My personal theory: Try using the facts

I think Ben Carson has been watching too much History channel.

Recently the perpetually sleepy Republican presidential hopeful has been responding to a video of a graduation speech he made at Andrews University in 1998.

During what I’m certain was a banner year for Andrews (go Cardinals!) Dr. Carson gave a speech wherein he explained his “personal theory” that the pyramids, you know, those big, pointy things they have in Egypt … I’m just going to let Carson explain.

“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archaeologists think 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,” said Carson.

I … I don’t know how to confront that kind of wall of ignorance.

Is it the dismissive tone Carson uses for “archaeologists?”

What did they ever do? Dig through the dirt to better understand mankind’s past? Indiana Jones was an archaeologist! Do you have a problem with Indy … or any of the real archaeologists that have illuminated mankind’s understanding of ourselves?

Is it the part about the “pharaoh’s graves?” Why does he think that’s what archaeologists believe? Well, because the archaeologists have actually been to Egypt, or are from Egypt, and looked at the pyramids and GUESS WHAT? They found a bunch of a dead pharaohs! Also a lot of gold, jewels, writings, and food because the ancient Egyptians believed that the pharaoh would need these things in the next life. And you know how we know that? The ancient Egyptians were really great about writing everything down so as not to confuse later generations (I’m looking at you Sumerians!).

No, what bothers me more than anything about this one ridiculous comment among a sea of ridiculous comments is the first part, where he says “My own personal theory.”

Your own personal theory? About history? You can have, as many historians do, conflicting theories about the impact of an event. You can have theories about the influence of an event. You can have theories about whether war is a more defining factor or trade, whether history is determined by a few large figures directing the current or changing slowly over the years.

You can’t have a “personal theory” about the fact. The nice thing about “fact” is that it is immune to personal opinion.

What your “personal theory” is regarding the pyramids is pointless, out and out pointless. No opinion, no prejudice, no controversy; you’re just wrong.

You want to know how far off the facts Carson is with this pyramid/granary drivel? When asked about Carson’s pyramid “personal theory” Donald Trump said “That was a strange deal.”

Trump. That guy has Gary Busey phone’s number and HE thinks that is strange.

Carson points to a Biblical understanding of ancient Egypt for his bewildering granaries argument.

What Carson fails to point out is that the word pyramid doesn’t actually appear in the Bible. There is a reference to pyramids in Maccabees, but most Protestant denominations don’t regard Maccabees as canonical. And Maccabees was written around the second century AD when Judea was part of the Seleucid Empire following the death of Alexander the Great; all of which happened about 2,500 to 3,000 years after the construction of the Pyramids.

Fortunately the Egyptians, the guys that actually own the pyramids, aren’t even acknowledging this.

“Does he even deserve a response? He doesn’t,” Egyptian antiquities minister, Mamdouh el-Damaty told the Guardian newspaper during a press conference about actual pyramid news.

So why get angry about this particular bold-faced lie in seemingly endless election cycle full of bold-faced lies?

Because I actually paid to get a degree in History.

Yes, I was a History major. I paid a lot of money, a fact of which I am reminded every month, to know that, for as much obfuscation the past provides, there is a cold and simple truth to our understand of History: Events that happened actually happened.

Think about it, this is a position that now requires defending. That what happened … happened. That’s like defending that you’re alive by simply being alive, but someone has a “personal theory” that you’re actually a complex paperweight made of cheese and scoffs at your “theories” about “having blood” and “requiring oxygen to live.”

Pyramids didn’t store grain because archaeologists have discovered there isn’t a whole bunch of grain in them, or the kind of rooms where you store grain. Period.

I think Ben Carson has been watching too much History channel.

This once prestigious channel for poorly-funded reenactments of Roman battles and stock footage from World War II, has fallen so low in a quest for ratings that their most historically accurate program is “Pawn Stars.”

I trust “Pawn Stars” to get the dates right about items being pawned because money is on the line.

Now the History channel is littered with such claptrap as “Ice Road Truckers,” “Bigfoot Captured,” and, of course, “Ancient Aliens.”

“Ancient Aliens” is a show where people that purchased degrees on the internet and now claim to be “scientists” talk to a camera about how the people of Atlantis were totally lizards from beyond the moon, and you can totally tell because history.

This is the kind of show best enjoyed among friends with some adult beverages and copious mockery. No one would possibly believe these people had any more scientific training to earn their “doctorates” than Doctor Pepper.

This is a direct quote from Dr. Carson, from the same speech at Andrews University. “Various scientists have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how they (the pyramids) were,” Carson said.

Somebody needs to upgrade Dr. Carson’s cable package; he’s taking the stuff on the History channel far too seriously. Get him the extended package and let him watch the Food Network; he’d still make a terrible president but at least he could make a proper consomme.

Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or