Jesus Codes: Uses and Abuses (Part V)
- Rabbi Daniel Mechanic is a senior international Codes lecturer and researcher for the Aish Hatorah/Discovery Seminar. He would like to thank Dr. Jeffrey Satinover - a world-renowned author on Codes- for his helpful comments.
- Dr. Doron Witznum is the pre-eminent Codes researcher and author in the world. He has dedicated his professional efforts to the development of advanced techniques for detecting and testing equidistant-interval encryptions in texts. His findings on this subject have been published in Statistical Science - a peer-refereed mathematical journal.
- Dr. Harold Gans was a senior cryptologic mathematician for the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) until his retirement after 28 years of service. The agency maintains the world's most advanced methods, experts and facilities for the detection and decryption of encoded material. He is the author of over 180 technical papers on these subjects and is a world-class expert in evaluating Codes. Presently, he is a mathematical consultant and international lecturer on Codes.
"Yeshua Codes" Statistics
There is unfortunately another area where Yacov Rambsel and Grant Jeffrey have left themselves open to further criticism: their misuse of statistics. It is one thing to be naive about a new area of research. But statistics is a well-established subject and people surely know whether they are or are not skilled in it. We showed Rambsel and Jeffrey's "statistical computations," including Rambsel's chapter on probabilities, to a number of world-class statisticians. They were astonished - some were appalled - by the utterly ridiculous statistical claims in Rambsel and Jeffrey's books. They simply disregarded universally accepted scientific norms. There is not even one statistical claim or computation in their books that is mathematically rigorous or true (see further for a simplified explanation of the parameters necessary for a valid statistical evaluation). Yet, the only way that one can objectively demonstrate that a word pattern was deliberately encoded in a document, rather than it being an accidental appearance, is through an objective, scientific and statistical evaluation. Because this evaluation depends on extremely complex mathematical and statistical computations, the great majority of people are incapable of making this evaluation. Fortunately, however, there are qualified experts one can turn to. Mathematicians belonging to the Institute of Mathematical Statistics conducted a statistical evaluation as to the rigor of the legitimate Torah Codes research. The results were published in Statistical Science, an upper-echelon, peer-reviewed journal of mathematical statistics.
Challenge to Yacov Rambsel and Grant Jeffrey
We therefore issue a challenge to Pastor Rambsel, Grant Jeffrey and all the other missionaries who are talking and writing about "codes." Submit your findings to evaluation by unbiased experts. Convince a professional peer-reviewed mathematical or scientific journal to confirm that your "codes" are not mere coincidences. If you are unwilling or unable to obtain confirmation of at least the workmanship of your technique and statistical assessment, then fulfill a basic moral obligation which is part of the Ninth Commandment (a belief in which we all share): Stop using your representations to impress people who are unfamiliar with the Codes methodology and are, therefore, unable to provide their own critical assessment.
Proselytizing by Proxy: Mere Foolishness or Deliberate Deception?
Finally, the most painful aspect of this entire discussion is the blatant misappropriation by Grant Jeffrey of the authentic Codes methodology to legitimatize (by association) the false methodology of the "Yeshua codes." In The Signature of God, for example, Mr. Jeffrey devotes an entire chapter to the statistically verified Torah Codes discovered by Israeli researchers. (Though the chapter contains numerous errors, Mr. Jeffrey establishes credibility, both for the phenomenon and himself, by constantly mentioning the foremost Codes experts in the world: Doron Witztum, Harold Gans and Jeffrey Satinover. Interestingly, he failed to contact any of them. Had he done so, any one of these world-class Codes experts would have clearly explained to him why the "Yeshua codes" methodology cannot produce valid results and how all of his "codes" are statistically meaningless). Immediately following this chapter is a description of "Yeshua codes" that are utterly lacking in critical scrutiny. Mr. Jeffrey fails to tell the reader that the methods and level of rigor used for the "Yeshua codes" are categorically different than the legitimate Torah Codes. In so doing, Mr. Jeffrey has deliberately misled tens of thousands of unsuspecting and trusting people into believing that the methodology used with regard to the "Yeshua codes" is the same as the legitimate technique developed by scrupulous researchers over many years. In fact, there is no relationship between the two at all. More insidious is the fact that the readers are led to believe that the "Yeshua codes" were scientifically and statistically verified. They were not.
Mr. Jeffrey compounds his misbehavior in his books, public lectures, and interviews by making it seem as though high-level mathematicians and statisticians, including Harold Gans and the chairman of mathematics at Harvard University, have confirmed the validity of the "Yeshua codes". Mr. Jeffrey surely knows when he constantly quotes this professor from Harvard who said, "the Codes phenomenon is real" - or when Mr. Jeffrey says, "Harold Gans confirmed the existence of these codes" - that they were referring exclusively to the statistically verified "Famous Rabbis" experiment - not the "Yeshua codes." Dozens of other missionaries use the same deceptive strategy as Mr. Jeffrey in their communications. On the Internet, for example, you will find the fraudulent heading of G. Edwin Lint's book review of The Signature of God that tells it all - "Scientific and Computer-Aided Proof That God Is Real, The Bible Is Truth, and Jesus Is The Messiah." People are thus fooled into believing that there is scientific proof that the "Yeshua codes" are real. Christian missionaries have written letters to the editors of many newspapers, produced videos, published numerous articles, appeared on television and radio - all falsely claiming or implying that Statistical Science and world-renowned statisticians have confirmed that the "Yeshua codes" are valid. These claims are false witness, pure and simple, and should be retracted publicly, widely and immediately.
Statistically Verifiable Torah Codes
Doron Witztum, a Biblical scholar living in Jerusalem, is a world-renowned Codes researcher. When he made some astonishing discoveries, he acted in a responsible manner. He was only interested in determining whether or not his discoveries were valid. He did not mislead the public by running around claiming that he had found Codes proving a particular religious belief. Realizing that the fundamental issue one must address when finding codes is whether or not they are a coincidence, he first showed all of his research to world-class statisticians. After a few years of further research, under the scrutiny of these statisticians, he finally brought his results to the world - renowned Institute of Mathematical Statistics located in Hayward, California. The Institute publishes four different types of mathematical journals. One of them is Statistical Science. Professional scientific and mathematical journals consult with a cadre of world class experts for the purpose of insuring that an article containing a mathematical or scientific flaw is not published in their journal.
Since the implications of Witztum's experiments were so controversial, validation and subsequent publication of the experiment's results would only be accomplished if all of the following requirements were met:
- In order to be considered valid, the probability of the codes being found at random must be based solely on the letters comprising the encoded words, and the distribution of the letters in the text, and must be totally independent of the meaning of the words or the narrative of the text in which they are found, since "meaning" is subjective.
- The words to be searched for must be derivable by a -priori35 specified and repeatable methods.
- The probability of the codes being found must be calculated by a-priori, objective, and mathematically precise methods, and must be less than 0.001 (odds of their being accidental must be less than 1 in 1000).
- Computation of such probability must be subjected to repeated verification, well-designed control experiments, and, most importantly, to peer-review by objective, qualified mathematicians who fail to find any error in the computations.
Doron Witztum's "Famous Rabbis" experiment met all of these requirements (The "Yeshua codes" meet none of these requirements). World-class statisticians subjected his successful results to a six-year evaluation and attempted refutation. They were given the programs Witztum used to find these "Torah Codes" and to perform the required control experiments. Witztum's "Famous Rabbi's" experiment was finally published in Statistical Science in August 1994. Since its publication over two and a half years ago, world-class statisticians36 and Bible scholars have reproduced and verified these results. Doron Witztum and Harold Gans have succeeded in discovering additional statistically verifiable Codes. They are in the process of submitting them for publication in mathematical journals.
Authentic Codes Methodology - "Famous Rabbis" Experiment
What is the difference between the methodology used in the "FamousRabbis" experiment and what Christian missionaries are using? The methodology employed by Witztum for the "Famous Rabbis" experiment (and his more recent discoveries) relies on a fundamentally different process altogether. It is the specifics of this methodology that makes it even possible (unlike all the "Yeshua" findings) to verify that the "Famous Rabbis" Codes he found were deliberately encoded in the Torah. Although a complete and thorough explanation of the authentic Codes methodology is beyond the scope of this paper, let us briefly state how this unique system works. (More details of the methodology are published in Statistical Science, August 1994 issue).
The Torah Codes were based on selecting the names of many famous rabbis and their respective dates of birth and death. The relationship between the words being searched for was, therefore, objective. To further insure total objectivity, all of the words that were searched for were extracted from an encyclopedia in a way that was specified completely beforehand. Equally spaced encodings of these words were then searched for in a pre-determined and objective way (e.g., the minimum jump). The proximity of each encoding of related words was then measured using an a-priori specified mathematical formula. When you have a very large document, and the related words could appear encoded anywhere in the document, the fact that you find them encoded in close proximity, as we have observed, cannot be reasonably attributed to chance. This can be scientifically demonstrated. The odds of finding these related words accidentally encoded in the Torah, as close as they were, were accurately computed. It is the computation of these odds that enables one to distinguish between random appearances of "codes," that are nothing more than coincidences, and Codes purposely placed into the document (when the odds against random appearance are at least 1000 to 1). In fact, the odds that were obtained for the "Famous Rabbis" experiment were far greater than this (62,500:1) and were enough to convince world class mathematicians and statisticians to agree to publish the results. The mathematical technique that was used, and the control experiments that were performed, also eliminated any possibility that the effect was caused, in some unexpected way, by the grammatical or syntactical structure of the text itself.
Torah Codes Presentations
Doron Witztum's "Famous Rabbis" experiment is presented around the world as part of public seminars produced by Aish HaTorah/Discovery, an international organization devoted to Jewish education. Included in the segment on "Torah Codes" are presentations of a variety of examples of encoded word patterns (including a few found by Rabbi Michoel Weissmandl in 1952) that are not statistically verifiable and effectively illustrate the inherent problems involved in identifying authentic Codes. These examples (Sadat, Diabetes, Gulf War, etc.) employ the same methodology as Witztum's "Famous Rabbis" experiment, but they cannot be verified as valid codes since they did not meet the scientific criteria necessary to conclusively demonstrate their authenticity. This limitation is made clear and they are presented only as a lead-up to, and an explanation of, the methodology used for the "Famous Rabbis" experiment.
The only way to demonstrate that a word pattern is a genuine Code is through an objective mathematical and statistical evaluation. The "Yeshua codes" do not meet any of the fundamental requirements necessary for mathematical validation, and are therefore statistically and mathematically meaningless. The methodology is invalid since it produces illogical and contradictory results. Therefore, all of the "Yeshua codes" are meaningless coincidences and are of no evidential value at all. Proselytizing Jews with these false evidential claims is fraudulent and deceptive, and should cease immediately.
Finally, a picture is worth a thousand words: an open Torah scroll, whose Hebrew letters are clearly visible, appears on the cover of the second edition of Pastor Rambsel's book Yeshua.
THE TORAH IS UPSIDE DOWN!