Re: Watershed

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Thu Jun 21 2001 - 20:45:49 EDT

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    I see no reason to continue this particular exchange. We have each had our
    turn to express ourselves. Let's leave it at that.

    Howard Van Till

    > Howard,
    > Thank you for writing. I will address each of your comments
    > individually.
    > Howard J. Van Till wrote:
    >> Vernon,
    >> As I see it, here is what you appear to have done (again):
    >> 1. Select a particular portion of biblical text (perhaps drawn from a
    >> particular one of variant ancient manuscripts).
    > Concerning Genesis 1:1: as first verse of the Torah, the Hebrew words of
    > this foundational and strategically-placed verse are 'set in stone',
    > having been copied by legions of Jewish scribes down through the
    > centuries.
    > Concerning the Greek of John 1:1, again, I understand there are no
    > variants.
    > Numerically, of course, the Bible's first verse selects itself - as you
    > might confirm by consulting the earlier pages on my website. The
    > discovery concerning pi is quite recent; it was made by a colleague who
    > wrote me about it. Having confirmed the truth of the matter and
    > forwarded the details to others, I was later contacted by a different
    > colleague who had, experimentally, applied the same formula to the Greek
    > of the parallel verse, John 1:1, and found the value of e to drop out.
    >> 2. Select a humanly crafted system (or a combination of systems) of
    >> translating textual characters (including character counts and word
    >> counts) into numbers.
    > Alphabetic numeration is a relic of an earlier age. The Greek and Hebrew
    > systems came into being c600 BC and c200 BC, respectively. Clearly, they
    > were not invented with the evaluation of words in mind! However, because
    > numbers in those days took the form of strings of letters, the currently
    > used procedures for reducing Greek and Hebrew words to numbers fairly
    > reproduce the historically-attested patterns. Character and word counts,
    > of course, are fixed by the lexical structures necessary to carry the
    > ideas to be transmitted in the language concerned.
    >> 3. Build a large collection of numbers that can be generated from the
    >> text (and various subsets of it) by an unrestricted menu of
    >> text-to-number operations.
    > I'm not sure what you are driving at here. Major attributes of Genesis
    > 1:1 are to be found with the minimum of effort, thus:
    > The sum of the 7 Hebrew words = 2701 (= 37x73) - 73rd triangular number;
    > the sum of the 6th and 7th (representing "...and the earth" - a natural
    > subdivision of the verse) = 703 - 37th triangular number (geometrically
    > compatible with 2701); the residue, 1998 (= 3x666 - an interesting
    > association with Revelation 13) represents 3x36th triangular number; and
    > the estimate of pi involves all 7 words and their 28 letters.
    >> 4. Look into the encyclopedia of all numbers and numerical
    >> relationships that can, by any criteria whatsoever, be declared to be
    >> "interesting."
    > I suggest the simple criterion of 'common sense' should indicate that
    > the foregoing confluence of numerical features occurring in the Bible's
    > first verse can hardly be regarded as 'uninteresting' and 'commonplace'!
    > Are events of this kind routinely consigned to the scrap-heap in any
    > other field of human endeavour? Surely not. They must certainly be
    > worthy of a closer and detailed investigation.
    > Much of my research effort has been concerned with this one verse - as a
    > reference to my web pages will confirm. At no time did I construct an
    > encyclopedia of "interesting" numbers and seek matching items among my
    > findings, as you suggest.
    >> 5. Discover that there are instances in which a number (or small group
    >> of numbers) in collection #3 corresponds to a number (or group of
    >> numbers) in encyclopedia #4.
    > It certainly didn't happen that way!
    >> 6. Insist that we should be surprised by this unsurprising result.
    > I am more than perplexed that you should regard the occurrence of an
    > event that,
    > (a) involves two prominent and thematically associated verses of the
    > Christian scriptures,
    > (b) results from the application of the same formula to their
    > historically-attested numerical structures,
    > (c) delivers accurate values for the two most prominent
    > dimensionless constants, pi and e, and
    > (d) is associated with an estimated 'odds against' of around 10
    > billion to 1,
    > as unsurprising!!
    > Howard, I would agree with you that numbers represent an exceedingly
    > pliable medium - particularly attractive to those having imaginations
    > that are unfettered. It is a fact that many Bible numericists have made
    > (and continue to make) exaggerated claims which, on close examination,
    > are revealed to have little substance. I have been very much aware of
    > these potential dangers and have been at great pains to avoid them.
    > Accordingly, you will find little evidence of an over-fertile
    > imagination among my pages.
    > As a Christian, I believe God to be in full ('hands on') and continuous
    > control of all earthly matters, and am not surprised that he should have
    > equipped his word with self-authenticating features - as now seems
    > transparently obvious. Further, I am convinced that what has come to
    > light thus far is but the tip of a vast 'iceberg' of confirmatory
    > information
    > Regarding the self-evident truths that I am making known, I am not clear
    > whether the facts support or refute what you believe we should
    > understand by the term 'Creation'. I would value your comments..
    > Regards,
    > Vernon

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