Bible Codes

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience Archive' started by fractal_choice, Jun 1, 2003.

  1. fractal_choice Registered Senior Member


    Can anyone help me show to this guy at uni that Bible codes are a crock and that he is wasting his money buying the software that one company is selling?

    He doesn't seem to understand that if you search through a text thousands of times in thousands of different ways then you are going to find "matches" and patterns that seem to convey meaning. One such recent attempt of his to prove to me that Bible codes are real was the invasion of Iraq, and how it was supposed to end before May. After the Iraqi leadership was bought out and surrendered, it was before May, and this Bible code advocate reckons that proves that they are real.

    Someone help me! This guy is driving me insane

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  3. Firefly Registered Senior Member

    You're looking for counter arguments? Try Google. This page seems quite good, from the point of veiw of mathematicians and academics.

    Here's a petition, but for academics only.

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  5. Siddhartha Registered Senior Member

    With a large enough base of text/numbers to work from, you'll find codes in anything. The same thing works for various Edgar Allan Poe novels for example (that's the only one I can recall off the top of my head), so go tell your friend that you managed to find words relating to the war in Iraq in your car manual, and you want to be the first to welcome him to the church of Jesus Chrysler.
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  7. soontide Registered Member

    problem with faith

    the main problem you are going to run into with this fellow is that he most likely truely believes that the bible is a holy document given to man by God. This is what sets it apart from novels by Edgar Allen Poe or your car manual. The reason that people belive this stuff is that they want to. Badly. It gives them reassurance that their life isn't meaningless. The basic matmatics of the situation will mean nothing to him as, if this guy really wants to believe and he has heard some of the hooey that I have surrounding this, He will counter that it was Gods plan that we discover this matmatical formula to crack the code. Sure it works with other works as well, but those aren't the bible, so those are "false prophecies".

    Good luck with it, but I really don't think you will be able to find a way to counter this guys arguement. You are dealing with reason and he is dealing with faith. They rarely mix well.
  8. Agent Smith Registered Senior Member

    I believe in God because i feel he exists.
  9. dividivad Registered Member

    Even if he believes that the Bible has more significance than most other texts, "codes" are still an unlikely and/or random scenario.

    as it was stated earlier, anyone can give something meaning. thats why melted barbie dolls sell for $500 a pop on ebay
  10. revbill2001 Registered Senior Member

    Good luck

    Faith is a wonderful thing, because you don't have to rely on logic. It has been my experience that a discussion with any fanatic is a one way street. As long as you let them talk, or agree with them everything is fine, but if you disagree with them they will shout you down and refuse to listen. In that type of situation, you can't even hope for a draw. Maybe you should just tell him that if you do the right things then the great God Satan will answer your prayers. With any luck at all, he will never speak to you again. In any event, just remember that it takes two to have a disagreement.

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  11. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

    The Problem with the Bible Code

    Michael Drosnin, who wrote The Bible Code, has a new book out called, not surprisingly, the Bible Code II.

    The problem with both books is that they're bunk.

    The process relies on pure random chance to predict events....which include assassinations of Sadat, Rabin, and Kennedy as well as events such as the Holocaust, Watergate, and Hiroshima. The first book predicted the end of the world in 2000, so I suppose he's able to print Bible Code II since the publishing industry survived this armegedden.

    In the new version, Drosnin predicts the WTC disaster, the Bush-Gore election conflict and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The main problem with all of his predictions is that he made them after they already happened, claiming that they were there in the bible all along. The only predictions that he made before they happened, never came to pass, such as the end of the world in 2000.

    A Danish physicist named Niels Bohr disputed Drosnin's work (as did other skeptics) and Drosnin replied with, "When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, I'll believe them." So that's what Brenden McKay , an Australian mathematician did. and was able to predict the assassinations of Ghandi, Rabin, Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. among others.

    An American physicist, David E. Thomas, discovered the phrase, "the Bible code is a silly, dumb, fake, false, evil, nasty, dismal fraud and snake-oil hoax" within the excerpt of the Bible Code II found on by applying a little math.

    While being interviewed on CrossFire on CNN , Drosnin stated "Let me start by telling you I'm only a reporter. I didn't figure it all out. A very famous mathematician in Israel is the man who discovered the Bible code. I'm only the reporter who is telling his story and who is using the code that he created to see what is predicted. And it is indeed very frightening."

    Yep... very profitable too. That quote is about two-thirds down the transcript if you care to click the link. Just search for "Drosnin." Drosnin defends his work (or I should say this "very famous mathemetician's" work) without much convincing testimony.

  12. fractal_choice Registered Senior Member

    Thanks for your input
  13. theanswer1000 Registered Member

    Michael Drosnin actually did make predictions for the future in his second book: in 2004 he said that a missle would hit New York. In 2005, smallpox would plague the world. In 2006, Nuclear war would hit.

    Also, he didn't say the world would end in 2000, he suggested thats when Nuclear war would strike but it could have been intrepreted as 2006 because of the Hebrew translation. We shall see in 2006.

    And the Moby Dick code isn't nearly as solid as you think:

    New Moby Dick Cluster
    Harpoons Code Skeptics
    By Johannes Verboom

    Call me "Johann." Some weeks ago—never mind how long precisely—having done one internet search for the word "Biblecode," I was very astonished, seeing how many of the web sites connect Moby Dick’s text with the subject of Bible codes in an attempt to discredit the Bible code phenomenon.

    We can all understand why the idea of hidden codes in the Bible would intrigue many. It excites people in a similar way as does the decipherment of a long lost language. In a recently published book, Lost Languages, Andrew Robinson describes it as follows: "the decipherment of ancient scripts is a compelling intellectual and imaginative challenge; it makes history; it changes our perceptions of our place in the world; it casts new light on how we read."1

    If proven to exist the Bible codes could of course have a far greater impact on the lives of millions of people than the decipherment of any lost language would ever have. Since the idea of codes in the Bible goes against some people’s views of God and how the Scriptures were written, it is imperative that we make a thorough investigation to uncover the truth.

    Having made some checks of my own in the past I have time and again found clear indications that the Hebrew text of the Bible does indeed contain codes. As time went by I found that sometimes one can anticipate what to search for or where to look based on a background knowledge of the Bible and familiarity with the subject. Seeing then how often the text of Moby Dick was used and abused on sites about Bible codes, I concluded that if it had become so important to the issue of the code phenomenon it would not be unreasonable to expect a very clear encoding of the term "Moby Dick" in the Hebrew text of the Bible.

    Moby Dick in Job 41

    In Job 41 I did indeed discover an ELS2 of Moby Dick and also some related ELSs. Some people I spoke to about this were impressed, while others couldn’t fully appreciate its implications because they didn’t have enough background information on the code phenomenon. We should, of course, not just believe in something because it impresses us or dismiss it through lack of understanding. I will therefore discuss the validity of this finding and of some others I have found that display the same phenomenon.

    Before I show you my findings, however, I would like to give some background information that makes even more clear why discovering a genuine encoding3 of Moby Dick could be really important to Bible Code research.

    In 1997, journalist Michael Drosnin wrote The Bible Code in which he reported how Israeli scientists had discovered "codes" hidden in the Hebrew text of the Bible. Trying to find some codes by himself, he discovered a combination of words that seemed to talk about a possible assassination of the Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. He even went as far as to warn Rabin about this. When Rabin was indeed murdered this "prediction" came under the scrutiny of critics who claimed that the scripture that crossed Rabin’s name was not talking about an assassin but about an involuntary "manslayer." Others claimed that it was all merely coincidence. This prompted Drosnin to make the following challenge: "When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, I will believe them."4 Most people may have understood this to mean that he would then have to admit that to all likelihood his findings in the Hebrew Scriptures were nothing but coincidence after all.

    Skeptic's Conclusions Mistaken

    Drosnin’s challenge was eagerly picked up by his critics and it wasn't long before mathematician Brendan McKay came up with examples of such "messages" in Moby Dick. To people with limited or no background knowledge of the code phenomenon this seemed to prove that all ELSs in the Hebrew text are merely random occurrences and without any special significance. In this article I would like to show you that this conclusion is wrong.

    First we need to be aware how McKay managed to find "messages" in Moby Dick. As any serious code researcher knows, finding ELSs is not the real challenge; it is in fact rather easy to find ELSs in any book. The real challenge is finding ELSs that defy the laws of probability. For example: finding an ELS of my name somewhere in this article could be due to chance. But finding it in the very first paragraph of this article, coinciding with the place where I introduce myself, makes this highly improbable. Using a computer and a program that can do a statistical analysis we could examine the text. Testing the odds of my name occurring in this exact spot could then either confirm or dispell our suspicions that this paragraph was written in a particular way to accomodate a deliberate encoding.

    The reason why Drosnin’s challenge was so easily met is that he never put down any strict guidelines to test the validity of the findings. Although strict guidelines existed for the original experiment5 upon which Drosnin claimed to have based his work, McKay like Drosnin did not demonstrate any use of such rules or guidelines. In fact McKay admits this on his web site.

    We see there that McKay assumes that Drosnin did not conform to any rules and therefore does not apply any himself. So although some of the results on McKay’s web site may look amazing, do they really prove that there are no encodings in the Hebrew Scriptures? No, the only thing they prove is that you can find results that look significant in any text, as long as you don't apply any rules that restrict your chances of finding them. This was known to the scientists that conducted the original experiment but they emphasised in the article they published in Statistical Science that they found significant results even though they restricted the experiment to only incorporate minimal or near minimal ELSs.6

    Moby Dick Matrix

    We will now discuss a matrix that consists of terms relating to and clustering around the minimal ELS of Moby Dick in Job 41. In testing the odds of my results I used the program Codefinder. In order to test the clustering effect I needed a list of terms that could not just have been chosen by me to fit my expectations. I concluded that the terms should therefore consist chiefly of the names of the main characters in the book.

    Since I did not possess the book, nor had read it in the past, I searched the internet for a site that discusses the book. In this way I was able to establish an objective list using the information found on the web site. Notice that the names used are primarily those of the captain and crew of the Pequod, the ship that is destroyed by Moby Dick. To make the list reflect accurately the character discussion on I had to include some people that are not part of the crew but do play an important role in the story nonetheless. I further included only a few terms that I found could reasonably be expected to be included, i.e., "Pequod" as it is the name of the ship; "Herman" and "Melville," the first and last name of the author of Moby Dick; and the names of the ones involved in the Moby Dick challenge: "M. Drosnin" who made the challenge, "B. McKay" who took up the challenge and "J. Verboom" who discovered the Moby Dick cluster.

    Devising a Scrambling Method

    In order to be able to recognize if any clustering is due to chance or design, I devised a scrambling method that exchanges letters inside control terms that contain the same letters as the original. The idea behind this is that we do not expect non-existing words to be encoded with abnormal low probability. As the control terms contain the exact same letters as the original they should as a group not do much better or worse than the group of valid terms. Since Hebrew uses a lot of prefixes and suffixes, substituting letters at the beginning and end of words may create new valid words that are therefore not suitable as control terms. We will therefore start in the middle of the word and adhere to the following rules:

    1. Exchange the two middle letters of each word in the case of an even number of letters, or the middle three in the case of an odd number of letters.
    2. If by chance this creates a new valid word, start again with the original word and try the letters that are one place further away from the middle of the word; if you need to, do this till you reach the outer two letters. If all this yields no non-valid words, you’ll have to disqualify this word in both valid and scrambled form since you have no options left for scrambling.

    3. If a word is only three letters, reverse the last two or if this yields no non-valid word reverse the first two. These are the only two options since exchanging the outer letters just gives the same word in reverse and is therefore not scrambled. For the same reason we can not use two-letter words for scrambling purposes.

    4. All control terms that do not comply with the above rules can not be accepted as valid control terms and should therefore remain unused along with their originals.

    The following terms were initially7 not found inside the extended matrix:

    —The Hebrew spelling of "Ishmael" did not show up in its normal form.8
    —"Queequeg" can be spelled in a large variety of ways. I cannot be sure I tested them all. The acceptable spellings I checked did not show up in either form.

    —”Starbuck” did not show up in scrambled form.

    —"Gabriel" did not show up in either form.

    —"M.Drosnin" did not show up in either form.

    —”B.McKay” did not show up in the scrambled form of the alternative spelling.

    If not all terms show up in the matrix, that does not prove that therefore the whole cluster is invalid. It could be they couldn’t be made to conform to the above rules, or it could be due merely to slight variations in the Hebrew text, or due to unused ways of spelling words. We will assess the validity by comparing the overall scoring of valid and non-valid words.

    So as not to be able to use any "wiggle room" we will restrict ourselves to using only those terms that appear at their 100% minimal skip value within the cluster, i.e., if we find a search term at more than one skip value in this cluster, we will only use one that has the lowest skip value. Once we have carefully applied the above rules we can look at the “R-value in matrix” that the program Codefinder automatically assigns to the terms.

    Less than 1 in 22.38 billion!

    Since we want to compare the overall scores we will add up all the values, both positive and negative. When we do this for the scrambled terms we find an R-value of 2.126 or 1 in 134, which is well within our expectation. However, when we do the same for valid words we find an R-value of 10.35 or a probability for this cluster of less than 1 in 22.38 billion! This means that the cluster of valid words has a probability that is 167.5 million less likely than the cluster of scrambled terms. Therefore, even this cluster on its own would already be very strong evidence for encoding.

    My critics will of course claim that my spelling of the terms in the searchlist is somehow "special;" that I chose the ones that did very well and ignored ones that would do very badly. All I can say to them is that I have tried to include alternative spellings that I am aware of. If they want to try and produce a list of additional spellings that conform to the rules of Hebrew spelling, I welcome them to do that. We can then add those further spellings to the existing list and recalculate the odds. Personally I don’t believe that this will significantly change the odds. The odds of finding additional terms that can undo such a strong effect are of course negligable.

    This is not all however. Further evidence for encoding was found by the research team at Bible Code Digest. After I told them about the Moby Dick cluster in Job 41, they discovered independently four extended ELSs of considerable length. They all cross the cluster but are too long to be included in the matrix.

    As if all this was not yet enough evidence to the validity of this cluster; there is also very strong contextual evidence. Have I already mentioned that the Moby Dick ELS appears at its 100% minimum skip value over the entire Hebrew Bible? This in itself would of course not mean much were it not for the extraordinary place where it appears: Job 41. The placement of this ELS is so perfect that I can’t see how anyone could deny deliberate encoding:

    "Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook. or tie down his tongue with a rope?
    Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook?
    Will he keep begging you for mercy? Will he speak to you with gentle words?
    Will he make an agreement with you for you to take him as your slave for life?
    Can you make a pet of him like a bird or put him on a leash for your girls?
    Will traders barter for him? Will they divide him up among the merchants?
    Can you fill his hide with harpoons or his head with fishing spears?
    If you lay a hand on him, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
    Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering.
    No one is fierce enough to rouse him. Who then is able to stand against me?
    Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs me." New International Version
    Consider the following: the Bible contains only five places that mention the Leviathan: Job 3:8; 41:1; Psalm 74:14; 104:26 and Isaiah 27:1. Of these only the account in Job 41 describes man’s attempts to catch a Leviathan with all the tools of whaling, like harpoons, fish hooks, fish spears and barbed irons. There is no doubt that this is the only place in the Bible that is a perfect match for the subject of whale fishing. Coincidence again? Chapter 41 is only 930 characters long. The entire Hebrew scriptures are 1,196,925 characters long. This means that only if I had almost 1,300 different chapters in the Bible that speak about whaling could I reasonably expect that one of them would be a perfect match for the 100% minimum ELS of "Moby Dick." Unfortunately for the skeptics, there is only one such chapter. It is only one part in 1,287 of the entire Hebrew scriptures and it contains an ELS that has an R-value over this chapter of 3.334 or odds of 1 in 2,158. Even if I only had this contextual evidence, the odds would be at least 1 in 2.8 million. After considering all the evidence the conclusion is clear: Job 41 is deliberately encoded. Not just once, but several times over.

    Before I conclude this article I would just like to draw your attention to the context of the first letter of the McKay extension. Read the text that crosses the bet of "B.McKay" and find here a very appropiate description of the extent of McKay’s understanding of the code phenomenon.

    This is all I can say on the subject of Moby Dick at the moment. It should be clear that there is a great difference with what McKay "found." I have discovered other ELS’s that also show a very strong context-related encoding. Maybe I will discuss them in a future article. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or comments you can e-mail me at the following address:

    1 Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World’s Undeciphered Scripts, by Andrew Robinson, McGraw-Hill Professional, New York, 2002.
    2 ELS = Equidistant Letter Sequence; this refers to a word or phrase found by repeatedly skipping an equal number of letters.
    3 An ELS is not necessarily deliberately encoded in the text; in fact most ELSs are the result of random chance. To denote an ELS that is placed in the text on purpose. I use the term "encoding."
    4 Newsweek, June 9, 1997.
    5 The "Great Sages" Experiment conducted by Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg and published in 1994 in Statistical Science.
    6 They examined the 10 shortest ELSs for all their search terms.
    7 Some of the "missing" terms were found in longer extended terms.
    8 The first scrambling of the Hebrew spelling of Ishmael gave a term that in Hebrew would mean "there exists a people of God." For this reason I had to apply rule number two and choose the next valid scrambled form. Please note that though this term scored actually quite high [R-value 1.7] compared to it’s further scrambling result and most of the other terms. This is a further indication that valid phrases score higher than non-valid ones.
  14. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

    And, like so many other "prophets" (or should I say, "profits?"), he will likely be disproven, but not before he has been able to bank some book sales for a few years. This guy's snakeoil is sordid and unconscionable in that he takes advantage of the belief systems of the masses in order to turn a profit.

    And, believe it or not, I actually read Verboom's "article," which can be found in it's original form at This Link. I saw nothing conclusive about it. In fact, it appeared to be pseudoscientific, smoke-and-mirrors, designed to offer credibility to an already incredulous idea.

    Like it or not, the Bible Code is malarky. For predictions to be "encoded" into the bible, the torah, or mad magazine, it would require knowing what the future holds in store before the writing. People don't even know what's going on right now, much less be able to predict the future. If the sun were to explode just as your eyes reached the period in the previous sentance, you still wouldn't know it by the time your eyes reached this period.

    It would take about 8 minutes for there to be any indication. Therefore, it can be said that we don't even know what is happening at this very moment until the information (which cannot travel faster than the speed of light) reaches us.

    Knowing the future would require that some information can travel "backwards" at a "negative" velocity. This hypothesis is not supported by mathematical models. A particle either has a velocity of zero or higher, unless it is a photon (which will perpetually travel at the speed of light). Either way, the answer is always positive velocity. Information cannot be transmitted to the past, only to the future.

    Therefore, BibleCode messages must be random bits of information.

    It's really late, and I never really got into physics/math, so I take no responsibility for any "trampling" I did to the current theories of space/time,

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    but if there are any physics people out there that want to clarify, I'd enjoy reading it.
  15. Xevious Truth Beyond Logic Registered Senior Member

    Even if the Bible Codes are purely fake, you have to admit they are a LOT more descripitive than anything Nostrodomas put out. To me they are far more interesting on that point alone.

    The issue of neumerology applied to the Bible is not new at all. It is a very old concept, dating back to the ancient Hebrew mystacism called the Kaballah.
  16. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    Do try not to dig up two year old threads in future, particularly when making your first posts on a forum. Welcome to sci-forums.
  17. Squeak22 4th Level Human Registered Senior Member

    Where are you getting all this great info??

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    I don't even want to go into all the things wrong with this. But I'll say one thing. You would have to launch a ship into space (well past earth orbit) to correctly position a blast to be in downtown New York, since we are also moving through the universe. I'm not saying it's impossible, but the planning and launching of such a device would require more planning and secrecy than I think any organization can handle.

    Sorry to bump the old thread, but I couldn't resist.

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  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    If it's not a secret, show me a reliable source for this information.

    I don't think that would work.

    Yes. That was using a particular technique involving a special gas of atoms. The speed was measured in the gas, not in vacuum.

    There are no known particles with negative mass.

    The speed of light is only constant in a vacuum. In your swimming pool, for example, it slows down.

    Can you give us the link to the web page?
  19. Naomi [oxiglycodextrosium] Registered Senior Member

    Just steal whatever he's smoking, and he'll settle down. You know how these crackpots work.

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  20. Silas asimovbot Registered Senior Member

    James R, you're a moderator here. I already pointed out qqcd'a had dug up an old thread. Why are you feeding this troll?

    Welcome withdrawn.
  21. Squeak22 4th Level Human Registered Senior Member

    Here is what I think he's talking about. For some reason, this super-derailed.

    They don't even plan to START experiments on this until 2006. It reeks of a professor who needs Tenure, and couldn't think of anything else. I don't see how light traveling around a single atom would send it into the past if it moved away from the asolute center, but I'm still looking for a dissenting opinion on the subject, although I'm still looking (and I'm not sure it would be posted, since it's no "woohoo" type news. I'll have to start actually looking at the Uconn website to look further into this.) There are a couple of problems with this:

    1. It has to be cooled to almost absolute zero, and the experiments are only on one neutron currently.

    2. Only by moving away from the center you can move into the past, and only since the machine has been turned on.

    3. How would you measure any results? Theoretically, as soon as you turn the thing on, you would know if it worked or not immeadiately. We would be enslaved by our future selves

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  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    That won't be necessary, quelquechosedautre.

    Please don't cross-post to multiple threads in future. You've posted at least two of your posts in three different threads. That is against the rules at sciforums.
  23. Yonatan Registered Member


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