THE DEBATE

 

The Torah Codes has aroused heated debate between its supporters and opponents. Even scientist skeptics admit [1] that if the discovery was true, it would be a "tremendous revolution that overshadowed even the Copernican revolution," which fans the flames of contention even higher. This was reflected in the various difficulties and obstacles [2] Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg (WRR below) experienced when they tried to publish their study [3]. Once their paper was published and generated enormous publicity, a major offensive was launched against Torah Codes research.

The opponents try to create the impression that Torah Codes researchers are biased by religious belief and/or their interest in using the codes to "return people to Judaism." They claim that since the researchers want to prove that Torah is divinely written, they are incapable of conducting objective research [4]. In contrast, the opponents present themselves as objective critics open to all possible outcomes and conclusions of the study [5].

The purpose of them making this claim is clear: the public in its capacity of judging the two sides is called upon to believe the "objective" witnesses and dismiss those who are "biased."

However, it goes without saying that we shouldn’t believe [6] someone is impartial just because they claim to be! It is not enough to wave a sign declaring, "I am objective." I think that despite the opponents' attempt to convince the public that they have no bias, their claim is not true. This is no surprise, for everyone has some degree of bias when he examines new information, especially information with far-reaching implications.

Nonetheless, one must distinguish between "regular" bias based on preferences and "extreme" bias, which comes from necessity. A person who feels forced to adhere to a certain position will distort his judgment to the extreme in order to avoid a conclusion he feels forced to avoid. Such a person may say frankly: "I won't believe this no matter what evidence you bring me," or hide this thought to save his liberal image.

The pertinent question is: Who is more likely to suffer from extreme bias?

  • A "religious" person is not compelled to believe that Torah Codes research is true because nothing in belief or tradition compels this conclusion [7]. It is not surprising to find religious scientists who oppose Torah Codes research (although to assert a priori that such findings cannot be true would oppose faith and tradition [8]).
  • A non-religious person who is truly liberal and approaches new information without prejudices (or overcomes them), has no necessity to invalidate Torah Codes. However, a non-religious person who regards materialism as a rigid dogma, as a religion in its own right, is forced to adopt the a priori position that Torah Codes findings cannot be true.

In conclusion, there is a certain asymmetry when it comes to extreme bias forcing a person to cling to his position:

Supporters of Torah Codes research have no ideological necessity to support it.
Some opponents of Torah Codes research have an ideological necessity to object it.

When a scientist regards a certain conclusion
as an ideological imperative,
he is subject to extreme bias
and extremely likely
to err.

Therefore, we must scrutinize allegations against the Torah Codes research carefully, for even distinguished scientists are vulnerable to making simple mistakes when subject to extreme bias. The articles of this section will point out many such errors including some that are truly astonishing.

- - -


1. A Review of the Attempts to Invalidate the Torah Codes
This article reviews and briefly presents the critics' arguments and the rebuttals of their claims. It also refers the interested reader to special articles refuting various claims. We think that the obvious errors and deliberate deceptions included in the criticism result directly from the critics' strong bias against Torah Codes research and are typical of criticism based on preconceived conclusions.

2. The Failure of the Committee Established to Examine Gans' Experiment
An experiment performed by Harold Gans to examine ELS rabbi/community matches in Genesis, concluded with statistical results that were highly significant. Data collection for the experiment was accomplished through a mechanical procedure by means of a precise algorithm (the Inbal Algorithm).
           Following criticism of the algorithm and its implementation, a university committee headed by Professor Yisrael (Robert J.) Aumann was established in 1996. The objective of the committee was “to look into the results reported by Gans" in his paper.

A.   The committee prepared protocols for two experiments that were to be conducted with new data.
B.  There were fatal flaws in the proposed experiments.
C. Many serious errors were found in the data even before any calculations were performed.
D.  We saw no benefit in running these experiments based on erroneous data.
E.  The committee chairman admitted the existence of errors in the data. He insisted that the calculations be performed and suggested that we publish our critique together with the committee's publications.
F.  We agreed to perform the calculations under the explicit condition that our critique be published as part of the committee's publications.
G.  As agreed, we published a summary of our opinion together with a comprehensive appendix proving the points in the summary.
H.  However, soon afterwards, despite the agreement we made with the chairman of the committee and against his clear protest, the executive committee of the Center for the Study of Rationality removed the appendix even though it was essential to understanding the summary.
I.  This created a misleading presentation of the experiments' results, a presentation which is void of any scientific value or fairness.

For extensive reading on topics A – G, click here.
For extensive reading on topics H – I, click here.

J.  Regarding the replication of the Gans-Inbal experiment discussed above, we believe that if the numerous errors in the data are corrected – the experiment will succeed.
K.  The data for the original Gans-Inbal experiment was collected using an algorithm that made the collection of data a "mechanical", objective process. For an extensive description of the algorithm, click here.

The algorithm results in a "mechanical" process run by a reasonable number of logical, relevant rules. We are convinced that it is impossible to fake such a process to produce similar results in (for example) "War and Peace."

 

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