From: Peter Ruest <pruest@mysunrise.ch>

Date: Mon Sep 20 2004 - 11:03:49 EDT

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

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