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Methods of "Ma'at" Part II: Mud Sticks

By Graham Hancock

Case Study: The Great Pyramid of Giza

On 12 August 2001 Martin Stower, a regular poster on the Ma'at Message Board, alleged that I and Robert Bauval, together with our publishers, were "distant from a serious commitment to factual accuracy" and, specifically, that in the updated edition of Fingerprints of the Gods I had not informed my readers about an important change in my position regarding the significance of the quarry marks in the relieving chambers above the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid. Stower wrote, "The supposedly rescinded forgery claim stands unchanged, ready to mislead new readers." (GH & RB on Mars and Giza)

This extremely damaging allegation of malpractice and bad faith towards my readers was untrue and should never have been made. Contrary to Stower's allegation, the new edition of Fingerprints of the Gods (specifically advertised as "Updated") does indeed contain an update, and an extensive one, on the quarry marks controversy. On 14 August 2001, after considerable pressure on the Message Boards and behind the scenes by Robert Bauval and myself, Stower confessed that his "assumptions" at the time of his 12 August posting were "erroneous," that he had been "unfair to Graham Hancock," that he wished to "unreservedly withdraw" the allegation of bad faith, and to "repudiate any suggestion inferred that Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval and their publishers are merely indifferent to questions of factual accuracy." (Retractions)

Stower's detailed Retractions are pasted in below and linked here on the Ma'at and GH message boards. Of course such an apology helps to mitigate the damage done by the original posting. But it can never completely undo it. Such smears as these can multiply and propagate all over the net once they're let loose.

As the saying goes, mud sticks.

Even when it isn't really mud at all but just some nonsense that looks like mud.

 Retractions
Author: Martin Stower 
Date:   Aug-14-01 10:47

Posted on Ma'at and on the Graham Hancock Message Board.

I posted the following on the Ma'at message board on 12 August 2001:

> Author: Martin Stower
> Date: August-12-01 09:59
> > Claire wrote:
> > > I didn't really twigg that GH had
> > updated his claim that the pyramids had possibly been built
> > in 10500BC until recently ~lol~ I'm just a bit behind!
> > You wouldn't twig this from the `revised' edition of FOG, so don't blame
> yourself.
> > Following Hancock's `position statement' on this question, I suggested
> to John Anthony West (in a brief exchange of mail) that Hancock's books
> should properly be withdrawn and revised. He considered this excessive -
> but what do we see now, several years (and several reprints)
> later? The supposedly rescinded forgery claim stands unchanged, ready to
> mislead new readers. This is how distant GH and RB and their publishers
> are from a serious commitment to factual accuracy.

Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval have taken exception to it.

I've conceded already that some of my assumptions at the time of
posting were erroneous and reflected in particular an incomplete
examination of the updated Fingerprints of the Gods. I can see
in addition that some of my wording was unfortunate. Their complaint
therefore has some justification.

I believe the best way of addressing this is to go through the post
section by section:

> Author: Martin Stower
> Date: August-12-01 09:59
> > Claire wrote:
> > > I didn't really twigg that GH had
> > updated his claim that the pyramids had possibly been built
> > in 10500BC until recently ~lol~ I'm just a bit behind!
> > You wouldn't twig this from the `revised' edition of FOG, so don't blame
> yourself.

This statement is incorrect and I unreservedly withdraw it (as I did
in my message of 13 August 2001 on the Graham Hancock Message Board).
I believed at the time that I had taken adequate steps to check for
the presence of a correction, but I realise now that this was not the
case, since I overlooked the presence of Hancock's position statement
on this question on pages xxxiii to xxxvii of the new introduction.
My statement was therefore unfair to Graham Hancock and I apologise
for any distress it caused him.

> Following Hancock's `position statement' on this question, I suggested
> to John Anthony West (in a brief exchange of mail) that Hancock's books
> should properly be withdrawn and revised.

My comment to this general effect actually appeared on the EGYPTNEWS
mailing list, in my reply to Hancock's position statement. My reply
may be viewed at the following URL:

http://sphinxtemple.virtualave.net/egyptnews/EgyptNews01.html#7

The relevant words were:

`In an ideal world, FOG and KOG/MOS would be withdrawn from the shelves,
pending revised editions - but I won't hold my breath waiting for this
to happen.'

> He considered this excessive -

West's comment was in private e-mail.

> but what do we see now, several years (and several reprints)
> later? The supposedly rescinded forgery claim stands unchanged,

I realise on reflection that the word `supposedly' may be construed
as implying insincerity on the part of Graham Hancock and Robert
Bauval, with respect to their repudiation of the forgery claim in
question. This was not my intention, but I agree that my wording
could have been more careful. I accept that Graham Hancock and
Robert Bauval are sincere in their rejection of this claim and
distance myself from any suggestion to the contrary. I regret any
distress this has caused them.

I would, therefore, simply strike the word from the sentence.

What remains - `The rescinded forgery claim stands unchanged' - is true
of the text of Keeper of Genesis (aka Message of the Sphinx) and is true
of the text of Fingerprints of the Gods, including the text of the
updated edition - albeit corrected by Hancock's position statement on
pages xxxiii to xxxvii of the new introduction. This is a matter of
verifiable fact.

> ready to mislead new readers.

These words apply strictly to the forgery claim, as it appears in
the text of the above books. I believe this is clear from the
grammatical structure of the sentence.

It is my sincere belief that new readers may still be misled by the
presence of the `Vyse forgery' claim, even in the case of the updated
Fingerprints of the Gods. This is a question of basic plausibility
and I believe it to be a fair and defensible inference from the facts.

This is not to suggest that Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval are
themselves intentionally misleading their readers. My comment
concerns only the likely effect of certain contents of their texts.

> This is how distant GH and RB and their publishers
> are from a serious commitment to factual accuracy.

On reflection, this is a far harsher comment than I really intended,
especially before the retractions and qualifications outlined above.
Rather than try and reword it, I simply withdraw it. I regret any
distress caused and repudiate any suggestion inferred that Graham
Hancock, Robert Bauval and their publishers are merely indifferent to
questions of factual accuracy.

This is as full and as fair a statement as I can make at this time.

Martin Stower

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