The Bible Code Decoded


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

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  • The Bible Code Decoded

    1. 1. THE BIBLE CODE Because it’s hip to find the hidden meaning in the holy texts By Josh Fixler
    2. 2. The Book
    3. 4. What Was It? Michael Drosnin
    4. 5. History
    5. 6. History Lesson Is this new? <ul><li>No! </li></ul><ul><li>Jewish rabbis, mystics, and theologians have sought to understand the text through Gematria for thousands of years. </li></ul>
    6. 7. What is Gematria <ul><li>(a) = 1 (ch) = 8 </li></ul><ul><li>(b) = 2 (y) =10 </li></ul><ul><li>(g) = 3 </li></ul><ul><li>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). </li></ul>
    7. 8. But Wait! <ul><li>Gematria looks at the relationship between letters within words </li></ul><ul><li>There is no foundation for looking at relationships between letters in different words. </li></ul>
    8. 9. Modern Gematria <ul><li>Bible Code is billed as a modern version of Gematria. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bible code is a fundamental departure from the essence of Gematria. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bible code has found its way into popular culture but Gemetria remains obscure. </li></ul></ul>
    9. 10. History of the Modern Movement 1940s Rabbi Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl 1985-1994 Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg 1998 Michael Drosnin
    10. 12. The Study “ Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis” By Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg
    11. 13. Introduction to the Study <ul><li>“ Equidistant Letter Sequences” </li></ul><ul><li>Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament </li></ul><ul><li>“ Close Proximity” </li></ul>
    12. 14. So, For Instance: Genesis 1:1 - 1:4
    13. 15. <ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>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.  </li></ul><ul><li>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 ' </li></ul><ul><li>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.  </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>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 &quot;not too large.&quot;  </li></ul>
    14. 16. Sorry, It’s Complicated!
    15. 17. Here are the Basics <ul><li>They were looking for words spelled out by skipping regular amounts of letters </li></ul><ul><li>On a long line the skips are every few letters </li></ul><ul><li>When the lines are divided in a box, the skips line up. </li></ul>
    16. 18. What they were looking for Encyclopedia of Great Men in Israel
    17. 19. Their Conclusions <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>They Concluded that the “proximity of ELS's with related meanings in the Book of Genesis is not due to chance. ” </li></ul>
    18. 20. <ul><li>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. </li></ul>So…
    19. 21. Opposition to the Study
    20. 22. Brendan McKay <ul><li>A professor of Computer Science at Australian National University. </li></ul><ul><li>A recognized mathematician and Skeptic. </li></ul><ul><li>1997 he began publishing refutations of the work by Witztum, Rips, and Yoav </li></ul><ul><li>He is considered to be the authoritative skeptic of bible code claims. </li></ul>
    21. 23. McKay’s Argument <ul><li>Fortuitous Spelling Choices </li></ul><ul><li>Lucky Choices </li></ul><ul><li>Hindsight Data Association </li></ul>
    22. 24. Fortuitous Spelling Choices <ul><li>There are a verity of ways to spell most Hebrew names, and most Hebrew dates. </li></ul>
    23. 25. Many Spellings <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>WWR’s spelling uses none of these spellings, but rather a fifth. </li></ul>
    24. 26. <ul><li>It seems likely that the spelling were selected based on the ones that provided the best results. </li></ul><ul><li>Using this method, and their computer program, he was able to find a similar pattern in War and Peace . </li></ul>
    25. 27. Lucky Choices <ul><li>So many choices in dates, spelling, and skip patterns were made purely arbitrarily that came out with good results. </li></ul><ul><li>It seems unlikely that this was not intentional. </li></ul>
    26. 28. Hindsight Data Association <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>When similar choices are made with the control texts, similar results are produced. </li></ul>
    27. 29. McKay and the Book <ul><li>He says that the skip patterns are so large that they purely due to chance. </li></ul><ul><li>The one on the cover is nearly 5000 letters of skip </li></ul><ul><li>Coincidence made to look like clairvoyance. </li></ul>
    28. 30. Moby Dick <ul><li>Newsweek: interview, “When my critics find a message about the assassination of a Prime Minister in Moby Dick , I’ll believe them.” </li></ul><ul><li>McKay used Drosnin’s exact method to predict the assassination of Rabin, Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Trotsky, and even Drosnin himself. </li></ul>
    29. 33. Jesus in the Old Testament
    30. 34. Conclusions
    31. 35. Pop Religion <ul><li>The book was a huge public success. </li></ul><ul><li>This was probably because, to the causal observer, the patterns are compelling. </li></ul><ul><li>It is popular now days to follow simplified versions of ancient Jewish traditions with trendy, prepackaged spirituality. </li></ul><ul><li>These fads often have little to do with the original religious tradition. </li></ul>
    32. 36. “ Will and Grace” do religion <ul><li>WILL: Grace, stealing his stuffnot going to make your anger go away. </li></ul><ul><li>GRACE: I'm not angry. I don't get angry. Not since I found Kabbalah. </li></ul><ul><li>[GRACE HOLDS UP HER LEFT ARM. THERE IS A RED RIBBON TIED AROUND HER WRIST.] </li></ul><ul><li>WILL: That's the string from a bakery box. You didn't find Kabbalah. You found ka-pound-cake. </li></ul><ul><li>GRACE: Your words wash over me. You see, Kabbalah has taught me there is no room for negativity in life. And I believe him. </li></ul><ul><li>WILL: Kabbalah is not a person. </li></ul><ul><li>GRACE: Then how did he write a book? </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul><ul><li>WILL: I can't imagine anyone having less understanding of this religion. </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul><ul><li>KAREN: Wow, she's really upset. </li></ul><ul><li>JACK: You know what she needs? A nice warm bowl of Kabbalah. </li></ul><ul><li>WILL: It's not a... [SIGHS] I'll boil the water. </li></ul>Epissode 7.01: FYI: I Hurt Too aired 9/16/2004 Transcript from
    33. 37. The Report <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>McKay seems to proved that the data was cooked and that the phenomena is no more than disguised chance. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the best efforts of the original team, no compelling defense has been offered to McKay’s accusations. </li></ul>
    34. 38. Meanings… <ul><li>There are plenty of hidden meanings in the holy texts of each religion. </li></ul><ul><li>Judaism, for instance, teaches that there are layers upon layers of understanding when reading text. </li></ul><ul><li>People who seek meaning should look to understand the text within itself. </li></ul><ul><li>Religion’s rich tradition of discourse and study is weakened by the attempt to attribute clairvoyance to texts. </li></ul><ul><li>There are not back doors into ancient traditions. </li></ul>
    35. 39. Questions