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November 12, 2015


In response to a blog this morning seeking comment on how Carson can be smart and dumb at the same time, I had occasion to answer as follows:

My now-deceased wife had a doctorate and taught at university. I have a degree in economics and law. She was the brains in the family. I couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler and called the electrician when a light bulb burned out. Will Rogers is right; we’re all dumb in some area or other, and that insight does not exclude me.

I think much of it is involved in continuing specialization. Einstein complained that he couldn’t go to meetings of physicists and understand what his colleagues were talking about anymore due to specialization in his field and the jargon that goes with it. Thus tax lawyers may not understand divorce lawyers well and vice versa, and it’s getting worse. Sub-specialties are arising within specialties. Generalists are scarce because there is too much to know these days for one lifetime.

Perhaps Aristotle had trouble with interpersonal skills – I don’t know. We do know Socrates would rather break than bend with his ingestion of hemlock. It seems that, as now within the radical right, compromise was a four-letter word in his world. Philosophers are apparently smart and dumb, too.

From my perspective, I think each human is unlike any other (even identical twins) and that each develops learned skills unevenly. Thus it is perfectly plausible to me that Carson is smart and dumb, just like the rest of us. I, for one, plead guilty as charged. (END OF RESPONSE)

It seems to me that the blogger (herself a university professor) who posed this question involving the seeming contradiction of how smart and dumb can come in the same package may be asking more implied questions than perhaps can be easily answered as I suspect such an ultimate answer is to be found in an admixture of brain and cognitive science, biology, psychology, economics, childhood and adolescent development, educational opportunity, nutrition and a host of other disciplines which must be consulted by experts in such respective fields before pooling their conclusions into a finding that is scientifically defensible. I am no expert in any such field and am therefore unequipped to do anything but guess as to why a human can simultaneously be smart and dumb (or perhaps as politicians pretend to be for his/her own purposes).

Carson obviously had to have some smarts to attain success in his specialty, but that begs the question. What reason do we have to believe that he can somehow transfer such skills into totally different realms of human endeavor, like, for instance, being president? The answer – none, just as my run through law school and 35 years of practice does not mean that I would ever attempt to operate on someone’s brain. There were no classes on brain surgery in the law school and so far as I know no classes in how to be president in medical school.

Dr. Carson should put his fantasies and ego aside and face the solemn truth, i.e., that he is not by reason of profession or experience qualified to do the job he seeks as president, just as I certainly am not qualified by reason of profession or experience to do brain surgeries. The job requires decidedly different shill sets than either Dr. Carson or I possess.

I’m not running for president, and he shouldn’t be, either, and though the criteria in running and serving in that high office may be open to debate, it is clear to me that Dr. Carson and I are unqualified for such high office whatever the design of the criteria (though more qualified than a recent two-term president who wangled his way into office and performed just this side of sedition, one George Bush, a legacy graduate of an Ivy League school).

So can you have smart and dumb in one package? The answer is yes, and I’ll go further with a claim that from all appearances there is smart and dumb in all packages. How this could happen I leave to the experts in various fields. I am not qualified to answer the question beyond appearances, but, from appearances, it is clear to me that Dr. Carson’s brain contains both smart and dumb, just as mine does – a human condition – but I’m not running for president. He is, and I won’t be voting for him. He isn’t qualified.   GERALD   E


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One Comment
  1. billy1926 permalink

    Who would have suspected Abe Lincoln was going to wind up in the White House when he left Indiana? Who is to say, “I’m smarter than you?” Humanity is still a very young, inept species that only recently appeared. There are still billions of us that believe we comprise several races. So, once again, I trot out my mantra, “Ideology trumps reason.” Until this belief is flip-flopped, humankind has no real future, regardless of time.

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