About Minimal Skip

An attack Mr Drosnin sometimes makes against my pictures is that they don't use "minimal skip". On this page we answer that charge.

What is minimal skip?

When a word is coded in the text using equal spacing, the amount of that spacing is called the skip. For example, if a word appears at positions 300,400,500,600, then the skip is 100.

Shorter words are usually encoded in a text many times, using a variety of skips. A feature of the published experiment of Witztum and Rips is that encodings with small skip are given greater weight than encodings with large skip. This lead to the notion of minimal skip, which refers to having the smallest skip out of all encodings of the same word.

Technically, each encoding has a domain of minimality, which is the largest segment of the text in which the encoding has minimal skip. For example, a word might have skip which is minimal in the Book of Exodus but not minimal in the whole Pentateuch. The (arbitrary) rules made by Rips say that encodings which have large domains of minimality are more significant than those which don't.

Does Drosnin obey the Rips rules?

No he doesn't, which may be why there is no mention of minimal skip in his book except for a vague and misleading statement on page 218.

The rules of Rips apply to every word in the picture. However, Drosnin very often has only the central key-word minimal. Other words in his pictures frequently have no domain of minimality at all.

Sometimes Drosnin doesn't even have minimality for his key-word. An example is "Clinton", which has no domain of minimality at all.

What about my pictures?

Just as for Drosnin, some of my pictures use minimal skip and some don't. Here I will list those of my pictures which are just as minimal (domains of minimality just as long) as Drosnin's pictures are. If we don't state the domain of minimality (DM), it is the whole text. For comparison, Genesis has 78064 letters and the Torah has 304805 letters. Yes, Drosnin's standards are so low that matching them is easy.

Incidentally, making pictures which contain more than one minimal word at the same time is much harder in a long text like Moby Dick than a short text like Genesis.

What other objections does Drosnin have?

When journalists ask Drosnin about me, he typically replies, "He's a liar", "He's a fraud", "He's a clown", "Who is he compared to the great mathematicians who verified that the codes are real?", and so on.

Faced with such a thorough refutation of my work, what reply could be possible? Nevertheless, we asked The Great Moby for an opinion on Drosnin, and received some interesting replies. Here are just a few, using only words with domains of minimality longer than the entire Torah.

Back to the Torah Codes page
Back to the Mathematical Miracles page

Creator: Brendan McKay, bdm@cs.anu.edu.au.