Thursday, November 05, 2015

Ben Carson

Carson, the leading Republican candidate for President, was formerly a famous neurosurgeon. I seemingly recall that he was once reported to have removed half of someone's brain. I wonder if it could have been his own.

I always thought that a certain minimum amount of general intelligence and world knowledge was required to become a physician, but Carson presents a rather sharp challenge to that idea. In a Republican field notable for its know nothing character, Carson is a real standout displaying a breadth of ignorance of politics and government that would be surprising in a high school dropout. One of his latest bloopers is repeatedly expressed opinion that the pyramids were build to store grain. I guess they just forgot to make them hollow.

Kevin Drum reports on another Carsonism.

“I recently had a discussion with a well-known physicist. He was talking about the Big Bang Theory and how all this obviously culminated into this wonderful, extraordinarily organized solar system that we now have, which you can set your watch by, where scientists can predict 70 years away when a comet is coming. That’s an incredible amount of organization to have originated from just a large explosion.”

Carson then tells the story of how he supposedly stumped the physicist by asking him how he could reconcile such an “organized” universe with the laws of thermodynamics, specifically entropy, which says that systems tend to move towards disorder.

“Well of course he has no answer for that. They never have an answer for any of these things.”

Huh. Not just a physicist, a "well-known" physicist. And Carson says this guy was floored by his question. Apparently he had never given any thought to whether the Big Bang theory was compatible with the second law of thermodynamics.

Conclusion: either this was the stupidest physicist ever, or else Carson was lying. I think you can guess which side I'm on, but Carson can clear this up in a trice by telling us who this hapless physicist was. I sure hope it's not someone who's conveniently dead.

I think that there is a third possibility - Carson is delusional. On the other hand he has a demonstrated track record of lying about his past.