Ben Carson doubles down on belief that the Pyramids were built to store grain

When Buzzfeed reported yesterday that it is Ben Carson’s sincerely-held religious belief that the Pyramids weren’t built as tombs, but rather that Joseph — that guy from Genesis — built them to store grain, I actually laughed out loud. I watched the video of Carson’s remarks, which were part of a commencement address he gave at Andrews University in 1998, I thought that maybe he was joking, or was delivering a loosely-grounded moral message. When he said that scientists believe that the Pyramids were actually built by aliens — a belief that no “scientist” outside of the History Channel holds — but that “you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you,” I was willing to hold out the possibility that he wasn’t serious. I mean, Ben Carson’s got some odd ideas now, but was he really that loony in 1998, too?

Apparently, the answer to that question is yes:

Asked last night by CBS News if he still believes that the Pyramids were build by Joseph to store grain, Carson confirmed that, yes, he is still an idiot, saying:

The Pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments. You wouldn’t need hermetically sealed compartments for a sepulcher. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain over a long period of time.

Ben Carson in 1998, screenshot via YouTube

Ben Carson in 1998, screenshot via YouTube

It takes a pretty massive ego to extrapolate history from the Bible and declare it as more valid than scientific evidence. It takes an even bigger conspiratorial bent to think that hordes of archaeologists over the last century — many of whom are presumably just as smart as you — have all covered up evidence that the Pyramids were actually meant to store grain by coming up with an anti-Biblical cover story involving the whims of men who believed they were themselves gods.

Because that’s what you have to believe in order to consider everything archaeologists have found in the Pyramids over the last century and say, “nah.” You have to believe that not only is your Bible a necessary and sufficient guide in matters it does not specifically reference, but that everyone who isn’t using the Bible — and comes to a different conclusion — is out to cover up the ~real story~.

By the way, he’s in a statistical tie for first place in the Republican primary right now.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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43 Responses to “Ben Carson doubles down on belief that the Pyramids were built to store grain”

  1. flopdog says:

    Agree completely. My dad was a surgeon, and a very good one. Because Jewish med students had a hard time getting into med school when he went (1930s) he had to attend his first three years of med school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Born and bred in Brooklyn he had to learn French well enough to take medical courses, something I can’t imagine doing. (He finished at Columbia and did his residency at Presbyterian(now NY Presbyterian.) He went on to practice over fifty years in Queens, NY.

    He was a brilliant surgeon and published many papers about advances in kidney treatment. But he couldn’t fry an egg, operate a can opener, throw a football or really much of anything except surgery. He was a great father, but I can see how surgeons can be so focused on doing one thing really well, that everything else becomes mere detritus.

  2. Zorba says:

    Mr. Zorba was a biology major as an undergraduate, and in his opinion, very many of the students in the classes he took who were pre-meds were not particularly interested or gifted in science, but they were extremely good at memorizing facts (and they did work hard for the grades in order to get into medical school).
    And when he was a Ph.D. graduate student, and a graduate assistant (this was at a well-respected medical school), he was, shall I say, less than impressed with most of the medical students who had to take the course for which he was a graduate assistant.
    I have known some very gifted surgeons, but for the most part, I have been more impressed with many of the internists, cardiologists, neurologists, and other diagnosticians. The ones who send us to the surgeons, when necessary. ;-)

  3. flopdog says:

    I agree – kind of. I worked my way through college as an OR Tech, and have seen great surgeons and terrible ones, and indeed, sometimes it comes down to pure mechanical skill, and amazing hand-eye coordination, plus an encyclopedic knowledge of their surgical specialty.

    But to get to the point where you’re actually doing a surgical residency, you have to have had exceptional grades as an undergrad and in medical school. I mean, he would have to have taken and passed American History at some point in his education, right?


    Carson is the product of religion. Is it possible that he learned the STEM necessities to be a fine surgeon, but little else? Is he an example of what home schooled physicians would be like?

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  5. DoverBill says:

    This guy ain’t just flying over a cuckoo’s nest, he invented it!

  6. patrickjgalway says:

    You’re right. I had a rather close in-law who was a ” born again ” charismatic type evangelical and if a fact went against the bible or his church’s dogma, end of discussion. Worth noting that he only had a formal grade 10 education and was otherwise self taught. The Jerry Falwells of this world did a good job brainwashing these people.

  7. Stein-Erik Dahle says:

    No point in using logic with this guy… This would be a good laugh if this wasn’t so serious…

  8. patrickjgalway says:

    Does he think these things are hollow? Most are solid rock. Damn little grain storage room in exchange for effort and cost involved. To believe him you would have to think ancient Egyptians were retarded but if retarded how could they build such amazing structures.

    Carson I think has been dipping into the hospital drug cabinet for too many years. He’s pretty screwed up mentally. I wouldn’t let him anywhere near your head.

  9. People [shrugs] says:

    What the media ISN’T telling you about Carson’s pyramid claims

  10. mf_roe says:

    Very possibly the true reason for his early retirement, he held an endowed chair at Johns Hopkins, he didn’t need to cut , he could still be teaching if he ever was as good as advertised. How would anyone know if he retired or was asked to step down?

  11. Zorba says:

    His public pronouncements are sounding more and more like someone who is suffering from some form of dementia.

  12. Zorba says:

    Physicians aren’t really scientists. Especially surgeons. Yes, surgeons can be very talented in their surgical specialties, but they are basically mechanics or plumbers for our bodies. The good ones have “good hands,” and I can applaud that, but that doesn’t make them scientists.

  13. flopdog says:

    That’s the weirdest part of all. He is an exceptional surgeon and his papers are elegant, thoughtful, well-written and solidly sourced.

    But he is utterly batsht crazy.

  14. flopdog says:

    Yes. Let’s spend 40 years building the largest structures on earth, one with a base size of 16 acres, made of millions of tons of rock, aligned at the same angle as the belt in Orion, and put tiny chambers inside these massive edifices to store these five boxes of oatmeal.

    If anyone even votes for this guy, I have to question their saniity.

  15. Dillon says:

    Seriously. This guy is a man of science and he doesn’t even agree with the mostly peer reviewed findings about the pyramids?

    But hey, when you live in a party where it is acceptable, expected even, to claim that science is “just an opinion,” then what’s another wacko “personal theory” going to matter, right??

    You clowns want something to talk about? I’ll help you out –

    Dow over 17,000, record corporate profits, 5% growth, best year for jobs since 1999, consumer confidence up, deficit down 60% in 2014, gas prices low, health insurance cheaper than ever ($85/month), car insurance cheaper than ever ($25/month from Insurance Panda), the 1% starting to be taxed more… all while republicans bleated about Benghazi took pointless votes to repeal the ACA, and did nothing for anybody except the top one percent.

    It turns out that Obama is indeed “the adult in the room,” and yes, the Chess Master. HRC will keep it going, any republican will screw it up. Simple as that.

  16. mf_roe says:

    Thank you.

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    I think that people who are deeply religious walk on the border of insanity. And sometimes they trip and end up on the wrong side of that border.

    This reminds me of the Birchites rage over fluoridation or the equally ridiculous notion about combat troops being advisory. I grew up in Colorado where the water is naturally fluoridated in many towns. People in my family don’t get cavities.

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    Almost as strange as the notion that whistle blowers and those who sue big companies are somehow enemies of the American people.

    Both parties abound in nut cases.

  19. If only they hadn’t been accidentally built upside down, it would just be so obvious!

  20. BeccaM says:

    Oy… The man has nothing but soft pudding between his ears.

    Do you NEED sealed compartments to bury your dead? No. Did people back then have a religious belief there was a need to preserve the body for as long as possible — going so far as to develop remarkable mummification techniques — such that hermetically sealing burial chambers became desirable? Well, duh.

    We in the west often ‘hermetically seal’ our dead in caskets and concrete burial vaults. These aren’t repurposed granaries. Furthermore, it’s not like we don’t know anything about ancient Egyptian burial practices and cultural/religious beliefs. Only a profoundly ignorant man points to his own guesses as to the reason why things were done and ignores the information available directly from those who did them.

    If you want a granary, you build a granary — an accessible structure with lots of hollow space and a means of extracting the oldest grain at ground level. Not a nearly solid over-built excessively huge pyramid with narrow passages and small chambers in various locations, which somehow ended up being filled with paintings, mosaics, and riches.

    Carson seems to be an extremely gullible man. And since he’s embedded in far, far right Conservastan, there’s no wingnut crackpot notion he won’t just absorb and make his own. In any case, I think we now know why he’s a “young Earth” Creationist: He’s incapable of processing any information outside of his own supposed field of expertise, and so believes a whole host of things which make no logical or scientific sense whatsoever. It’s no wonder he’s convinced himself that a tree bark supplement cured his prostate cancer…even though he did go ahead and have the recommended surgery.

  21. mf_roe says:

    THANK YOU! I really get tired of that lie that courts are threats to good people and we should just stop filing suits when we are wronged—because it inconveniences the rich jerks that rip us off..

  22. mf_roe says:

    If you have traveled there please share the fact that the ruins of huge granaries exist across the country. Also, did you notice any evidence of how the theft of all that grainy goodness took place?

  23. ElJiffy says:

    And this guy is a surgeon? Did he get his diploma from a faith-based medical school?

  24. gratuitous says:

    His public pronouncements are sounding more and more like a cry for help, aren’t they?

  25. CgntvDssdnt says:

    What do Carson supporters feel they gain in exchange for their support?

    Does he “represent” them? Really??

  26. nicho says:

    Well, at least he’s consistent in his lunacy — so there’s that.

  27. nicho says:

    The more important thing is that the Egyptians had a system of granaries, designed to hold grain. Why would they have that if they were using the pyramids. It really just doesn’t make any sense.

  28. nicho says:

    Mind you, I realize that it’s pretty common practice for people to sue for malpractice if anything ever goes wrong…even if it is a clear risk of the procedure,

    That’s not true. In fact, most cases of medical error are never brought as lawsuits – only one in eight are. About 97 percent of medical malpractice cases have merit.

    Any claims to the contrary are put forth by the medical-industrial complex, which like most corporate ventures, is trying to evade any responsibility for its wrongdoing.

    There’s much more mythbusting here:

  29. John Masters says:

    They do seem to be cut from the same cloth.

  30. cinorjer says:

    Different Joseph. And you’re asking questions that require logic and common sense to answer. You might as well ask how those Australian animals made it to the ark in time to be saved from an impossible flood. “God did it” covers your questions in their minds.

  31. nicho says:

    He admits to making it into college based on affirmative action programs, received college aid and grants to get through school, yet now wants to eliminate all of these programs.

    Sounds like Clarence Thomas

  32. John Masters says:

    Mind you, I realize that it’s pretty common practice for people to sue for malpractice if anything ever goes wrong…even if it is a clear risk of the procedure, but one of the things I read, and I’m still looking for that specific one (might have been on Daily Kos) compared his rates, including several additional cases settled out of court, to the average rate for people who do this very difficult job, and his rate seemed to be higher than the average.

  33. Don Chandler says:

    I played this game, civ 2. If you built the pyramids wonder, you got a granary in every city. Very handy if you wanted to grow your cities large. I wonder if Carson played civ 2. One should never take anything literally. Someone said the pyramids were built long before Joseph:


    Construction started: 2560 BC
    Opened: 2540 BC

    born 1964 BC Genesis 50:22

    That info and Carson’s theory makes Joseph a raider of the lost arc.

  34. 2karmanot says:

    I’ve been inside the Giza pyramids. They aren’t exactly spacious and couldn’t handle much more capacity than 1000 bottles of beer on the wall.

  35. FLL says:

    Ben Carson with his finger on the nuclear button? Hmmm.

  36. 2karmanot says:

    He is unique—a 7th Day cracked pot doctor, who is abysmally ignorant of science.

  37. mf_roe says:

    Got a link on the malpractice comment? I have always been suspicious of his “Superior Medical Skill” in light of his obvious defect in logical problem solving. Every good Doctor I have ever had dealings with was intelligent in other aspects of their personality. A good surgeon is much much more than hand eye coordination, if fact that is simply a minor part of the job. Understanding risk, being able to balance the costs verse the benefits of a given procedure. A good surgeon must make complex value judgements with split second timing and must always have options for potential failure. Carson has never displayed any of that in the performances I have observed.

  38. John Masters says:

    I’ve come to just feel sorry for Ben Carson. At first I thought he was just doing a really bad job of trying to pander to the krazy kristian kook wing of the Republican party to make it through the primaries. I now realize he’s not being willfully ignorant, but is actually just not all there mentally. As it turns out, he’s not even quite the world-renowned brain surgeon he fancies himself. It seems he has a significantly higher rate of malpractice cases than other neurosurgeons. So, yes he has skills and training I don’t have, but he’s not all that popular opinion makes him out to be.

    Let’s combine that with the cognitive dissonance of his life story with his belief system. He was raised by a poor single mother who had to take advantage of the social safety net using food stamps and public housing. He admits to making it into college based on affirmative action programs, received college aid and grants to get through school, yet now wants to eliminate all of these programs. I’m sorry, but if that’s your life story, and you want to pull that safety net from others, there’s just something not firing correctly in your brain.

    But what really pisses me off is that fact that he’s the leader of pack, in a whole pack of idiots, for the Republican Presidential nomination. What is wrong with those people, and why do they get to vote? I can only imagine we owe this to Ronald Regan who closed all the mental institutions, and put these people out on the street, allowing them to vote.

  39. Indigo says:

    It’s breath-taking! They’ll drag the party down with the entire nation just as the sea level bubbles up through the drains in Miami Beach (which, by the way, is already happening).

  40. Indigo says:

    Well, I mean, the aliens have advanced technology, you know? so they probably just teleported it in and out. How else would they do it? I mean, if that’s true about aliens and all . . .

  41. The_Fixer says:

    So far, they have ignored any attempt at reason. So I am willing to bet that it will not help them get their act together. However, that does not seem to matter to most Republicans anyway, for they live in an alternate reality.

  42. The_Fixer says:


    How did they get the grain into and out of the pyramids in an efficient manner? They had enough agricultural production capacity to fill them? How did they transport the grain into the desert (which is not friendly for growing much of anything)? Any silo that I have seen (and I have seen plenty, living in Wisconsin) is adjacent to the farm fields and close to the barnyard.

    How did they keep it from molding or fermenting? Didn’t Joseph live near Bethlehem? If so, why are the pyramids in Egypt? Did he just decide that he was going to make it as impossibly inconvenient as he could because… it’s fun?

    What a F’n crackpot.

  43. Indigo says:

    If this fiasco doesn’t help the Republican Party get its act back together, nothing will.

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