One year ago, few could have predicted the political rise of a retired neurosurgeon who believes the Holocaust could have been averted if Jewish citizens had been packing heat.
In addition to some of his more outlandish statements – which we’ll get to in a moment – Carson’s detractors have pointed out that while he may have successfully separated conjoined twins in 1987, he has zero experience in US government. That includes both the military and civil sectors.
For the most part, the Carson campaign has worked to turn this into an advantage. Washington is broken, needs fresh faces, etc.
But while the surgeon cannot claim to have served his country in any capacity, according to Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” he can, at least, take credit for receiving a “full scholarship” to the US Military Academy at West Point.
After excelling in his high school ROTC program, Carson says he was introduced "to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship."
Except, according to Politico, West Point has no record of that.
"In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General," Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy, told Politico.
"If he chose to pursue (the application process), then we would have records indicating such."
The Carson campaign has been quick to refute the allegations that the presidential candidate misled people about his education, but conceded that he never received a full scholarship.
"Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit," campaign manager Barry Bennett told Politico. "In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.
— Rupert Brooke (@rupetbrooks) November 6, 2015
"He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors. They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission."
But according to records of Westmoreland’s schedule, also obtained by Politico, the general appears to have been in Washington DC during the time that Carson claims to have met him in Detroit.
It is possible, however, that Carson was in attendance during a February event of that year.
While claims of his academic career may have been exaggerated, increased scrutiny is shining an unfortunate light on Carson’s other attributes – his groundless beliefs in history and science.
— Serf (@Serf_) November 6, 2015
— Canis Pundit, Inc (@TheTobyK9) November 6, 2015
Reports surfaced earlier this week that the surgeon has some odd beliefs about the Egyptian pyramids. Namely, that they were built by the biblical figure Joseph to store massive amounts of wheat. Never mind the fact that most archaeologists agree the pyramids were built as tombs for pharaohs, and would make little sense as grain silos given that they are, for the most part, not hollow.
During the 1998 commencement speech, Carson also bravely criticized "scientists" who claim the pyramids were built by "alien beings."
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) November 6, 2015
— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) November 6, 2015
But while Carson doesn’t exactly get an A+ in history or spatial reasoning, he doesn’t fare much better in science. According to a speech he gave on Sunday, Carson is a creationist who does not believe in evolution.
"I submit that changes can occur within a species," he said, according to Gawker. "But is that a sign of evolution, or is it a sign of an intelligent creator who gave his creatures the ability to adapt to their environment so he wouldn’t have to start over every 50 years?"
He also touted a common creationist criticism about the lack of transitional species in the fossil record.
— Laura Packard (@lpackard) November 6, 2015
— Saint Brian (@AWorldOutOfMind) November 6, 2015
"We still haven’t found them. Where are they? Where are the fossil remains?" he said. "When you ask the evolutionists about that, they say, ‘Uh, I don’t know where they are, they’re somewhere, they are, we just haven’t found them yet.’ That’s a pretty lame excuse, to be honest with you."
Archaeologists have uncovered hundreds of transitional fossils, however. Tiktaalik, for instance, commonly referred to as the "Fishapod" is a 375 million-year-old fossil that has the gill of a fish, but almost limb-like fins. There’s Archaeopteryx, a 145-million-year-old fossil which shows a link between dinosaurs and modern birds. There’s even the "Turkana boy," part of an early species of human which bears many similarities to primates.