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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site

Autopsy of the Bible code

The Torah Codes: Puzzle and Solution
In 1994, Statistical Science published astonishing statistical evidence proving the existence of a hidden code in the book of Genesis, relating to future events. New research deprives this evidence of its import by proving that the same code can be found in the Hebrew translation of War and Peace. Originally published in Chance 11 (1998), 13-19. (Off site link, PDF format)
Bar-Hillel, Maya; Bar-Natan, Dror; McKay, Brendan;
published: Oct 17, 2006

The Rise and Fall of the Bible Code
This article is a translation of a paper which was printed in Russian in the Kontinent journal, No 103, 2000, published in Moscow, Russia. It offers a brief critical review of the so-called Bible code controversy discussing it from several standpoints in a form designed to be comprehensible for the people not familiar with the intricate details of the dispute. The main thrust of this article is to show that the publications asserting the existence of a code inserted in the Bible by a supernatural mind in the form of the so-called Equidistant Letter Sequences is not substantiated by evidence.
Perakh, Mark;
published: Nov 30, 2001

The Mother of All Disruptions: The Bible Code’s Jeremiah Problem
After the publication of Michael Drosnin's The Bible Code, most work in generating Bible codes was initially done in the Torah. Gradually, however, the Hebrew text of the entire Old Testament became fair game for code researchers. Most of my book, The Bible Code Myth, deals with text transmission discrepancies and scribal errors (and hence letter sequence interruptions) in the Torah. As devastating as this material is to the idea of a Bible code, the problem is worst in the book of Jeremiah. In fact, if one is doing code research on the letter sequences of the entire Hebrew biblical text, the book of Jeremiah is truly the smoking gun of why the Bible code should be considered a myth. This paper deals with several facts about the biblical text that Bible code proponents either don't know, or simply aren't telling you. (PDF format)
Heiser , Michael ;
published: Jan 11, 2005

Spelling the End of Grant Jeffrey's "Jesus Codes"
In my book The Bible Code Myth, which approaches the claims of a code from the perspective of scribal transmission of the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, I make reference to the demonstrable fact that the spelling of Hebrew words changes quite a bit during the Hebrew Bible's long transmission history. This is easily demonstrated because (a) we know where the Hebrew alphabet comes form; (b) we know when the formation of the letters changed; (c) we know when the scribes began using certain consonants for vowel sounds (matres lectiones); (d) we know how the adoption of the practice of using consonants as vowels was observed in varying degrees by scribes; and (e) we know for certain that the more ancient texts (Qumran) reflect the use of consonant letters for vowels far more than the Masoretic scribes did -- the scribes who produced the Hebrew Bible used today ("Masoretic Text"), which is the text used for Bible code letter sequencing. Simply put, there have been tens of thousands of letter deletions due to the change in spelling practices since the earliest time when the text of the Hebrew Bible was actually composed up until now. This is deadly to claims of a divinely inspired every-letter sequence upon which the idea of a Bible code depends. This paper illustrates this fact by comparing the Masoretic text's spelling with the spelling of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (PDF format)
Heiser , Michael ;
published: Jan 08, 2005

The Bible "codes": a textual perspective
In this essay Jeffrey H. Tigay, who is a professor of Hebrew and Semitic languages and literature, analyzes the claims of the "codes" advocates from the standpoint of the preservation of the original text of the Bible in the course of its transmission during the many centuries of its existence. This essay dovetails the article by Professor Menachem Cohen on this site. Like Cohen's, Tigay's conclusion is that no code inserted in the text of the Bible by its author(s) could survive until our time, so the ELSs identified in the text of the Bible cannot constitute a meaningful "code." (Off-site link)
Tigay, Jeffrey H. ;
published: Dec 28, 2004

The Case Against the Codes
Barry Simon, a distinguished mathematician (he is a Professor of mathematics and theoretical physics at CalTech, the author of hundreds of scientific publications, and a recipient of many awards and prizes) who also happens to be an Orthodox (halachic) Jew, has asked rhetorically whether it is permissible to induce a non-religious Jew to observe Shabat, by using lies. His own answer, supported by rabbinical authorities, was a categorical "No." This answer compelled him to analyze the claims of the Torah code advocates who have been using the alleged codes for re-prozelitizing Jews. In this essay (first published in 1998) Professor Simon provides an unequivocal rejection of the validity of the "codes" based on his meticulous analysis of the arguments of the code's proponents. (Off-site link)
Simon, Barry ;
published: Dec 28, 2004

Do hidden messages in the Bible prove it was written by an all-powerful God?
In this essay the author examines hidden messages found in Michael Drosnin's two "Bible Code" books themselves. In addition, links to several Bible Code articles are provided. The author also discusses his successful prediction of the 1998 National Basketball Association champion, months in advance of the event, using hidden Equidistant Letter Sequences in Tolstoy's War and Peace. (Off-site link).
Thomas , David E.;
published: Jan 20, 2000
updated: Jun 14, 2004

Solving the Bible Code Puzzle
This essay by four authors was published in Statistical Science journal (vol. 14, no 2, 1999, pp. 150-173).
It provides a detailed analysis of the statistical procedure employed by the main promoters of the Torah codes D. Witztum, E. Rips, and Y. Rosenberg (WRR). The four authors (three professors of mathematics and a professor of psychology) have meticulously dissected the work of WRR and demonstarted irrepairable faults in WRR's methodology which make WRR's conclusions utterly unreliable. This article is the most rigorous rebuttal of the Bible code and is addressing readers having a certain background in mathematical statistics and related fields. (PDF format, off-site link).
McKay, Brendan; Bar-Natan, Dror; Bar-Hillel, Maya; Kalai, Gil;
published: Aug 23, 2000
updated: May 28, 2003

Some Bible-code related experiments and discussions
This article encompasses several sections dealing with the Bible code controversy, including discussions of the alleged superhuman authorship of the Bible "code," an analysis of the "simple" statistical calculations of the "code" chance occurrences, a review of the suggested interpretations of the "codes," consideration of the alleged scientific proofs of the "code" being real, etc.
Perakh, Mark;
published: Jul 10, 1998
updated: Dec 06, 1998

Do the ELS in the Bible indeed spell what they have been claimed to spell?
This article is about the alternative spelling of Hebrew words. In a Hebrew text the proper reading of a word is determined either by special marks attached to consonants, or by context. In the case of ELS the spelling is ambiguous, and the choice of a word's meaning is often left to the reader's imagination. This article shows that many ELS do not actually spell what they have been claimed to spell in publications about the Bible "code." Also, in this article there are critical remarks in regard to mistranslations of certain Hebrew letter sequences in some postings on the Web.
Perakh, Mark;
published: Jun 05, 1998

Some remarks in regard to D. Witztum's writings concerning the "code" in the book of Genesis
In this article it is shown that the work by Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg, which had started the Bible "code" controversy, was based on an unsubstantiated premise, and that the efforts by the foremost proponent of the "code" theory, D. Witztum, to justify that theory in subsequent postings on the Web have so far failed to correct that flaw.
Perakh, Mark;
published: Jul 31, 1998

Additional critical remarks in regard to D. Witztum, E. Rips, and Y. Rosenberg "code" related publications
In this article the foundation for the "proximity" measures' choice in Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg's (WRR) work is discussed, as well as the inconsistencies in the experimental data reported by WRR. The conclusion made on the basis of these considerations is that the "proximity" measures used by WRR are not reliable objective measures of the properties of texts.
Perakh, Mark;
published: May 08, 1998

A statistical critique of the Witztum et al paper.
Dr. A.M. Hasofer of Australia is a professor of mathematical statistics and an Orthodox Jew. This article has been posted with Dr. Hasofer's kind permission. Readers should be warned that this paper is not written for laymen. Its understanding requires a certain background in mathematics in general, and in probability theory and mathematical statistics in particular. Dr. Hasofer has analyzed in this piece a number of serious deficiencies in E. Rips, D. Witztum, and Y. Rosenberg's paper published in the Statistical Science journal in 1994. Dr. Hasofer's expert judgement is that the conclusion by Witztum et al in regard to the alleged God-inserted "code" in the Bible was not substantiated from the standpoint of established rules of mathematical statistics and has to be rejected.
Hasofer, A.M.;
published: Feb 18, 1998

The Religious and the Scientific Aspects of the Debate on the Codes Hidden in the Torah at Equidistant Letter Sequences
Professor Menachem Cohen is the editor of the definitive edition of the Hebrew Bible and the foremost authority on the history of the transmission of the Bible's text. In this essay he offers an analysis of the emergence of the hypothesis about the Bible code and argues that the codes allegedly discovered by Witztum and Rips in the text of Genesis, even if they indeed have been inserted in the original bilblical text, could not have survived because the texts of the biblical books have undergone substantial changes in the course of their transmision during the many centuries of the Bible's existence.
Cohen, Menachem;
published: Apr 08, 2000

Assassinations Foretold in Moby Dick!
In this essay the Australian mathematician Brendan McKay, responding to the challenge of the author of perhaps the most popular best seller about the Bible code Michael Drosnin, shows that in the Melville's Moby Dick one can easily find multiple arrays of ELS's (Equidistant Letter Sequences) "predicting" assassinations of many known personalities, thus depriving the alleged predictions found in the Hebrew Bible and touted by Drosnin of any significance. (Off-site link).
McKay, Brendan;
published: Jul 23, 1997
updated: Jul 02, 1999

Jesus as the Son of Man
In this essay Brendan McKay provides a factual rebuttal of the alleged foretelling, in the way of arrays of ELS's (Equidistant Letter Sequences) in the Book of Daniel, of the coming of Jesus, as claimed by the Bible code proponents such as Drosnin. (Off-site link).
McKay, Brendan; Friends, ;
published: Dec 07, 1997

Equidistant Letter Sequences in Tolstoy's "War and Peace"
In this essay its two authors, both professors of mathematics, demonstrate that Equidistant Letter Sequences (ELSs) exactly like those claimed by the foremost proponents of the Torah code Witztum, Rips, and Rosenberg to be found exclusively in the Torah, are in fact very common in any sufficiently long text, in this case exemplified by the Hebrew translation of the famous Leo Tolstoy's novel "War and Peace." (Off -site link).
McKay, Brendan; Bar-Natan, Dror;
published: Jul 20, 1997
updated: Jun 20, 2001

The Rise and Fall of the Gans Experiment
In this essay the experiment is described conducted by a committee which included both proponents and opponents of the Bible code. Using a mutually agreed upon protocol, the committee tried to exclude any possible sources of bias in both the original data choice and methodology. The results turned out utterly disapponting to the code proponents - no sign of any code revealed by this experiment. This result must signify the end of the code fallacy, but the code proponents do not seem to like the facts and so the code absurdity continues unabatedly. For those who really want to know the truth, the results of the experiment described in this essay should put an end to all doubts - there are no signs of any meaningful code in the Bible. (Off -site link).
McKay, Brendan; Friends, ;
published: Sep 05, 2002
updated: Jun 13, 2003

A Review of: The Bible Code II by Michael Drosnin
This is a review of a book by Michael Drosnin (titled The Bible Code II), a sequel to the notorious previous book by the same author which was a major best seller but was shown to contain completely unsubstantiated claims and ridiculous assertions about predictions of future events allegedly encoded in the Bible.
Ingermanson, Randall;
published: Dec 06, 2004