A paleographic analysis of the Old Testament has uncovered an anomaly that cryptographers have putatively identified as a non-predictive, non-algorithmic cipher. This is a solicitation for academic review of the core data and related investigations, with an invitation to participate in advanced vetting.

Donald L. Zygutis
*B.S., Theology and Education
*Graduate studies: Western Seminary

Welcome to the Sagan Project, a highly focused effort to get the Sagan Signal, a different kind of Bible code claim, into the hands of academics for advanced testing and analysis.

Phase 1 of the Sagan Project was launched on 12/20/2020 with three emails, one sent to a mathematician, one to a cryptographer, and the third to a linguist. I call them the three amigos (see left tab).

My exchanges with the three amigos were both insightful and productive, to the point where I’ve decided to proceed to Phase 2.



Much to my delight and surprise, after less than two months into its launch, the Sagan Project captured the interest of three academics, a cryptographer, a linguist, and a mathematician. Their collective input has been transformative. Thanks to their respective contributions, the securing of the Sagan Signal within an academic milieu has been achieved at warp speed, making it possible to move the Sagan Project from Phase 1, where the question under consideration was: Is it a code?, to Phase 2, with the question now being: Is it an alien code?

In the collective judgment of the three amigos, for the Sagan Signal to be a code, there must be an encoder. And if there is an encoder, there must be an algorithm. But all agree that there is no algorithm. Their respective positions, arrived at independently, is that what I’m calling a code, or signal, is most likely an example of literary convention. (Keep in mind that in Phase 1, extraterrestrial intervention was not an option).

In Phase 2 we consider the possibility that the Sagan Signal was remotely encoded into the text by aliens, an explanation that, if true, would negate the need for an algorithm.

Here, then, is a brief summary of what we know:

*We know that the Old Testament text was not altered after its completion, at least not to the degree necessary to account for the data.

*We know that the authors of the Old Testament, numbering into the hundreds, whose lives cover a span of eight centuries, did not consciously implant the code into the text at the time it was being written.

*We know that the Sagan Signal is not random and not algorithmic.

This leaves literary convention and alien intervention as the two remaining explanations. For literary convention to be true, sequences in Ancient Near Eastern literature must be found that, in quantity and quality, are analogous to the sequences of the Sagan Signal. If such analogues don’t exist, alien attribution is the only explanation left, in which case, with all other potential falsifying explanations eliminated, my alien Bible code claim is confirmed by default.

To conclude, the null hypothesis of the three amigos is that there must be analogues in Ancient Near Eastern literature that, when found, will confirm literary convention, thereby effectively falsifying my claimed discovery of an alien Bible code.


The goal of Phase 2: Find the analogues!

In the search for analogues, I hope to enlist the help of scholars and the general public with a $5000 reward to anyone who manages to do what I think can’t be done – find the analogues! If analogues are not found in a reasonable length of time, and no other credible explanations emerge, all data and research that confirm Carl Sagan’s theory that advanced extraterrestrials exist and have visited Earth (see Direct Contact paper on left tab), will be turned over to The SETI Institute, with a formal request for an independent, exhaustive, and fully transparent investigation.


Donald L. Zygutis


Kathryn Denning on Analogues

In 2013, SETI advisor Dr. Katheryn Denning, currently associate professor of anthropology at York University, reviewed the Sagan Signal sent to her by SETI Chief Investigator Dr. Paul Shuch, and sent me the following analysis:

“I do see that your triads are interesting, and indeed they may be statistically significant but such literary conventions can emerge for many reasons. I question whether or not ETI is a necessary part of the hypothesis.”

In Kathryn’s phrase: “such literary conventions” she was speculating that examples of identical or comparable symmetry are likely to be found in Ancient Near Eastern literature other than the Old Testament. I personally spent years working this angle, to no avail. Others, including credible scholars, have tried and failed to find analogous sequences in literature from the biblical era. Nevertheless, with all other falsification strategies having failed, there is currently broad agreement among scholars and skeptics that proving literary convention is the best hope for debunking my claimed discovery of an alien Bible code.

In the Ancient Near East, grain, wine, and oil were not only staples of existence, but represented the bulk of trade between nations. Finding references to all three among the hundreds of thousands of ledgers and manuscripts that have been preserved from that time period is not a problem. Finding them in close context and in this particular sequential order is.  

If, as Amigo L surmises, the grain, wine, and oil sequence was either a common idiom in the Ancient Near East as Ms. Denning proposed, or, more subtlety, a subconscious tendency, as he proposed, finding them would effectively kill my hypothesis.

But if such analogues can’t be found because they don’t exist – then what? What if, contrary to the assumption of leading skeptics, the Sagan Signal is singularly unique in all of human literature? Well, in that case, my hypothesis stands.

The failure of skeptics who participate in my current $5000 initiative to find analogues will further support my claim that the Sagan Signal is an alien artifact. Should that happen, I think it would be appropriate to ask Bill Diamond, President and CEO of SETI, to launch an independent and fully transparent investigation.

What harm would it do?” Surely the cost of a SETI cryptanalysis would be miniscule compared to the benefits humanity would reap if the Sagan Signal is proven to be extraterrestrial in origin. And, should SETI confirm that the symmetry is a by-product of the history, culture, language or religion of the Ancient Near East, isn’t that knowledge in itself worth attaining? Biblical scholars would have a field day following up on such a major discovery.

However it came into existence, the internal symmetry of the Sagan Signal is too pronounced, too curious, and too interesting from a scientific perspective for it to be cavalierly dismissed or ignored by SETI. As Kathryn. Denning said, the 46 sequences are “statistically significant,” a professional appraisal that elicits the very questions that SETI thrives on, such as: Where did it come from?  How did it happen? Is it an alien code?

As a scientific enterprise co-founded by Carl Sagan, I have a profound respect for the SETI Institute. My personal position is that the Sagan Signal should not be considered an alien artifact until after SETI completes an investigation and makes a formal announcement of discovery. After fifteen years of vetting, and coming close to exhausting all alternative explanations, I’ve already begun working on my petition letter to Bill Diamond.


Don Zygutis



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