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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

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Anthropic Principle

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Title Author Date
Is this one instance Zeligman, Naftali Nov 27, 2008
Dear Sir,

Like it or not, you are not the first one to apply gematria-based numerical tricks to the text of 1 Kings 7:23 in order to add precision to the value of Pi given therein. The only problem with all these attempts is that there is nothing in the text of that verse (nor in the classical rabbinic commentaries to it, if it matters for you) to show what exactly one has to do in order to arrive at a more precise value of Pi.
If all that you wanted were to interpret 1 Kings 7:23 in such a way as to avoid admitting that the verse contains an error, it would be much better to suggest that the figure of 10 cubits in diameter of Solomonís sea basin is an approximation (the precise value being c. 9.55 cubits), or that the diameter was measured including the width of the rims of the basin while the circumference was measured from inside the rims (which would give c. 0.225 cubits, or 11.25 cm, for the width of a single rim). Such interpretation would be less than obvious, of course, but at least it would operate with the text on its plain level, without picking gematrias at whim.
If, however, the problem which you want to solve is the acceptance of Pi = 3 in the rabbinic tradition, then no gematria-based calculations relating to the text of 1 Kings 7:23 will be of any help. There are statements in the classical rabbinic sources which take the value of Pi = 3 literally, not only in legal definitions but also in descriptions of what are supposed to be matters of fact
(see http://www.talkreason.org/articles/letter1.cfm#22).
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