POLITICS

Richard Dawkins Vilifies 'Creationist' Presidential Candidates, Calls Dr Ben Carson A 'Disgrace'

02/11/2015 02:55 GMT | Updated 02/11/2015 14:59 GMT

NEW YORK -- Richard Dawkins is upsetting the Godly… again. On Sunday, the scientist and author decried Republican primary candidates for their creationist beliefs, sincere or not, while dismissing Dr. Ben Carson, one of the frontrunners, as a “disgrace.” Speaking to Fareed Zakaria on CNN, the British evolutionary biologist said the candidates’ reluctance to accept evolution as fact “fills me with despair.”

“This is not something you believe in or not,” he lamented. “I mean this is a fact. It is a fact. It’s just as much of a fact as the Earth goes around the Sun. You can’t not believe it unless you’re ignorant.”

Dawkins noted that some of the candidates probably do not believe what they are saying, but need to appeal to religious conservatives for whom truth comes secondary to ancient myth. “I believe what they’re doing is they think that they’ve got to say that in order to appeal to their constituency,” he reflected. “And if that’s true, it’s deeply depressing.”

Dawkins’ most stinging ire was directed towards Carson, the pillow-voiced author, who boasts a creationist worldview despite a long career as a brain surgeon. Carson is currently enjoying a surge in the polls, his God-soaked campaign swelling his appeal across the American heartland.

“You just told me all the Republican candidates except one don’t believe in evolution,” said Dawkins. “I mean, that’s a disgrace. But for a very senior eminent distinguished doctor as he [Carson] is to say that is even worse. Because of course, evolution is the bedrock of biology and biology is the bedrock of medicine. He clearly doesn’t understand the fundamental theorem of his own subject. That is a terrible indictment.”

“It is a form of arrogance to say we know what God does," Dawkins continued. "The only way to know anything is by looking at the evidence. In this particular case, the evidence is overwhelming… In the case of evolution, there is no doubt. It is a fact.”

Speaking on Fox News Radio last month, Dawkins offered similar assessment, calling candidates’ advocacy of the creationist fallacy “disgraceful”. During that exchange, Dawkins was asked if he thought religious people were “mentally ill.

“It’s hard to use the word ‘mentally ill’ when there are so many of them,” the Briton responded. “If they believed what they did and they were the only one they would undoubtedly be called mentally ill.”

Carson, who is running second to Donald Trump nationally in the race for the nomination, drew condemnation in September after a 2012 video was unearthed in which the retired neurosurgeon said the theory of evolution was created by the Devil.

“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct,” he noted. Carson also referred to the big bang theory as "ridiculous" and a "fairy tale" created by "high-falutin scientists."

In most developed countries this brand of anti-science would disqualify a candidate from office. However in the US Carson’s views account for much of his success. A 2014 Gallup poll showed that 42 percent of Americans believe in a creationist view of human origins -- that’s four in 10 who think God created humans in their present form no more than 10,000 years ago.

During the current campaign cycle, Carson has said abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape and incest, at that the entire US tax code should be reformed to reflect biblical tithing. He was also criticised for lying in a recent debate when he stated he had no relationship with a company called Mannatech, a manufacturer of nutritional supplements that has in the past been accused of peddling quack cures for autism and cancer.

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