The following article expresses the opinions of Ed Sherman, President of the Isaac Newton Bible Code Research Society and Director of Bible Code Digest.|
Top Bible Code Myths
What are the most widespread myths about Bible Codes?
No Bible codes are real.
Some ELS phenomena must be real because they are far too improbable to be due to chance. Our What No Code Skeptic Can Find page has links to articles that cover a number of examples.
Virtually all scientists believe Bible codes are bogus.
Suppose you only include scientists who have spent a significant amount of time investigating the potential validity of the phenomenon of Bible Codes? You get the following comparison:
To the best of my knowledge, none of the scientists who believe that the phenomenon is not real have devoted more than a fraction of the time taken by any of the scientists who believe the phenomenon is real.
Since Drosnin has been discredited, all purported Bible codes have been discredited.
Drosnin's examples are trivial, and have been repudiated, as they should be. Code skeptics have basically ignored the substantive findings of many qualified code researchers who have presented highly improbable findings in the past several years.
Bible Code Digest (BCD) is supportive of Drosnin's work.
Drosnin's work has been strongly repudiated by Eliyahu Rips, Ph.D., the mathematician that Drosnin cites as the basis for the validity of his work. BCD repudiates Drosnin's research [see our answer to question 9 of Twenty Questions]. BCD only makes Drosnin's books available as a public service.
The purpose of Bible codes is to predict the future.
Bible codes are not a reliable basis for making predictions. Their real purpose is to authenticate the Bible as a book of a divine, supernatural origin.
Bible codes mostly have to do with numbers.
Not true! There is another, entirely different phenomena (gematria) that is based on numbers. Each Hebrew letter represents a number, and gematria researchers look for patterns in these numbers. In contrast, the only inherently mathematical thing about Bible codes is that the Hebrew letters are equally spaced in the literal text of the Bible.
Bible codes are similar to The Da Vinci Code.
In virtually every respect, Bible codes are radically different, and more complex and impressive, than the fictional codes presented in Dan Brown's novel and the movie of the same name. Check out a chart providing detailed comparisons.
Bible codes only tell the truth and are reliable.
At best, Bible codes are only prophetic fragments which do not include sufficient context to serve as a reliable basis for predictions or affirmation of any specific doctrine or belief. Check out the answers to questions 6 and 7 of Twenty Questions.
All Bible codes are likely to appear in a non-encoded Hebrew text.
The longer a code is, the less likely it is that it could appear by chance. If a code is six or fewer letters long, it is almost certain that one could find it in any Hebrew text. However, if a code is twelve or more letters long, it is very unlikely to be due to chance. BCD presents dozens of codes that are 30+ letters long, and each one is highly improbable.
Bible codes may only be found in the Torah.
Not true. Many BCD articles present very extensive, extremely improbable groups of codes that appear in the rest of the Old Testament.
Popularity of Myths
There are many other myths about Bible codes, but we believe the above are the 10 most prevalent.
The popularity of the above myths differs greatly according to which "camp" one belongs. In February 2005, BCD published a Summary of Bible Code Opinions. At the beginning of this article, we defined four different camps of opinions about Bible codes among researchers.
Here are the leading myths by "camp":
Among Code Advocates (codes satisfying key criteria are real and reliable):
5. The purpose of Bible codes is to predict the future.
8. Bible codes only tell the truth and are reliable.
Among Moderates (phenomenon is real but codes are unreliable):
10. Bible codes may only be found in the Torah.
Among Code Skeptics:
1. No Bible codes are real.
2. Virtually all scientists believe Bible codes are bogus.
3. Since Drosnin has been discredited, all purported Bible codes have been discredited.
4. Bible Code Digest is supportive of Drosnin's work.
9. All Bible codes are likely to appear in a non-encoded Hebrew text.
Among the General Public:
6. Bible codes mostly have to do with numbers.
7. Bible codes are similar to The Da Vinci Code.
The Opinions of BCD's Hebrew Experts
Nathan Jacobi, Ph.D., had the following comments regarding the above article:
I don't have particular problems or objections to this dispelling of myths or prejudices except for the general comment that it is a lot easier to agree on what Bible Code is not about than on what it is about. I also doubt that it will change the opinion of a single skeptic, or that it properly addresses some intrinsic difficulties associated with Bible Code research. Other than that I am in full agreement.
Moshe Aharon Shak was in full agreement with Ed Sherman's response to myths 1 – 4 and 6 – 7. He had the following additional comments regarding the responses to the other myths:
#5 – At this time one can debate the first statement. I definitely agree with the second statement.
#8 – Real Bible Codes tell only the truth. The Bible tells only the truth — no matter how much the truth hurts. Equidistant letter sequences may be mistaken for Bible Codes. Those ELSs may certainly tell lies.
#9 – I agree with the "truth," however it does not really address the myth above, nor does it deal with qualifying that the highly improbable ELS is a real code.
#10 – I found most of my codes in the Torah, but I found also a few in the Tanakh (the Torah and the rest of the Jewish Bible).
Enjoy finding your own Bible codes.
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