# Re: [asa] Pi in Bible's face

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Fri Oct 10 2008 - 19:37:38 EDT

Hi George,

Oh, says he - I always thought the zero was significant because of the potential difference between 30 and 31 (say). Is this not so?

Anyhoo, having goofed off a little...

Measurement of arm from elbow to finger-tip, c =
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
(wait for it)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
ONE CUBIT (ROTFL!)

Being much more serious

c = 500 mm

h = 95 mm

my PI = 3 / (1 - (h/5c) )
= 3 / (1 - (95/2500) )
= 3 / 1 - 0.038
= 3 / 0.962
= 3.1185

Do we have some sort of chart we can look up to work out what this means - I have suggested a few entries below;

<0 - your ruler has inches AND centimeters - how nice!

3 - Biblical fundamentalist

3.1185 - You should be so perfect!

3.14 - Liar

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679
8214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196
4428810975665933446128475648233786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273
724587006606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548820466521384146951941511609...(etc)
- Anatomically perfect but at best obsessive compulsive - possibly bordering on the mentally deranged.

I'm guessing, by the way, that there are certain parts of the anatomy which are always in certain proportions - and by tweaking the formula one can get pretty close to PI on a frequent basis?

Blessings,
Murray

George Cooper wrote:
> Hi Murray,
>
> First, on David's observation: it strikes me as valuable to think in
> terms of significant figures and/or likely precision of measurement and
> applaud your observation on this point BUT we should be applying these
> concepts to the measurements given (diameter=10 cubits; circumference=30
> cubits) rather than the implied value of Pi. Clearly these measurements
> are to two significant figures.
>
> Actually, the numbers 10 and 30 have a significant figure of one sense
> zeros are not considered “significant” by definition.
>
> I like your thinking, though I still like the beauty of the formulation.
>
> If you, or anyone, finds the time to goof-off with this a little, I
> would be curious to learn the following measurements of your arm. [I
> happened to choose my right arm.]
>
> Place your forearm vertically on a table and measure from the table top
> (elbow) to the tip of your middle finger (also vertical). [Cubit value, c.]
>
> inch behind the knuckles, as well as, across the knuckles. [Hand values, h.]
>
> It would be interesting how close we might come to a pi value. [Your pi
> = 3/(1-(h/5c)) ]
>
> “Coope”
>
> I note, furthermore, that the Old Testament only ever gives measurements
> to the nearest half-cubit and only then when the measurements are small
> - the largest measurement with a half-cubit accuracy is two and a
> half-cubits.
>
> SO it strikes me that the precision being used is +/- half a cubit.
>
> We can say, then, that the diameter should be taken as 10 +/- half a
> cubit (i.e. 10.6 cubits would be taken as 11 cubits) and circumference
> as 30 +/- half a cubit.
>
> So, calculating maximum and minimum possible values of Pi;
>
> Maximum value = largest possible circumference / smallest possible diameter
>
> = 30.5 / 9.5
>
> = 3.21
>
> Minimum value = smallest possible circumference / largest possible diameter
>
> = 29.5 / 10.5
>
> = 2.81
>
> So, by and large following David's lead we find that the nearest we can
> calculate PI from the OT data is to state a range of 2.81 to 3.21
>
> Even if one wanted to round these to two significant figures, the actual
> value of PI would still be within range.
>
> Blessings,
>
> Murray
>
> George Cooper wrote:
>
>> David said: Pi is 3-to one significant digit, which is all the text gives.
>
>>
>
>> Yes, a fair point given a general audience with the author giving only
>
>> approximate dimensions for either the diameter or circumference or both.
>
>>
>
>> I would have preferred, however, to read in scripture of an "about 3 to
>
>> 1" statement considering all the other subsequent details of these
>
>> magnificent bowls. On the other hand, the placement of the 600 knops
>
>> would benefit greatly if the craftsmen could take advantage of this
>
>> rather unique measurement circumstance of reducing the diameter of 10
>
>> cubits by the two hand widths, yielding a ~ 3.14 ratio (assuming the
>
>> circumference under the brim were actually 30 cubits). This makes me
>
>> suspect that the 3 to 1 statement had a nifty meaning, especially for
>
>> the craftsmen.
>
>>
>
>> Whether a rough value or a unique circumstance for measurements, either
>
>> gives reason for none to claim the Bible uses an "exact value of 3 for
>
>> pi". I've heard this claim used by those in science who should know or
>
>> suspect better. [I’ll be curious if they publish my brief and friendly
>
>> response in the next/ Astronomy/ issue.]
>
>>
>
>> "Coope"
>
>>
>
>>
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>
>> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
>
>> Behalf Of David Campbell
>
>> Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 2:58 PM
>
>> To: ASA
>
>> Subject: Re: [asa] Pi in Bible's face
>
>>
>
>> Pi is 3-to one significant digit, which is all the text gives.
>
>>
>
>>
>
>> --
>
>>
>
>> Dr. David Campbell
>
>>
>
>> 425 Scientific Collections
>
>>
>
>> University of Alabama
>
>>
>
>> "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
>
>>
>
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>
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>>
>
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Received on Fri Oct 10 19:38:08 2008

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