Re: Small probabilities

From: Don Nield <>
Date: Thu Dec 01 2005 - 20:48:16 EST

I did not say that a meaningful pattern must arise. I just asked Iain
whether in assessing the probabilities he had taken into account the
regularities in the Hebrew language -- by this I mean such things as
the fact that some letters in a typical text occur more frequently than
others, and the numbers in the sequence
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,20,30,40,50,60,70,80,90,100, 200,300,400 are not
equally spaced when considered as a set --- things that provide
contraints on the possible outcomes.
Has Vernon searched for meaningful patterns in other parts of the Bible?


 Vernon Jenkins wrote:

> Don,
> Why should one suppose that a meaningful pattern _must_ result in the
> numbers obtained from a fair alternative reading of any portion of the
> Hebrew text? The fact that it does so, in abundance, in respect of
> the Bible's opening words is surely the stuff of mystery and wonder.
> Vernon
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Don Nield" <>
> To: "Iain Strachan" <>
> Cc: "Randy Isaac" <>; "Vernon Jenkins"
> <>; <>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 8:29 PM
> Subject: Re: Small probabilities
>> Has Iain taken into consideration the fact that the passage in
>> Genesis is not a random sequence of letters but rather a Hebrew text
>> and therefore should be expected to show some patterns if one
>> searches for them?
>> Don
>> Iain Strachan wrote:
>>> On 11/29/05, *Randy Isaac* <
>>> <>> wrote:
>>> Yes, Vernon, I do agree that facts are facts. Can't argue with
>>> that. The significance and meaning of those facts is the
>>> question. Your observations are clever and perhaps even creative
>>> and artistic.
>>> Randy,
>>> I wonder if you could clarify what you mean by saying that Vernon's
>>> observations are "clever" and "artistic". I may have got you wrong,
>>> but it might appear from that that you are saying that with
>>> sufficient ingenuity you can find a clever pattern in any sequence
>>> of numbers.
>>> One of the things I've tried to do in this whole discussion about
>>> small probabilities and description length (Kolmogorov theory etc)
>>> is to illustrate that I think what Vernon has found is _not_ just
>>> the product of an ingenious imagination, or a clever arbitrary bit
>>> of mathematical manipulation - that the pattern in the integers was
>>> indeed something that was deliberately put there, rather than just a
>>> coincidence.
>>> One of the inhibiting factors of this discussion, it seems to me is
>>> that Vernon wishes to put an interpretation on it (that the first
>>> chapter of Genesis is literal truth), which I don't subscribe to,
>>> and which makes the overwhelming majority of people on the ASA list
>>> want to dismiss his observations out of hand. I think if we could
>>> divorce the fact (of the pattern) from Vernon's interpretation, then
>>> we might get a little further. I am of the opinion that the
>>> pattern, which we both agree is a fact, is a piece of deliberate
>>> design. But in general, there appear to be three interpretations of
>>> the facts:
>>> (1) The pattern is a complete coincidence.
>>> (2) The pattern is deliberate and was put there by the human authors.
>>> (3) The pattern is deliberate and is intentional Divine action for
>>> some purpose.
>>> All of my contributions to the "small probabilities" threads (and
>>> earlier ones on Kolmogorov) have been to the end of illustating that
>>> I think there are sound methods for showing that (1) is not the
>>> case. I, therefore have to deal with what are the likely
>>> implications of (2) or (3) being the truth.
>>> What do you think?
>>> Iain
>>> Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that there is any
>>> philosophical or theological significance to the patterns and
>>> relationships you have described. The verses you have quoted
>>> previously to justify such signficance do not give carte blanche
>>> permission to deduce meaning from arbitrary arithmetic
>>> manipulation of numeric values of letters. As we've discussed in
>>> this forum, the low probability of occurrence of numerical results
>>> is not an indication of divine significance.
>>> Randy
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> *From:* Vernon Jenkins <>
>>> *To:* Randy Isaac <> ;
>>> <>
>>> *Sent:* Sunday, November 20, 2005 7:28 PM
>>> *Subject:* Re: Small probabilities
>>> Randy,
>>> Further to the matter of the observed coordination of the
>>> numerical geometries that derive from unbroken sequences of
>>> the Bible's opening Hebrew words, I invite you consider some
>>> additional data which lend considerable weight to these
>>> incontrovertible and remarkable events. The relevant page
>>> titled "Genesis 1:1 - The Inside Story" may be found at
>>> <>.
>>> You may remember, some time ago, Iain commenting on the fact
>>> that these realities are 'not everyone's cup of tea'. But
>>> facts are facts! And facts are the lifeblood of rational and
>>> meaningful debate. Is our grasp of the eternal verities so
>>> sure - so secure - that we, as Christians, can afford to
>>> ignore such solid empirical data? Surely not, as I think
>>> you must agree.
>>> Vernon

Donald A. Nield
Associate Professor, Department of Engineering Science
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
ph  +64 9 3737599 x87908 
fax +64 9 3737468
Courier address: 70 Symonds Street, Room 235 or 305
Received on Thu Dec 1 20:53:56 2005

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