In This Month's Issue:
Briefing Short news items of interest to Bible code followers.
Are You in the Bible Codes? Is your name encoded in the Bible? Are your friends and loved ones there, too? Some experts believe that everyone is represented in the codes. In this feature we take a look at the challenges of researching the codes to find whether or not the names of individuals can be found in the Bible codes.
Shak to Appear in Canadian TV Production
Canadian members will be able to see researcher Moshe Shak discussing Bible codes in the production Mystery Ink, February 5. It will be aired at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and at 2 a.m. February 6 on the Mystery Channel (all times EST).
Shak’s first book, Bible Codes Breakthrough, Amazing Matrices and How-To Guide, will be published as an on line book at http://www.biblecodes.us/ prior to the broadcast, according to the author. “In the book I am showing an incredible matrix of 14 characters wide by 24 characters long proving that the Bible codes are G-dly, and also explaining what Bible codes are,” said Shak.
BBC Program on Bible Codes Disappointing
The BBC is renowned for quality programming, and its science documentary series Horizon is considered a leader in its field. So, when Horizon claims to put the field of Bible code research “to the test,” the viewing public expects scientific journalism at its best. However in this instance the real question may well be, who is putting Horizon to the test?
We were not able to view the program in the U.S., but the BBC posted a transcript of the script here. In broad strokes, the program sketched the history of the field, introduced some of the key researchers in the field, and underscored the controversies regarding the research and researchers, while consistently returning to the sensationalism of one man’s claims.
The production began and ended by saying that Michael Drosnin, journalist and author of the bestselling book The Bible Code, believes the future can be predicted using Bible codes. Its producers claimed that Drosnin’s work in Bible Codes has been thoroughly “checked” and “backed” by Eliyahu Rips, a gifted mathematician and Bible code researcher. In a talking head interview, Drosnin states, “I am only a journalist but I have checked every important finding with Dr. Rips. I could not be more rigorous because he is a meticulous mathematician and one of the world’s great mathematicians. He agrees the statistics are solid."
But while it gave a lengthy description of Rips life and work, the show omitted a striking piece of information about the relationship between the two men.The fact is that it only takes a few key strokes on the internet to discover that Eliyahu Rips does not endorse Drosnin’s work.
In fact, Rips declares in a public statement dating back to the months following publication of Drosnin’s first book that all attempts to extract predictions from Bible Codes are “futile and are of no value” and that he does “not support Mr. Drosnin’s work on the codes, nor the conclusions he derives.” This glaring omission in the program creates a gaping hole in the producers’ credibility.
The program went to great lengths to outline the research of Eliyahu Rips in order to give Bible codes and Michael Drosnin’s claims validity. But then they turned around and used the skeptical comments of Brendan McKay, an Australian professor, and the testing done at the request of the producers by researchers at London’s Imperial College, to contradict Rips and his colleagues, without commenting on Drosnin’s claims.
The result is that the least deserving code proponent, Drosnin, emerged fairly unscathed. And Horizon raised their ratings with a sensationalistic, pseudo-scientific presentation.
Horizon dismissed Rips and other serious researchers for their inability to have their subsequent research published in properly reviewed scientific journals. In doing so, viewers are left with the clear impression that failure to publish was due to poorly designed experiments.
In reality, failure to publish is actually the direct result of the intense bias that such journals have against Bible codes. That the peer review process today is primarily a vehicle for enforcing conformity to prevailing opinions is aptly presented in a paper by Frank J. Tipler called Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?”
While the skeptics love to sound high-minded when they say that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof,” what they are really saying is that scientists adhere to a double standard: ordinary standards for accepted theories and extraordinary ones for contrary theories.
In another loss of face, the once vaunted broadcaster earlier this week was chastised by a judge in London for trumping up false charges against the government in news reports about its decision to go to war against Iraq. The head of the BBC resigned following the decision.
Sic transit gloria
Note: In last month’s issue, we included a review of an article in the Daily Express of Great Britain by Toby Moore discussing Drosnin’s book and the Horizon production.