Is Ben Carson In Donald Trump's Cabinet? The Former Neurosurgeon Could Have A New Gig
It's been less than one week since the election of Donald Trump as America's 45th commander in chief, and now the reality of the situation is beginning to set in with Democrats and progressives all over the country — the fear, the uncertainty, and that feeling that the fundamental order of the universe has been turned over, and not in a good way. For the time being, of course, Trump isn't actually the president, which means cabinet appointments are the news of the day. So, is Ben Carson going to be in Trump's cabinet?
If you followed the Republican primaries in the first half of 2016, then you probably remember the inimitable Dr. Carson. Once chiefly known as a legendarily skilled neurosurgeon, Carson retired from his medical career in 2013, and in relatively short order became a low-level celebrity in the conservative movement, especially among the religious right. And now, with the start of the Trump administration just months away, it's being reported that he might be in line to take over as secretary of education.
Of course, whether or not he'll actually get the nod is impossible to say for certain until it's announced, but this is keeping right in line with some of Trump's other early rumored cabinet appointments ― with names like Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie floating around, it seems as though this might be a campaign surrogacy loyalty-based system. Although, whether that holds true now that Vice President-elect Mike Pence is running the transition remains to be seen.
There are more than a few reasons critics of Trump, and of Carson himself, consider this pretty bad news. In the first place, Carson is not somebody with a background in education, despite his high level of achievement in some extremely specialized, complicated surgical practices. Even more consequential, however, are those views on education that he has entered into the public record. Carson is a creationist, one of the tenets of his Seventh-day Adventist faith, and although he said in 2011 that he didn't necessarily literally believe the planet was only 6,000 years old, he did believe the world as it's known was created by God over the course of just six days.
It's entirely fair to note that plenty of Americans hold beliefs within their religions that don't hold up to scientific scrutiny, but this sort of thing poses a unique and historically fraught dilemma when you start talking about the Department of Education. One of the biggest battles of the last century in American education has been the separation of faith and science, and the ability of children to learn how to use empiricism and evidence without being inundated by explicitly religious notions about the natural world.
Furthermore, Carson is on-the-record as supporting home-schooling as an alternative to public schooling, often a course of action for devout parents who want their kids raised in a faith tradition and to some extent insulated from the sciences. He even went so far as to claim that the Darwinian theory of evolution was encouraged by the devil (or as he said, "the adversary"), in a 2012 speech uncovered by BuzzFeed:
I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary, and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct.
If Carson were operating as some sort of faith-based ambassador for the Trump administration, that might be one thing (although it'd surely fuel objections on the basis of the Constitution's establishment clause). But given the specific ways his stated beliefs problematically intersect with the politicization of American public education, this is news that could prove to be hugely consequential.