Scientific Refutation of the Bible Codes


Brendan McKay and Friends

This is the main web site which examines the Bible Codes (also called Torah Codes) from the point of view of the mathematicians and other experts who have examined them critically.

A brief summary of the codes claims is that the Hebrew text of the Bible (especially of the Torah, the first five books) contain intentional coincidences of words or phrases that appear as letters with equal spacing. More details of the claims from the Jewish point of view can be found here, and from the Christian point of view here. Both those sites present a pro-codes viewpoint.

A brief summary of the result of our very extensive investigation is that all the alleged scientific evidence for the codes is bunk. This page presents much of the evidence for that assertion.

The famous rabbis experiment

The most serious claim of scientific evidence for the Codes was made by three Israelis: Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips, and Yoav Rosenberg (WRR). They claim that biographical information about medieval rabbis is "encoded" in the Hebrew text of Genesis. Specifically, the rabbis' names and other appellations are claimed to be encoded closer to their dates of birth and death than should be expected by chance. WRR's "experiment" appeared in the respectable journal Statistical Science in 1994.

Other claims by WRR or Gans, and our replies

Several other papers of WRR exist, though none have been published in journals. More claims continue to appear regularly (especially here). Given our demolition of all of WRR's early work, we do not feel obliged to answer every new claim. Nevertheless, some of the claims have been answered by us in detail.

Independent experiments

We have performed many independent scientific tests of the Bible Codes claims. All of them failed to detect anything not easily explained by random chance. These experiments are not to be confused with the demonstrations of trickery that we have constructed in War and Peace.

A summary of our major experiments can be found in our paper in Statistical Science.

These experiments include:

All of those experiments, and all the other experiments we have conducted, failed to find any "codes" above chance levels.

Expert Opinions

Our opinions page presents a selection of opinion articles by noted experts. For example, mathematician Professor Barry Simon gives convincing reasons for rejecting the claims of the codes proponents and even designed a serious experiment to be sure. Noted Bible scholars Professor Menachem Cohen and Professor Jeffery Tigay explain why the history of the Bible text makes it implausible that codes exist today even if they existed in the original text. Also, there is a public statement of more than 50 professional mathematicians and statisticians who have studied the evidence and found it lacking.

We now have the first part of a new article by Professor Menachem Cohen about the codes business and the people who support it.

Michael Drosnin's books

The book "The Bible Code" by Michael Drosnin has been the most successful mass-market book about the Torah Codes. Alas, all semblence of scientific method is missing, and all of the important codes proponents have disowned him. By repeated examples, we prove that Drosnin did not find anything that can't be found in any book, even in English.

The center-piece of the book is a "prediction" of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.


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Creator: Brendan McKay,