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Re: VMs: A passing thought

Hi Jeff,

At 00:18 30/11/2003 +0000, Jeff wrote:
Just in case anyone is interested I have developed an algorithm that can
generate Voynichese.
The tables aren't in the order they should be to produce real voynichese but
you should see from the output how the patterns reproduce themselves in the
same way as in the VMS. This is the basis of my other pet theory, that it is
all a hoax. BTW for the pattern oalg think of the way aiin repeats as I
believe this pattern is caused in the same way aiin would be in a hoax

Certainly, your generated text is "Voynich-like" - but it's most definitely *not* Voynichese, for at least 20 different reasons.

Well... perhaps this all goes to show the dangers of having pet theories. :-(

I (and others here) have fairly recently been corresponding with Gordon Rugg about his VMs-as-hoax ideas: as a result, he's moved from (what I'd call) a pure hoax position to a constructionist position - rather than claiming that a set of tables were used to *generate a hoax*, his ideas now revolve around a set of tables (and a grille) being used to *construct a text*.

That is, rather than start from the position "it's a hoax, which might have been generated in the following way" (ie starting from a conclusion), he now starts from the position "the following might be a way in which the VMs' text was constructed" (ie making claims less about actual content than about possible method).

The clever part would be if Gordon were to propose a plausible set of tables for an actual page (or even for a single paragraph!) of the VMs, but that has so far eluded him. What is missing, then, *both for him and for you* is a connection between *your model for the text* and the *actual text itself*.

Restricting your argument to one direction only (ie, either [from text to plausible model] or [from plausible model to similar text]) will not give you any kind of proof... for proof, you will have to "close the loop". Yes, I know that's always going to be hard to achieve - why do you think that no-one here has managed it yet? It's certainly not for lack of trying. :-o

Even so, a good first step is to put any pet theories aside and focus on what is (and is not) consistent with the evidence. The real challenge to hoax theorists isn't "how could the VMs be constructed if it were to be done now?" - it's "how was the VMs constructed then?" The trick to getting a useful answer is to make sure you're addressing the right question. :-o

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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