After Ben Carson defended his life story during Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate, the retired neurosurgeon continued to use his personal history during speeches Wednesday during which he emphasized religious freedom and American exceptionalism. “Have you ever noticed there’s an American way, an American dream?” Carson asked. “There’s no French dream. There’s no Canadian dream. This is the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.”

Carson also criticized the theory of evolution in Lynchburg, Virginia, according to the Guardian. “People say, ‘How can you be a scientist and believe that God created the Earth?’” Carson told a crowd of thousands Wednesday. “I don’t criticize them. I say, ‘Can you tell me how something came from nothing?’ And of course they can’t...And now you’re going to tell me there’s a big bang, and it comes into perfect order?”

Carson added: “They say, ‘Well, yeah.’ And I say, ‘But don’t you also believe in entropy, that things move toward a state of disorganization? And they say, ‘We don’t understand everything.’ And I’m not sure they understand anything!...Everybody believe what you want to believe.”

The speech was held at Liberty University, which was founded by Jerry Falwell, a Christian evangelist known for his strident stance against homosexuality. The university has become a frequent stop for political candidates hoping to appeal to socially conservative voters and saw Texas Sen. Ted Cruz launch his presidential campaign there earlier this year.

During his talk, Carson emphasized the importance of religious freedom and promised to protect those who believe marriage is “between one man and one woman,” according to the Guardian. He also said that religion has seen him through tough times of the campaign.

“I have clung to that through all kinds of adversity,” he said Wednesday. “When so many in the media want to bring me down, because I represent something that they can’t stand.”

Carson has been approaching Donald Trump’s front-runner status in recent weeks -- even polling higher than the New York billionaire in some instances. And despite recent questions from news outlets about his background, Carson has largely remained cool and has been able to play off the questions as attacks from the liberal media.