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Today In Bad Faith

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Ben Carson: for fetal tissue research before he was against it.

Ben Carson, a Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate, previously did research using human fetal tissue.

In the wake of the hidden-camera videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors discussing how to provide aborted fetuses to scientific researchers, Carson has told Fox News that the benefits of this research have been “overpromised” and “under-delivered.”

Late on Wednesday, an OB/GYN and science writer Jen Gunter revealed on her blog a 1992 study in which Carson and three other colleagues used tissue from the fetal brain and nasal cavity to better understand the development of the chambers (or “ventricles”) of the brain. These tissues “were obtained from two fetuses aborted at the ninth and and 17th week of gestation,” the paper says.

Carson’s attempt to defend his views do not quite reach a Roger Goodell level of incoherence, but it’s pretty close.

 

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  • dilan

    Totally not surprising. I suspect there are very few pro-lifers on earth who deprive themselves of the products of fetal tissue research.

    Indeed, there are a fair number of pro-lifers who had abortions (or helped those close to them have abortions) when they needed them (and plenty of ex-pro-lifers as well).

    Most of the pro-life movement is about moral preening, slut shaming, etc. There’s a million ways in which they don’t adhere to their own stated principles. This makes a million and one.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yes. Indeed, women who describe themselves are pro-life are no less likely to get abortions.

      • Ann Outhouse

        Anyone who has done clinic escort duty, as I did in the 80s, will tell you that it’s only other people’s abortions that are murder. Your own is special, different, necessary and blessed because reasons.

  • brugroffil

    “I may not be completely objective about Planned Parenthood, because I know how they started with Margaret Sanger who believed in eugenics,” he said

    • bizarroMike

      Funny, does he hold that opinion about the US? When it started, it was down with chattel slavery.

      • Ann Outhouse

        Based on the proto-eugenics notion that the Negro is less than fully human.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Carson: “If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it.”

    So it would be wrong to decapitate Carson for the purpose of finding out if Republicanism is caused by brain anomalies, but if someone else did it for you? A-Ok!

    Glad we cleared that up.

    • humanoid.panda

      More amusingly, is he implying that everyone else who is conducting fetal tissue research is physically conducting abortions to get their tissue? That’s pretty much the only way to read that statement literally.

      • bizarroMike

        That statement was actually his first defense: he just used fetal tissue from non-aborted fetuses. Then when folks checked on this (you know, because Ben Carson said it), it turned out his own study used fetal tissue from aborted fetuses. So! Now he looks extra bad, possibly explaining his current second place status in the Republican primary.

    • matt w

      So it was a “baby” when it was aborted and by the time it reached him it was a “specimen”? Oh. kay.

      • DrDick

        Logic and empirical support are alien to all right wingers.

  • FridayNext

    I grew up in the Baltimore area. Ben Carson used to be as close to a rockstar as a surgeon can get. He was universally admired from one end of the city to the other, and as much as I know these things, the country. I had a couple of friends who were patients of his. One was just a consult, but the other was for long term care. (She needed her spine “unknotted” as she explained it to me) They both loved the man not just for his expertise, but also for his empathy and what used to be called bedside manner. He never missed an opportunity to speak groups of children about the importance of studying and staying in school blah blah blah. Plus, as I understand these things, he was a leader in his profession, a profession to which other people compare work that is comparatively easy. Your job ain’t brain surgery, but his was. And he was at the top.

    I have no idea what happened to make him want to flush all that down the toilet. Future generations will remember him not as the talented surgeon, but as the buffoon Ben Carson the politician is. I hope I live long enough to read the biography that can explain why he did it. It just makes me sad and disappointed.

    Which is not to deflect anyone who wants to criticize him or laugh at his basic ignorance of the constitution or how fundamental politics works. (Tithing? Really?) He’s earned every joke and put down. More’s the pity.

    Anyway, I just wanted to mention that. Not to defend him at all.

    • humanoid.panda

      I have no idea what happened to make him want to flush all that down the toilet. Future generations will remember him not as the talented surgeon, but as the buffoon Ben Carson the politician is. I hope I live long enough to read the biography that can explain why he did it. It just makes me sad and disappointed.

      Extreme religiosity+ “I pulled myself by bootsraps” sensitivity+ susceptibility to flattery are a terrible mix.

      • I b’leeve Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist, an even more peculiar than usual Xian superstition.

    • Schadenboner

      Yeah, this. Ben Carson: the only 2016 GOP hopeful name-checked on The Wire.*

      *: So far.

      • Mark Field

        Don’t we get to count Tommy Carchetti as Martin O’Malley?

        • FridayNext

          No. He’s a Dem.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      “I have no idea what happened to make him want to flush all that down the toilet.”

      See kids, this is what happens when you practice your lobotomy techniques on yourself.

    • Woodrowfan

      one of my colleagues has a daughter who is a surgeon at Johns Hopkins. She says he’s a sexist ass. That’s second hand (at best) but I do wish someone would ask him his opinion of women doctors, esp surgeons.

      • FridayNext

        He may be. I don’t know anyone who has ever worked with him. Only from the patient side and somewhat through charity work. I have never heard this. But then Drs in general can be an imperious lot. But even then, being a sexist ass is one thing. What we are seeing out of him is just this side of being Larry’s third brother Darryl in idiocy.

    • weirdnoise

      Surgeons are almost universally most impressed with themselves. It does take a preternatural level of confidence to cut a hole in someone’s head and slice out bits of their brain. So they can be pretty much impervious to information contrary to what they once concluded for themselves. I think “pig-headed” is the technical term for this.

      • It does take a preternatural level of confidence to cut a hole in someone’s head and slice out bits of their brain.

        No, no, anyone can do it.
        Perhaps I am over-sharing.

  • Todd

    He was also for the abolition of “for profit” health insurance companies and for government takeover of catastrophic medical care costs…..before he started doing whatever it is he’s doing now.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Carson’s also gotten behind the incredibly disingenuous dissembling now happening to explain the “abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother” argument all the GOP candidates are being pressured to adopt. Drum talks about it here:

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/scott-walkers-abortion-flimflam-explained-maybe

    In addition to the fact that this argument is terrible and ethically incoherent, it’s also just medically wrong in multiple ways (the commenters go into detail). So the fact that Carson is supporting it means either he doesn’t know the medicine very well (doubtful – though he’s not an OB, ectopic pregnancy is a really fundamental medical issue), or he’s just shilling. Either way, he as a doctor should be ashamed.

    • SamInMpls

      The intent argument will play with their base. When the issue of how Karen Santorum’s 1996 pregnancy ended came up in 2012:

      Rick Santorum did tell the Inquirer that “if that had to be the call, we would have induced labor if we had to,” under the understanding that the fetus was going to die anyway and intervening would save Karen’s life.

      The Santorums have never, to my knowledge, released those medical records. I’m not suggesting they should. What they did release is an account that claims that they neither “induced labor nor terminated the pregnancy.” If you hold what is now the standard GOP position on abortion, I’m not sure how you can accept any distinction between induced labor at 19 weeks and a terminated pregnancy. You are at least two weeks from the fetus having a non-zero chance of survival.

      Because these arguments are, as you’ve said, “terrible and ethically incoherent, it’s also just medically wrong in multiple ways,” they will always fall back on intent and it will bail them out.

      • cpinva

        “they will always fall back on intent and it will bail them out.”

        “Your Honor, it was never my intent to rob that bank, I was merely attempting to withdraw some cash for the weekend.”

  • jeer9

    I strongly disagree with your view of Goodell’s incoherence.

    Roger is the No. 1 guy in the NFL and that by itself makes him very classy and a winner and while part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough, and that sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive, you can’t do that with an issue like deflated footballs. It’s a matter of integrity, what the league has pumped up through the decades, and though deals are my art form, and nobody makes better deals than I do, I’m just sayin’, I gotta tell ya I don’t think Goodell makes a deal here. That’s just what I think. And if he asked me, and we’re pretty close, too, I got his personal cell phone number, I’d beg him to remember what the NFL’s traditions are. They got fabulous traditions and that’s what you gotta stand by.

  • MAJeff

    If it weren’t for bad faith, the GOP candidates would have no faith at all.

    • Vance Maverick

      Would that Albert were singing at this hour.

      And since the party puts so much emphasis on faith, they must all positively be overflowing with the bad kind.

      • matt w

        William Bell (who wrote the song) is still with us, kina hora.

        If I’m talking about Stax I really should say Knock on Wood.

        • sparks

          Eddie Floyd’s still with us last time I looked, too.

  • Mike Furlan

    I think this goes beyond just bad faith.

    More like the glimpse into the mind of a sociopath.

    It frightens me.

    Luckily 538 gives him little chance at the nomination much less the presidency.

    • Origami Isopod

      More like the glimpse into the mind of a sociopath.

      I don’t see how he stands out from the other GOP candidates in that wise.

      Anyway, if he did have a chance in hell at the nomination, I doubt this would have hurt him with The Base, for reasons Dilan lays out in the first comment in this thread. Also, the worse you’ve “sinned” in your past, the more “redeemed” you’re considered by that crowd.

  • rea

    I begin to wonder if a great wave of derp is going to carry a Trump/Carson ticket to victory in ’16. . . Surely not! (but I remember thinking that about Reagan)

    • NonyNony

      Yeah – my rational brain knows that there’s not really a comparison between Reagan and Trump. Reagan was a multi-term governor of California who had spent years building up a network of far-right conservative followers who were ready to push him into the White House. Trump is … Donald Trump.

      On the other hand – my irrational hindbrain that just wants to find patterns and connections everywhere is screaming “DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE STUPID! HE COULD BE ANOTHER REAGAN!” and I can’t get that guy to shut up and calm down no matter how much logic I throw at him…

      • Woodrowfan

        1980 taught me not to underestimate the electoral popularity of the stupid reactionary. The elections of 2000 and 2004 just rammed the lesson home..

    • drwormphd

      Bill Maher brought up the possibility of a Carson/Fiorna ticket, and I’ll be damned if that doesn’t sound like something the republicans might actually go through with.

      • feebog

        Bill Maher is a moron if thinks there is any chance of a Carson/Fiorna ticket. Wrong race in the first instance and wrong sex in the second.

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