Before, I get to my question, I would like to provide some background information.
I’ve noticed that some Christian end time sites on the internet are starting to use numerology and theomatics in their attempts to prove the existance of the God and their theories about the end of the world. One form of numerology that seems to be slowing spreading accross the these sites, is the idea of a cipher in which the letters in the alphabet have their positions multipied by 6. For instance, A=6, B=12, C=18 and so on until Z= 6(26)= 156. Now, they say that the fact the since Jesus in Greek adds up to 888 and that with the code phrases such as “The Trinity” and “Biblical Prophet” among others, equal 888 and therefore proves that the code is real. Moreover, they do a whole thing terms that equal 666 as well using phrases like “Mark of Beast”. Then, they assert that anyone who is skeptical is being deceived.
So, my question is: Do this people have something here or they nuts or something in between?
Well, for starters, I can’t get Jesus (or Iesous or any other Greekified spelling) to add up to 148 (888/6). Ah, I found something close: if you take all the letters we use and assign them a number in order (a=1, b=2, etc), but spell Jesus in a weak transliteration of Greek (Iesous), you get 88. That’s the closest I can get. Can someone find my error? Even if I try Jesus Christ or Iesous Christos (using the Greek order of the alphabet and our own), I can’t get close.
But let’s pretend for a moment that it works. Let’s see what other fun combos we could find.
Let’s take “Jon the Geek” as the “key”. If we use a 1-based system (a=1, b=2, etc), that’s 100. Multiply the code by whatever you want; let’s go with 10 (I think “metric numerology” is proper for a geek such as myself). That makes our key 1000 (100 * 10 or j=1010=100, o=1510=100, etc; it doesn’t matter when we do the multiplication, doing it beforehand just makes the code look "freakier).
Well, for starters, it’s significant that my metric numerology comes out at 1000, right, since that’s a nice, round metric number. “Numbers be” also comes out to 1000 by this code, as does “Hi, skeptic”, “Me atheist”, and “Uh, grammar?” Obviously I’m on to something!
Now, let’s set 2240 (the number of pounds in a long ton, what a ridiculous, non-metric number!) as our “bad” number. “A credulity manifests” comes out to 2240 by this code, as does “Ah, people find patterns”.
These people don’t have something. They aren’t necessarily nuts, either. They’re just making much too much out of a pattern that isn’t that hard to come to if you try hard enough.
I think I should clarify Iesous being 888; these groups use the Greek alphabet number system (the Greek alphabet also has a number asigned to each character) to attain the “888” value. From this, they can say that with their English alphabet code (the one with the letter positions mulitipied by 6), phrases like “Jesus Gospel” equal 888. At this point the people can say, “since in ‘Jesus Gospel’ is 888 and Iesous is 888, therefore this must something.”
However, I do agree with you that these people may be taking a few patterns too far.
The example of such a site (the link on the second post). Upon closer inspection, instead of multiplying the postions of the alphabet by 6, the start number the alphabet on 6. For example, A=6, B=6+6=12, C=12+6=18 and so on. It just looked like multiplication on initial inspection. I find this amazingly similar to the well known code where A=100, B=101 code in which Hitler equals 666. Apparently, the group in the link that posted picked this cipher because its the only one they found with their computer program in which “Mark of Beast,” “Corrupt,” “Computer,” and etc. equal 666. I’m not sure if this is significant however.
Is it accurate to say that starting the numbering at 6 is kind of an odd precondition?
If A=6, B=12, etc, that’s the same as multiplying by 6. I confirmed that’s the code they use, because “THE TRINITY” = 148 * 6 = 888.
It is not significant. As I demonstrated (without taking the time to use a computer program to dig out even “spookier” results), you can find anything you want to find using such codes. It’s completely meaningless. It would border on possibly meaningful if every phrase in every language that was “good” added to 888 in this particular code, and every evil phrase added to “666”. As it is, they found a pattern where certain things add up to the number they set up as “good” and other things add up to the number they set as “bad”. That’s meaningless, because you can do it with just about any combination of words if you massage your code enough.
Interesting. I was wondering about that. If I get to use a completely different code for the “key” than I use for the rest of the “message”, I’m sure I can come up with even more thing that massage into adding up to 1000 somehow…
I once read a pamphlet purporting to prove the Bible is divinely inspired because if you give the Hebrew letters their numerical values, the holy number seven, or multiples of seven, or 77 or 777, crop up with remarkable frequency, which couldn’t happen by accident, so there. My take on it is: Every written language is bound to have letter-combinations that come up with remarkable frequency, therefore if we assign numerical values to the letters . . . you get the idea. Compare some non-Biblical Hebrew text (like today’s Jerusalem Post), subject it to the same analysis (if that is not too dignified a term), and see if the same preponderance of sevens pops up. I bet it would.
AR25, I would like to suggest you investigate these resources:[ul][li]Skepdic’s entry on numerologySkepdic’s entry on the Bible CodeAny of Michael Shermer’s books.Martin Gardner’s books and articles, especially the ones with “Dr. Matrix” in the title, like The Incredible Dr. Matrix, listed as $1.59 on Amazon (buy it now – how can you go wrong with a price like that? )[/ul][/li]Once you have read some of these, you may understand better how the human mind works, looking for patterns and structure where there is none. Carl Sagan even suggested that there is an evolutionary advantage to that kind of mind process, although I have my doubts.
Okay, so the both the Old Testament and New Testament condemn numerology, but many of these sites deny that they are using numerology. Instead, they say that numerology is by definition is the random assignment of numbers to derive meanings and that their codes are based on the scientific method and mathematical probability.
With regard to the scientific method they use, they seem to work under the concept, “We’re going to use all possible alphabet ciphers to see which one yields 666 for “evil” words most often.” They say all possible ciphers are those that start with A=1 up to A=666 with each successive letter following A added with a number between of A and 666. For example, say A=x, and we’ll pick a number “y” that is between x and 666 to add to each following letter, so B=x+y, C=x+2y, D=x+3y and so on and then they use all the other possible y values (between x and 666), and then move on to the next x value and do the same thing. So, it turns out that a starting value of A=6 and a successive addition value of 6 yields the most “evil” words equaling 666, and makes the most “good” words such as “Jesus,”or “Biblical Prophet,” equal 444, or 888. To me, this doesn’t seem like the scientific method. It seems more like they’re trying through trial and error to find a pattern.
Moreover, I think their mathematical probability is kind off. They say that using cipher method, I described above, produces a total of 443,556 different alphabet ciphers which is 666 squared. I don’t think that there are 443,556 different ciphers because 666^2 assumes that there are 666 different ciphers for each value of A (1 to 666); this would mean that they think there are 666 ciphers for A=1, 666 ciphers for A=2 and so on. However, I don’t think this is true because with each increase of A, the number of ciphers for the alphabet starting with that A value decreases. For instance, A=1 will have 666 ciphers, then those ciphers with starting with A=2 will have one less possible cipher than those started with A=1.
What do you think about their “scientific method” and “probability”?
First, the scientific method is one thing with one definition (well, several definitions that all mean the same thing, I guess, but hopefully you see what I mean). Do not confuse “the scientific method” with “this particular scientific-sounding methodology”. Specifically, the scientific method consists of these steps:
Observation. For example, you might observe that apples fall to the ground, not out into space.
Hypothesis. This is a tentative explanation for why. For example, you might hypothesize that apples are magnetic, and the center of the Earth contains a giant magnet.
Prediction. Use your hypothesis to make a prediction. For example, in my example, apples should be attracted to magnets.
Experimentatoin. Test the predictions by experiments and/or further observations. For example, I might tie apples to strings, and place them in a strong magnetic field to see if the angle of the string changes. Or I might try dropping apples in a room with a strong magnet at the top, and see if their acceleration changes when the magnet is on vs. when it is off. In this example, I would find that my hypothesis appears to be lacking; apples are not affected by magnets. I would then revise my hypothesis, make new predictions, and make new experiments until I came up with something that appeared to match reality. BUT, at any time, I could make an observation that didn’t fit my hypothesis, and have to revise it.
It doesn’t sound to me like these people applied anything like the scientific method. They used scientific-sounding methodology, but they didn’t use the scientific method.
Now, on to their actual protocol. I find it very, very funny. Assuming they actually ran their simulations, the amazing thing they discovered is that 6 divides evenly into 444, 666, and 888. Or, to write those another way, 444 = 2637, 666 = 3637, and 888 = 226*37. I suspect you’ll get similar “astonishing” results at 37, but I’d have to actually run the calculation to find out, and I’m not going to waste my time. All I’d be proving is that I can find a pattern if I look for it.
The example of “the Trinity” kind of shows the problem in this whole setup. Why is “the Trinity” on their list of amazing matching phrases? Because “Trinity” didn’t work, and neither did “our Trinity” or “Holy Trinity”. But if they put that article “the” on there, and use their goofy code, they can get “Trinity” to show up in their list. They might be completely sincere about this; they might not have even noticed what was happening, depending how much they automated it; the computer was just going through and fishing out phrases that met the requirements they gave it: add up to 888 by some code, and contain these words. That’s extraordinarily easy to do. I’m sure you could do it with virtually any word list, as long as you allowed the insertion of things like “a” and “the” when the word itself didn’t match, and took any grouping of words as a success. But if you fed it a set list of words (without allowing it to throw on modifiers when necessary), I’m sure you’d come out with roughly the same number of “hits” for any code you chose; there would be some differences based on frequency of letters used in the language you were “decoding”, but other than that you’re just digging out a pattern where there isn’t really a pattern.
Actually, it turns out that many of these sites don’t discard values that don’t fit into their pattern. For instance, if a “bad” word comes out being the same value as a “good” word, then they say that God designed the English language that way, so as to keep people from turning to religion for any reason other than faith or that God did it to deceive skeptics. I find such claims to be bunk because they first fake some kind of scientific method and when something doesn’t fit nicely into their pattern, they bring up some kind of unfalsifiable claim.
Now, as stated earlier, the code that is used A=6, B=12…Z=156. Now, they say, this isn’t numerology, because they consistently use the same code for all the words. But isn’t the mere assignment of numbers to the alphabet to reveal the identity of Antichrist by trying to connect people to the nuber 666 numerology? How does one get off calling this scientific and based on mathematical principles?
Very true and very perceptive. No matter what is said in the Bible, good or bad, allegorical or actual, to some, it only proves their initial premise and they will twist the interpretation to fit if need be. This has much in common with the Forer (Barnum) effect, wishful thinking, and confirmation bias, all topics that can be found in the Skepdic site.
However, I have no doubt that some values and observations are discarded as unpromising.