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VMs: VMS as Hoax
Nick Pelling wrote:
If the VMS is a hoax, I'm not sure that the fact that it exhibits
structure necessarily implies that it was generated in a systematic way.
IMO, there are two pragmatic ways to "prove" that the VMs is a hoax: (1)
unearth provenance information that implicates it directly as part of a
hoaxing scheme, and (2) reconstruct the method by which it was generated.
Jim Reeds raised this question in a conversation we had years ago in
college, and suggested a possible test: write a number of pages of
random text "off the cuff" (without using a formal system), trying to
keep the "style" consistent throughout, then use statistical tests to
see how consistent it actually was.
Another variation of this idea might be to write a number of pages of
Voynich-like text this way (without programs, calculations, tables,
written notes etc. and without copying or even looking at the VMS during
the writing), but with the intention of making it as much like the VMS
as possible. It would be permissible to look at the VMS a few minutes
before the test, mentally noting common words, initials and finals, the
distribution of word lengths etc., but not taking any written notes.
Then, once the pseudo-VM text was complete, it should be analyzed for
letter frequencies, word length distribution, common words etc. and
compared to actual VMS text; also, comparisons should be made between
different parts of the pseudo-VM document for consisteny..
If this test produced a close fit, it might demonstrate that a formal
system is not necessary. (Think of it as a "Kon-Tiki" like experiment -
though unable to prove that there was no formal system, it would at
least make that possibility plausible.)
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