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Re: VMs: Testing Dr. Rugg's hoax theory

Jacques Guy wrote:
7/09/2004 11:10:53 AM, elvogt@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

Well, the VM is obviously made to appear meaningful.

Loaded. Equivalent to "when did you stop beating your wife?"
"The VM is obvious _made_ to appear meaningful" already implies that its authors meant to deceive and
that it is meaningless.

I had assumed that my statement was understood in the context of the hypothesis that the VM was a hoax.

For further reference: I define "hoax" (in the VM context) as a document which bears the appearance of containing a meaningful substance, but doesn't.

...What is relevant is:

Method X generates text similar to Text Z.
Therefore Text Z is a hoax.

From which follows:

All texts are hoaxes (because it is always possible to devise some method, or methods, to mimic a text).

Hm. If a forged dollar bill looks like a real bill, this certainly doesn't mean that _all_ bills are fake. On the other hand, it doesn't mean that the fake bill is real either.

I'm not quite sure why you attack the formalities of my arguments and fail to proceed with precise statements yourself.

So, _if_ the VM is meaningless, the best anyone can do is to _show_ (ie demonstrate with a reasonable degree of match) the method.

Irrelevant. See above.

I insist it is very relevant.

The question whether the VM is a hoax can't be conclusively decided, if the VM really is a hoax. (I know this sounds paradoxical, but isn't.) Thus, requiring logical "proof" from Rugg is fallacious in itself -- it's something he couldn't give, even if he was right.

Even if Rugg is right

He is wrong.

I'm stunned by the quality of your argument.

Are you aware of the fact that it boils down to "He's wrong, because he's wrong"?

> See above. Therefore, I correct that to:

Even if Rugg were
right in all regards, he wouldn't [was: won't] be able to give you the hard proof you're asking for, since it is hard even for you to define the criteria for this.

Another slip of logic. That it is hard for me to define
the criteria in no way means that there are no criteria.
The onus is on whoever wants to prove whatever. ...

So what you're saying is: You refuse to give criteria to assess the merit of Rugg's work, but still insist he's wrong? You refuse to ask a question, but insist the answer's wrong? What kind of logic is this?

You could turn the argument around: What proof do we have that the VM is _not_ a hoax? A priori, both hypotheses ("hoax" vs. "for real") are reasonable.

Fourty years of intense research have failed to make any significant progress in finding meaning in the VM. Which some might consider empirical support for the theory that there is no meaning.

All we have is a number of statistical properties. These properties on the one hand seem to favour the idea of an underlying structure (and meaning), OTOH it so happens that every decryption attempt which tries to exploit one of these features is instantly killed by another feature which contradicts the attempt.

Now I actually think the idea to devise a plausible algorithm for producing seemingly meaningful text, and gradually refining it to include more and more features of the VM, is not such a bad one. Actually, I think it's the only way one could substantiate the hoax hypothesis. (That Rugg might shamelessly exploit the PR created in this manner doesn't necessarily devalidate his findings.)


Elmar Vogt / Königswarterstr. 18 / 90762 Fürth / GERMANY
elvogt@xxxxxxxxxxx / www.beamends.de / Tel.: (++49/0)911 - 31 52 58
Agilmar v. Sevelingen: AGE PERDITUS, FAC ME DIES (Haroldus Sordidus)

"It is through the truthful exercising of the best of human qualities -
respect for others, honesty about ourselves, faith in our ideals - that
we come to life in God's eyes." (Bruce Springsteen, "Vote for Change")

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