Re: A word of appreciation

From: Peter Ruest <pruest@mysunrise.ch>
Date: Mon Sep 20 2004 - 11:03:49 EDT

Vernon Jenkins expressed his appreciation that this list was more
tolerant of his posts than a YEC list he tried. In response, he again
got quite negative comments (to put it mildly) about his endeavors! I
feel I have to jump in here and remind the list of a few points.

(1) Three years ago, when Vernon presented the findings of pretty
accurate values of pi in Gen.1:1 and e in John 1:1, I confirmed his
findings and reported it to the list. The fractional deviations are
about 4x10^-6 for each case.

(2) I asked for opinions about estimating the significance. The only
answer I got was from Iain Strachan who wrote me on 5 Jul 2001
(off-list, but I quote him here with his permission he gave me then):

"As far as the probability is concerned, I calculated the distribution
of the logarithm of the number computed by Vernon's formula, and found
it to be, to all intents and purposes a uniform random variable in the
range from zero to 1. You are right in stating that you expect one of
the 5000 or so verses to come within 10^-4, and that therefore it is
perhaps not that unlikely that one of them is within 10^-5. However,
the chance of any _pre-specified_ verse being this close, given a
uniform distribution, is indeed 10^-5. As you are aware, Vernon has
indicated a large number of other numerical properties of the text of
Gen 1:1 as well, so I think it's fair to state that the chance that
_this one_ comes within 10^-5 is indeed as stated, because it already
seems to exhibit other, independent properties. If some arbitrary other
verse anywhere else in the Torah had come within 10^-5 of pi, then I
would not have assigned anything remarkable to it. The fact remains
that the very first verse is the closest to pi, and it is an order of
magnitude closer than any other verse. (I should note here that the
division into verses is perhaps arbitrary, as the original text was not
so divided, but one had to adopt some division in order to compute the
statistics).

"If one were being ultra conservative, one would not multiply up the
probabilities of it independently occurring in Gen 1:1 and John 1:1. It
has been argued (B...'s recent post) that the formula is an arbitrary
one, plucked out of thin air; one might accuse Vernon (actually it was
not Vernon who discovered this) of concocting a formula to make the
numbers come to an interesting constant. So to be ultra conservative,
one should only take the value given in John 1:1 (what I would term the
"validation set"), and cite that probability (as now the formula is
pre-specified). It is still 10^-5, which looks well beyond
coincidence. Additionally there are other striking integer based
numerical properties in John 1:1 which relate to the numerical geometry
findings that Vernon published in Gen 1:1.

"However, in response to the accusation that it was an arbitrary
formula, Vernon subsequently challenged B... to produce an arbitrary
mathematical formula of similar simplicity that mapped the first 26
digits of pi to the name "VernonJenkins". This, I believe demonstrates
that it isn't too easy to come up with simple mathematical
transformations that give the desired results."

(3) As far as I am aware, there are no known reading variants among all
available manuscripts for these two verses. Each of them represents a
self-contained proclamation, which makes it hardly reasonable to claim
these verse delimitations to be arbitrary. Both verses are clearly of
very fundamental theological significance for the Old and New
Testaments, respectively. They are clearly not the only fundamental
ones, but how many others would you add to the list - 10, 20, 50...?
Certainly not 5000! Thus, Iain's probability estimates are very
conservative, if anything.

(4) Vernon's findings about pi and e have been challenged on the basis
of their being only approximations, rather than the exact values - which
God surely knows! This challenge is quite off-track, as there is really
no reason to suppose (and Vernon never claimed it, as far as I know)
that God should have produced the exact values if anything -
particularly since both pi and e are transcendental.

(5) In any context of scientific investigation yielding such estimates
of probability, a charge of coincidence would be considered absurd.

Whatever any of us think they should do with these findings is a
personal matter, but let's be fair with Vernon! The finding as such _is_
indeed very interesting, and no one has yet produced any reasonable
suggestion as to how it could have been fabricated or resulted from
coincidence.

(Now please don't charge me again with claiming the Bible to "teach
science"!)

Peter
 

-- 
Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
<pruest@dplanet.ch> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
"..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Mon Sep 20 11:58:22 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Sep 20 2004 - 11:58:24 EDT