How Large is your Penis?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Failure of Torah Codes

Torah codes or "Bible Codes" are supposedly a way to gain prophetic insight from encoding the text of the Torah. The idea is that if you skip a certain number of letter in the Torah you would form words. These words together will tell you prophetic insight. Thus, many Jewish believers say that Torah codes is the ultimate proof that the Torah must have been written by God. Because no human being has the ability to encode the Torah with so much prophecy.

Let us understand first how Torah codes work. I am no expert so I may get a few things wrong here but this is my understanding. Let us illustrate how it would work with say "Tale of Two Cities". The opening phrase is, "it was the best of times it was the worst of times". What we do next is create a 50 x 50 grid and inside this grid we put in the letter in the order of the book. So the first entry into the grid would be "i" then it would be "t", then "w" then "a" then "s", and so forth. There are no spaces. Once this grid is filled up we move to the next page and fill up the grid. We keep on doing this until the entire book is put onto these grids. The same thing with the Torah. It is just done in Hebrew rather than English. I only used "Tale of Two Cities" because I figured it might be easier to follow.

There are computer programs that do this so that people do not have to spend all that time. It does not even have to be a 50 x 50 grid it can be 100 x 100 and other sizes too. Again I am not sure about the specifics you would have to look it up if you are interested but this is basically what they do. Once a computer program is set up with these grids the next thing that people do is a word search. The way you find words is by skipping every certain number of letters. So say if you skip every 11th letter you form the word "death". The idea of Torah codes is to find words in a single grid. Once these words are found the claim is that these words represent a prophetic insight to the future.

Some Torah codes have become famous. There is one that mentions the year of holocaust, it mentions word "holocaust", it mentions Hitler's name, it may mention Germany, and other relevant things. Again I do not remember the details but it is a very impressive Torah word search. What the Jewish believer would do in such a case is say that this is so impressive that it must be the case that God is the author because he was hinting what will be the future of the Jewish people.

So are Torah codes really proof that God is the author of the Torah? I am sorry to say to any Jewish believer that may be reading this is that Torah codes do not advance the case that God is the author of the Torah. The only thing they do is nicely demonstrate the theory of probability. In probability theory there is the "infinite monkey theorem". The theorem says that if an event has positive probability then given enough time the event will happen. The way the theorem is stated is in a more humorous way. That is, a monkey randomly hitting keys on a typewriter will type out all books of Shakespeare given enough time to type. But the idea is the same, that is, if something can happen, it will happened if an experiment is preformed enough times. This may be several million times or many billion times but it is bound to happen. Now the number of possible permutations that can be formed from among the Torah codes is huge. I cannot even guess at this number. It is completely huge. So it is not a surprise at all that some words will start to appear together.

Say I took words, "Germany", "Hitler", "1942", "holocaust", "Jews" and found something I should not be surprised for the reasons explained above. In fact, let me put it this way. If Torah codes did not work then I would be far more impressed and thought it was written by God than by seeing Torah codes work. Because if Torah codes did not work then it would suggest they are not applicable to the rules of probability and so whoever wrote the Torah made sure it would not be applicable to probability theory. Consider this example. If there is a 100 multiple choice test with four choices then my expected score by pure guessing will be 25 correct answers. Now say I get two exams. One exam is by a student who got 30 correct and another exam is by a student who got 0 correct. Even though getting a mistake is more common than getting something right it turns out, if we do the math, that the chances that a student would get 30 correct is 142,659,567,330 times more likely than one who gets everything wrong. Therefore, I would see the one who got everything wrong as having some sort of magical powers that make him immune from probability. I would suspect that perhaps he knew what was wrong. The same with Torah codes. If on the contrary Torah codes did not work at all then I would suspect that something mysterious must be going on to make them unaffected by probability laws.

There are plenty of other problems wrong with Torah codes. One can find non-meaningful word searches. For example, say you consider the words "elephant", "six legs", "wings", and "human". Does that mean the Torah predicts that in the future there would be a six-legged human elephant with wings? The point is that what we do is throw away the millions and billions of non-sensical word searches and only focus on ones that actually make sense. Which again, by rules of probability, is not in any way impressive.

There are even more problems with Torah codes. One can use Torah codes to justify Jesus and Christianity. So my question is if you say Torah codes are really authentic then why do you not become Christians if you can justify Christianity through Torah codes? And to the question I raised above why do you not believe in six-legged elephant humans with wings if you accept Torah codes? The point is that you do not accept Torah codes, in truth. What you do is use your own judgement. You use your own intellect. Torah codes are just a "justification" to what your intellect already conjured instead of Torah codes of being used for illumination of the truth. Why this intellectual dishonesty?

The problems do not just stop here. There is nothing special about the Torah whatsoever. One can use the Koran and get the same results. In fact, skeptics preformed this experiment using "Moby Dick". What they found was really impressive, even more impressive than anything found in the Torah. They found the complete details and specifications to a murder case. It was a long list of details that even included that the murder was done through an axe. The question is that did Herman Melville really has prophetic powers? Or perhaps the laws of probability work wonderfully on large cases trails by the law of large numbers?

There really is nothing more to say on Torah codes except that it is just another failed attempt by the believer to try to justify his religion.


  1. A good short summary. However it should be noted that the original researchers were not quite that stupid as some of the popularizers. They claimed that they could show that these coincidences you speak of happened more often than they should. However this also has been debunked. See Brendan McKay's website:

  2. Johan: Thank you for that infromation. Yes, I heard that too, I was told that it happens more than it should. Of course, I did not believe what the Torah code apologist told me.