BS"D Cheshvan 5762 (Oct. 01)
Concerning the Genesis Text used in our Experiments
By Doron Witzum
Concerning the Genesis text we used in our experiments, our Statistical Science paper  stated the following:
"We used the standard, generally accepted text of Genesis known as the Textus Receptus. One widely available edition is that of the Koren Publishing Company in Jerusalem. The Koren text is precisely the same as that used by us." (Pg. 436)
In another article  in BDD, Journal of Torah and Scholarship, we added:
"The text we used, is the text of Genesis printed by Koren Publishing Company. Contrary to the impression created by the opponents to our research, we didn't choose arbitrarily one of many available texts of Genesis. We took the obvious course of using that text considered as kasher (valid) in almost all Jewish communities (excluding Yemenite Jews). Incidentally, the Yemenite version of Genesis differs only in three places, all at the beginning so that no significant difference may be expected, even if the experiment is conducted on that version. In fact, I recently conducted the randomization test, exactly as it was done in , using the Yemenite text, and it turned out that the P4 statistic, which was the best in the original experiment, achieved a ranking of 4 out of one million permutations, the precise ranking of the original text" (pg. 66).
In other words, the experimental constraints of the original experiment in  yield the same results for the Yemenite text. Afterwards, we ran the experiment with a far larger number of permutations (200 times more) and the significance for the Yemenite text was about 3 times worse. This is still a very remarkable significance.
In summation, all the texts accepted as kasher (valid) throughout the Jewish world today, yield a very remarkable significance.
The "Textual Argument"
Some of the Torah Codes opponents base their main objection on the following a priori argument. They assume that:
- If there is a code in Genesis it will be found only in the original text given at Sinai.
- The Torah text considered kasher today, is not identical with that given at Sinai (at least not the spelling). According to them, our text contains many spelling errors which should suffice to destroy any code that existed in the original Genesis text.
Then they claim that assumptions a and b lead to an inevitable conclusion:
- No code could possibly be found in the Genesis text accepted as kasher by the Jews today.
We will call this argument the "textual argument." Cohen  is its outstanding propagandist. MBBK (McKay, BarNatan, BarHillel and Kalai) also ascribe great significance to this argument, and devote an entire section to it (Sec. 11) in their Statistical Science paper .
Refuting the "Textual Argument"
The "textual argument" is a classical case of foolishness masquerading as science. Someone, it seems, forgot they we are discussing a system of codes that include information about the future, created by He who knows future events in advance.
Is it conceivable that the code-maker knew of every future event except which text would be accepted as kasher (valid) by the code-receivers when the code was revealed? |
We have disproved the "textual argument." Now we wish to add some pertinent points.
- I first heard this refutation from HaRav Fisher Shalit"a before I began my own research on the Genesis codes. [Cohen seriously distorted HaRav Fisher's stand on this subject. Anyone who compares my words in my article in Jewish Action (Spring 5758/1998, vol. 58, no. 3, pg. 26) with what Cohen construed from them, will be amazed to discover many details invented by Cohen, aided by his fertile imagination. By the way, in  his weak understanding of Torah topics is also made obvious. (For example, he claims that one may not leave a situation where "Torah is one's profession" even at the cost of "being killed and not transgressing").]
- We strongly oppose Cohen and McKay et al's claims concerning assumption b (that our Torah scrolls have many errors compared to the original version of Genesis) in their "textual argument." In particular, their Talmudic "proofs" are totally incorrect. However, since we have destroyed the whole basis of the "textual argument", assumption b is no longer relevant to our subject and we will leave this discussion for a better opportunity.
- McKay et al  present a table (# 4) where they give examples of alternative texts of Genesis which gave worse results than the original result of the Koren version. The logic of this table is as follows:
The "textual argument" is correct > therefore, there cannot be a true encoding in Koren version > therefore, WRR's results were "cooked" specifically for the Koren text > therefore, in other versions the results are worse > thus, this table illustrates the results of the "cooking."
But, once the "textual argument" has been refuted, this table takes on a completely new meaning:
The "textual argument" is incorrect and there is a genuine code in the Genesis text we accept today as kasher > therefore, WRR's results indicate a true success in the Koren text > therefore, the table shows that the encoding revealed in our time in the accepted kasher text (Koren) is at its best in this text, as compared to several different versions of Genesis given in that table.
Witztum, D., Rips, E. and Rosenberg, Y. (1994). Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis. Statist. Sci. 9 No. 3 429-438.
Witztum, D. (1998). Concerning the "REMEZ" in Equidistant Letter Sequences (ELS's). BDD, Journal of Torah and Scholarship, Bar-Ilan University Press, No. 7 [in Hebrew].
- Cohen, M. (2000). The Religious and Scientific Aspects of the Debate on the Codes Hidden in the Torah at Equidistant Letter Sequences. Available at: http://cs.anu.edu.au/ ~ bdm/dilugim.
McKay, B. D., Bar-Natan, D., Bar-Hillel, M. and Kalai, G. (1999). Solving the Bible
Code puzzle. Statist. Sci. 14 No. 2 150-173.