Carson confirms barmy pyramid theory
Republican US presidential hopeful Dr Ben Carson confirmed this week that he believes Egypt’s pyramids were built to store grain and were not, as archaeologists insist, tombs for pharaohs.
The retired neurosurgeon, who is seeking his party’s nomination for the White House, originally made the claim in a 1998 address at Andrews University, a school associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to which he belongs. He said in the address:
My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it.
Asked on Wednesday if he still held these views, Carson told CBS News:
It’s still my belief, yes.
In his 1998 address, Carson elaborated:
And when you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons.
Carson bangs on relentlessly about his faith, and said recently of his critics:
They say, ‘Carson, you know, how can you be a surgeon, a neurosurgeon, and believe that God created the Earth, and not believe in evolution, which is the basis of all knowledge and all science?’ …
But I do believe God created us, and I did just fine … And in fact, the more you know about God, and the deeper your relationship with God, I think the more intricate becomes your knowledge of the way things work, including the human body.
This claptrap naturally excites the religious right, so much so that according to this report, he’s now leading the Republican primary race.
On the campaign trail, Carson combines his soft-spoken manner with us-versus-them rhetoric based around religious differences. He told an adoring crowd in West Memphis, Arkansas, last week.
I get a lot of ridicule from secular progressives because I believe in God. But I’ve got to tell you something: I will never relinquish my belief in God.
He talks about the Judeo-Christian values he sees as essential to what America is, and blasts “secular progressives” for imposing political correctness on other Americans.
Carson draws large crowds of Christians, particularly Christian women, to both his campaign events and his book tour events, and his ground operations have a heavy focus on reaching voters through religious venues.
Carson argues that his strategy:
Is to talk about things that are relevant to all Americans and every segment of our society. We’ve become way too divided.
But he acknowledges that he’s really addresses ignoramuses: social conservatives with “traditional” values like his, though he believes that represents most people.
I believe that the vast majority of Americans have traditional American values. And they’ve been bullied into shutting their mouths and sitting down, which has allowed the secular progressives to have reign, and I believe that the people who want to give away all of our values and principles that made us into a great nation so they can be politically correct are not our friends.
Asked what her favorite thing about Carson was, supporter Lillian B Hodges, 76, a pastor in West Memphis, Arkansas, said:
His belief in Jesus Christ, that’s what.
Voter Kim Hester, 56, who attended Carson’s speech at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado, the day after last week’s Republican primary debate, added:
He’s going to seek God about how to lead our country and allow God to lead our country, rather than what politicians think is best to lead our country.
In September, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote that Carson was running a “content-free campaign” and that:
He’s offering a collection of pieties and crankery; mostly, his candidacy is just about the man himself. And unfortunately evangelical voters have a weakness for this kind of pitch. From Pat Robertson in 1988 through thin-on-policy figures like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, even Michele Bachmann briefly in 2012, the evangelical tendency has been to look for a kind of godly hero, a Christian leader who could win the White House and undo every culture-war defeat.
Hat tip: Ivan Bailey (pyramid report).