Re: A word of appreciation

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

On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 17:03:49 +0200 Peter Ruest <>
> 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
> <> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
> "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
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.
Received on Mon Sep 20 23:24:49 2004

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