[Fwd: On Pi and E]

From: Vernon Jenkins (vernon.jenkins@virgin.net)
Date: Fri Jun 29 2001 - 18:28:16 EDT

  • Next message: Vernon Jenkins: "Re: Watershed"

    Dear All,

    You will find attached some comments of Iain Strachan regarding the
    discoveries of 'pi' and 'e' in the biblical text. As you may remember,
    Iain is a computer scientist with a specialised interest in biologically
    inspired algorithms, principally neural networks and genetic algorithms.



    attached mail follows:

    Dear Vernon,

    You might like to forward the following comments of mine to the ASA group.

    I no longer subscribe to the ASA mailing list because I don't really have the time to keep up with a high volume list like this, as I am already involved with another such list. However, Vernon kept me up to date on the exchanges with the group on this issue, and I would like to add the following comments. A mixture of angry dismissal and scorn seems to have followed this post, rather than a considered opinion of what has been presented. I think that even if you reject Vernon's premise (that it indicates some form of Divine Design on the Biblical text), that the numerical features are sufficiently striking at least to admit that it seems to be a scientific phenomenon worth investigating.

    I will state here that when I first heard of the approximation to Pi in Genesis 1:1, that I was a bit skeptical to start with. Initially, it was just a formula taking the letter product divided by the word product, and it gave a figure for pi/4 multiplied by an arbitrary power of 10. At that point, I reckoned that it was no more than "mildly interesting", as someone else put it. Then it became clear that the number of letters (28) was 4 times the number of words, so the correction to the formula (Num letters) * (letter product) / (Num words)*(word product) led to an approximation for Pi, times an arbitrary power of 10. This still wasn't quite enough to convince me that this was a genuine happening and not a fluke of coincidence; the formula seems an arbitrary one plucked out of thin air, and difficult to justify unless a different verse could be made to show a similar feature with exactly the same formula; which would confirm independently that the formula was in some sense valid.

    It was when someone else plugged the numerical values of John 1:1 into precisely the same formula to arrive at a similarly accurate approximation for e (multiplied by a power of 10), that I was finally convinced that this merited further attention. It makes coincidence an extremely long shot, as the formula was not tweaked or altered in any way to produce the "e" result. Also validates the letter count/word count correction factor. If the original formula had been applied to John 1:1, there would have been a very accurate approximation to 17e/52, which would hardly have jumped out at anyone.

    It is difficult to come up with a rational explanation for the above, barring coincidence, and there are long odds against this, given the independent occurrences of the formula in two verses so clearly linked. Furthermore, one can rule out deliberate contrivance by the author of John's Gospel; the number "e" was not defined by mathematicians till the 18th Century AD.

    Other observations I have made subsequently involve evaluating "the formula" on every verse in the Torah (some 5000 verses - with a computer program). I can confirm that the formula effectively computes a random varible. The fractional part of the base 10 part of the logarithm of the function gives a uniform distribution in the range 0 to 1, as one would expect. Genesis 1:1 is the verse that is closest to pi, differing by 10^-5. If one selects an arbitrary other constant (say the square root of two), then one normally finds that the closest one is around 10^-4 distant, which is in accord with what one would expect with 5000 data samples. The second closest verse to pi has a difference of 10^-4; so Gen 1:1 is an order of magnitude closer to pi than it.

    Leaving aside what it means, I would have thought that as scientists the above indicates strongly that a peculiar phenomenon is taking place that should not simply be dismissed because we don't like the look of it, or because it challenges our notions of what Scripture ought to be. What is beyond doubt is that these two verses are pivotal to our faith. Gen 1:1, whatever our approach to Biblical hermeneutics, establishes God as the Creator; John 1:1 establishes the Word as equivalent to God, and later in the chapter shows the Word becoming Flesh. Together the two verses therefore assert the Deity of Christ. Is it therefore unreasonable to speculate that the numerical links between these two verses tend to harmonise with their textual links, and that this is for some purpose?

    Iain Strachan.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Jun 29 2001 - 18:28:20 EDT