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Zetetic

"bible Codes" - Unbelievably Ridiculous

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I just saw a show on the history channel about the so called "Bible Codes". For those who aren't familiar with this, here's a web page about them. Statistical Science publishes Bible Codes Refutation. In short, religious people (it began with Jews but Christians also believe in it) have supposedly found phrases and even full sentences that supposedly talk about things that are happening now and even predict the future by looking for them in "equi-distant" letter spacing in the Torah (or bible). Here's a much better description: Wikipedia - Bible Code

 

 

Anyway, I only made it as far as Calculus and took one statistics class in college 30 years ago. I program computers (systems and business programming) now, so I almost never get to use any math beyond multiplication and division and yet even I could see unbelievably obvious flaws in their arguments even though the show was obviously slanted in favor of the proponents.

 

One of the proponents, mentioned some insanely high statistical probability against some particular phrase occurring in that particular section of text in the Torah. Unbelievable! Anybody who knows anything at all about statistics knows that the question isn't "What is the probably of this text occurring here", it's "what is the probability of some meaningful word or phrase appearing somewhere in the text of the Torah given the wide range of selection criteria used". If you look at the criteria they use, it could be every 2nd letter diagonally, every 6th letter horizontally (forwards or backwards) etc. etc. etc. Obviously, it would be an unbelievably monumental task to calculate the odds of these occuring. It probably isn't even possible (at least not now). Yet the people who promote this are supposedly scientists! Hah! What rubbish!

 

Several others basically said (not in so many words) that they cherry pick the data. Don't they have even the slightest comprehension of science? And yet some of them are supposedly scientists?!! *sigh* Oh well, I guess if "scientists" can believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, it's obvious that "true" believers can convince themselves of ANYTHING!

 

Dr. Brendan McKay and others conducted extensive research and thoroughly debunked the notion in the first link, but

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When I first stumbled accros the Bible code idea, I looked it up and I found a site where the guy had looked for phrases like "God is dead", "God is a liar" etc, and he found hundreds of them. He actually found so many that the probability for that being from "god" would be higher than all these other phrases they've found.

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Didn't someone find that you got a similar number of 'hits' using the same rules for Moby Dick (Anwar Sadatt's assassination being one thing that stuck in my mind).

 

Effectively, any large tome, be it Harry Potter and a Half Blood Prince or the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft, would produce similar results. I believe there is a 'critical' mass as to number of words needed, but I seem to recall seeing that language is immaterial. Hebrew is a lot easier to make fit, due to lack of explict vowels, but there is a pattern to human languages that means any one will do...

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Behold the Pi code!

Thanks for the link YDOAPS. I was telling a friend about the this but he refused to believe it at first. He wanted proof, and unfortunately I'm not that good in math anymore to really give him what he wanted. But he did agree after a while that through intuition one can understand or "know" that Pi would have any kind of finite sequence embedded somewhere in the infinite sequence. Basically I had to show him one of the fundamental formulas for Pi and argue from the proof that there is an infinite number of prime numbers.

 

If you stumble across a more detailed proof for this, please let me know. I want to show it in his face... nah, just kidding.

 

In the sequence somewhere I should be able to find my name, date of birth, place of birth, social security number and many other details. Pi knows everything.

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Didn't someone find that you got a similar number of 'hits' using the same rules for Moby Dick (Anwar Sadatt's assassination being one thing that stuck in my mind).

 

Effectively, any large tome, be it Harry Potter and a Half Blood Prince or the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft, would produce similar results. I believe there is a 'critical' mass as to number of words needed, but I seem to recall seeing that language is immaterial. Hebrew is a lot easier to make fit, due to lack of explict vowels, but there is a pattern to human languages that means any one will do...

Oh yeah, definitely! Dr. Brendan McKay is the guy who searched Moby Dick. He's the main guy behind the paper in the first link I provided.

 

I just noticed now though that I either didn't finish the original post or it cut me off. Is there a word or character limit on this site?

 

Anyway, I meant to say that I wondered if anybody had ever compared the number of false "hits" versus "true" hits. In fact, I was wondering if there was anybody who had tried to look for things like HanSolo mentioned.

 

Hey HanSolo!

 

Do you have any idea where that web site was? I'll have to see if I can find it.

 

I figure if you take an equal number of known false phrases and known true phrases and look for both of them and discover that the false "hits" equal the true hits, it would be a rather obvious proof to anybody that it's wrong.

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It always strikes me as funny, how numerology, bible codes etc are taken as being proof of deep mysteries and weirdness, hand of god etc . . . .

 

 

. . .

. . .

 

IN ENGLISH!!!!

 

As if the Great Creator Invisibule had decided that 20thC English is the chosen holy language

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It's because of BS like this that men like Paul (The Great Deciever) were and are able to make claims about hidden messages in the the Bible - in his case, in the Hebrew Bible. The idea is nothing new, and by the time Paul decided to steal it, it was being used by countless Jewish sects to support their own claims. The Abrahamic religiois are notorious for their unchecked megalomania, stealing from each other, from Pagans, and from religions that have nothing to do with their own (ever notice how the Christian God takes ona decidedly Buddhist nature for some people these days?), and this is just another fine example of why the world does NOT need Christianity. If people can make something say whatever they want it to and get people to follow it, that's a dangerous notion.

 

On the actual Bible Code program on the History Channel: I actually laughed the entire time it played, especially when non-Christians were brought on to find similar results in other books. It's a load of crap, just another scam to get people to buy, buy, buy.

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Do you have any idea where that web site was? I'll have to see if I can find it.

No I can't remeber the site, it was very long ago.

 

I figure if you take an equal number of known false phrases and known true phrases and look for both of them and discover that the false "hits" equal the true hits, it would be a rather obvious proof to anybody that it's wrong.

Maybe, but I think maybe it's even better if someone makes a program to search for phrases etc, and then use the Hitchhikers Guide instead for the code base. Or maybe Darwin's Species book.

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Didn't someone find that you got a similar number of 'hits' using the same rules for Moby Dick (Anwar Sadatt's assassination being one thing that stuck in my mind).

 

Effectively, any large tome, be it Harry Potter and a Half Blood Prince or the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft, would produce similar results. I believe there is a 'critical' mass as to number of words needed, but I seem to recall seeing that language is immaterial. Hebrew is a lot easier to make fit, due to lack of explict vowels, but there is a pattern to human languages that means any one will do...

I've heard they have done the same thing with 'Gone with the Wind' too. I thought the popular thought established some time ago is that it could be done with just about any book, as you suggest in your post here.

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It's the nature of language. Like most human artefacts, there is a spontaneous underpinning in statistical mechanics. As a slab of personal opinion, I think it's linked to our universal ability to see an image a Rorschach Ink blot. Our innate ability to see order in what is really noise.

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It's the nature of language. Like most human artefacts, there is a spontaneous underpinning in statistical mechanics. As a slab of personal opinion, I think it's linked to our universal ability to see an image a Rorschach Ink blot. Our innate ability to see order in what is really noise.

 

Actually, in this case, it's probably more like finding order in what is really noise. It's like me taking a penny out of my pocket, telling somebody I'll bet you a thousand bucks I can get 20 heads in a row, then, when the "mark" takes the bait, I pull out 100 pennies, toss them all on the floor and then pick up 20 pennies that are heads up.

 

Seeing patterns within noise is more like those who see the "Virgin Mary" in a water stain on the side of a church.

 

 

Or the "face on Mars"

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Do you have any idea where that web site was? I'll have to see if I can find it.

No I can't remeber the site, it was very long ago.

 

I figure if you take an equal number of known false phrases and known true phrases and look for both of them and discover that the false "hits" equal the true hits, it would be a rather obvious proof to anybody that it's wrong.

Maybe, but I think maybe it's even better if someone makes a program to search for phrases etc, and then use the Hitchhikers Guide instead for the code base. Or maybe Darwin's Species book.

Unfortunately, that's been done and it didn't convince many of the bible code believers because they claim that they're found far more frequently in the bible and the ones found in Moby Dick are just a "parlor trick". They can get away with that because the people searching the bible don't count the number of words and/or phrases that they've searched for or how many they find I've never heard of them ever searching for something that isn't true.

 

Another excuse they come up with is that it proves that Moby Dick was divinely inspired.

 

 

What's more, if they find some words that appear to say something that's false, they just re-interpret it so that it's correct. IOW, they use flexible interpretations and cherry pick the data to find what they want. They mentioned one area where they found the words "Gore" and "President" before the election and they predicted that Gore would become president. Then, when he wasn't elected, they searched a little more and found the words "think maybe" (or something similar to that) so they interpreted that to mean that it would be a very close election :49: Personally, I didn't understand their justification for that because even the second finding apparently shows that god didn't know who would win. I thought it was supposed to be all knowing! :shrug:

 

 

Of course the flexible interpretation and cherry picking thing would enable them to "prove" the bible has codes and other works don't, no matter what scientists do to disprove it.

 

For example, if you found the phrase "Donald Duck became president", they could say that it's a reference to a cartoon where Donald Duck became the president and that's even greater proof that it's divinely inspired since god even put trivial things like cartoons in the code. In fact, that may mean that all knowledge is hidden in there somewhere! If you found the phrase "Al Gore became president" they could say that it's going to happen in the future. It might even be a descendant of Al Gore's 500 years from now. Or it was a reference to Al being elected president of the 4th grade or something. :ugh:

 

I guess I'm just engaging in some wishful thinking that zealots would ever considering seeing the truth. OTOH, I did, and others here did, so maybe it's not completely hopeless.

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Behold the Pi code!

 

That was great! I especially like this: "O'Leary's investigations of spirals among the higher binary digits of pi also suggest a face. "It's the profile of the next President of the United States," O'Leary claims. However, so as not to unduly influence the upcoming election, he has decided not to reveal the image or its identity until after the results are in."

 

Sounds kind of like the Procrastinator's Society of America who always publishes their predictions for the coming year but they never get around to publishing them until the year's over. It's amazing how they're always 100% right! Much better than any prophet of god ever was. :lol:

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It's the nature of language. Like most human artefacts, there is a spontaneous underpinning in statistical mechanics. As a slab of personal opinion, I think it's linked to our universal ability to see an image a Rorschach Ink blot. Our innate ability to see order in what is really noise.

 

Actually, in this case, it's probably more like finding order in what is really noise. It's like me taking a penny out of my pocket, telling somebody I'll bet you a thousand bucks I can get 20 heads in a row, then, when the "mark" takes the bait, I pull out 100 pennies, toss them all on the floor and then pick up 20 pennies that are heads up.

 

Seeing patterns within noise is more like those who see the "Virgin Mary" in a water stain on the side of a church.

 

 

Or the "face on Mars"

 

From what I can gather it was a case of it just 'jumping' out... then they started the word search (and making up ever more liberal rules as the went along), hence patterns in noise.

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At the height of my fundamentalism, I bought Bible Code software. It was junk.

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