not rocket science either

Ben Carson - Caricature by DonkeyHotey via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.

Scientists around the world are grappling with one of the great mysteries of the age: What happened to Dr. Ben Carson’s brain?

Did he perform brain surgery on himself and botch the procedure?

Or did he actually perform brain surgery on himself and it was a success — sort of like how he once separated twins joined at the head, except, in his case, he surgically separated the parts of his own brain that perform the functions of reason, logic and good sense — so he could run for president as a Republican?

Scientists said it’s a head scratcher.

“I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we’ve got it all figured out,” said Tom Catcher, a researcher at the University of Prague. “It’s confounding. There are conflicting indicators. On the one hand, he appears to be highly intelligent — a brain surgeon. On the other hand, when you hear him talk, he sounds like a complete idiot.”

Scientists said the change could be the result of surgical alterations of his cerebral cortex. They appear to have happened around the time Dr. Carson announced his run for president. Before that, he was considered a brilliant surgeon and author of books that inspired millions. Now, suddenly, he was making very little sense, said Catcher.

“We were a little slow to pick it up his brain dysfunction because in the field of GOP candidates that’s not going to make you stand out,” said Catcher. Then, last week, following a mass shooting on a college campus in Oregon, Dr. Carson basically said the unarmed students were partly to blame.

“I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Dr.Carson told Fox News. “I would say, ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.”

When University of Maine brain researcher Tom Land heard the comments he said he had a “puff the magic revelation moment.” He realized Dr. Carson had evidently performed surgery on his own brain. “He sounded like a man who had severed his own prefrontal cortex,” said Land.

Land said the prefrontal cortex is the seat of all reason in the brain.

“It’s the thing that people call a ‘filter’ that stops them from saying things they wouldn’t say on second thought. It’s the part of your brain that says ‘whoa baby’ when you’re about to say something other people may construe as completely idiotic. He’s clearly missing the ‘whoa baby’ part of his brain.”

Of course, the other big unknown is: Why would Dr. Carson perform brain surgery on himself?

Scientists said there are a great number of indicators that Dr. Carson has a gargantuan ego, so, as a practical matter, he would not entrust the procedure to another, inferior surgeon. Dr. Land said the reasoning behind Dr. Carson’s decision to perform surgery on his own brain is “pretty obvious.”

“With a fully functioning, fully reasoning brain, it had become increasingly difficult for him to resolve his conflict as a surgeon, and therefore a man of science, who, at the same time, believes in Creationism, which is Biblical, based on religious faith, and completely at odds with all known science,” said Land.

“And, with this procedure, a snip here, a snip there, and suddenly it all makes perfect sense – at least to him.”

For a doctor of Dr. Carson’s renowned surgical skills, the actual procedure itself would not be as difficult as it sounds, except that it would require mirrors.  “In a mirror, your right hand looks like your left and the front looks like the back,” said Dr. Phil Johnson, who teaches neurology at Emory University in Atlanta.

“It’s easy to get confused. So you might think you are performing an excision on your own prefrontal cortex and instead you’re performing an excision on your inferior frontal gyrus, and, suddenly, you’re having a very bad day.”

Scientists said they may never know exactly what happened to Dr. Carson’s brain. “It’s like a quest into the darkest reaches of the universe, looking for signs of intelligent life, and all you’re really running into is a bunch of rocks and stuff,” said Land.

Republicans, in the meantime, have disputed all the scientific claims, saying it is “far from settled science,” and just the latest attempt by liberal scientists and the liberal media to derail the campaign of the No. 2 candidate in the GOP polls.

“Even if Dr. Carson did perform surgery on his own brain, and even if, say, in the process, he did spill about 80 of his IQ points, he’s still far smarter than all the people who are going to vote for him!” said Georgia congressman Ted Adams. “So, I don’t get it. What’s the problem?”

Image: Dr. Ben Carson, the Republican Brain by DonkeyHotey via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.
Jeffry Scott

Jeffry Scott

Jeffry Scott is a former staff reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where, over the course of 24 years, he covered two of the biggest trials in the city's history -- the racketeering trial of former mayor Bill Campbell, and the trial of courthouse shooter, Brian Nichols -- and wrote features on travel, food, politics, movies, TV and advertising, and covered breaking news on the metro desk. He left the paper two years ago and is living, quite happily, in St. Petersburg, Fla., as a freelance writer.