Re: 137 - what a DUMB number

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Nov 14 2000 - 00:28:02 MST

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Not that I believe in numerology, but the connection of numbers to words was
> more obvious to the ancient Hebrews than it is to us today. The Hebrew
> letters were also used as numbers. They did not have separate digits like
> we do. Unlike roman numerals, in which some letters can represent numbers,
> in Hebrew all letters can be numbers.

You know, even in my own parents' Orthodox Jewish household, Gematria was
regarded as being incredibly pointless. My father once gave a lecture in
which he proved that "children of Israel" was equivalent to "pizza with
mushrooms". (I may be remembering the exact words wrong, but...) There's
also a frequently circulated humorous Gematria on the Internet which starts
out with the usual tricks and then descends into the sordid depths of integral
calculus. Anyone who's ever played with Gematria and has the least vestige of
skeptical intelligence - this includes my father, a major fan of the
_Skeptical Inquirer_ - knows that you can prove absolutely anything with
Gematria, and thus all such proofs have zero relation to reality.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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