A Minnow is No Match for a Marlin How long a Bible code is makes all the difference in terms of how likely it is that it could just be due to chance. Dave Thomas asserted this quite convincingly in an article he wrote for the Nov./Dec. 1997 issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine: It is much easier to find short names than long names. There might be thousands of occurrences of the four-letter name "Rich," for example. But matching "Gingrich" is much harder, since few or none of the thousands of instances of "Rich" will be preceded by "Ging" at exactly the right step locations. If an ELS has six or fewer letters, it is virtually certain that you will find it somewhere in the Bible, or even any Hebrew book. But then, if the code has 15 or more letters, the odds of finding it in any randomly selected, two-page-long section of text in the Hebrew Bible are virtually zero. The following table shows how the odds of finding a given code drop precipitously as the code gets longer. So all codes are not equal — not by a long shot. The longer a code is, the less likely it is to be due to chance. This is why all of the counter-examples Dave Thomas has posted consist of relatively short ELSs. The reality is that it is very difficult, and highly improbable, to come up with a truly lengthy ELS from a non-encoded text. He has yet to present any ELS that consists of as many as a dozen letters. Somehow he would have us believe that his newly posted George Harrison cluster, with over 250 minnows, should be viewed as being in the same class as a school of marlin. This, however, is counter to the quote from Thomas cited above. That he had to cast his line out over 100,000 times to catch those 250+ minnows is anything but impressive. Since Mr. Thomas took the liberty to fully abuse the original rating system we proposed for ELS clusters, it has become necessary to make our rating system much more fool-proof. This can largely be accomplished by raising the bar two more letters. Instead of throwing away all ELSs that are less than seven letters long, we will now throw away all ELSs that are less than nine letters long. An article to be presented in the next BCD issue will provide a comparison of the ratings of the examples provided in Drosnin's books with those presented by various code researchers and code skeptics — on the basis of the revised, more air tight rating system. We will see that a minnow is no match for a marlin. Some of these skeptics think that all they had to do to discredit Bible codes was to come up with a cluster of short codes from some book that no one would think of claiming was attributable to a super-human source. So they have pulled together various examples of minnows like Drosnin's minnows. But what about all the marlins? Since "codes" with eight or less letters can readily be found in any book, anything shorter than that should be thrown out when assessing whether a code cluster could be random.

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