Re: A word of appreciation

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
Date: Mon Sep 20 2004 - 23:00:22 EDT

On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 17:03:49 +0200 Peter Ruest <pruest@mysunrise.ch>
writes:
>
> 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)
>
Peter,
Your position would rebut my argument were I to try to use it against
you. However, you are failing to note that Vernon holds that inspired
scripture is absolute truth and requires no interpretation--you read it
just as it is without qualification or modification. An unqualified
approximation to a transcendental value is not the absolute truth, so it
cannot conform to the reuired dicta. This renders Iain's calculation
irrelevant in support of Vernon.
Dave
Received on Mon Sep 20 23:24:49 2004

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