Ben Carson: Civ fan
Ben Carson is getting a lot of flak for a 1998 speech where he put forth the theory that the Egyptian pyramids were used to store grain. It's pretty obvious that that's wrong; they were clearly used to store mummies. But what i haven't seen mentioned yet is that in the early versions of the great game Sid Meier's Civilization (versions 1-3, i believe), building the Pyramids put a granary in all of your cities. I was never sure why that was the case, but clearly there's something out there that dovetails with Carson's theory. Carson seems to be going by an interpretation of the story of Joseph in the Bible (he was sold into slavery in Egypt and later helped them avoid a famine). And given the way the pyramids work in Civ, i'd bet that it's not as unique a theory as it seems to be. Doesn't mean it's right, of course, but i'll take any excuse to blog about Civ.
This idea dates back to Medieval Europe, and as you say it goes back to Joseph in the Old Testament. If you don't know any better, it is easily the type of thing people assume is true like the idea that Europeans thought the world was flat until Columbus proved otherwise. I'm sure there are a lot of intelligent people who still believe that and any other number of falsehoods.
In Civ 1, the Pyramids allowed you to change between any government type without penalty - including ones you hadn't discovered yet. Since this was clearly overpowered for a wonder that's available almost at the start of the game, it was toned down to the granary power for Civ 2 and 3.
Oh that's right, thanks Stevie. It's been a while since i played 1. I guess the Statue of Liberty introduced Civ 2 was a reduced version of that wonder - it lets you change governments with reduced anarchy, but it's available much later in the game and only gives you access to government types that you've discovered.
It was a multi-purpose facility. You visited some dead relatives, you picked up some grain, you talked about overthrowing the government. All while protected from the desert sun. The Egyptians were all about the efficiency.
@Chris- no, the Europeans knew the Earth was round at least since the eighth century. The reason why people opposed Columbus's voyage was they thought seamen of Columbus's day couldn't survive such a long voyage through open ocean. (And indeed if the Americas hadn't been there, Columbus's voyage would have probably met with disaster.)
Oh sorry, that's what you meant- my bad- I misread your comment.
I've heard that this is a main plot point in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, so if anything, o'l Ben loves the theatre.