Re: Numbers

From: Iain Strachan \(asa\) (
Date: Thu Mar 06 2003 - 17:20:56 EST

  • Next message: gordon brown: "Re: By Design (was Re: Numbers)"

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "bivalve" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 6:13 PM
    Subject: Re: Numbers

    > >No one has as yet answered my point that the only scientific explanation
    that has been postulated for the formation of order out of chaos is an
    evolutionary process, and that in order for this to work, each change must
    yield selective advantage. But spelling changes don't change the meaning,
    and whether or not it adds up to a multiple of a significant number clearly
    also doesn't add any selective advantage in the process of evolution of a
    > However, numeric patterns in particular texts might result from selective
    pressures on the part of the editors. The choice of a particular spelling
    or wording among existing variants or synonyms could be directed by an
    effort to create a work that is interesting mathematically as well as
    textually. An analogy might be the versification of Biblical passages into
    hymns. A pattern is generated to suit the needs and interests of the later
    writer without doing violence to the intent of the text.
    Thanks, this is an interesting and thoughtful suggestion; however, given the
    intricacy of the pattern & the fact that it would be a standardisation of
    spelling rather than a choice simply to get that passage to exhibit a
    pattern, I don't think it's all that plausible. There simply wouldn't be
    enough of what mathematicians call "wiggle room". The versification of
    Biblical passages into hymns allows much more wiggle room because you can
    actually change words. At the most, with the Hebrew, all one can do is
    alter spellings (which are "global edits"), or insert the grammatical
    particle "eth". In short I don't think it's really plausible to suggest
    that the evolution of the Hebrew language was driven by a few editors trying
    to get the first verse to exhibit some interesting maths.

    I think this thing went on a lot in _human_ attempts to do gematriac poems
    (quite a common passtime in the 17th Century). In this case, frequent
    unorthodox spellings were adopted, and often dubious grammar as well, in
    order to get the lines to add up to a significant number (e.g. 2300 in one
    case). But these weren't passed on to general use in the language. Also
    don't forget that the poet was working from a blank canvas; not from an
    existing text which would be the case for Gen 1:1.


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