The fusion of theology, colonial aspiration, national self-confidence, and precision mathematics involved in the Pyramidologists' argument around the time of The Ethics of the Dust makes it alien to modern conceptions of empirical science.
(16) Lewis's opinion was not simply a matter for the specialist Egyptologist: it challenged the Pyramidologists, including John Taylor (1781-1864), who were at that moment arguing that Egyptian science was profoundly relevant to contemporary Britain.
It assessed with some sympathy the Pyramidologists' claims, as the reviewer put it, 'to see the finger of God in the dimensions of the Pyramid', (20) concluding that, should the mystery of the Pyramid ever be solved, the work of Smyth and Taylor 'may be found to have furnished part of the light, or to have provided materials for its production'.
Ruskin also, I think, hoped his adult readers in the middle of the 1860s might know about the Pyramidologists. Specifically, he hoped they would notice the correspondence between Lecture II of The Ethics of the Dust and the pyramid-building argument in the public domain.
Where the Pyramidologists argued in the early 1860s that the Great Pyramid was a 'divinely inspired' (28) metrological monument, proving that God had revealed knowledge for the advantage of Great Britain in the nineteenth century, Ruskin was playfully using a story of the construction of a great Pyramid in 1865 to show the power of orderly natural creation and its relevance for the open-minded modern English citizen.
But, working at a more general level, he invited the reader of The Ethics to remember the Pyramidologists' argument in the penumbra of his text because they did still understand empirical investigation as bound up with non-materialist values.
The allusion to the Pyramidologists' argument in The Ethics suggests where he took the idea of using the Pyramid to explain this at Winnington.