Why the “impartial” committee keeps under wraps the results of the Bible code experiment?

| 11 Comments

To solve the controversy over the alleged Bible code promoted by Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips and Yoav Rosenberg (WRR) and fiercely supported by scores of their followers and epigones of both Judaic and Christian varieties, several experiments have been suggested starting almost immediately after WRR’s paper was published in Statistical Science (in 1994). Perhaps the most significant effort in that direction was made when, in 1998, a committee was formed comprising both proponents and opponents of the Bible code, all distinguished scholars who could not be suspected of lack of impartiality in judging the experimentally revealed data.

Here is the list of the five members of the committee, as introduced by its member, Dr. Dror Bar-Natan [1]: • Prof. Robert (Yisrael) J. Aumann: Chair of the committee. A distinguished economist and mathematician and the recipient of numerous prizes and honors. One of the main people who pushed for the study of “Bible codes” and for the publication of the original WRR paper on the subject. • Prof. Dror Bar-Natan. … • Prof. Harry (Hillel) Furstenberg: A distinguished mathematician and the recipient of numerous prizes and honors. Co-author of a 1989 letter by four distinguished mathematicians supportive of “Bible codes” research. • Prof. Isaak Lapides: A chemist invited to the committee by Prof. Rips. • Prof. Eliyahu Rips: A distinguished mathematician. The inventor and a leading advocate of “Bible Codes”. The initiator of many of the standard methods used by Bible codes “researchers” today.

As the above list unequivocally shows, the committee’s composition can hardly be viewed as being slanted in favor of the code opponents. In fact, out of the five members, only professor Bar-Natan was a strong opponent of the codes. The other four members definitely were not among the code opponents. Rips has been one of the main proponents of the code. Aumann played an important role in making possible the publication of the WRR’s paper in Statistical Science. Furstenberg was a signatory to a letter of 1989 (reportedly composed by him) that supported the codes research. While we don’t know professor Lapides’s views on the codes, the fact that he was added to the committee on professor Rips’s request, speaks for itself.

The committee agreed on a protocol of data selection and experiment’s methodology. The experiment was conducted (in two versions). A report on the results was written.

In fact, this all happened several years ago. However, something odd happened - so far the report has not been made public. Why?

Perhaps the puzzle can be solved if we learn that the results of the experiments were unequivocal: no codes in the Torah have been found by the above impartial committee.

Perhaps this was not a very pleasant outcome for those committee members who wished the experiment to result in an opposite way. Since they, as we know, are distinguished scholars with impeccable reputations, perhaps they would never misreport the data obtained. Could it, though, happen, that, being uncomfortable with the results of their experiment, that committee’s majority, including its chairman, who are on record for supporting the codes, just cannot make themselves face the unpleasant facts and prefer to forget them rather than to publicly report the data?

The fact that the experiment was decisively negative from the standpoint of the code proponents, is obvious from the brief preliminary message from professor Bar-Natan, whose succinct statement is simple and unequivocal: “A Complete Failure of the Codes” [1].

Until (and unless) the committee comes up with a better explanation, the only interpretation of their evident unwillingness to come into the open with the experimental data seems to be that the experimental results were fatal for the codes proponents.

One can sympathize with the discomfort of the code proponents, but the public deserves to know the facts. Keeping the experimental results under wraps hardly can help the code proponents to maintain the credibility of their case.

Reference Dror Bar-Natan. “The Gans Report.” http://www.math.toronto.edu/~drorbn[…]s/index.html

11 Comments

Mark, I think you have it all wrong. The experiments were a success, but the committee is keeping it under wraps. You see, the Bible codes are winning lottery numbers, and the committee is using them to get rich.

There is a really important message from God in the Bible - both Old and New Testaments, in every reliable translation, and in every printed version - you don’t need to rearrange the letters at all. Just read the whole thing, as it is, not missing any letters out. :-)

“Just read the whole thing, as it is, not missing any letters out.”

Bummer! Apparently I’m supposed to kill my rebellious child. Heck. I was kind of fond of him, despite the rebelliousness.

Reed, I appreciate your sense of humor, but we can expect that the codies will cite the beginning words of your comment (#10494)ignoring its humorous conclusion and will claim that “even our adversaries from Panda’s Thumb admit that codes are real.….”

The message was decoded as “This is a work of fiction…”

Russell - Oh really? Here’s a clue: was that an instruction addressed to you? or are you reading commandments addressed to somebody else? Do you have elders at the gate of your town? Would “all Israel” hear of you doing this?

There is a really important message from God in the Bible - both Old and New Testaments, in every reliable translation, and in every printed version - you don’t need to rearrange the letters at all. Just read the whole thing, as it is, not missing any letters out.

It says that abortion is murder and capital punishment is the punishment mandated by God for those convicted of murder. And gay people are going to hell.

There’s some other stuff about forgiveness and love and doing unto others but it’s sort of buried in the last half.

I posted a question for you on the Bathroom Wall, if you’ve got a few seconds today.

Dr. Perakh,

I’ve been an opponent of “Bible Codes”, it’s bad science and bad theology.

This is one of the times, I as a creationist, will side with your position.

Salvador

GWW: Like the forgiveness and love, your question is sort of buried in the last half. I don’t have much time, but I’ll go look.

Incidentally, I’d like to point out that the prejudice being expressed against gays and people who do abortions is yours, not the Bible’s. The Bible says that everybody is sinful. Yes, me too - we’re all bastards. That’s the bad news. But God loves us anyway. That’s the good news.

With regard to capital punishment, just ‘cos that’s what Christians say in some places doesn’t make it true. It implies that a state can have the authority to impose the death penalty, and that Christians ought to accept the reasonable authority of the state, and that people will eventually be held to account for the way in which they used their authority. This is a lot more equivocal than your statement.

I can just tell this post is going to end up on the bathroom wall .….…

Considering the variant texts available of the Tanakh the whole Codes business should have been condemned as sophistry from the start. Any code really in the text was created by scribes with an awareness of gematria - the numerics of key-words - and hence obviously from an intelligent source, just not a convincingly divine source.

As for the divine mandate on capital punishment by the State the selective use of the Torah to justify such is inconsistent. An ignored bit of Torah in the debate is the sacrifice to remove sins of the community leaders over unexplained deaths - the principle being that leaders are responsible for all deaths. The execution of the innocent would make those responsible for unjust condemnation culpable of a murder. Note that. And there is no sacrifice acceptable for murder.

How many people have been executed unjustly? Just visit the Innocence Project and see.

In fact, the Gans committee report, along with some commentary, was published on the Center for the Study of Rationality website in June and July of 2004:

http://www.ratio.huji.ac.il/dp.asp

These publication dates can be confirmed at archive.org.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Perakh published on November 21, 2004 4:33 PM.

Icons of ID: Argument from Ignorance and other logical fallacies was the previous entry in this blog.

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