Well, Not Quite Settled

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1 Response

  1. Shaya Karlinsky says:

    Over the years, Prof. Aumann’s willingness — in contradistinction to many of his peers — to accord possible credibility to the codes phenomena reported by WWR was featured prominently by Aish HaTorah as part of its program to impute scientific validity to the claims of Divine authorship of the Torah. Most of his colleagues, certainly after the publication of the McKay/Bar Natan manipulated “replication” in 1999, derided any mention of scientific validity to the experiment. But Prof. Aumann’s integrity and quest for truth propelled him to continue searching for the evidence necessary to dispel confusion, whichever way the chips would fall.

    At the end of the day, there has been no replication of Gans’ results, and no replication of the WWR experiment. We are more than a decade later. The failures can each be explained away, as Lapides tries to do, by sloppy techniques and an assortment of other conincidental problems. And the accusations of data manipulation leveled at WWR are certainly undermined, as R. Menken points out, by the limitations of the equipment that they used in the early 90’s. But the same sloppy techniques and excuses that keep causing failed replications allows one to suspect that the successful experiment may also have “alternative” (conicidental) explanations, especially since a significant number of the appelations provided by Havlin and used by WWR are not clear cut. If mistakes are the cause of the failed replication, I am sure that Doron Witztum can provide corrections, and the evidence to validate those corrections, and re-run the experiment to a successful conclusion.

    Prof. Aumann is one of the few people in the Codes history who should be insulated from any accusations of looking to vaildate a pre-conceived agenda. (It happens that Rabbi Adlerstein, who actually was a codes presenter for a number of years, should also be accorded that honor) His conclusions after twenty years of looking favorably on the Codes can’t be dismissed quite as easily as R. Menken seems to be doing.

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