Of all the ridiculous things Ben Carson has ever said, this one takes the cake.
Nearly 17 years ago, the GOP presidential frontrunner delivered a commencement speech at Andrews University — a school associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church — and voiced a very unusual theory about some of the oldest and greatest structures in the world: Egypt’s pyramids.
In the address, unearthed by BuzzFeed, Carson floated his own personal theory about the pyramids, claiming that the archeologists are wrong and, despite the popular belief, the ancient structures are not tombs meant for Egyptian pharaohs.
More importantly, he believes Joseph of the Old Testament built the pyramids to store grain. In other words, Carson believes they are actually great big silos.
“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” the famed neurosurgeon told the graduating class in 1998. “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. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”
He also slammed the conspiracy theorists who believe that aliens were involved in the construction of the ancient structures — because that’s just absurd, right?
“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,” the presidential candidate added. “And various of scientists have said, 'well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how.' You know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you.”
Experts have come out and debunked Carson's absurd theory.
"They could not be used to store grain," Laurel D. Bestock, an assistant professor of archaeology and Egyptology at Brown University, said in an interview with Mic. "While the structures themselves are very large, they're also basically solid. The amount of empty space inside the pyramid is very small. It's appropriate for a king's burial, which is what was there, but not even a ton of stuff could be put inside a pyramid. There are a couple of small rooms and passageways. You cannot store grain in large quantities in the space available."
Egyptian antiquities officials refuted Carson's laughably inaccurate claims about the pyramids.
“Does he even deserve a response? He doesn’t,” antiquities minister, Mamdouh el-Damaty, said.
Egypt’s head of ancient antiquities, Mahmoud Afifi, told the Guardian his pyramid theory falls along the lines of other absurd assertions made about the iconic historical site.
“A lot of people are trying to prove that the pyramids weren’t built for burials,” Afifi said. “Maybe they’re comments used for publicity like that man who’s not an archaeologist and says they stored grain, and I don’t know what that was based on.”
Perhaps the best part about this entire thing is the revelation that Carson, who wants to run the country in the near future, still stands by his long-held believes.
“It's still my belief, yes,” he told CBS News on Wednesday. “The pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments....You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time.”
Watch Carson’s commencement address from 1998 in the video below: