The Algorithm Test
The Underdown Algorithm Experiment
After completion of its first inquiry, CFI Executive Director of Investigations James Underdown initiated a different strategy. He told fellow skeptic leader David Gluck that he could write an algorithm that, when applied to a large body of text, would generate a level of symmetry comparable to the Sagan Signal. I challenged James to do what he said he could do, and gave him ten months to do it.
It was an interesting, if desperate, effort. Unfortunately for James, it didn’t work. The “Underdown Code” never materialized, which leaves standing the verdict from CFI’s first investigation - that the Sagan Signal is a non-predictive, non-algorithmic, and scientifically legitimate Bible code.
Bible code schemes typically exceed random coincidence by many orders of magnitude, which proponents cite as scientific evidence of the supernatural. Those schemes are routinely and inevitably debunked when the algorithm used to create the code is identified, and, when applied to large bodies of text other than the Bible, similar results are generated.
The Sagan Signal, with a probability factor of one in ten billion trillion, has the distinction of being the only Bible code claim in history not generated by an algorithm.