|On the "Bible Wheel" Apologetic|
An allegedly "invincible" apologetic called the "Bible Wheel" is claimed. The creator of this Bible Wheel (BW for short) touted it as a be-all and end-all apologegtic for the divine origin of the Protestant canon (notice I did not say, the Bible per se) of 66 books.
While of course we're not the sort here to pretend that there's a wall around the canon, apparently the creator is "evangelizing" his BW and promoting it in the sense that I once heard someone say that the US Constitution was incomplete without the ACLU.
For context, here's the main graphic from the Bible Wheel site:
What this BW project amounts to is this:
1. The creator has aligned the books of the Bible on a wheel, in concentric circles, based on the premise that there is some great significance to there being 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and 66 (multiple of 22) Bible books in the Protestant canon.
Of course I may as well find some great significance in there being 26 letters in the English alphabet and 13 (1/2 of 26) American colonies; and of course it ignores that some books (like 1 and 2 Samuel) were originally one book -- which the creator claims is irrelevant, for again, the claim is made for some divine intervention causing the Protestant canon -- as well as, apparently, even chapter divisions added in the medieval period.
2. The creator next attempts -- with great effort -- to find some connections between the books aligned on each "spoke" of the wheel by his arrangement. For example, he ends up with Ecclesiastes, John and Jude on the same spoke of the BW. An example of such an effort in this case is that he notes how often "sun" appears in Ecclesiastes and then connects it to the use of"light" in John.
Connections like the ones above are meaningless statistically because the BW has no controls in terms of how associations are made. "Sun" can be connected to innumerable concepts like round, light, heat, fire, burning, stars, etc. and so there is no problem of being able to find one in any other work one wishes to make a connection to -- especially with works as long as John and Ecclesiastes.
Note that this is not denying that some have seen significance in the numbering of the Hebrew alphabet in specific ways. The issue is whether the specific significance found by the BW creator is in any sense statistically significant.
As a demonstration, I put together a "Presidential Wheel" based on the premise of there being 13 colonies and 26 letters. The number of Presidents isn't a multiple of 13 right now, but this does not matter: My wheel can keep growing.
In any event these people are on the first spoke:
Notice the correspondence: Washington was our first president, at the "dawn" of our nation; and Reagan declared a "morning in America." Taft was our heaviest President; he was rotund and beamed like the sun. And, rays of sun PIERCE the darkness.
Another spoke on my wheel has these on it:
Two of these died in office, and the other was President twice. A theorist might say it is God's way of showing that anyone who tries to destroy our nation's leaders can't do it.
It's pretty clear what the problem is here. The BW system is completely without discipline. One is free to make any connections one wants based on tenouous threads of common word usages and thematic associations (which the creator of the BW decides on, in terms of how they are fulfilled), both of which revolve on frequent themes of the sort that we would always find in an ancient collectivist society of the ANE (eg, "love" which is the community spirit of a collectivist society) and so would be found and repeated continually in works of the Bible's genre.
There's no need to debate or question the data itself (which does not mean it is all accurate; it may not be). However genuine it is, the critical flaw in the system is the way the BW creator assigns MEANING to the data. If BW's creator wants any credence, he should submit his material to intelligent design theorists or to people who know how to recognize the validity of statistics (as I do, from an information science and a literary perspective, though not to the depth of an ID specialist). I suspect though that they would never give BW an ounce of credibility as anything more than a homiletic tool.
Tellingly enough, the creator of BW refuses to do this, and merely takes refuge in substabnceless ad hominem retorts, and creates further fantastic imaginations. Thus for example, when I refer to him above as the "creator" of the Bible Wheel, this is one of his replies:
.....[This] refrain is designed to subliminally implant the idea that the Bible Wheel is nothing but mere human invention. It is an attempt to program his readers to prejudicially reject the possibility that the Bible Wheel could be a genuine discovery or a revelation from God. It is a classic, if perverse, polemic technique that has been honed to perfection by his spiritual forefathers (John 8:44). I have little doubt this was his primary purpose, whether he knew it or not...
Clearly, this is not a project that comes of a rational consideration of evidence or of statistical method.