I give up, Ben Carson, you have defeated me

01 pyramids_crossection_600

I can’t. I just can’t anymore. Ben Carson Knows Everything.

My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain, Carson said. 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.

There are Americans right now who hear that, and think, “Well, that’s a mighty sensible theory, I think I’ll elect that man to be President of this here United States!”, and I just don’t think I can bear the widespread stupidity any more.

I think I’ll just close my eyes and pretend he doesn’t exist. But if I open them a year from January and discover that this flaming nincompoop has actually been elected, I’ll have to spontaneously combust.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    I think I remember that diagram from the Egypt Unit in History in the 3rd grade.
    1960 something.

  2. says

    Jesus fuck, I made the mistake of actually listening to the video of his speech at that link. It’s terrible, even just as a speech: incoherent babble. He can’t finish a thought. He gets “thermal dynamics” wrong. He jumps from that stupid Joseph story to denying evolution, and then starts an anecdote about how “the meaning of each one of those letters means something special” — what letters? What word? — and tells us the “T” is for “talent”…and then goes off on another tangent. Then several minutes later he tells us the “H” is for honesty, which leads him to tell another story about how abortion is bad, and how brave he was to refuse to run a commercial about abortion. Next it’s all about how god loves us, and the video ends.

    The word was apparently “th”.

    Goddamn this man is stupid.

  3. Holms says

    Yes, it’s an extremely elaborate structure for a tomb, and we all know that tombs are never elaborate. On the other hand, wheat silos have a well known history of being grandiose structures with interiors containing extremely little space.

    Oh, and sarcophagi. Well known grain silo feature, that.

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Well…. he got one part of that concept, partially rational. It is hard to reconcile the pyramids being a grand burial tomb.
    Needless to say (but I will anyway), to assign it to David (who may be no more than fictional), to store grain, is just… [words fail]
    regardless. Carson seems ever more to be a publicity hound to promote his upcoming book.

  5. whheydt says

    It’s too bad one can’t get him to look up one simple term: mastaba. If you look at the progression of Egyptian royal tombs, you go from the simple mastaba, to 4 of them stacked on top of each other, to smoothing the surface to make…a pyramid. Apparently he is also unaware of the great lengths the Egyptians went to in an effort to thwart tomb robbers looking for all those valuable grave goods.

    Now…my favorite idea of why the internal structure is what it is comes from L. Sprague deCamp…perhaps Khufu was a claustrophobe and the thought of that much rock over his final resting place was too much for him to bear.

  6. says

    The people who want this wankstain in power – I’m convinced they’re simply trolls who want to see the world burn. They don’t care how much of a lunatic he is, or about his complete disregard for evidence-based thinking. They WANT a crazy, irresponsible person in charge, for their own entertainment’s sake.

  7. Randomfactor says

    It’s a schtick, a long con, a grifter grooming his suckers to be milked after he exits the race.

    He doesn’t believe any of it.

  8. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    Wait, Joseph? Wait, grain?! But… it’s mostly stones. That would be such a stupid design for a grain silo. What I don’t get is the motivation behind a stupid comment like that. Is there some controversy about pyramids on the right wing fringe? Some attempt to discredit ancient Egyptian pharaohs? Is that, like, a thing?

  9. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    What I mean by “it’s mostly stones” is that there are relatively few empty spaces that could even be filled with grain, not that a grain silo made out of stone would necessarily be stupid. Why am I clarifying? This stupidity doesn’t warrant clarification.

  10. microraptor says

    “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-’

    Not only does he think that the Pyramids were ancient granaries instead of tombs, he thinks that scientists think that they were built by aliens?

    Augh! The Stupid! It burns!!!1!

  11. blf says

    The ancient Egyptian pyramids are not grain stores, they are stone stores. You see, the annual Nile flood not only brought silt, water, and idle time, but also lots of rocks. Big rocks. The Egyptians had to clear them out of the fields each year, which left the problem of where to put them. They eventually hit on the idea of piling the previous year’s collection up into ever-increasingly complex pyramids during flood season.

    (I’m sure I’ve heard the doofus’s “Joseph built the pyramids as grain silos” nonsense before, as a child, many yonks ago in a pervious millennium. That is, he is probably regurgitating something he’s heard before.)

  12. blf says

    The word was apparently “th”.

    He was trying to spell “me”. So credit for getting the number of letters correct…

  13. mickll says

    A huge pile of stones with a sealed entrance and three relatively tiny rooms within all stuffed with treasure and dead people.

    Wouldn’t want it to be a bad crop year would you?

  14. komarov says

    Well, I guess that makes the mummy inside the janitor of the granary. Grain storage was an important job, so the keepers would be honoured among the people, perhaps even revered. Once a keeper died that granary would be retired and a new one built. Upon their death, the janitorial staff would be laid to rest in the place they had maintained and protected diligently over the course of their lives. Precious items were only included as a token gesture to show the gratitude of the people they had served. After all, you can’t eat gold.

    It all makes perfect sense now. Quick, someone with a twitter account start the hashtag #carsonnobel! (or something)

    And then watch it take off.

    And despair.

    P.S.: Insulation is serious business. Hence to poor ratio of stone to storage space. Would you want to spent eternity in a drafty, damp pyramid? Thought not…

  15. mickll says

    Also, because of the importance of the granary they left a giant cat-man thing outside to fend off locusts.

    I mean would you tangle with a sphinx if you were a locust?

  16. kevinalexander says

    The pyramid people say that you can sharpen a razor blade by putting it in a pyramid. Maybe we can sharpen Carson’s razor mind by putting him in a pyramid.
    Couldn’t hurt.

  17. juliaa says

    Carson’s ‘own personal theory’ dates back to the 19th century, the golden age of pyramidiocy, when some religious crackpots believed that the Biblical Joseph was the same person as the architect Imhotep.

  18. says

    More and more it appears that no, the GOP don’t really want Carson anywhere near the White House; what they want is (yet another) rodeo clown to distract their lumbering, snorting base from that orange cowboy. “Yeah, we know Trump is a bellowing moron, but have you seen Carson? He makes me wish Dole was running again.”

    Plus I don’t think the GOP has quite figured out how to market a black Republican president to their evermore racist base. Maybe give it a few more generations.

  19. woozy says

    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.

    Does that even parse? *what* would have to be something awfully big? If I stop and think about what? And *what* wouldn’t just disappear over the course of time? Did something disappear?

    what the fuck is this guy trying to say. I don’t care if he is stupid. But he is freaking incoherent.

  20. F.O. says

    What @Hank_Says (says?)
    Also, token POC.

    I can’t make grammatical sense of Carson’s paragraph.

  21. pardalote says

    You lot obviously don’t understand. That is why they had to build so many pyramids. Because each one couldn’t hold much grain.

  22. says

    Yes, it’s an extremely elaborate structure for a tomb, and we all know that tombs are never elaborate.

    Especially the tombs of imperial royalty. Those guys are always so modest.

  23. says

    Surely Ben Carson is taking the piss. No one could be that insane and not need constant adult supervision. He’s putting two fingers up at the Republican establishment and the loons who support them, isn’t he?

  24. Bernard Bumner says

    Carson is presumably buying into the very antiquated idea that ancient Egypt is a mysterious place, rather than one of the best studied, documented, and well-understood ancient civilisations.

    I seem to remember that contemporary documents exist even for the building of the Great Pyramid.

  25. Dunc says

    So if the pyramids were really granaries, what were the buildings which most people think were granaries actually used for?

  26. Bernard Bumner says

    “I seem to remember that contemporary documents exist even for the building of the Great Pyramid.” – as in, documenting some of the mundane details of the builders.

  27. Akira MacKenzie says

    Rosa Rubicondior @ 25

    He’s putting two fingers up at the Republican establishment and the loons who support them, isn’t he?

    That would be plausible if the comments were more recent. However, this speech is from 1998.

  28. leerudolph says

    dunc@28: “So if the pyramids were really granaries, what were the buildings which most people think were granaries actually used for?”

    Mummy wheat.

  29. quotetheunquote says

    @Saad #26
    That post wins this thread.


    But I think Honourable mention should go to @kevinalexander:

    The pyramid people say that you can sharpen a razor blade by putting it in a pyramid. Maybe we can sharpen Carson’s razor mind by putting him in a pyramid.
    Couldn’t hurt.

    But speaking of the 1970’s, all this speculation is equally wrong; everybody knows that Ancient Astronauts built the Great Pyramid as an astronomical observatory….

  30. Nemo says

    In context, the words he’s very slowly trying to spell appear to be “thinking big” (or possibly “thinking God”).

  31. says

    Note to Ben Carson: Stargate: SG1 is a fictional television series. Daniel Jackson is not an actual archeologist, but an actor playing an archeologist. Ask an Egyptologist what they thinks of the idea that aliens built the pyramids and they’ll probably laugh at you, or go on an angry rant they’ve gone on many times before about how the idea is bullshit.

  32. eamick says

    Cue the whining about “gotcha journalism” in 3…2…

    I mean, really. How dare you make him look ridiculous by showing him saying ridiculous things?

  33. says

    Cross-posted from the Moments of Political Madness Thread.

    Ben Carson may not really be running for president. He may be running to make money in other ventures.

    […] But now Carson actually is running for president. Or is he? It is hard to tell. Conservative politics are so closely intermingled with a lucrative entertainment complex that it is frequently impossible to distinguish between a political project […] and a money-making venture.

    Declaring yourself a presidential candidate gives you access to millions of dollars’ worth of free media attention that can build a valuable brand. So the mere fact that Carson calls himself a presidential candidate does not prove he is actually running for president rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to build his brand. Indeed, it is possible to be actually leading the polls without seriously trying to win the presidency.

    And the notion that Carson could be president is preposterous. The problem is not only that he has never run for elected office. He has never managed a large organization; he has not worked in and around public policy, and he lacks a competent grasp of issues. His stance on health care, the closest thing to an issue with which his professional experience has brought him into contact, is gibberish. He mostly thrills audiences by scoffing at evolution and insisting Muslims be barred from the presidency, stances he cannot even defend coherently.


    Yeah, hence the book tour.

    Bernie Sanders spends bout 4% of the funds he raises on more fundraising. Ben Carson spends 69% of the funds he raises on raising more funds.

    […] Spending most of your money to raise more money is not a good way to get elected president, but it is a good way to build a massive list of supporters that can later be monetized. […]

  34. says

    Why do right-wingers love Ben Carson? An interview with white conservative voters from South Carolina may provide some answers:

    When Jenée Desmond-Harris interviewed some conservative white Ben Carson superfans in South Carolina in January, she found they were most enthusiastic about what she called the “made-for-Hollywood narrative arc of his life.” Carson grew up poor in Detroit, but after working and studying hard, he became a successful and famous neurosurgeon.

    “It goes to show that if you have a dream and fulfill that dream, it can be done,” 71-year-old Martin Kolar of Myrtle Beach told her. Others praised Carson’s faith and character — key selling points to evangelical voters, who preferred Carson to Trump in a recent poll of Iowa Republicans.

    Sometimes, however, these citations of Carson’s biography can have an implicit — or not so implicit — racial undertone. “He would be a wonderful role model for everyone, especially for the black people,” 72-year-old Peggy Kemmerly of Elongee said. “You know, to get them off entitlements. He could open doors. Well, doors have been opened for them, but unfortunately they haven’t accessed them.” And Kolar said that he hoped Carson “removes the hyphen” in African-American to identify as “just American, to heal the racial divide we’ve been forced into.”


    Uh huh. That’s what I thought.

  35. says

    Ben Carson complains about the “welfare state” all the time. And he repeats the “personal responsibility” line that conservatives love. The “personal responsibility” line is a dog whistle telling conservatives that he agrees with them that dependence on help from government programs stifles the initiative of poor people. And, oh yeah, what a great excuse for cutting funding to so-called “entitlement” programs. Carson’s own background tells a different story:

    […] Carson, in his book, tells how his grades improved tremendously when a government program provided him with free eyeglasses because he could barely see. Not only that, in “Gifted Hands” we read this nugget: “By the time I reached ninth grade, mother had made such strides that she received nothing but food stamps. She couldn’t have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy.” He writes elsewhere, “As I’ve said, we received food stamps and couldn’t have made it without them.” […]


  36. says

    Here’s an account of an interview in which Ben Carson is terrifyingly incompetent.


    Carson seems to think that even Middle Eastern governments that kicked Osama Bin Laden out their country were loyal to Bin Laden, and that they would have turned the al Qaeda leader over to the USA if the the USA has threatened the middle east with petroleum independence.

    And then Carson went on to talk about Iraq, and invading Iraq while seeming to confuse Afghanistan and Iraq. It was all gibberish.

  37. says

    Ben Carson has often hinted that God backs him for president.

    […] Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson lashed out at critics who said that he would never have a chance to win the presidency.

    He said that instead of retiring, God opened the door for him to enter the presidential race “much to the consternation of all the professional class and all the pundits” who said it was “impossible” for a “political neophyte” like him to build a national campaign.

    “And yet, you see, it’s happening,” Carson said. “They don’t understand the power of God.”


  38. says

    Oh, Ben Carson, must you be so obnoxious so many times per day? Rhetorical question.

    Carson’s latest foray into stupid land:

    During an interview, Glenn Beck asked Carson if he would shut down the Education Department as president.

    “I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do,” Carson responded. “It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.”

    Uh, wait. This is the same Carson that made such a big deal out of not bowing to “political correctness” pressure when he talks in public, right?

    Yes, Carson said, “It’s time for people to stand up and proclaim for what they believe and stop being bullied.”

  39. says

    Why is Ben Carson leading in Iowa? The answer is so depressing. Iowans who vote in the primary agree with Ben Carson. They really do. They agree most when Carson says something really stupid and/or anti-Muslim. They agree most when Carson reveals himself to be worse than Donald Trump.

    […] Two years ago, at the Values Voter Summit, Carson said that the Affordable Care Act—designed to increase health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans—was the “worst thing that has happened in this country since slavery,” which trapped millions of people in brutal hereditary bondage for more than two centuries. American slavery was a disgraceful chapter in our history that still shapes the structure of our society. Obamacare, by contrast, has delivered insurance and health services to 17.6 million people.

    What do Iowa Republicans think? Eighty-one percent say this makes him a “mostly” or “very” attractive candidate.

    Last month, Carson voiced opposition to a hypothetical Muslim president. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” he said. This, despite the Constitution’s clear dictate on religious tests—they’re verboten. What do Iowa Republicans think? Seventy-seven percent say this makes him a “mostly” or “very” attractive candidate.

    Two weeks ago, Carson said that guns—in the hands of German Jews—could have slowed Adolf Hitler and even stopped the Holocaust. […]

    What do Iowa Republicans think? A whopping 77 percent say that Carson’s statement makes him “very” or “mostly” attractive.[…]

    Carson speaks the language of Iowa Republicans. They like his rhetoric, whether it’s absurd, ignorant, or genuinely offensive. […]

    Slate link

  40. Phil Crawford says

    My wife tells me its too scary to laugh at these guys, but…really? It’s just so funny. I should be scared but I am having trouble keeping a straight face.

  41. says

    Ben Carson does not write all of his own stupid stuff, though he claims to. No, he plagiarizes some of it.

    Several sections of […] Dr. Ben Carson’s 2012 book “America the Beautiful” were plagiarized from various sources […]

    In many cases Carson cites the works that he plagiarizes in endnotes, though he makes no effort to indicate that not just the source, but the words themselves, had been taken from different authors. […]

    In one instance, Carson cites wholesale from an old website that has been online since at least 2002, Socialismsucks.net.

    In another example, he plagiarizes from two authors whose works he mentions in passing at earlier points in the book: Cleon Skousen, a conservative historian who died in 2006, and Bill Federer, another conservative historian […]

    Other sources taken nearly verbatim include a CBS News article, a Liberty Institute press release, a local newspaper article, and various internet sites.

    In Carson’s book, he writes about being caught plagiarizing in college and being given the chance to rewrite the paper after it was discovered. […]

    And here’s an example of some of the text Carson plagiarized:

    Anytime you give to government the responsibility and authority to provide government-made jobs, old-age financial security, “free” health care, and “free” education and indoctrination of children, it will control the lives of the people who live under its jurisdiction, and individual liberty and freedom of choice are sacrificed. […]

    Socialism is the ultimate exploitative monopoly. […]

    If government could give you everything you want, it must have the power to take everything you’ve got. This is the real agenda of socialism. It is the confiscation of property in the name of a “fairer” distribution of it. It is the total political institutionalization of violence and exploitation in the name of abolishing exploitation. […]


  42. says

    Cross-posted from the “Ben Carson is simply a horrible person” thread.

    Ben Carson is currently on a book tour. He is using his status as a presidential candidate to sell books.

    The All-In show, hosted by Chris Hayes, had a brilliant idea: hire someone else to read books written by candidates and then produce a review of the book. They started with Ben Carson’s new book, A More Perfect Union. Jeb Lund, columnist for the Guardian and Rolling Stone, is the reviewer.

    Dry humor. I liked it.


  43. says

    Ben Carson said some stupid stuff, more stupid stuff. He clearly does not understand how the federal government works. He has the same problem that a plaques a lot of Republican candidates, he does not know the difference between the deficit and the budget.

    See http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/republican-debt-limit-votes-struggling

    […] Obama will not negotiate with the GOP on the debt limit. “This is asking the Congress to pay bills that it’s already incurred,” said spokesman Eric Schultz. […]

    “I will make it very, very clear that there will not be any budget signed that increases our debt ceiling. It will have to be done.”

    In the USA, we have a multi-billion dollar deficit. At the end of Ben Carson’s first fantasy year as President, that deficit will not be $0. The deficit has shrunk during Obama’s administration, but it is not gone.

    Carson made the same mistake a couple of weeks ago. He hasn’t learned anything since. He wants to be president, but he doesn’t know what the debt ceiling is. He made more comments, about school funding this time, that showed he does not know how public education is funded in the USA.



  44. says

    Regarding Carson’s rags to riches via his own bootstraps story, as well as his abrupt turn away from violence once he accepted the Lord, take a look at this recent article from CNN. Looking into Carson’s history, reporters are having a hard time finding corroborating evidence. Obviously, this is just a smear campaign from the liberal media.

    A tale of two Ben Carsons

  45. blf says

    He’s putting two fingers up at the Republican establishment and the loons who support them, isn’t he?

    That would be plausible if the comments were more recent. However, this speech is from 1998.

    And the nutter has said, this week, he still “thinks” what he said then is correct, Ben Carson: Egyptian pyramids were grain stores, not pharaohs’ tombs:

    Republican presidential hopeful stands by remarks made in 1998, but criticised ‘scientists’ who he said claimed pyramids were built by ‘alien beings’


    Asked on Wednesday if he still held these views, Carson told CBS News: “It’s still my belief, yes.”

    It’s not entirely clear from The Grauniad’s article whether the extraterrestrial babbling is something new, or something he said back then (and if so, whether or not the fruitcake still claims that).

  46. says

    And then there are his views on the 2nd Amendment and Stand Your Ground laws:

    Since launching his bid for president, which kicked into high gear this week as he edged Donald Trump out of the number one spot in national polls, Carson’s stance on gun control has shifted. He told Glenn Beck in 2013 that he believes there should be some restrictions on semi-automatic weapons in urban environments, so that they do not fall into the hands of a “crazy person.” But in his new book A More Perfect Union, which he has paused his campaign to sell across Florida and other states, he writes that he changed his mind when he “fully recognized the intent of the Second Amendment, which is to protect the freedom of the people from an overly aggressive government.”
    “The people have a right to any type of weapon that they can legally obtain in order to protect themselves,” he says. “They would be at a great disadvantage if they were attacked by an overly aggressive government and all they had to defend themselves with were minor firearms.” Carson does not explain further how armed civilians could match up against the U.S. military’s full might in the event that a “tyrant” takes power.

    (bolding mine)

  47. perodatrent says

    Ben Carson’s words seem just to alienate thinking voters. But what if his aims are just so?
    May be an answer could come form C. Herley ( http://www.cognitionandculture.net/home/blog/55-radu-umbres-blog/2525-scammers ).
    Why should anyone who wants to rob someone on the web still appeal to “Nigerian scam”? He should know that many people on the web know about it, so he should better find another way to scam people.
    But if he intends to aim just at the more gullible people, he should pose as the web-famous Nigerian Prince/Attorney/Heir and go on phishing his phools.

  48. freemage says

    blf@52: His allegations that ‘scientists’ believe that aliens built, or taught us to build, the pyramids was part of the speech in the OP. So it’s not a new claim, at the very least. Whether he still holds to that part as well as the “pyramids were for grain”, as you note, is a bit less clear.

    BTW, a few folks have stumbled over this bit:

    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.

    Fortunately (?) I am fluent in Advanced Moron. He’s talking about the Biblical story of Joseph and the silos he supposedly told Pharaoh to build to warehouse seven years’ worth of surplus grain, so that Egypt would prosper over seven years of famine that were to follow (Pharaoh was troubled by some freaky dreams about cannibal cows after a night of heavy carousing on ancient beer and greasy crocodile sausages). He’s saying that such silos would need to be enormous, far larger than the ones we have found in archeological digs. Now, someone who doesn’t have their head so far up their own rectum that they can lick their own tonsils might consider this evidence of… error, in the text, yes? But not Our Ben. He just assumes that since there are no discoveries of silos capable of housing enough grain to feed an entire nation for seven years, some other structure must be the grain storage. Because inerrancy.

  49. says

    Ben Carson said some more stupid stuff on Facebook.

    Are we sure political experience is what we need. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.

    No, Mr. Carson, that is not even close to being true. That’s not spin. That’s lying and/or total ignorance. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were elected officials with political experience.

    Carson also said stupid stuff in an interview. Carson was in Miami recently, where the Miami Herald staff interviewed him.

    […] In the Herald interview, Carson appeared stumped by questions about the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allows Cubans who reach U.S. soil to remain here, and about the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows Cubans who arrive in the U.S. to apply for legal residency after 366 days. […]

    At the same event, the retired right-wing neurosurgeon insisted Medicare and Medicaid fraud is “huge — half a trillion dollars,” which really doesn’t make any sense at all. […]

    In 2015, it appears Carson is pushing the boundaries of post-knowledge politics. It’s not that he’s lying, per se, because it’s quite likely that in Carson’s version of reality, his claims have real merit. This is more a situation in which a presidential hopeful has decided knowledge itself is unimportant. […]


    Regarding that claim that Medicare and Medicaid fraud is “half a trillion dollars,” no, that is not factual. Total spending, that’s TOTAL spending, on Medicare and Medicaid last year was $980 billion. Carson just said that more than half of that spending is fraud. Weirdness.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports that improper payments for Medicare equal about $29 billion (not $500 billion); and that Medicaid improper payments equal about $19 billion (not $500 billion). The total of improper payments is between $50 and $60 billion (not $500 billion). Of the Medicare improper payments, government officials recovered about $4.3 billion in 2013 (I couldn’t find a more recent figure). And the figures for “improper payments” include examples of incorrect coding in payment requests (mistakes, not fraud). Yes, fraud is a big problem. Yes, it being addressed.

  50. Pianoman, Church of the Golden Retriever says

    300-plus million fucking people in this country, and THIS is the best they can do for possible candidates for the highest office????

    At any rate, will we be seeing a response from the American Archaeological Society?? Please? I would just love a very public “what the fuck is wrong with you, ben?” response.

  51. rietpluim says

    People make fun of Ben Carson but he did brain surgery on me in 2006 and I’m here to say that potato chimcham kuna pop canoe town fimpy.

  52. Nick Gotts says

    Well…. he got one part of that concept, partially rational. It is hard to reconcile the pyramids being a grand burial tomb. – slithey tove@4

    WTF are you on about? You’re usually a rational commenter, IIRC. We know the pyramids are “grand burial tombs”, from abundant archeological and documentary evidence. The whole society was obsessed with death and how to ensure entry into and a high position in the afterlife.

    All this “Oh he doesn’t really belief it” and “He’s not really running for President” and “He couldn’t possibly be elected” really gets my goat.
    1) Of course he bloody well believes it. He has a completely consistent history of batshit beliefs, many of which are common among the religious right.
    2) And while he will certainly be using the campaign to sell his fuckwitted books, he’s not going to pull out while it looks as if he has a real chance of gaining the nomination.
    3) The breathtaking stupidity and ignorance of the American electorate, together with the chance of either his Democratic opponent dying or having to pull out, and the very real possibility of a new financial crash before next November, makes it impossible to be confident anyone, even Carson, could not be elected if he gains the nomination.

  53. says

    Nick @60:
    Reading slithey tove’s comment generously, I think they meant that even though some people know why the pyramids were built, it can be hard for them to reconcile that knowledge when they look at them and say “those ginormous things are burial tombs”?

  54. treefrogdundee says

    When Donald Trump considers your comments to be “strange”, that is a sign that you’ve surged past rock bottom and are now penetrating the mantle of stupidity.

  55. magistramarla says

    We have neighbors who have Ben Carson stickers on their vehicles. He’s a neurologist and she’s a dentist.
    I’m truly nervous about the intelligence of the people in the healthcare industry on whom I might need to depend for my medical needs.

  56. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @61:
    Thanks for the generosity. You mostly correctly interpreted my comment. To clarify, a little, it’s not that there is any controversy about their purpose. Just continuing puzzlement at many of the details of the pyramids being inconsistent with burial tomb, plus the inconsistencies with the major burial ground.
    But really, I was just playin along, not taking a serious position in my off the cuff comment, above.

  57. Intaglio says

    If it was 40 years ago my father would have said the surgeon had been huffing too much anesthetic.

  58. Nick Gotts says

    Tony@61, slithey tove@65,
    Sorry, I was ungenerous in my reading. But having been round the Egyptian museum in Turin (reputedly second only to that in Cairo), I am confident there is absolutely nothing too weird or OTT to be part of ancient Egyptian funerary practices! Initially, the afterlife was only for the Pharoah, then it spread down the social scale first to the nobility, then to the hoi polloi – but whoever you were, your corpse had to remain well-preserved. Coffins had eyes painted on the outside, so the corpse could see out. You could be liable for compulsory agricultural labour in the afterlife just as in this one – so people were buried with lots of little wooden figurines, who would take their place in the fields. And so on.

  59. robro says

    slithey tove@4 — “It is hard to reconcile the pyramids being a grand burial tomb.” Yes, it’s difficult to reconcile that with our modern perspective and assuming we’re thinking of burying a mere human. Of course, the pharaohs were gods incarnate on an all expenses paid trip to the afterlife. In addition, not all the pyramids are as grand as those at Giza or Dahshur, so perhaps not so different in scale than Grant’s Tomb, the Taj Mahal, the Lenin Mausoleum, and similar relatively modern structures.

    Nick Gotts — “The whole society was obsessed with death…” I suspect that’s a myth. Much of what we have in writing from ancient Egypt are texts from tombs which perhaps skews our perspective. Also, not much attention is given to the writings that are not liturgical, There’s quite a lot of everyday business stuff where death doesn’t even enter the picture. Also, I have a wonderful book of Egyptian love poems that I found quite life affirming.

  60. Nick Gotts says

    A reasonable point. But it’s a difficult impression to dismiss when you’ve seen the bizarre lengths they went to to preserve corpses and provide them with what they would “need” in the afterlife. Mummification and grave-goods practices began in the pre-dynastic era (4th millennium BCE or earlier) and got more or less continuously more widespread and elaborate right through to the New Kingdom (late 2nd to mid 1st millennium). I’d like to see an estimate of the proportion of labour and raw materials that went into this activity, in comparison to other societies of the time. My hunch is that Egypt would come out at the top.

  61. says

    Ben Carson has been caught lying … again. This time, it looks like he fabricated a story about being admitted to West Point. Is he just recounting for us his dreams?

    Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

    The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

    West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.