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

Hello Emar,  

======= At 2004-09-07, 21:53:00 you wrote: =======

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

I understand what you are trying to say: since one cannot prove the VM plaintext  
is meaningless without really solving it, one can only demonstrate the  method how 
it PROBABLY could have been  done.   Yes, probably, because we will never 
know, after all,  he can only deliver  the gibberish :-).  But Jacques is right,  the 
method presented may  bring some serious doubts about the whole thing.  The 
problem is that Rugg got himself locked in vicious circle - without proof are all his 
theories fruitless. The crux of the thing is to show HOW IT WAS DONE, all his 
other statements are just cosmetics,  giving his theory the superficial credibility: 
Kelly, hoax, even the statement, that the author must have used gibberish as 
plaintext. Now let's count: he cannot prove Kelly did  it, he cannot prove it is a 
hoax, he cannot even  prove that author had to use only gibberish!!! What's  left? 

Funny, one Rugg's statement was passed without any comment: the statement he 
credits some VM researchers, i.e. that using meaningful text, it would take the 
author many years to encode it into the VM.  I for one do not subscribe to that 
"many years" idea.  Use of Cardan grill is of course very easy, but Rugg is hinting 
about some  sofisticated use of it, to get VM-lookalike structure. Of course,  he is 
too shy to tell us how.  And why would the Cardan grill work faster on gibberish 
than on meaningful text? After all, to generate the gibberish plaintext or meaningful 
plaintext may take the skilled writer almost the same time! And at the end, who will 
tell the difference? Or is Mr. Rugg trying to tell  us that the normal plaintext will
never look so good in the VM? 

>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.) 

I am afraid it cannot be decided even if it is not a hoax - this is a  trick Rugg is 
well aware of :-).  If I write say this: "ow gqwe ukklqa", you  will never know if the
plaintext has any meaning, since you do  not know neither plaintext nor the cipher, 
 not even the original language. Yes, it may be a hoax, but you will  never know 
unless I tell you.  Now you try to solve it and get something like "rg mott wertxd". 
Gibberish? You bet, but honestly: what does  it really tell you? You may have used 
the wrong method,  it could be simply an artificial language or it could even be 
doubly encoded "my dear brother".

requiring logical "proof" from Rugg is fallacious in itself -- it's 
>something he couldn't give, even if he was right.

Well, you go to the court and accuse somebody he is a murderer, but you tell 
judge you do not have a proof. Would you consider the judge's decision to strike 
your statement out as fallacious?   By the way, nowhere I read that Rugg admits he 
cannot provide the proof, in spite  of the fact he knows that already :-).  

>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.

For many thousand years, people did not know the theory of relativity. Is it an 
empirical proof that theory makes no sense?  Or is it just an indication it was not 
so obvious?  

>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.

By the same token Rugg's theory would be already dead - if we use scientific 
criteria - but  he keeps it still alive   by denying the public the "secret" of his 
method :-).  For how long?  
>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.

"Gradually refining"? How?  By providing set of rules longer than all the text in the
VM or devising supercharged, multi-dimensional grills with each cutout having 
different rule?  After all, you can do only few things with Cardan grille :-).

 >(That Rugg might 
shamelessly exploit the PR created in this manner doesn't necessarily 
>devalidate his findings.)

What findings? He didn't find yet anything and  he admits he expects to find only
gibberish at the end . . .

Best regards.				 

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