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The Bible Code Decoded

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A presentation by Josh Fixler for the National Capitol Area Skeptics, Feburary 12, 2005

A presentation by Josh Fixler for the National Capitol Area Skeptics, Feburary 12, 2005

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The Bible Code Decoded The Bible Code Decoded Presentation Transcript

  • THE BIBLE CODE Because it’s hip to find the hidden meaning in the holy texts By Josh Fixler
  • The Book
  •  
  • What Was It? Michael Drosnin
  • History
  • History Lesson Is this new?
    • No!
    • Jewish rabbis, mystics, and theologians have sought to understand the text through Gematria for thousands of years.
  • What is Gematria
    • (a) = 1 (ch) = 8
    • (b) = 2 (y) =10
    • (g) = 3
    • Jews often give donations in $18 increments because the Hebrew word for life is Chai and the numerical value for this word is 18 (10+8).
  • But Wait!
    • Gematria looks at the relationship between letters within words
    • There is no foundation for looking at relationships between letters in different words.
  • Modern Gematria
    • Bible Code is billed as a modern version of Gematria.
      • Bible code is a fundamental departure from the essence of Gematria.
      • Bible code has found its way into popular culture but Gemetria remains obscure.
  • History of the Modern Movement 1940s Rabbi Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl 1985-1994 Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg 1998 Michael Drosnin
  •  
  • The Study “ Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis” By Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg
  • Introduction to the Study
    • “ Equidistant Letter Sequences”
    • Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament
    • “ Close Proximity”
  • So, For Instance: Genesis 1:1 - 1:4
    • we think of an array as one long line that spirals down on a cylinder; its row length h is the number of vertical columns. To define the distance between
    • two letters x and x ', cut the cylinder along a vertical line between two columns. In the resulting plane each of x and x ' has two integer coordinates, and we compute the distance
    • between them as usual, using these coordinates. In general, there are two possible values for this distance, depending on the vertical line that was chosen for cutting the cylinder; if the two values are different, we use the smaller one. 
    • Next, we define the distance between fixed ELS's e and e ' in a fixed cylindrical array. Set  f := the distance between consecutive letters of e ,  f ' := the distance between consecutive letters of e ',  l := the minimal distance between a letter of e and one of e ',  and define  ( e , e ') := f 2 + f ' 2 + l 2 . We call  ( e , e ') the distance between the ELS's e and e '
    • in the given array; it is small if both fit into a relatively compact area. For example, in Figure 3 we have f = 1, f ' =Ö5, l = Ö34 and  = 40. 
    • Now there are many ways of writing Genesis as a cylindrical array, depending on the row length h . Denote by  h ( e , e ') the distance  ( e , e ') in the array determined by h , and set  h ( e , e ') := 1/  h ( e , e '); the larger  h ( e , e ') is, the more
    • compact is the configuration consisting of e and e ' in the array with row length h . Set e = ( n , d , k ) (recall that d is the skip) and e ' = ( n ', d ', k '). Of particular interest are the row lengths h = h 1 , h 2 ,..., where h i is the integer nearest to | d |/ i (1/2 is rounded up). Thus when h = h 1 = | d |, then e appears as a column of adjacent letters (as in Figure 1); and when h = h 2 , then e appears either as a column that skip alternate rows (as in Figure 2) or as a straight line of knight's moves (as in Figure 3). In general, the arrays in which e appears relatively compactly are those with row length h i with i "not too large." 
  • Sorry, It’s Complicated!
  • Here are the Basics
    • They were looking for words spelled out by skipping regular amounts of letters
    • On a long line the skips are every few letters
    • When the lines are divided in a box, the skips line up.
  • What they were looking for Encyclopedia of Great Men in Israel
  • Their Conclusions
    • They found that these important names and dates appeared in statistically significant proximity in Genesis, and not in the random texts, or in War and Peace.
    • They Concluded that the “proximity of ELS's with related meanings in the Book of Genesis is not due to chance. ”
    • In the text of the Hebrew Bible we can find what appear to be coded messages about events that had not yet occurred at the time the bible was written.
    So…
  • Opposition to the Study
  • Brendan McKay
    • A professor of Computer Science at Australian National University.
    • A recognized mathematician and Skeptic.
    • 1997 he began publishing refutations of the work by Witztum, Rips, and Yoav
    • He is considered to be the authoritative skeptic of bible code claims.
  • McKay’s Argument
    • Fortuitous Spelling Choices
    • Lucky Choices
    • Hindsight Data Association
  • Fortuitous Spelling Choices
    • There are a verity of ways to spell most Hebrew names, and most Hebrew dates.
  • Many Spellings
    • In the previous picture the name of one of the rabbi’s on the WRR list is spelled 4 different ways at a temple devoted to the study of his work.
    • WWR’s spelling uses none of these spellings, but rather a fifth.
    • It seems likely that the spelling were selected based on the ones that provided the best results.
    • Using this method, and their computer program, he was able to find a similar pattern in War and Peace .
  • Lucky Choices
    • So many choices in dates, spelling, and skip patterns were made purely arbitrarily that came out with good results.
    • It seems unlikely that this was not intentional.
  • Hindsight Data Association
    • WRR tested a much longer list of choices in Genesis, found the ones that worked the best, and then compared those to the control texts.
    • When similar choices are made with the control texts, similar results are produced.
  • McKay and the Book
    • He says that the skip patterns are so large that they purely due to chance.
    • The one on the cover is nearly 5000 letters of skip
    • Coincidence made to look like clairvoyance.
  • Moby Dick
    • Newsweek: interview, “When my critics find a message about the assassination of a Prime Minister in Moby Dick , I’ll believe them.”
    • McKay used Drosnin’s exact method to predict the assassination of Rabin, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Trotsky, and even Drosnin himself.
  •  
  •  
  • Jesus in the Old Testament
  • Conclusions
  • Pop Religion
    • The book was a huge public success.
    • This was probably because, to the causal observer, the patterns are compelling.
    • It is popular now days to follow simplified versions of ancient Jewish traditions with trendy, prepackaged spirituality.
    • These fads often have little to do with the original religious tradition.
  • “ Will and Grace” do religion
    • WILL: Grace, stealing his stuffnot going to make your anger go away.
    • GRACE: I'm not angry. I don't get angry. Not since I found Kabbalah.
    • [GRACE HOLDS UP HER LEFT ARM. THERE IS A RED RIBBON TIED AROUND HER WRIST.]
    • WILL: That's the string from a bakery box. You didn't find Kabbalah. You found ka-pound-cake.
    • GRACE: Your words wash over me. You see, Kabbalah has taught me there is no room for negativity in life. And I believe him.
    • WILL: Kabbalah is not a person.
    • GRACE: Then how did he write a book?
    • WILL: I can't imagine anyone having less understanding of this religion.
    • KAREN: Wow, she's really upset.
    • JACK: You know what she needs? A nice warm bowl of Kabbalah.
    • WILL: It's not a... [SIGHS] I'll boil the water.
    Epissode 7.01: FYI: I Hurt Too aired 9/16/2004 Transcript from www.twiztv.com/
  • The Report
    • The Report in Statistical Science , was met with some criticism, even from the editors of the magazine, but went un-refuted for a few years.
    • McKay seems to proved that the data was cooked and that the phenomena is no more than disguised chance.
    • Despite the best efforts of the original team, no compelling defense has been offered to McKay’s accusations.
  • Meanings…
    • There are plenty of hidden meanings in the holy texts of each religion.
    • Judaism, for instance, teaches that there are layers upon layers of understanding when reading text.
    • People who seek meaning should look to understand the text within itself.
    • Religion’s rich tradition of discourse and study is weakened by the attempt to attribute clairvoyance to texts.
    • There are not back doors into ancient traditions.
  • Questions