Re: [asa] Designed Kangaroos?

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Aug 09 2007 - 05:06:16 EDT

On 8/9/07, Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net> wrote:
>
> It strikes me that this line of thinking is rather analogous to the ID
> logic founded (at least in part) on improbability of some observed
> attribute.
> It would appear that the attributes that Vernon observes are indeed a very
> unlikely outcome of natural processes (though still not zero probability).
> If that is postulated, then the choice between Human Design and
> Supernatural Design seems to require a more thoughtful assessment of
> probabilities (or improbabilities), whether formal or intuitive.
>

I don't quite follow you there Jim. I would have said that the careful
examination of probabilities has to do with establishing Design or
Intentionality as opposed to the pattern being a coincidence.

The distinction between Human and Supernatural design is a harder one to
deal with using probabilistic arguments. If one is an atheist, or indeed a
Christian who refuses to accept that such Supernatural patterns could exist,
then Human Design is the only option open to one. As I've mentioned before
a Prof. of History of Maths I consulted during my music/numerology research
told me that the New Testament was full of phrases whose gematria were
multiples of 37. For a long time I refused to believe that - the
implication from him being that the human authors deliberately contrived
names such as "Son of Man" to come to multiples of 37. When I showed him
Vernon's patterns in Gen 1:1, which are also very much based on 37
multiples, his response was "Oh ... so it seems they were up to the same
thing in Old Testament times". The instant assumption of a non-believer was
that it was Human Design. Note he didn't for a moment dispute that the
patterns were designed.

My response to this is that there are documented examples where humans have
deliberately written to a numerical constraint, and the twofold constraint
of (1) Writing meaningful text and (2) a number constraint inevitably leads
to contorted text and distorted grammar. Consider the following piece of
doggerel that was published in Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" section
of Scientific American:

Now I, even I would celebrate
In rhymes unapt the great
Immortal Syracusan rivaled nevermore
Who in his wondrous lore
Passed on before
Left men his guidance
How to circles mensurate.

The only real interest in the above is that the number of letters in each
word gives the first 30 decimal places of pi.

A second example was cited in a book I read "Bach and the Riddle of the
Number Alphabet" (Ruth Tatlow). The book examined the theory, often cited
that Bach used gematria of his own name in his compositions. In letter sums
B-A-C-H comes to 14, and J-S-B-A-C-H, in the Latin 24 letter alphabet yields
the total 41. This coincidence apparently fascinated Bach, and there are
many examples that have been found of 14 bar and 41 bar sections in his
music. The book examines the plausibility of this thesis, and also looks at
contemporary gematria games, including poems that were deliberately
constructed so that each line yielded the same numerical total. Tatlow
observes that in all cases these poems were highly artificial in nature,
often had contorted syntax, and deliberately misspelled words to make the
total come out right, and also often didn't even make the right total due to
miscalculations by the author!

This is what makes me think that the dual constraint of making meaningful
text and of obeying mathematical constraints means that it is unlikely that
anything natural and meaningful could be constructed. And one should bear
in mind that in the case of Vernon's findings, it is not just a simple
matter of the line total coming to a desired total (if it was I think one
could write it off as coincidence), but also the very detailed internal
structure.

One thing I'd strongly contest is Vernon's repeated assertion that it means
that Scripture is "self-authenticating". It so happens that in computer
science one makes self-authenticating documents with "electronic
signatures". These are constructed by a technique that bears a strong
resemblance to gematria. One computes a mathematical "checksum" over a
document, based on the numerical values of the characters in the document
(ASCII codes). This checksum is then encrypted with a password unique to
the signer of the document. This means that if any part of the document is
changed by someone without access to the original author's password will
immediately be invalidated, because the checksum will not tally. However
this technique is applied to ALL of the document, not just the first line.
When I looked into this, I could not find an overall pattern on the whole
text of the 7-Day creation account.

When I first came across any idea of "Bible codes", it was someone I met at
University who described it as a kind of "Divine Watermark" that extended
over all the text. This was to do with the supposed hidden messages in
Equidistant Letter Sequences, and indeed involved the whole text. If this
were true, then that might be regarded as a self-authentication. However,
it seems to me that ELS codes have been thoroughly discredited - the search
space for plausible sequences is so vast that you can find just about what
you want in just about any text. Furthermore, the longer supposed messages
that have been found are even more meaningless and stretched than the Pi
doggerel I cited earlier.

Hope this elucidates a bit further.

Iain

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Received on Thu Aug 9 05:07:15 2007

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