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Re: VMs: Folio and Quire numbers

Nick Pelling wrote:

I'd also agree that it is too (structurally) complicated for it to be a *single* cipher from any era - but note that I posit it as a carefully-constructed compilation of cipher techniques. Its structure would therefore arise from the *combination* of elements within the system, not from the innate algorithmic complexity of any single element.

This type of argument can get you into trouble, I think. For example, I remember years ago running across a tract which attempted to show that the Bible must be divinely composed because of a large number of statistics about it which involve the number seven. For example (I'm making up a couple since I don't recall the ones in the tract), the number of words referring to plants was exactly divisible by seven, also the number of occurences of the word "and", the number of verses, and so on. Other things were divisible by 77 or 777. The author went on to argue that no human being could have composed a book in which all of these counts came out correct simultaneously as the last word was being written.

The flaw in the argument is that the autohor of the tract got to pick which statistics to use after the fact. Similarly, not knowing anything about the method of encryption, we don't know which features are siginificant, and therefore whether the structure is realy complex or not.

(At least, that's how it looks to me.)


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