Jun 7 2012
[TBC: Dr. Ben Carson, according to Richard Dawkin's website, is an "an accomplished neurosurgeon and humanitarian." Nevertheless, Dr. Carson was discovered to be a "Darwin doubter" and his commencement address at the 2012 Emory University graduation was challenged.]
"Background Checks" for Criminal History, Bad Credit Record, Drug Abuse...and Doubts about Darwin [Excerpts]
In the Ben Carson story, the most appalling thing I've seen so far is an email I might have missed were it not for the careful eyes of Center for Science & Culture fellow Cornelius Hunter, who blogs at Darwin's God.
What got this whole Carson controversy started is the letter written by four Emory University professors and signed by close to 500 Emory faculty, staff and student, published in the Emory student paper. They were protesting against (and distorting) Carson's thoughts on evolution.
Dr. de Roode [one of the four professors] reports that Emory president James Wagner met with the university's Faculty Science Council and discussed, among other things, the matter of how Ben Carson, famed pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University who has admitted to being a Darwin doubter, came to be invited as Emory's Commencement speaker where he would also receive an honorary degree. There's no indication that Dr. Wagner directly apologized for honoring Dr. Carson but he came very close:
"President Wagner explained that the committee who had invited Dr. Carson and recommended him for an honorary degree (in Humane Letters, not Science) had not explored fully Dr. Carson's views on evolution. He explained that the University has already implemented an additional background checking step in the procedures that will lead to commencement speaker invitations and the awarding of honorary degrees in the future.
A "background checking step"? You don't do "background checks" for things that are innocuous, even merely eccentric, or otherwise up for debate. Obviously, you screen for illegal or unethical associations or behavior, anything that would entail shame, reproach, or danger.
Again, think what this means for Dr. Carson. Professor de Roode wrote the email, according to his heading, on April 30. The meeting with President Wagner happened, according to the email, on April 26. So more than two weeks before Commencement, faculty and administration together allowed it be known, on the website of the student newspaper, that if Emory had it to do over again they would have "background checked" Dr. Carson for dissenting evolutionary views, even though he was never going to breathe a word in his speech about evolution!