especially the woman, often aren’t consenting and/or adults.

    So really, “traditional” marriage has more in common with pedophilia and bestiality than gay marriage does. If anything, the religious should be holding up gay marriage as the most consistently moral form of marriage.

    *Though really, I see no reason to stop at two, as long as everyone is consenting.

  34. 34
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    It’s weird, this obsession they have with “definition”. “The definition will change!” “They want to redefine!” “EVERYTHING MUST FIT INTO ALL OF THE SAME BOXES THEY WERE PUT IN WHEN I WAS FIVE!!!”

    Yeah, it’s a weird idea of how language works. Definitions are given (by whom?), rules are set down (again, by whom?), and so must never change (appeal to the authority of, um, who?). Never mind what actually drives language, you know, the actual speakers and how they use it.

    But anyway, I assume that they still abide by the “traditional” definition of, for example, human, which of course doesn’t include lesser beings such as women or people with insufficiently light skin.

  35. 35
    Rey Fox

    To them, words like ‘marriage’ and ‘species’ are not human inventions but Platonic Ideals which are not subject to change.

    It’s so sad what small worlds they inhabit.

  36. 36
    Emir Jay

    Well, Jesus did say that “by your fruits shall you know them”…

    …and in this case, we now know from Ben Carson’s apples, oranges, bananas and peaches that he is off the planet.

  37. 37
    kreativekaos

    he’s their One Black Friend who believes in exactly the same things they do.

    Their one black friend believing lock-step in their agendas??
    Are you not leaving out the intellectually bankrupt Alan West?

  38. 38
    bastionofsass

    Ben Carson’s thoughts on marriage aren’t his only notions that may make him a CPAC darling. Carson doesn’t believe in evolution; he’s a young earth creationist.

  39. 39
    bastionofsass

    As the article I linked to above shows, this isn’t the first time Carson caused a controversy as a commencement speaker.

    I think the current protest at Hopkins is appropriate, but given Carson’s known anti-science views on the age of the universe, earth, and everything else, Hopkins shouldn’t have invited him in the first place.

  40. 40
    bastionofsass

    Their one black friend believing lock-step in their agendas??
    Are you not leaving out the intellectually bankrupt Alan West?

    I guess Alan Keyes is no longer in lock-step since he’s declared that CPAC is no longer for conservatives.

  41. 41
    Margaret

    Rey Fox,

    It’s so sad what small worlds they inhabit.

    Yes. Carl Sagan described such people as saying “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.”

    A little god for little minds living in a little world. Makes me feel claustrophobic.

  42. 42
    randay

    I suppose that God and Mary respected the sacred nature of marriage. What did Joseph have to say about that?

  43. 43
    myeck waters

    “Hey, where’s that thing I named the other day, the…wassit…the Sheeep! Yeah, Where’d it go?”

  44. 44
    Ingdigo Jump

    @randay

    “Can I watch?”

  45. 45
    myeck waters

    Hah! That’s what I get for posting before caffeine. I just performed the petard maneuver.

  46. 46
    LykeX

    It’s the Platonic Ideal thing going on. To them, words like ‘marriage’ and ‘species’ are not human inventions but Platonic Ideals which are not subject to change. They can’t handle either abstraction or change. Every word has to be for a concrete unchanging thing

    Didn’t they ever discuss the old “when does it stop being a pile” question? That was pretty much a staple where I grew up. It’s a great illustration of the fact that something that seems quite simple and concrete actually is incredibly loose and uncertain.

    Incidentally, I’ve heard presented the idea that much of the clean/unclean stuff in the bible was really about safeguarding such neat, platonic distinctions. Basically, the unclean things are those that don’t fit simple categories.
    E.g. molluscs aren’t fish, but they live in the ocean, so they should be. Something’s wrong here, better not eat it. Pigs don’t chew the cud like proper livestock; that’s not right. Better stay away from them. That also makes sense of some of the more strange prohibitions, like mixed fabrics or two crops in one field. It’s all about protecting these neat, distinct categories.

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