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Re: OT - Enough to Gag a Maggot

Mark Perakh wrote:
> Re: Dennis' remark on the Bible code: The paper on the so-called Bible code was
> printed in 94 in Statistical Science which is published by Institute of Mathematical
> Statistics. The editor (at that time R. Kass) supplied a comment saying essentially
> that the referees could not identify the flaws in the work of the three authors
> (Rips, Witztum, Rosenberg) so maybe some readers would be willing to invest time to
> find those flaws.

	Hmm.  I asked a while back whether there was any
mathematical way to prove whether a writing system
could be shown to be ambiguous by some sort of
mathematics.  A couple of people mentioned the "unicity
distance" of information theory, but this shows that in
most cases a string of around 50 characters is
unambiguous, so this isn't what we need.  As I've
observed before, one usually debunks these systems by
reduction to absurdity and/or by showing contradiction
of known facts, usually historical or linguistic.  The
Bible Code was reduced to absurdity by using Rips et.
al.'s method to read predictions of the assassinations
of world leaders into the text of Moby Dick.

	This isn't mathematics, of course, so the editor might
well not have known what to do.

> Indeed, in May issue of 99 a paper by McKay et al was published in
> the same journal, completely demolishing the statistical procedure of Rips et al,
> and the same Kass supplied a comment saying that the puzzle has been successfully
> solved. 

	But then this says that it *was* shown to be
fallacious by mathematics.  Could you give us some more

>  Well, a Russian proverb is that fools are
> neither sown nor harvested, by themselves them grow. 

	I'll have to remember that one...