Ben Carson, MD: Proving That Just Because You Are A Great Doctor Does Not Mean You Are A Great Leader

Ben Carson, MD: Proving
That Just Because You Are A Great Doctor Does Not Mean You Are A Great Leader

By

Leonard Zwelling

         I have a friend who is an attorney who says that for $197
anyone can sue anyone in Texas.

         Perhaps it is also true that anyone with an MD degree is
considered to be intelligent and to have rational ideas about politics and the
human condition and thus is fit for high elected office.

         If you buy that one, then you will probably believe that lab
jockeys can be presidents of major academic institutions just because they have
MD after their names. Obviously, someone believes that despite all the
empirical evidence to the contrary.

(http://www.bencarson.com/explore/)

(http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/03/04/new-day-ben-carson-gay-choice.cnn)

(http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/03/05/ctn-sot-lemon-ben-carson-apology-gay-choice.cnn)

         Today, Republican Presidential hopeful Ben Carson, a world
renown neurosurgeon, honored physician and the recipient of the Presidential
Medal of Freedom with a distinguished career in medicine, basically stated that
being gay is a choice. He backed that statement up by noting that people enter
the prison system straight and come out gay. (He walked this all back within 24
hours {see url’s above}].

So
either, Dr. Carson is electing to play to the extreme right-wing base by
knowingly lying as a way to distinguish himself from the other candidates or he
believes that baloney and is really out of his mind despite all of his academic
and medical accomplishments.

Think
about it. Why would someone wake up one morning and choose to be gay? Where
would you start the process? How? The gay people with whom I have had the
discussion about when they were convinced that they were gay recognized their
sexual orientation in the course of their lifetimes, but at different time points.
One gay woman told me “I realized I was gay about the same time in my life that
you realized that you weren’t in yours.” I believe that is often correct, but
not only as the number of adults who discover their true sexual orientation
later in life is not inconsiderable. That’s really not the point.

My
points are only two.

For
a man of science and medicine to espouse a notion this ridiculous is a stain on
medicine as a discipline. He is, of course, entitled to his beliefs, but this
is not a matter of religion. This is scientific fact. The spectrum of sexuality
is wide and complex with many possible places to land along the continuum. Choice
is unlikely to be one of them. Were it only as simple as gay or straight and a
selection process akin to choosing a paint color. It isn’t, and the understanding of homosexuality’s genesis and the genetic determinants
of sexual orientation have yet to be unearthed. We do know it isn’t a choice.

Second,
just because you are a brilliant and honored physician doesn’t mean you have a
clue about politics or even reality. As a good friend from Harvard taught me years
ago, “When they hear you went to Harvard they think you know who is going to
win the World Series.” (Hint: for years they picked Boston until they were
eventually right.)

How
many examples of megalomania in the protected environment of academic medicine
have you encountered? I have known many brilliant physicians and investigators
without the common sense of most teenagers and with about as much control over
their baser urges when it came to the opposite sex (or same sex for that
matter), drugs, and money. What might work (or what you can get away with) in
academia does not necessarily work in the real world where all of the people in
it do not revolve around the megalomaniac and don’t really care if you were Phi
Beta Kappa, AOA or have 5 RO1s.

This
is a very sad day if a major candidate for the highest office in the land
promotes a belief that is so patently nonsense. That he is a fellow physician
is a true embarrassment to the profession.

Dr.
Carson owes us all an apology, especially those among us whose sexual
orientation is something other than straight.

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