Ben Carson’s Religious Beliefs Come Under Scrutiny

The presidential candidate has argued against both the big bang and Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Ben Carson speaks at the Wake Up America gala event on Sept. 5, 2014, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Photo by Laura Segall/Getty Images

Now that he's a top-tier Republican presidential candidate, everything about Ben Carson, including his religious views, is coming under greater scrutiny. 

A staunch creationist who has labeled evolution a “myth,” Carson has never been shy about expressing his views on religion, including his belief that it would not be a good idea for the United States to elect a Muslim president. In the wake of those comments, several articles have been written pointing to a 2011 speech Carson delivered to fellow Seventh Day Adventists. Titled “Celebration of Creation,” the retired neurosurgeon's remarks targeted what he sees as a lack of scientific evidence for evolution. Portraying Charles Darwin's theory as unscientific, Carson also railed against what he sees as political correctness directed by scientists against people of faith. 

“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary,” Carson said, in an apparent reference to Satan, “and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct.” 

As to the question of how old the earth is, in 2014, Carson told the “Faith & Liberty” radio program that “carbon dating and all of these things really don’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time.”

During his “Celebration of Creation” speech, Carson also tried to cast doubt on the validity of the fossil record. 

“You know, they look at all those layers, and then they find some fossils in one of the layers, and they say this fossil is this many years old because it’s in this layer,” Carson said. “So, that means this fossil is like a million years old. And then later on they say, ‘Well, this layer is a million years old because this fossil which is a million years old is in it.’ You know, that’s like saying, you know, ‘the sky can be red or blue.’ And you say, well, the sky is blue. And you say why is it blue? ‘Because it is not red.’ Well why is it not red? ‘Because its blue.’ Yeah, you know, that’s known as circular reasoning. That’s how they explain the age of all these things, its very circular reasoning, and really it has no real scientific validity.”

Carson's argument is similar to ones put forth by proponents of intelligent design, the belief that life is irreducibly complex and therefore the product of God. The teaching of intelligent design was banned in public schools following the verdict in Kitzmiller v. Dover, in which U.S. district judge John Jones III ruled that it was thinly veiled creationism. 

Once again citing what he sees as the impossibly long odds that a God is not behind all creation, Carson also denies the big bang. 

“I find the big bang really quite fascinating. I mean, here you have all these highfalutin scientists and they’re saying it was this gigantic explosion and everything came into perfect order. Now these are the same scientists that go around touting the second law of thermodynamics, which is entropy, which says that things move toward a state of disorganization,” Carson said in his 2011 speech. “So now you’re gonna have this big explosion and everything becomes perfectly organized and when you ask them about it they say, ‘Well we can explain this, based on probability theory because if there’s enough big explosions, over a long period of time, billions and billions of years, one of them will be the perfect explosion,” continued Carson. “So I say what you’re telling me is if I blow a hurricane through a junkyard enough times over billions and billions of years, eventually after one of those hurricanes there will be a 747 fully loaded and ready to fly.”

On Thursday, the twice-baptized Carson will attend Pope Francis' speech before a joint session of Congress, though the two men differ on many issues, including whether man-made climate change actually exists. Carson says no, while the pope has penned an encyclical calling on world leaders to address what, as he said Wednesday at the White House, he sees as “a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”

Carson and the pope also don't see eye to eye on the big bang or evolution—both of which the leader of the Roman Catholic Church says are real.